What is Claymation? History of Claymation Movies


Claymation is a form of stop-motion animation that literally features a figure made from clay or other materials and filmed one frame at a time. This allows the figures to then move in an almost lifelike manner. Claymation has been used in filmmaking since the 1960s and was particularly popular in the 1980s and 1990s. So what is claymation? Learn more below.

man in red and black suit figurine

What Is Claymation?

Claymation is a stop-motion animation process used to create a very unique type of animation. The word “claymation” is derived from the combination of clay and animation. The word “clay” refers to the material used in this type of animation while “animation” refers to the process of making an animated film.

In a claymation film, numerous tiny figures made out of clay are moved slightly one by one between each frame of the film, thereby creating the illusion that they are moving. This technique differs from traditional animation because with traditional animation, only one object is moved at a time (usually with a computer). With claymation, every object in the scene must be moved individually.

Claymation was first introduced in the early 1960s by Will Vinton who developed his own method for using clay to create animated films. He called this technique “clay-animated puppets.” In 1976, he created an Oscar-winning short film called The Great Cognito which featured his work on television as well as in theaters across America and abroad. His other works include A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1979), The Adventures Of Mark Twain (1985), and California Raisins: The Raisin

4 Types of Claymation

Claymation can be broken down into four main categories:


This type of claymation involves no set structure or characters; instead, artists create whatever they want using their own imagination as inspiration. It’s often used in short films or commercials where no specific characters need to be created beforehand; instead, each character can be designed on the spot based.

Clay painting

This involves painting details onto a character’s face or body using acrylic paints or markers. It’s also possible to use regular paint brushes instead of markers if you want more detailed work done on your character’s features.

Clay melting

This type of claymation is like “stop-motion animation,” where you move an object and then shoot it with a camera. The only difference is that instead of moving the object around after each shot, you melt it into a puddle or ball before moving it again. This allows for more fluid movement than stop-motion alone would allow.

Strata-cut animation

Strata-cut animation uses flat cutouts that move against each other in sequence. Each layer has its own set of joints, allowing multiple figures on one base to act independently from each other. This type of claymation is best suited for short films with limited dialogue because it allows you to focus on character actions instead of facial expressions or voices.

What materials are used in Claymation?

Claymation is a stop-motion animation technique. It uses clay figures, set in a scene, photographed one frame at a time and then edited together to create the illusion of motion.

The clay figure is placed on a sculpting table, usually made up of wooden boards, with apertures cut into it to allow access for the animator’s hands. The sculpting table is placed at waist height so that the animator can easily manipulate the clay figure by hand.

The animator then puts on special rubber gloves to protect his or her hands from being damaged by the clay.

The animators use an air-powered syringe gun to shoot pellets of plasticine through an opening in the sculpting table and into holes drilled into the clay figures. The plasticine pellets are used as joints for connecting different parts of each figure together using wires or threads.

Once all the required shots have been taken, these are then edited together using computers to create the final animated film.

What is the Future of Claymation?

The future of claymation is something that’s up for debate as it moves into new territory with computer-generated images (CGI). Some say that this will destroy the art form while others believe it will only make it better.

While CGI has been used to create some amazing works of art, there are still people who prefer the more traditional method of using real clay and models over computers. In fact, some animators have gone so far as to create their own software programs just for creating claymation movies.

It’s no surprise that many animators are concerned about how the use of CGI will affect their industry. After all, it seems like every new animated movie coming out these days uses some kind of computer graphics or special effects instead of hand-drawn or clay-based animation techniques.


Who invented claymation?

The inventor of claymation is Will Vinton.

What clay is best for animation?

The best clay for animation is a soft clay that can be easily wedged and sculpted, but it needs to be stiff enough to hold its shape when molded into a ball. The clay also needs to have a low shrinkage rate as well as good handling characteristics.

Was King Kong a claymation?

King Kong was a claymation movie. The filmmakers used stop-motion animation to bring the giant ape to life.

What is the most famous claymation?

The most famous claymation is Wallace and Gromit. This British stop-motion animation series was created by Nick Park and Aardman Animations.

Is Nightmare Before Christmas A Claymation?

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 American stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy film directed, produced and designed by Tim Burton.

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