Instructables

Making an army of Gromit's (Claymation Mold making)

Featured
Picture of Making an army of Gromit's (Claymation Mold making)
Fancy making a clay stop motion animation Aardman style?
Chances are that you will need more than one clay figure, in fact you'll probably need a small army.
Here's an inexpensive way to make 'clones' of your original sculpture.

Materials Needed:
Armature wire (1/16")
Van Aken Plastalina Clay
Sculpey
Foam Board
Paper
Packing Tape
InstaMold Mold Making Compound
Petroleum Jelly
Baby Oil (Mineral Oil)
Electric Drill
Pliers
Double Boiler (or cooking pot and glass mixing bowl)
Sculpting tools
Paint and brushes
Imagination, patience and a video camera (optional)
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Draw your character!

First draw your character on a piece of paper (full size).
For a full sized character aim to draw it about 9-14" in size.

In this tutorial Gromit (being a dog) was fairly short at about 9".
Make the drawing fairly simple, something that will be possible to sculpt in clay, and for which you can envisage a simple wire armature (skeleton).

Step 2: Give 'em some bones!

Using your drawing as a guide you need to measure and cut the lengths of wire for the armature (skeleton). You need to double up the lengths as you will be twisting the wire together to make it stronger and more flexible.

You will end up with 5 pieces of wire (2 arms, 2 legs, a torso), Assuming you are making a humanoid.
Each piece of wire will be double the length of the body part it represents. For the head leave a big loop in the torso wire, and put loops for the hands and feet.

After you have cut the wire to the right lengths and use the drill and pliers to twist them together.

Use the Sculpey to block out the chest, pelvis, hands and feet of the skeleton, and to hold the wire together. When you are done put the armature on a baking sheet and bake the Sculpey permanently hard in your home oven, 15-20 minutes at 275ºF. Remove and leave to cool.

Step 3: Sculpt your clay figure.

Picture of Sculpt your clay figure.
Use the Van Aken Clay and sculpting tools to fashion your figure.

I won't talk you through this, but their are plenty of sites with good tips on sculpting clay:
http://www.animateclay.com/
http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/
http://www.stopmotionworks.com/

If you already have a figure you wish to copy skip to the next step.
1-40 of 66Next »
SherifS2 hours ago

Hi there

I have a question about step #5. When you say add clay pellets, put your figure in, bury it then add a film of clay, could you provide more information?

Did you keep adding clay pellets and smooth them over, or did you apply a flat piece of clay on top of the pellets?

Thank you

Very nice. I am currently making a stop motion with lego characters.
I had been thinking I would like to try Lego-mation. I really want to see how that turns out. What are you using for a camera?
I am using a Canon FS200, it is amazing.
9ale73 years ago
For a start,
what motion software would you recommend
Free versions :P
sharlston5 years ago
use spell check you spelt ball bearing wrong
edwatkins (author)  sharlston5 years ago
Before commenting on my spelling, which is not particularly constructive, you might want to check your grammar. You know, for things like capital letters and punctuation.
He was just trying to help...
Haha! He got you there sharlston!
dolabil666 years ago
Awesome Instructable....I especially like you character
Couldn't have said it better! I totally agree withdolabil66.  Way cool Instructable!  Thanks :0)
beanz554 years ago
 awseokme
OMG how to you sculpt so good??????? awsom job great ible
Punkguyta6 years ago
That's pretty nifty, I did always want to try sticking my hand in claymation, I've done stop motion but just with random objects. OH and by the way I think the intention most people have when they do the bowl-in-pot-of-hotwater thing, the intention is to actually have it site inside the pot??
edwatkins (author)  Punkguyta6 years ago
Hi, The clay sits inside the glass bowl which rests on the pot with the hot water in it. Sorry if that wasn't clear. The reason you do this is so that the clay is heated by indirect heat (not a direct gas flame/electric element). It also stops the clay getting any hotter than the waters boiling temperature, and thus ensures it won't burn.
I know why it's done, but when you did it, did you have the bowl sitting in/on the water or above it?
edwatkins (author)  Punkguyta6 years ago
Ah, got you. The bowl needs to be big enough so that it rests on rim of the pot. I had the water covering the bottom of the bowl, but not floating the bowl.
Ah okay, I thought it had to float on top to work. Oh and 1+ just for making an army of little Gromits.
Umm..... As a trained cook, may I suggest that heat transfer is much better if the bowl is above the water NOT touching.

The reason is that the heat transfer happens when steam condenses to water (heat of vaporization = heat of condensation) . That happens at a very even temperature. This heat transfer is much more efficient (i.e. a more constant temperature) than 'mere' conductive heat from direct contact with hot water (and convection heat, because the water moves). You don't need lots of water for the double boiler, just always keep enough in the pan so you don't boil it dry.

Also, the bowl will be more stable. It won't have buoyancy issues with the water, and won't be rocked by the boiling.

If your bowl is not secure enough in your pot, may I suggest a twisted wiping rag (I use those blue-checked things that come in a roll) soaked with water around the rim of the pot. If you are using a flame heat (gas or propane), do be careful of the fire hazard! :-)

*Tunes into BBS mode*

>Umm..... As a trained cook, may I suggest that heat transfer is much better if the bowl is above the water NOT touching.

The reason is that the heat transfer happens when steam condenses to water (heat of vaporization = heat of condensation) . That happens at a very even temperature. This heat transfer is much more efficient (i.e. a more constant temperature) than 'mere' conductive heat from direct contact with hot water (and convection heat, because the water moves). You don't need lots of water for the double boiler, just always keep enough in the pan so you don't boil it dry.
.From my years of scientific study, I've found that conduction works better rather than radiation, which as far as I'm concerned works better as far as numbers and efficiency. What this "heat of vaporization = heat of condensation"?? If physics prove me right, when steam "happens" it's because of evaporation, which happens at all temperatures of water above freezing. However when boiling it does occur in greater amounts because the water is hot and therefore evaporates quicker because of the water rushing around and we see this as steam, which is as hot as the water, it's just water vapor, just like if you set a glass of water out for a few days, it loses water from evaporation.

That being said, condensation occurs because the steam (water vapor) has cooled down so instead of being gas, it turns to a liquid which is the state of water at room temperature when there is enough to collect into a droplet. If droplets are collection on the bottom of the bowl, yes the steam is heating the bowl up evenly, but by the time it reaches the bowl, it has already lost some of it's heat (re: Nuclear plants have mega insulated pipes in the turbines to keep the steam hot). However if the bowl is sitting on the water, although it may rock around if you have too much water, it would generally heat up quicker and be a "hotter" heat. The only reason this is done isn't for even-ness of heating, but rather for the feature of not having as much heat capacity, you know, so you don't BURN things like what would happen if you put the clay in an aluminum pot, instead of said bowl idea. I'd hate to say, but your theory may be wrong.

>Also, the bowl will be more stable. It won't have buoyancy issues with the water, and won't be rocked by the boiling.
. In all seriouslyness, it all depends on how much of a klutz you are, if you have any kind of a steady hand (which everyone except those that are ill/high/drug users) should have, then you just need to fill it up to touch the bottom of the bowl, it doesn't need to be so full that it pushes the bowl up, even if it pushes it up 1cm, it's entirely do-able.

>If your bowl is not secure enough in your pot, may I suggest a twisted wiping rag (I use those blue-checked things that come in a roll) soaked with water around the rim of the pot. If you are using a flame heat (gas or propane), do be careful of the fire hazard! :-)
. Who said I was actually making clay armies myself? I'd KILL to have that kind of time on my hands, however I have previously constructed units to float containers (plastic) in pots of water with popsicle sticks and tape, just needs a few (re: two or three, some people are bad with the words "couple, few, several, many") and it gives it room to float around but also doesn't let it tip in any direction, it worked great.
Seems that you're confusing evaporation happening due to diffusion gradients, which are a difference in humidity levels (potential) from air near the top of an open cup of water to less humid air in a standard room. This phenomena is very different than what 'thebhgg' it talking about, where you're vaporizing (NOT evaporating) liquid from a boiling pot. Additionally, evaporation and condensation happen at a constant temperature, so you aren't losing any temperature by having the water vaporize from liquid to vapor and then condense on the cooler top pot (which really isn't cooler, it's just transferring heat out via a tiny thermal gradient through radiation/convection through the top of the pot), this condensation then transfers the heat of vaporization (heat of fusion) from the water which is condensing onto the pot into the liquid. This is why he recommends using a rag as a gasket on the top of the pot, as if you start with a very small amount of water and seal it in the pot (and remove conduction at the rim) you can recycle the water in a system in the pot, you'll not only heat up faster due to less mass, but you'll have to rarely fill your pot up with more water because it's sealed in the system. This all comes back to a fundamentals, you get burned not by the temperature of steam above the pot, but by the incredible heat transfer that occurs when the steam condenses on your skin and transfers the heat into your skin, which is unable to remove it quickly enough and hence you get badly burned. --- Side point is that you are burned by heat transfer, not by temperature, this is why on a really cold day (or really hot) you get burned/chilled by metal in your car, and not by your plastic/vinyl steering wheel. This is because the heat transfer in the metal is so much better than the plastic/vinyl, so more heat can be transferred faster than your body can remove it, and you get burned/frozen. If this doesn't make sense feel free to ask me and I'll do my best to clarify. If you're interested in learning this stuff go to school for engineering, you'll have to take a class (or two) on heat transfer!
edwatkins (author)  thebhgg6 years ago
Thanks! I didn't know that (I'm a filmmaker, not a chef) :) I'll use that method next time, makes sense!
This method is called "bain Marie" = Marie's bath
Probably because she invented it?
Lovely instructable!

Michel
Portugal
TIMarshall5 years ago
I love your tutorial, I'm going to be using it for my College Course, hopefully it will make it easier to use, and cheapish to get materials. Thanks for uploading this, TIMarshall
spider0075 years ago
hi there anybody know were i can purchase Van Aken Plastalina Clay and InstaMold Mold Making Compound in the uk hellllllllp
Sunny1246136 years ago
nice instructable and i love wallace and Gromit!
bubba776 years ago
i grew up with wallace and gromit : ) great instructable
me too
1) is that modelling clay? 2) the sculpture u make after putting it in the oven, is it flexible? 3) is the product 'deformable'?
edwatkins (author)  saintshortckt6 years ago
1) Yes, the brand is Van Aken Plastalina Clay. I reckon it is the best clay to use for stop motion animation. 2) You only put the skeleton (armature) in the oven. The baking sets the Sculpey (heat hardening clay) holding the armature together on the torsos and waist. You only add, and sculpt, the modeling clay after baking the armature and letting it cool. The armature itself is flexible as the wire is aluminum and by twisting it together you give it greater flexibility and resilience to multiple bends. 3) The finished model is indeed deformable, the Plastalina clay is very mailable and the armature flexes easily under the clay. I will probably do an instructable on claymation model making and sculpting, in the near future, a couple of people have asked for one. Hope that helps, Ed
Yes thanks! What IS stop animation exactly? and that figure that you've kept on the paper in that photograph, is THAT figure itself deformable? and did you actually sit down and sculpt it yourself?!?! must be pretty hard work!
take a picture, move, take a picture, move, do it 900,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 more times, mess up, and try to start over!
edwatkins (author)  saintshortckt6 years ago
Stop Motion animation is the process of making a motion film using a still photography camera (or video camera setup to capture only a single frame at a time). It works by moving the models a small amount, capturing a frame or two, then moving the models again etc. When you combine the frames (in an editing/capture program) you see the objects move as if they were alive, just like hand drawn animation. It's great!

Here's an example straight from Aardman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omhYBHFY75U

The figure on the paper is deformable too, it was made using an armature and clay. Yes, I sculpted it (It took a while!).
A frame or two once?! Does that mean that a one minute movie would take approximately 1500 different shots (at 25 fps), meaning a VERY long time! Is that how they make the movies on the commercial levels?
edwatkins (author)  saintshortckt6 years ago
Yes they do. Depending on the way you animate, you shoot individual frames for fast motion, for slower motion you'd shoot sets of 2 identical frames. Generally you'd make the film 15-24 frames a second depending on how smooth you wanted the animation. Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas (stop motion) took 4 years to complete, with multiple sets and animators. They used silicone based models rather than clay, with multiple replacement heads and body parts for different expressions.
Hawaii000006 years ago
Very cool
Sarsen6 years ago
Great job! Very easy to understand ,but is there a way to make this mold last more than 4-6 or so uses? Thanks!
morCadillac6 years ago
W-o-w-! I'm speechless! This looks really professional and like a lot of work! But I guess the results are worth it :) Very nice instructable! Loves, Eda
Sedgewick176 years ago
Very nice job. I would like to try this with some of the characters I have made.
Hi am new to this site and i was just wondering can you use Newplast Plasticine for this? Here is my gromit made without a mould:
gromit and ralpg.jpg
1-40 of 66Next »