Learning animation: Equipment for clay models

Posted on July 19, 2009 by


As described in a previous post, my current personal project is learning the basics of animation.

I haven’t decided technique, concept or story yet, but in this post I explore model making equipment using clay and computer software.

Model making and equipment


I went to the toy store to get some plasticine. Bought something which to me looked more like Play-doh. Tried to do mold it in to shape, but it was way to soft and just fell a part.

Do NOT purchase this stuff.

Can probably use it to do some scenery or something but not for the models.

IMG_0252Went to a hobby shop in Oslo instead called Panduro and got something called “Eberhard Faber modell-leire” at 19 kr per pack.

This felt more like plasticine. Also bought a wire for creating “skeletons” to make the models easier to move and more durable.


Spent the remaining time I had playing around with the plasticine and creating some small bunnies. The grey bunny in the background in the image below was done with the play-doh like plasticine and also the carrots etc. As you can see it is already started falling apart and the carrots appear to be cooked!

Much easier to work with the black bunny which was done with the other kind of plasticine which I got later.

What software should I use? Simple test of iMovie

Apparently there is a lot of fancy software you can purchase. For me, this is a personal project, so I have no budget. Decided to look at free options. First, I did a very simple test on software to see if I could use iMovie which comes for free with Apple Macs for the animation.

Turns out you can adjust the timing for each image. This is really all I needed at the moment.

For the fun of it, I snapped a few pics with my Iphone and imported into iMovie. Obviously you need to use a tripod etc and plan this better when you are doing it for real – but I think it is always useful just playing around a little to learn the software.

Choose timing for the image by clicking the small clock icon.

Picture 2

You also have to remember to remove the Ken Burns effect which iMovie automatically adds to any image (by clicking the “crop” icon and choosing “Fit”).

My first animation!

You can see the result below of my simple two-frame animation.