Art Lesson Plan: Claymation - Art Technology Integration

Clay Animation

animated video Submitted by: Connie Ferguson, 2012 Arizona Art Teacher of the Year and Teacher at Riverview Elementary in El Mirage, Arizona. (Formerly art teacher at Monroe Middle School, Monroe, WI)
UNIT: Technology
Grade Level: 7th grade

DAYS: 12
FOCUS: Three dimensional construction, technology, and integration

* Special Thanks to Renee Berg - Mitchell Middle School for her help and inspiration in this unit plan. See Renee's ideas on Incredible Art Department.

* Animation Lessons - Rubric - History - Flash and more! By Jim Hoffman, Mount Royal, Saskatoon, Sask.


OBJECTIVES: The learner will:

1. Study the history of clay animation. (A background on claymation can be found here and here.)
2. develop a storyboard integrating concepts learned in core and encore areas of study.
3. apply the concepts of animation in a cooperative production. (See assessment)


STATE STANDARDS: The learner will:

A2 learn appropriate vocabulary related to their study of art.
C5 use thumbnail sketches to experiment and start developing visual ideas.
C6 develop the craft and skills to produce quality art.
C7 understand the natural characteristics of materials and their possibilities and limitations.
D6 know about problem-solving strategies that promote fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and originality.
E2 communicate complex ideas by producing popular images and objects, such as folk art, traditional arts and crafts, popular arts, mass media, and consumer products.
E5 use the visual arts to express ideas that can’t be expressed by words alone.
F2 understand some visual techniques used in mass media.
F7 develop a working knowledge of media production systems.
K1 connect their knowledge and skills in art to other areas, such as the humanities, sciences, social studies, and technology.



Photocopy lesson outline and assignments for student use
Rent DVD movie- Chicken Run.
VHS/DVD player hooked up to classroom TV
Groups assigned
Cameras charged
Disks assigned to groups
Software orientation for production
Production Area Assigned and Set Up
Light supports for production area


Alternate idea: Screamers - by Catharine Ho

See Note To Teachers



Microsoft Movie Maker Help Topics. Use iMovie for the Mac.
Claymation Handouts Work Sheet Check List Storyboard Worksheet (use as many copies as necessary- see below) and Self Evaluation Worksheet.


DVD: Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie,. by Brian Sibley

DVD: How to Animate Clay and Stop Motion Puppets. - How to Animate Puppets 2 DVD set will help you to be a better animator. With over five hours of video, every possible animation trick is explained.



Secrets Of Clay Animation Revealed. - This book teaches all methods the experts use to make stop motion films from start to finish. After reading Secrets you will know how to create several types of armatures, learn how puppets are sculpted, make a motion control rig, light your sets, make your own surface gages, use video reference, chroma key, capture programs and more.

Beginner's Guide to Animation. - With the help of Beginner’s Guide to Animation, anyone can make animated movies, using a digital camera, basic software, and a computer. The book begins with an illustrated guide to setting up a simple animation studio at home, including a list of essential items.

The Art of Stop-Motion Animation. - Through several hands-on exercises, you'll learn how to create puppets and how to bring them to life as you create your own stop-motion film. Interviews with industry professionals offer a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look into the undying art form of stop-motion animation.


Below: Although this is way beyond the ability of middle school students, it is a great way to motivate the students at the beginning of the project.




Animate Clay
Clay Animation Station
Mrs. Rose's Clay Animation page (Archive)
VidShare Claymation Videos (Archive) Also here.
Animation 101
Character Animation Studios
Clay Animation Made Easy. Also see this page.
Mrs. Prescott's Computer Literacy Class Claymation page (Archive)
Mrs. Berg and Mrs. Shannon's Clay Animation page
Giga Palette's Claymation (Archive)
Brick Films



1. View website Claymation Station on IPTV
2. Watch Wallace & Gromit.
3. Watch short clip of Chicken Run
4. Discuss possible video options.
5. Handout project outline and assignments
6. Choose or assign groups
7. discuss processes

* creation of story and characters
* background and set
* shooting the segment
* editing




Digital Camcorder.


(Lauren recommends Xipster)


Hardware (Mac or Windows)


CD-R's. or Flash Drives.


Digital Tapes (If camcorder uses them)


Spot Lights


Extension Cords




12x18 (30.5 x 46 cm) White Drawing Paper.




Armature Wire.


Mat board.


Tempera Paint.


Paint Tray. w/Lids (Can't find these. The link is without lids)


Masking Tape.


Paint Brushes.


Water Basins


Microsoft Movie Maker (See PowerPoint note) Use iMovie for Macs





TEAM member1





TEAM member2





TEAM member3


Set Background



TEAM member4


Set Background




All team members will participate in the editing process.
*Note: Allow students who want one to make a take home character, too (on their own time)

Theme of cycle is based on units of study in core and encore classes.

Science: Insects
Social Studies: World Cultures (possible theme: world celebrations)
Language: Greek Myths
Math: Careers
Encore: Achievements of Famous Artists, Musicians, Athletes, Chefs, Fashion Designers, Architects and Authors


STORY BOARD (see handout)

1. Create a simple storyboard of eight to ten pictures that will be the main story of your claymation.
2. Keep the story board simple using stick "people". (use as many copies as necessary)
3. The storyboard should also have the parts of the background that will be in motion, i.e. clouds.



1. Choose a background that will be used throughout the entire story.
2. Create a background for the claymation set using mat board and tempera paint.

***DEMO on painting procedures.


1. Collect and bring in props to be used on the set. Look at Chicken Run, Hatching of the Movie for ideas of using commonplace objects.
2. Make additional props to be used on the set.



1. For the claymation, characters will be made out of plasticine. A wire armature will be made as a movable skeleton.
***DEMO on armature making.

2. Colored plasticine is wrapped and molded around the wire armature to create the character.
***DEMO on character building with plasticine.


Character Requirements:

*Fits the theme
*Characters are 3 to 4 inches tall or long
*Expressive facial features
*3 to 4 colors of plasticine are used (Note: Meijers has a good selection of special colors)
*Character is easily movable
*Character stays together throughout the unit
*Produce at least 2 characters



1. Set up the painting background
2. Attach any movable part(s) to the background ie, clouds, birds.
3. Arrange the props for filming
4. Place the characters in their beginning pose.


1. Using a digital camera take a photo or 3 second shot of your characters in the beginning pose.
2. Slightly move the characters and possible the movable background parts.
3. Again take a photo or 3 seconds of digital video.
4. Continue this process to capture the story’s theme.
5. Approximately 30 photos or 2 minutes of video should be shot.



**DEMO on using Microsoft Movie Maker. (For a complete tutorial on iMovie, visit Apple's website)
1. Using the program Microsoft Movie Maker- Connect the digital video camera and download film clips
2. Open new Project
3. Click and Drag clips down to the storyboard
4. Click onto the first frame; press the play button on the preview screen
5. To insert Title Frame

  • Tool in the menu Bar, choose add title and credits. Choose Title. Change the font and color by the corresponding icons. Make the title larger. You may also change the background color.

  • Change the Title Animation

6. To insert Credits Frame

  • Tool in the menu Bar, choose add title and credits. Choose Credits.

  • In the top rectangle: Type: Created By, Produced By, or something you come up with.

  • In the top rectangle: Type: Created By, Produced By, or something you come up with.

  • The boxes on the left will be in Large Font and the boxes on the right will be a small font. This is where you type Characters by: Joe P. (no last names) etc.

7. To edit clips:

  • Select the Timeline view

  • Preview Window: Press play and the desired spot to "cut" the clip press the pause button- you may rewind the clip to the perfect spot if you do not press pause fast enough.

  • Press the CUT button

  • Press play to continue to the end of this section that is to be cut.

  • Press pause to stop and press the CUT button again.

  • On the timeline, click onto the "Cut" clip section to select it. Right click and select Cut from the menu. The section is gone.

8. Repeat this number 7 until all the unwanted sections are cut out of the timeline.

9. You may press play and watch the whole video throughout this process as many times as you want or need.


Helpful Hints:

To speed up movie clips:

  • In Storyboard, Click on a video clip-choose Video Effects

  • On the bottom is a choice: Speed up Double. Click on this. You may do this many times to speed up the clip. You must repeat this for each clip.

Music and voice-overs are to be added at this time

  • Choose tools on the Menu Bar

  • Choose Audio Level

  • Slide the Audio Bar to the Far Right

  • Click OK

To Add Voice Overs

  • Plug in the Microphone in the front jack

  • In TimeLine, Click on the Microphone Icon

  • Press Start Recording and begin your voice over

  • Press Stop Recording when you are done

  • Save

To Add Music

  • On the left Menu Section, Choose Import Music

  • Choose the location , music must be in the correct format. If you would like a clip from a produced CD you will need to play it on an external CD player and follow the voice over instructions with a microphone.


Save As Movie

1. All projects will be transferred to a CD
2. Complete the self evaluation.



Before downloading any clips:

  • Open – ArtStu-Movie

  • Tools Options Advance Picture .25 sec Transition .25 sec

  • For a Title …Want the newspaper??? To add a clip in the colored section of the newspaper:

  • In Timeline - Click on the clip you want to add - Choose On - Type Headline - Add to the movie

  • For a smooth transition between rough clips, in Transitions, Choose Wipe Wide Right


Name __________________


3 Storyboard is developed to reflect the cycle theme
2 Storyboard is developed to somewhat reflect the cycle theme
1 Storyboard is not developed to reflect the cycle theme

3 Background is complete and is consistent to the theme
2 Background is somewhat complete and is consistent to the theme OR
2 Background is complete and is somewhat consistent to the theme
1 Background is not complete or is consistent to the theme

3 Set and props are organized and are relevant to the story
2 Set and props are somewhat organized and are relevant to the story OR
2 Set and props are organized and are somewhat relevant to the story
1 Set and props are not organized and are not relevant to the story

3 Met all character requirements
2 Met at least 4 of the character requirements
1 Met 0-3 of the character requirements

3 Technology of software and hardware is successfully applied to the project
2 Technology of software and hardware is somewhat successfully applied to the project
1 Technology of software and hardware is not successfully applied to the project

3 Animation is smooth and meets the time requirement
2 Animation is somewhat smooth and meets the time requirement OR
2 Animation is smooth and almost meets the time requirement
1 Animation is not smooth and does not meets the time requirement

3 Worked cooperatively as a team player
2 Worked cooperatively as a team player most of the time
1 Worked cooperatively as a team player some of the time or not at all.



See the student self-evaluation document


Submitted by: Catharine Ho, Hong Kong
Unit: Claymation - sculpture - technology
Lesson: Screamers
Grade level: Middle school



These screamers are made from a tissue paper roll, Plastiline. and two marbles. Each student got to make one.


Note from Judy: Animation and backgrounds could deal with issues that just make kids want to "scream."


Catharine planned on one class to work with their partner and do a story board, for homework - do a drawing of their character, 2 classes to make the character and any props. She is trying to convince the computer teacher to do the actual filming part. She used armatures (tissue rolls) and a very malleable plasticine called Jovi plasticina. The students will print up an image as the backdrop on A-3 size paper. As a problem to solve, the students will be working with a prop, voted for by the class( a ribbon or a ball or ?) that will appear in each of their clips so when there put them together there will be some unity to the collection.


Note to Teachers

From Connie: They (Claymation videos) work great with the new Windows Media Player but not the old version. I did study Renee Berg's work- it was very inspiring. I am doing this with my 7th grade cycles. 8 groups of animations every 7 weeks. That will be a lot of "movies" by June. I just presented this unit to the school board. They loved it! They have spent a lot of money on Technology so they were very pleased that someone was using it besides Power Point. I did get a brainstorm this weekend and thought about making a DVD with director commentaries, bloopers reel, location shots, etc. I have a very intelligent 7th grade study hall that seems to need something to do--- so they are going to be in charge of getting those video files ready throughout the year. I also had a "dinner theater" for lunch one day. All the 1st cycle students brought their lunch to my art room and we watched both classes of animations. It was a hit!


A background on claymation can be found here.


From: Mark Alan Anderson, Art Teacher, Raymore-Peculiar Middle School

My students work on clay animation for nine weeks with some pretty spectacular results.

Here's what you need:


Digital still camera (you can make this work with a video camera too but the results are far superior with a still camera)
Computer software: Macintosh - Apple iMovie (free with any version of System X);
PC - Movie Maker (free with Windows XP)
Card reader for the camera's memory card (unless you are using Sony Mavica cameras that have a floppy drive)
Optional: Lights and light stand


Lots of cardboard, tape, Glue Gun. and Hot Glue Sticks., Acrylic Paint. or Tempera Paint....anything you can think of to build a small scale movie set. Plastilina Modeling Clay., Fabric., broken toys... anything you can think of to model and "dress up" a movable character.


My kids are exposed to the medium in this order:

1. We watch and analyze a series of animation clips on video. These include old cell animation such as Popeye and Foghorn Leghorn; clay animation like Wallace and Grommett, Gumby, etc.; clips from Nightmare Before Christmas; a short animation that I created and short clips from previous student animations.

2. I introduce the concepts of script and storyboard. Students must prepare and present a script and rough storyboard, along with fully modeled and articulated clay characters. Students work in groups of five or six. Clay characters are modeled on a wire superstructure to keep them from falling apart after the constant use they go through during production.

3. I demonstrate use of the camera, stressing that you MUST use a tripod to make this process work; demonstrate setting up clay characters and making them appear to move by changing the position of the models slightly and then making a still photo; demonstrate that by taping the cardboard set down to the table you avoid inadvertently moving it half way through the "shoot." Until scripts, models, cardboard sets, and storyboards are complete and approved, no student may begin shooting.

4. As students shoot, I encourage them to download their pictures to their computer folders to avoid them getting accidentally erased. I demonstrate how to use the software... iMovie and Movie Maker work in similar ways. (in Movie Maker, go to "Tools" and make sure that pictures are importing at about .5 seconds or shorter duration; in iMovie, import pictures at a duration of 00:00:12) If you've never worked with these editing programs, they are really very simple. Drag "clips" onto the timeline in the order you want them to appear... a "clip" in animation is one photograph or "frame." You can also add music, voices, narration, effects, titling, etc. in the program.


This is a really basic outline of a fairly complex process, but either program mentioned here will yield really nice results and has a fairly good range of additional capabilities for the student engaged in animation.



You do not need fancy software to do animation with your students. Many software programs have an animation feature. FrontPage (Note from Ken: Front Page is not a very good web page software program. I prefer Dreamweaver CS6) has Gif Animation in Image Composer that is very easy to learn. You would have to take digital images and save the as Gif in order to use that function. Animation can be done using PowerPoint. You simply insert the images on each slide and set the looping and time between slides to zero. Puffin was created for the Dropping in on Rousseau video that Jim animated. You have to save the PowerPoint to your hard drive in order to see the animation. Viewing the slide sorter view will show you how many slides it takes for one movement. You can see how many to include on the same pose to slow the movement down.



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