The Full Wiki

Clay animation: Map

  
  
  
  

Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:



Clay animation is one of many forms of stop motion animation. Each animated piece, either character or background, is "deformable"—made of a malleable substance, usually Plasticine clay.
A clay animation scene from a Finnish TV commercial.


All traditional animation is produced in a similar fashion, whether done through cel animation or stop motion. Each frame, or still picture, is recorded on film or digital media and then played back in rapid succession. When played back at a frame rate greater than 10–12 frames per second, a fairly convincing illusion of continuous motion is achieved. While the playback feature creating an illusion is true of all moving images (from zoetrope to films to videogames), the techniques involved in creating CGI are generally removed from a frame-by-frame process.

Technique

In clay animation, one of the many forms of stop-motion animation, each object is sculpted in clay or a similarly pliable material such as Plasticine, usually around a wire skeleton called an armature. As in other forms of object animation, the object is arranged on the set (background), a film frame is exposed, and the object or character is then moved slightly by hand. Another frame is taken, and the object is moved slightly again. This cycle is repeated until the animator has achieved the desired amount of film. The human mind processes the series of slightly changing, rapidly playing images as motion, hence making it appear that the object is moving by itself. To achieve the best results, a consistent shooting environment is needed to maintain the illusion of continuity. This means paying special attention to maintaining consistent lighting and object placement and working in a calm environment.

Production

Producing a stop-motion animation using clay is extremely laborious. Normal film runs at 24 frames per second (frame/s). With the standard practice of "doubles" or "twos" (double-framing, exposing 2 frames for each shot), 12 changes are usually made for one second of film movement. For a 30-minute movie, there would be approximately 21,600 stops to change the figures for the frames. For a full-length (90-minute) movie, there would be approximately 64,800 stops, and possibly far more if parts were shot with "singles" or "ones" (one frame exposed for each shot). Great care must be taken to ensure that the object is not altered by accident, by even slight smudges, dirt, hair, or even dust. For feature-length productions, the use of clay has generally been supplanted by rubber silicone and resin-cast components. One foam-rubber process has been coined as Foamation by Will Vinton. However, clay remains a viable animation material where a particular aesthetic is desired.

A subvariation of clay animation can be informally called "clay melting". Any kind of heat source can be applied on or near (or below) clay to cause it to melt while an animation camera on a time-lapse setting slowly films the process. An example of this can be seen in Vinton's early short clay-animated film Closed Mondays (coproduced by animator Bob Gardiner) at the end of the computer sequence. A similar technique was used in the climax scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark to "melt" the faces of the antagonists.

Types

Clay animation can take several forms:

"Freeform" clay animation is an informal term referring to the process in which the shape of the clay changes radically as the animation progresses, such as in the work of Eliot Noyes, Jr. and Ivan Stang's animated films. Or, clay can take the form of "character" clay animation, where the clay maintains a recognizable character throughout a shot, as in Art Clokey's and Will Vinton's films.

One variation of clay animation is strata-cut animation, in which a long breadlike loaf of clay, internally packed tight and loaded with varying imagery, is sliced into thin sheets, with the camera taking a frame of the end of the loaf for each cut, eventually revealing the movement of the internal images within. Pioneered in both clay and blocks of wax by German animator Oskar Fischinger during the 1920s and '30s, the technique was revivied and highly refined in the mid-'90s by David Daniels, an associate of Will Vinton, in his 16-minute short film Buzz Box.

Another clay-animation technique, one that blurs the distinction between stop motion and traditional flat animation, is called clay painting (also a variation of the direct manipulation animation process), wherein clay is placed on a flat surface and moved like wet oil paints (as on a traditional artist's canvas) to produce any style of images, but with a clay look to them.

History

Clay animated films were produced in the United States as early as 1908 when Edison Manufacturing released a trick film entitled The Sculptor's Welsh Rarebit Dream. In 1916, clay animation became something of a fad, as an East Coast artist named Helena Smith Dayton and a West Coast animator named Willie Hopkins produced clay animated films on a wide range of subjects. Hopkins in particular was quite prolific, producing over fifty clay animated segments for the weekly Universal Screen Magazine. But by the 1920s, cartoon animation using either cels or the slash system was firmly established as the dominant mode of animation production. Increasingly, three-dimensional forms such as clay were driven into relative obscurity as the cel method became the preferred method for the studio cartoon.

Nevertheless, in 1921, clay animation appeared in a film called Modeling, an Out of the Inkwell film from the newly formed Fleischer Brothers studio. Modeling is one of the few known shorts using clay that was released during the 1920s. Modeling included animated clay in eight shots, a novel integration of the technique into an existing cartoon series, and one of the rare uses of clay animation in a theatrical short from the 1920s.

Pioneering the clay painting technique was one-time Vinton animator Joan Gratz, first in her Oscar-nominated film The Creation (1980), and then in her Oscar-winning Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, filmed in 1992.

In 1972, at Marc Chinoy's Cineplast Films Studio, in Munich, Germany, André Roche created a set of clay-animated German-language-instruction films (for non-German-speaking children) called Kli-Kla-Klawitter for the Second German TV-Channel; and another one for a traffic education series, Herr Daniel paßt auf ("Mr. Daniel Pays Attention").

A variation of clay animation was developed by another Vinton animator, Craig Bartlett, for his series of "Arnold" short films (also made in the '90s), in which he not only used clay painting but sometimes built up clay images that rose off the plane of the flat support platform toward the camera lens to give a more 3-D stop-motion look to his films.

Some of the best-known clay-animated works include the Gumby series of television show segments (created by Art Clokey) and the TV commercial made for the California Raisin Advisory Board by Vinton's studio and The WB's The PJs, produced by and featuring the voice of Eddie Murphy. Clay animation has also been used in Academy Award-winning short films such as Closed Mondays (Will Vinton and Bob Gardiner, 1974), The Sand Castle (1977), Creature Comforts (Aardman, 1989), and all four Wallace & Gromit short films, created by Nick Park of Aardman Animation. Aardman also created The Presentators, a series of one-minute clay-animation short films aired on Nicktoons. Some clay animations appear online, on such sites as Newgrounds.

Several computer games have also been produced using clay animation, including The Neverhood, Clay Fighter, Platypus and Primal Rage. Television commercials have also utilized the clay animation, such as the Chevron Cars ads, produced by Aardman Studios. Besides commercials, clay animation has also been popularized in recent years by children's shows such as Bob the Builder and The Koala Brothers, as well as adult-oriented shows on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup, including Robot Chicken (which uses clay animation and action figures as stop-motion puppets in conjunction) and Moral Orel. Many independent young filmmakers have used clay animation features for internet viewing.

Flushed Away is a CGI replication of clay animation.

Claymation

The portmanteau term "Claymation" is a registered trademark in the United Statesmarker, registered by Will Vinton in 1978 to describe his clay-animated films. While the word is not considered a genericized trademark, it has become a trademark that is often used generically in the U.S. and is also a term used in the UK to refer to any animation using Plasticine or similar substance.

See also



Footnotes

  1. ANI-MATO J-E Nystrom: "Case study: Chicken in Clay" (1997)
  2. Gumbo (2003)

References




Embed code:






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message