Do you want to try it, Pokey?

Art Clokey, creator of Gumby and stop-motion, clay-animation pioneer, would have turned 90 today. Thanks Mr. Clokey! 

Let's take a look at some of Maxwell Sorensens stop-motion, clay-animation work....
Middle Distance Runner "The Unbeliever" from Maxwell Sørensen on Vimeo.




I asked Maxwell about his take on the process and here is what he has to say:


"Stop-motion is an animation process where a physical puppet or objects are moved frame by frame to create the illusion of movement. There are typically 24 frames in a second of film or video, so that’s a lot of positions if you’re making a 3 minute music video or short film (3x60x24=more than I want to count!). To a lot of people that sounds absurdly tedious, but it’s actually a very enjoyable, almost meditative process where you get to see otherwise dead inanimate
objects come to life and take on personalities of their own.  

Claymation is just regular stop-motion, but clay is used as the primary building material. Clay characters usually have to be sculpted around a machined skeleton called an armature. This is because the clay is usually not rigid enough to support the range of motions you will need to smoothly animate a range of poses. When I build a character, first I draw some sketches, then I plan the armature (figuring out the proportions at this early stage is critical), then I either build a new armature or recycle an old one, altering it if need be. Finally, I start applying the clay, or some other material that will skin the character. By the time I’m ready to shoot a scene I’ve usually planned everything out in advance with storyboards and thumbnails so the actual animating is mostly just following my scene notes, although accidents do happen as the characters come to life. I photograph everything with a Nikon or Canon DSLR and a piece of software that lets me preview the scene as I’m working on it. This greatly aids in speeding up the work and correcting mistakes before it’s too late. 

One of the real joys of stop-motion animation is that it forces you to really analyze motion, gestures, and expressions, at the most minute level so that they can be replicated on the puppet. Often I’ll shoot reference footage of myself or one of my helpers acting out the scene and then copy those motions frame by frame onto the puppet. In the end, I think it’sseeing that spark of life as a puppet or object comes alive on screen that makes the process so rewarding and addictive."


View more of Maxwells awesome creations @ www.maxwellsorensen.com