Free Lesson Plan: Claymation Projects

Target Goals:  Displaying finished animation movies at City Hall.  For the final product/project of the course the maximum video length that can be expected is approximately fifty (50) seconds. This would also be with double-framing, functionally 12 frames per second, so the stop motion effect would be more pronounced. 

Materials needed: Polymer or oil based clay in various colors (no air-dry clay), iStopMotion for iPad/tablet, iPad, tablet clamps, tripods (enough iPads, tablet clamps, and tripods for multiple group setups), light source (desk lamp, window, etc.), construction paper or white craft paper (for backdrop), magazine clip outs (character creation), brass fasteners, toaster oven (for making final clay works into permanent sculpture for last day exhibit), storyboard template, colored pencils, crayons

Students will be in groups of two or more. These lessons will help kids learn to compromise and to work together in a way that allows every individual’s ideas to be supported and respected by their peers. Support will be necessary for movement of clay and stop motion photography. As part of these lessons, integration of clay forms will be taught, as well as simple lessons of stop motion photography and movement.

Introducing Names
With a clay color of your choice, spell out your first name in clay letters. Create a character to help bring your name to life. Use different types of motion and transitions (spinning, squeeze, inching, and or walking) to introduce your name to the camera. Your created character will help you move your letters into the frame and begin to pick up the pieces or letters to help transition your name out of the video.

Introduction of Pattern and Movement 
Using different shapes and lines, create an abstract video of movement and pattern. We will use what we already know about making shapes and multiplication of forms to create a video of color and motion. Simple and small movements will bring your shapes and forms to life.

Faces and Songs
With given clay materials, bring one or more faces to life. Your faces can be life-like, or they can be based on your favorite animal or a superhero/villain. Your faces can sing, or they can casually talk to each other. Keep in mind that our faces move more than just our mouths, tongue, and lips when we converse or create music. Think about the way that we blink, raise our eyebrows, smile or frown when we are approached.

Hands Come Alive
We will introduce our body parts as a tool for making stop motion videos. Hands can signal change in the videos, or they might become the central focus of what we are trying to get across to the viewer. Think about the magic that can happen when we hide our materials in our hands between frames, or the magic that happens when characters or clay might interact with our hands. Get creative and lets make magic happen!

DanceMation Party
Using magazine clip outs, construction paper, and your own created drawings, make characters to star in a dance party! Again, students are welcome to make animal-based characters, or non-human characters, as long as they have moving joints and necks (think about wrists and ankles too). Use the brass fasteners to attach arms, legs, and heads to the torso of the character. If it is any interest to the students, create a back drop for your characters to dance on. The environment can take place outside or inside for your characters. Test out movements and shapes, and don’t forget about vertical movements, too. The characters can dance however you’d like them to!

Short Stories
Create clay characters to produce a short story video. The story created should have a beginning, middle, and end, and will consist of more than one environment that your storyline will take place in. Do the characters live underwater? Are they humans? Do they live in an environment with sun or snow? City or suburbs? Create background scenery with construction paper and magazine clip outs, and make sure to construct characters at a reasonable size to fit within the frame and background. The characters should be presented with a problem, and work together to create a solution. Since this is a fantasy story, not everything in the video needs to make sense, but there should be a clear beginning, middle, and end to the video. Remember to include what we learned throughout the sessions about shape and movement of faces while speaking or singing.

These projects were created for classes longer than 1.5 hours. Ideally, students will have one class to create their characters, ideas, and backgrounds, and use the following class to record and create their stop motion videos. Name and Pattern Movement projects can most likely be done in one day, since they are introductory experiments to get students comfortable with making stop motion videos. Our ten-week program also needs to incorporate time for students to create their artist statements, document each other working and to have part of the last day to exhibit their final products.

*Sound can also be recorded with the iStopmotion App