Sculpting Your Characters for Claymation
clayma_building_with_clay.jpg

You are welcome to download this presentation (click on the "view on slideshare" link on the presentation below. Once you arrive at slideshare.net click on the "download tab that appears above the presentation) and use it in your classroom.

Instructor: Amy Johnson

Grade Level: Middle Ages 6th-8th, High Grades 9th-12th

Media:1 brick of oil-based clay per character, 2-3 pipe cleaners per character, various clay tools, 5 x 7 in white paper, pens, pencils, markers

Time: 1-2 hour long session(s)

Objectives:
TLW define character design and claymation.
TLW selects characters from their story-board to sculpt
TLW illustrates basic sculpting skills in oil-based clay such as joining and forming

Procedure:
Step 1: The teacher will introduce this as the 4th lesson in the Origins of Animation unit. S/he will review previous vocabulary in the unit such as thaumatrope, animation, flip-book, and story-boarding. The teacher will present the materials to the class (pipe cleaners, clay tools, and oil-based clay). S/he will ask students to brainstorm about what the students can infer from these materials about the lesson. After a brief response from the students, the teacher will relate to students that they will be creating their characters from their storyboards out of oil-based clay.

Step 2: The teacher will hand-out the reviewed storyboards to the students. S/he will place pens/markers on each table and ask the students to circle each different character in their storyboard with a different colored marker. S/he will ask students to write down at the top of their storyboards the number of characters they need to create for their stop-motion video. The teacher will encourage students to have no more than three main characters (characters that will require lots of major sculpting).

Step 3: The teacher will show the Power-Point about good character design by Amy Johnson. S/he will reiterate the importance of simple, easy-to-read design in animation. The teacher will allow for question and answer time.

Step 4: The teacher will lead a demonstration in character design. S/he will demonstrate to students how to make a quick character skeleton with pipe cleaners. S/he will stress the importance of building on a wire frame in claymation. S/he will explain that building on a metal frame will make the figure stronger for moving etc. for the duration of the shooting of the video. S/he will encourage students to think about the ways in which the character will need to move for the video and change the character design to aid this. For example, a figure that needs to be able to reliably stand should have wide strong feet etc. etc. Next, the teacher will discuss the nature of oil-based clay to students. S/he will explain that it is created in order to avoid drying out. However, the teacher will stress that oil-based clay should be kept clean and water-free in order to stay pristine. S/he will demonstrate how to add the clay to the pipe-cleaner skeleton.

Step 5: The teacher will give each table a pre-assembled clay kit in a tray. The tray will have several hanks of oil-based clay, an assortment of clay tools, pipe-cleaners, plastic baggies, a permanent marker and scissors. Students will use the balance of class to work on their character designs. At the end of the class, the teacher will give the 5 minute warning and will ask students to label a plastic baggie with their name, place their creation in the bag, and place all of their bags in the clay kit tray. The teacher will collect the trays.

Step 6: Day 2: The teacher will re-introduce the lesson and ask students to feed-back to them the directions for the unit. If needed, the teacher will re-show the Power-Point about quality character design. S/he will ask the students if they have any questions about the project. S/he will hand out the clay kits and characters and ask students to complete their character designs by the end of class. The teacher will circulate the remainder of class providing aid to students as necessary. At the end of the class, the teacher will give the 5 minute warning and will ask students to label a plastic baggie with their name, place their creation in the bag, and place all of their bags in the clay kit tray. The teacher will collect the trays.

The teacher will assure students that s/he will store the characters for the students until the time comes for them to shoot their claymation videos.

Materials:
-Permanent markers
-Plastic baggies (enough for each student)
-Bricks of oil-based clay in a variety of colors (enough for your class; estimate at least each student using 1 full brick of clay)
-Clay tools (plastic knives, molding tools etc.)
-Pipe cleaners (each student will need at least 3-4)
-Scissors (for cutting down pipe cleaners when needed)

Vocabulary:
Character: a person represented in a drama, story, etc.; representing a personality type, esp. by emphasizing distinctive traits, as language, mannerisms, physical makeup, etc.

Oil-based Clay: Useful for many moldmaking and sculpting undertakings. Unlike water-based clay, oil-based clay will not harden and may be used repeatedly. Soft enough to make impressions of leaves or other habitat materials.

Technology
-DLP Projector
-Computer
-Overhead Projector
-Power-Point

Accommodations/Modifications:
The Power-Point for this lesson features active .gif file animations that create flashing. This is a SERIOUS health hazard for students with epilepsy. Be aware for of any students you have with epilepsy and/or any students who show signs of reacting poorly physically to the flashing. Should your classroom have students with epilepsy: Delete the flashing imagery in the Power-Point and instead show the students actual exemplars of the animations. Follow the instructions and goals of the students’ IEP. For students who need more structure/rules, take the time to have some independent instruction with them. Have the student mimic the technique back to you, so you can assure mastery


Evaluation/Assessment:
CATEGORY
4
3
2
1
Neatness
C is neatly created and is easy to read. Shows forward thinking about C creation. C can easily stand.
C is neatly created and is easy to read. Shows forward thinking about C creation. C can easily stand. There may be some minor design issues such as wobby standing and/or busy design.
C isn’t neatly created and/or is difficult to read. Doesn’t demonstrate much forward-thinking skills.
C isn’t neatly created and is difficult to read. There is little or no effort demonstrated in its creation.
Creativity
C demonstrates a strong, thoughtful use of color and/or of the function of the character as it relates to the story board.
C demonstrates a thoughtful use of color and mostly relates to the function of the character as it relates to the storyboard.
C demonstrates a somewhat thoughtful use of color and somewhat relates to the function of the character as it relates to the storyboard.
SB demonstrates only one point of view, there are no notation for sound or music.
Guidelines
C demonstrates thoughtful use of appropriate imagery.
C demonstrates good use of appropriate imagery.
C has some questionable imagery.
C has questionable imagery
Finishing
C is thoroughly completed and is ready to be shot for stop-animation video.
C is mostly completed. It might need slight adjusting the day of the shooting.
C isn’t completed, but is somewhat close to completion.
C isn’t completed at all.