CMA Stories

Behind-the-scenes: Animal Animation in Clay Bar Masters

Clay Bar Masters, a clay sculpture and animation class, is the museum’s most popular after school class every semester. It’s no wonder why. In each class, young artists get an hour and a half of undivided attention from CMA’s talented Teaching Artists and unlimited access to the Clay Bar to create magical creatures, clay portraits, mini sculptures and more.

At the end of the semester, the Fall 2016 Clay Bar class was working on creating animal busts they would later animate into a claymation short film. The students started the project by researching and sketching out the animals they wanted to sculpt. The creatures ranged from a friendly crocodile, to a clever snow leopard, to a fierce bull, and a fuzzy koala. One young artist created a wide-eyed kinkajou, a fuzzy mammal known for its saucer-sized eyes.

After the young artists had sculpted the base and shape of the head of their animals, Teaching Artists Camilo and Katya demonstrated how to create eyes and make them blink later on camera. The technique included shaping a circular eye and poking a hole with a pencil to insert the pupil. They then instructed the students to create several differently sized eyelids that would be applied to the eye during the animating process.

After spending a couple weeks on creating the busts, the students were ready to animate! They created a backdrop with colored paper, and set up an Ipad where they used iStopMotion to capture subtle movements of their characters. The young artists also recorded a short story in the Sound Booth which they then combined with the videos to make it seem as if the animal was speaking on camera!

Check out a video of their creations!

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