Rainbow Rain Claymation

About: I am a graphics design student currently at collage.

This covers how to create a rainbow with clay, how to animate with clay and how to edit frames in photoshop and put them together in movie maker.

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

I am using Plasticine as my clay but any moldable clay would work fine so long as it doesn't dry out. I have an assortment of clay sculpting tools. You don't necessarily need these tools but it might help. To make rigs to help hold the clay i am using aluminium craft wire and long nose pliers to bend and scissors to cut the wire. If you use a thicker wire or steel wire you may need to get your hands on some wire cutters. To take the photos i am using a cannon 400D however, you could use any camera. It is preferable that you use a camera that you can lock the settings on. I am using a standard tripod to keep the camera in the exact same place. You could stack books and put your camera on that if you don't have a tripod. You will also need a lamp or artificial light source to keep the lighting constant. I am using Adobe Photoshop to edit the frames and i am using Windows Movie maker to put the frames together.

Here is the materials and equipment again in list format:

  • Mold-able clay (Plasticine)
  • Clay tools
  • Craft wire
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Camera (Cannon 400D)
  • Tripod
  • Lamp

Step 2: Mixing Colours and Creating the Rainbow

If like me, you don't have all the colours of the rainbow. Then your going to have to mix some colours. To get a indigo/ purple mix equal parts red and blue. You want this to be a decent amount because you can uses the new mixture to make the violet. To mix the colours simply fold them into one another until there are no more streaks of colour. I then broke off a part of the indigo and mixed in a equal amount of white and folded till no streaks were left. I had some pink clay so i added a small amount of that to the mixture in order to make the violet a bit more pinker. Once i was happy with the colours i then placed balls of equal amounts of every colour of the rainbow. Then you want to roll the colours out with equal thickness to get the best effect of the rainbow. I then cut them with the red being the longest and the violet being the shortest. You could make the rainbow and then cut it. Then push your colours together. You may need to smooth them together at the back to help keep them together. There you have it, a rainbow.

A summary of the steps you need to take:

  • To make indigo take equal parts blue + red
  • To make violet take equal parts Indigo + white + small amount of pink
  • Make equal balls of all colours of rainbow
  • Roll into snakes of equal thickness
  • Place all colours together and bend into rainbow
  • Smooth together if needed
  • Cut ends where needed

Step 3: Equipment Setup

To start animating you are going to need an area that will not be disturbed. I used an old toy box and some card to create my animating surface but if you have a spare table that would work much better. I used a standard lamp to use as my lighting but generally you just need a light source that doesn't change. Your going to have to shut all the curtains and minimize the amount of natural light getting in. I am using a cannon 400D as my camera but you could uses any camera where you can set the settings. I have my camera on a tripod, any tripod would do and if you don't have one you could stack some books or boxes to the desired height.

Summary of equipment setup:

  • Clear table for animating on
  • lamp
  • Shut all curtains
  • Camera and tripod at desired height

Step 4: Setting Up the Camera

To start animating your gonna wanna check that your camera is all set up first. On my cannon 400D i am using an 18-55mm lens. If you are using a camera with a fixed lens just make sure that you are happy with the distance from the stage that you are. You should also put your camera on a tripod. Your going to want to have settings that fit the amount of light that you have. I have my camera set up on 1/8 shutter speed and F4.5 ISO 100 these gave me the best picture but might not necessarily give you the best picture. An easy way to get the best settings is to use auto for me that is 'P' to see what the settings the camera recommends and then going to manual for me 'M' to keep them locked. A problem with only using auto is that with every frame the camera will try and brighten the clay. As an end result the animation will look like the light is flashing. I used a remote to take my pictures so as not to move the camera. You can also use the timer if you do not have a remote.

In summary:

  • Put camera on tripod
  • Put camera distance from stage that you are happy with
  • Use auto to get settings then put them in manual so as not to change
  • Use remote or timer to take photos

Step 5: Making Rigs for Animating

If like me your rainbow falls over you are going to have to make a rig. A rig is just something that helps hold clay up. I use aluminum craft wire to make my rigs and some masking tape. For the rainbow i made a two pronged thing to keep the rainbow from falling and i used tape to stick it down. For the rain drops i used the wire wrapped around in a circle to make base and then left part of the wire sticking straight up. I made these in different sizes so i could just change the colour easily.

Step 6: Animating

I began by animating the rainbow first. But before that take a picture of the background with no clay you will need that later. For the rainbow you are going to want to animate backwards with the final frame first. By doing this it allows you to get a better final rainbow. For every frame just take off a bit of the rainbow. It doesn't matter if you can see the rig for we will get rid of it in Photoshop later. For animating the rain just use the rigs made one frame per rig and you want to make sure there in a similar line so your rain doesn't jump over the place. Then you want one frame of the colour hitting the ground and then one splashing. Don't remove the splashed clay and use the rigs to do the other colours leaving the clay behind each time. We will deal with getting rid of the rigs in the next step.

In summary:

  • Take photo of background
  • Animate rainbow backwards
  • Animate rain using rigs 1 photo per rig

Step 7: Editing Photos

To edit the photos to get rid of the rigs used you will need to use Adobe Photoshop or an alternative like gimp. To begin you will need to open your image by going to file > open and click on the image you want to edit. Then you want to drag your blank background that you took a photo of into the document. The click the tick in the top. Once this is done you will notice that there is a padlock on one of the layers. Double click the padlock and a box will appear just click 'ok' your new layer should now be called layer 0. Drag layer 0 above the blank background. Then click once on layer 0 and click add layer mask (its at the bottom of layer pallet its a small white box with a circle in it) Then you want to go to your paintbrush with the colours set to default. Once done you can begin painting over the rig you will notice that the background comes through. If you take two much out just switch the colours and paint , the top layer will come back. When done go to file > save as > save it as a jpeg you can call it whatever is easier fro you i call my by which number of frame it is like '2'. Do this for all the frames that you can see the rigs on.

In summary:

  • Open image in Photoshop
  • Drag blank background into document
  • Double click padlock and hit 'ok'
  • Drag layer 0 above blank background layer
  • Click layer 0 and add layer mask (small white box with circle in it)
  • Use paintbrush with default colours to brush away rig
  • File > save as > jpeg (call it whatever you want)

Step 8: Creating the Final Clip

To create the final clip you need to open movie maker. Once open go to add videos or photos and click all the frames necessary for the claymation. Click and drag each frame to make sure that they are in the right order. You want to make sure that everything runs the way you want it to. When you are happy with how it looks you want to highlight all the frames and got to edit and change the duration to about 0.25 this usually works fro me. You can change how long each frame is yourself and see what works better for you and the effect your going for. Then go to file > save movie and there will be one called youtube. Generally this has the best general settings for all types of clips. Well then your finished :P.

In summary:

  • Open movie maker
  • upload all frames
  • Drag to put in correct order
  • Highlight all and change duration to 0.25
  • Save movie > youtube

Step 9: Finished Claymation

Heres my final Claymation I hope you like it and found this usefull.

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    6 Discussions

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    buildandsewandstuff

    6 months ago

    This is so excellent! It really shows how much work goes into just a small clip of claymation. Great photos and directions. I'd vote twice if I could!

    1 reply