This tutorial is from one of our sponsors iKITMovie. IKITMovie is a Stop Motion Animation, 3d Animation Software, Claymation Software for Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 PCâ€™s. The software is very easy to use, my kids use it, making it suitable for any age (from 9 to 99), and, believe me it is a lot of fun.
Anyone that has followed this blog for a long time will know how much I love Lego, of course, my kids love it as well. I have found that iKITMovie has been perfect for making small animated movies with there Lego creations. I will not show you the animations here, but I have encouraged the kids to remake Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade in there own way. So, watch this space!
Anyway, this basic tutorial is an introduction to stop motion animation using clay, and has been put together by our sponsors to demonstrate how easy and how much fun it actually is. You can download iKITMovie here: iKITMovie Homepage.
The finished Movie
Step 1 – Working with Clay
Remove the portion of clay you wish to use from the package and knead it in your hands for a moment. This will help redistribute the plasticizers and polymer fibers in the clay. This is often called “conditioning” the clay. If the clay feels flexible and can be pulled easily without breaking immediately, it is ready to go.
So, to get started with the tutorial, grab a piece of your clay and make sure it is big enough to be split in to 5 equal parts.
Here I am using Sculpey III clay, any clay type or color will work just fine, just make sure it is clean and reasonably consistent in color.
Step 2 – Divide up the clay
Roll the clay out and divide it into 5 equal segments, for this tutorial, we are using Sculpey clay as it does not dry out and can be easily manipulated. Roll each segment up in to a small ball and try to make them all the same size.
Step 3 – Preparing the clay pieces for animating
Squash the balls down to make the 5 shapes shown here.
Step 4 – Creating the set
This is were the creative fun begins! For the simplest set possible, grab a sheet of white paper and set up your webcamera or digital still camera (any camera will do) in front of your prepped clay. Adjust your camera settings and lighting for best results. Use a tripod or something similiar, to ensure that both your camera and the set are secured so they will not move during the snapshots that you will take when you begin animating.
Of course, if you feel like making a more creative set, feel free.
Step 5 – Adjust your Camera
Open up iKITMovie, our animation software of choice, and start a new project. Give it a name such as “Boing” and set the resolution to 800×600, (or 640×480 if your camera cannot handle anything higher). If you are using a digital still camera then set it to take snaps (jpeg) 800×600. And finally, set the frame rate to 15 frames per second.
NOTE – If you are using a digital still camera you will find it very difficult to replace the clay pieces in the exact place between shots. To help you with this, iKITMove has a useful feature called “onionskinning”, which will really help you to find the correct placing of each piece as you take shots. The screenshot shows a ghost image of the previously placed clay piece allowing me to place the next piece in place of it but in the following position in the sequence.
Step 6 – Taking the snapshots
Take 10 snaps of clay piece number 2 first. That is the round shaped clay ball. Then replace it in the exact same position with clay piece number 1. Take one or two snapshots of it. Then use piece 3, but place it slightly in the direction you wish the clay to move. Take a snapshot. Then use piece 4 and move it even further along. And then piece 5. And then place piece 4, 3, 2 and 1 to bring it to a stop, taking a snap of each one as you place it. Repeat this sequence as many times as you wish in whatever direction you wish to extend the length of your movie.
Step 7 – Bringing your movie to life
Any animation or movie will seem very lifeless and dull without sound. Sound fx, music, voiceovers etc will enhance the movie drammically, and most importantly, make the movie fun! iKITMovie has sound fx included so next you will bring things to life by selecting the sound fx that best suit the animation.
In this case we have selected a cartoon type “boing” sound. So scroll down through the list of sounds and select either that one or one that you think might suit.
Step 8 – Repeat and polish
Repeat this for each position of the clay object where you think a sound would be appropriate such as when the clay changes direction etc.
And there you have it, your first stop motion animation movie.
Now you have the basic tools and knowledge to expand on the movie, let your creativity rein free and create something amazing! Have fun.