How to make a simple claymation animation


Here is an exercise that will help you to learn the basic principles of claymation.


You will need:

  • Some clay (non air drying clay is best) or plasticine
  • A digital stills camera, video camera or web cam
  • A stage/set/or place to film
  • Good lighting conditions, a lamp if possible
  • Tripod if available
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Windows Media Player


One of the simplest ways to start with claymation is to make a clay ball that will roll from one edge of the frame to the next. It will stop half way and change its shape into something else, then roll itself into a ball again.

  1. Set up your camera on a tripod and make sure it doesn’t move during the shoot.
  2. Roll your clay into a large ball.
  3. Place the clay ball at one end of your frame.
  4. Roll the ball a fraction and take a photo.
  5. Repeat step four until the ball gets to the middle of your frame.
  6. Gradually re-shape the clay ball into another shape. This could be an interesting character or an object. Do this in little stages and take a photo of each small change. Remember that in claymation films they take around 25 frames (photos) per second of film
  7. Once you have finished reshaping your clay ball into something else, gradually begin to crumple it into a clay ball again. Make sure you do this in little stages and take a photo of each small change.
  8. When the clay is in a ball again, gradually roll it out of frame and photograph each little move.
  9. Take all the photos on your camera and put them on a folder on your computer.
  10. Open Windows Movie Maker.
  11. Click import pictures.
  12. Play your animation.
  • If using a digital stills camera to shoot your video, make sure the image size is set to low (1 MP or 72dpi). Some image files may be too big for Windows Movie Maker to process
  • Make sure you don’t change the file numbers of your photos. They need to be in a numerical sequence to play properly.
  • To make clay characters stand up and move more easily, buy some armature wire and make a skeleton. Apply the clay in layers to the skeleton. Begin with grey clay and then add other layers of coloured clay
  • It is always best to make a storyboard and plan your animation. See the storyboard section of this website to properly prepare for making a longer animated film.