Playing with clay is part of many childhood experiences, as is creating clay figures and perhaps pretending those clay figures could move. Fast forward a few years to high school art class and having the opportunity to create movies using clay figures – otherwise known as claymation.
That is what senior Justin Charles did when he created his claymation project “Monster Madness” for art teacher Jason Sload. The story is about a popsicle that melts into two separate beings who get into a fight, but in the end, they settle their differences and become one again.
To the untrained eye, claymation, or clay animation, may seem simple to create. However, the process involves creating clay figures and taking a series of still shots with props. Each still shot requires slightly repositioning the clay figures to create the action sequence.
“When working with Claymation, you have to be patient and be willing to work with the tediousness,” Charles said.
His senior project task was to come up with a claymation character and create a short scene that revealed the character’s personality. Charles said he decided to use two characters interacting with each other. Once he had his story line, he used stop motion software to create the original shots of the clay figures and their motion. Then he exported the still frames to Adobe Photoshop, where he erased any props needed for support in the video. Charles finally used Adobe After Effects to complete the animation by adding special effects and sound.
“I always keep in mind that the ending outcome is worth the hard work and that it will entertain new viewers.”
Charles explained the seemingly brief finished product: “The final claymation video may be short, but the process was long. Despite the process being long, it was also a lot of fun.”