How to Animate a Clay Face

Learn how to animate a clay face from Joe Vena of the Children's Museum of the Arts in this stop motion tutorial from Howcast.

We’ve created a clay face to make a stop-motion animated film with. We’re going to bring this face to life right now.

We have our face all set up here, ready to go. He’s made of clay. His eye brows and his mustache are also made of clay. The only thing not-clay here are his wooden-bead eyes which we can turn with a toothpick.

We’ll start off by just taking a few frames of our face with nothing happening.

Now we’ll begin the movement. When you’re starting out, it’s nice to be subtle with your moves. Make something happen, very basic expression. You can raise up the eyebrows a little bit. Take a picture. Eyebrows are a big part of the facial expression, of course.

As I mentioned, with a toothpick we can turn those eyes in their sockets just a little bit, tiny move. Take your picture. Make tiny little movement of the eyes looking one way. Adjust those brows maybe. Adjust the mustache if you like. Take a picture.

If he’s going to just look in that one direction for a moment, you might take a couple pictures looking in that direction before we change it up again and have him start to look in the other direction. Our face would be looking suspiciously around. That’s the idea.

Now that we have him looking in just this one direction, I’m adjusting his lip just a bit, too. Just a little push up of the lip, adjust the eyebrow, and we’ll take again just a few frames in that position before we go back to the middle perhaps.

We’ll play that back. He should look to one side and the other — a little smirk. It’s a simple start to animating a clay face.

There is much, much more you can do, but remember, start simple. You can always go further with it, but start simple.