The Fall: A Claymation

Creating a clay animation was something i had been eyeing from far for a while now, but hadn’t actually done it. So when a course turned up which offered me that possibility , i was actually pretty excited about it. Though i should tell you here that I knew nothing about claymation. I didn’t know anything that had anything to with it. I didn’t know how to work with a camera, i didn’t know how to create a stop motion and i didn’t know how to work with dragonframe(the software we used for creating a stop motion). But by the end of the course i guess its safe to say that i have learnt enough in these matters so as not to be clueless anymore.

We started off by doing simple clay modelling techniques so as to get comfortable with the material we’d be using. We played around with the material and created our own characters. I toyed around with form by making armatures with wire first and experimenting what sort of movements take place.

Armature of the dinosaur made with wire.

After playing around for a bit, when i finally started adding clay onto my armature. i realized that to make my model movable i would need to make the joints as well. Finally, after a lot of trial and error i managed to make an armature which allowed movement and stability both. Then i made my model on it.

This exercise was really helpful for the final claymation as i learnt about the movements of the joints and how to stabilize it.

Next we all made models choosing a live model. This really effected the way i did my models because i realized there was a lot more observation that  i could put in. Not only in respect to features , but also about how the features move, how they fluidly melt into the other and how each small dent and curve makes a difference.

Jayesh as my live model.

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Making each section of the hair separately.

Side profile.

Side profile.

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Front profile.

After these two exercises , the process of our final claymation began.

As i started idealising for my final film, i was vague in some areas and really sure about the others. I had an idea that i wanted there to be constant movement in the film, something where your eye is always moving. So i decided to depict a man falling off a cliff. My idea changed a several times from the initial idea, though the central idea remained the same.

So initially i had planned of the man falling and as he falls lower and lower he morphs into different animals and he finally lands back on the ground he would be human again.But i realized this had a lot of issues, as it is very hard to get the original figure i started out with. Also clay is a very  fluid material to work with and it keeps changing on its own over time.   So i changed my idea to having a man falling and his background morphing behind this.

i made a lot of initial sketches to see what would work and what wouldnt. I had to accommodate to the fact that most things wouldnt look like how i imagine them in my head and that i have to make room for a few flexible changes.

So keeping that in mind, i started off by building my set. Now i had two issues. I needed to show the man falling and i also had to manage having a stable set, as if i moved the camera, it would change the set and the stop motion wouldn,t work out.

So i devised a way in which i would keep the camera still and i would keep the man at one point , but have the background moving. I managed to do this with layering. I created layers by using glass and keeping the different objects at different heights and shooting from the top. So I got ll my objects in the shot.

Secondly I knew that I really wanted to experiment with morphing and for that i required a transformation which I do not need to reverse. That is when I came up with the idea of transforming the man into a fish, and along with the man, also the background so that there is a gradual shift. Not only in the man but also in the background, and the viewer is taken from the first space to the second effortlessly.gy

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Starting the transformation from the feet and the hands.

But for this scene I needed to change the shape of the man bit by add, adding clay from on top of the man, I chose a really bright colour so that the difference is easily noticable. And in each frame that i shot, there was a gradual change in the man . I merged the yellow clay with the blue one bit by bit. i feel this was the hardest bit of the claymation as i knew if i mess up there is no way i can go back to the original one.feed_009_08_X1_0050ooo_009_10_X1_0033

Finally i managed to capture a film that i liked and even though there are many thing i could’ve done better or changed i learnt a lot in the process of making this one.

Problems that I faced along the way.

Visualising:The ideal projection of my thoughts in pure visual form, recreating the fallen man through the modes of time showing the transition of the unknown to the known ,from the man who attempted a jump into the unknown who finds himself In a surrounding that appeals to him more than the fall itself .

Layering: working with different layers to create the perception of depth was a difficult task to perform. The solution to the problem was simple , it came to me while looking out the window that such layer can be observed and incorporated in my movie with the help of glass. Also the bit where i move the background and not the main character was a suggestion made by my facilitator.

Camera stop motion: the camera needed to be stationary and initially I attempted this without the tripod but later on realized that this would be difficult to perform without one.

Software: The initial software used by me to attempt to make this movie was windows movie maker, and later on after being advised by my facilitator about using dragon frame, which allowed me to shoot it better and understand stop motion films as well .

Lighting: The set required me to have constant lighting which was achieved with strong table lamp.

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The initial set which didn’t really work out.

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The fall

Set: since the movie revolves around the fall, movement of the camera wasn’t possible because it needed to be stationary but the set had to move and that was a challenge while shooting this movie.

Morphing was difficult because once you add a particular color to the original clay piece, the piece transforms little by little and the change is irreversible .

The film.

The film focuses on revealing the true identity of a human being show casing the various metaphysical forms that a human being goes through in his life. from what we are born as to what we choose to be.The transformation is physical as well as a psychological one, the evolution of man only bound by time shows us that we are built to adapt and learn and grow as humans, evolving from our basic needs for sex ,food and shelter to become a civilization whose only true enemy is the mirror image. We have evolved to an extent where our imagination and reality shares no bounds. Displaying that in a movie is an example of what we can portray and of what we can achieve by simply understanding the basic of how this world works.

watch it on

Hope you enjoy it 🙂

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