From Academic Kids

The term "Claymation" is a registered trademark created by Will Vinton Studios to describe their clay animated movies. The more generic term is "clay animation" however, "claymation" has entered the English language as a genericized trademark used to mean "stop motion animation" where the animated piece, either character or background, is deformable. Clay animation is but one form of stop motion animation.

All animation is produced in a similar fashion, whether done through traditional cel animation, stop-motion, or CGI. 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 16 frames per second, a fairly convincing illusion of continuous motion is achieved. The concept is similar to keyframing in 3D animation programs.

In clay animation, each object is sculpted in clay or a similarly pliable material such as Plasticine, usually around an armature. As in other forms of object animation, the object is arranged on the set, a shot is taken and the object or character is then moved very slightly by hand. Another shot is taken and the object moved slightly again. 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.

Producing a stop motion animation using clay is extremely laborious. Normal film runs at 24 frames per second, so this process must be repeated 24 times for each second of finished animation. Also, great care must be taken to ensure the object does not smudge or get dirty. For feature-length productions, the use of clay has generally been surplanted by silicone and resin-cast components. However, clay remains a viable animation material where a particular aesthetic is desired.

Some of the best known clay animated works include the Gumby series of television shows created by Art Clokey and the advertisements made for the California Raisin Marketing Board ( by Will Vinton. However, clay animation has also been used in Academy Award winning short films such as Closed Mondays (1974), The Sand Castle (1977), Creature Comforts (1989), Mona Lisa Descending a Stairase (1992), Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers (1993) and Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave (1995). Creature Comforts and the Wallace & Gromit short films were created by Nick Park of Aardman Studios (

Other films or television shows produced with clay animation:

  • Martin the Cobbler (Will Vinton, 1976)
  • Morph (Peter Lord and Dave Sproxton, 1976)
  • Rip Van Winkle (Will Vinton, 1978)
  • The Little Prince (Will Vinton, 1979)
  • Baby Snakes (Frank Zappa, 1979)
  • Creation (Will Vinton and Joan Gatz, 1981)
  • The Adventures of Mark Twain (Will Vinton, 1985)(also known as Comet Quest)
  • A Claymation Christmas Special (Joan Gatz, 1987)
  • Return to Oz (Will Vinton, 1985)(Knome King scenes)
  • Rex the Runt (Television series, Richard Goleszowski, 1998 UK)
  • Plonsters (Television series, 1983 Germany)

Several computer games have also been produced using clay animation, including The Neverhood and Platypus Game.

See also


ja:クレイアニメ ru:Пластилиновая анимация


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