Monday, July 6, 2009

Stop Motion Animation Class Day 1

Today was the first day of my summer stop motion claymation classes. The children created rough storyboards and began to make their clay figures. They first sketched their clay protagonists by looking at reference books. The boys chose to create animals and the girls chose to make fairies.

After they had sketched their figures, I created wireform skeletons for them to build the clay upon. I used 24 gauge thread covered floral wire. This is much cheaper than using armature wire.
This below is the base form for all the fairies.

Below: base form for snake.

Above: A piece of screen mesh was used to create texture on snake skin.
Below: base form for Thorny Devil lizard.

The children build up the creatures using Van Achen Toon Clay. I cut the clay into small blocks so that it is easier to manage. I also had a pasta maker and an extrusion tool on hand for them to use. The extrusion tool was used for the hair on the fairies and the pasta maker was used to create flat sheets of clay for the undergarments.

Cole had the good idea of pressing his snake eyes into a block of clay to hold it still before he created the pupil. All the children then used this technique to create the pupils on their bead eyes. Tip: make the opening of the bead the pupil and draw with a permanent marker a ring around that hole. Apply vaseline to the socket before you put the bead eye in. This will make the eye move more easily when you move it with a pencil tip while animating.

When creating the face it is good to build up with small layers on the face. I created a sample character and used a half moon shape to build up the cheeks. I didn't want the eyes to look surprised, so I put a small banana shape of clay above and below the eyes to create the eyelids. Be sure you stick the bead eyes in deep enough that the eyes don't bulge. I should have painted the pupils before sticking the eyes into the head. My husband noted that at this stage the face looked like Lord Voldermart!

Adding hair, eyebrows and color to the mouth help the face look like a face.

Tomorrow the children will add more detail. The girls will use lace and fabric to create the garments. They will create the sets and refine their storyboards.

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