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Hands-on Clay Animation
by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
A unique and fun experience is coming up for area children ages 8-12.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, the Clay Animation Network, a traveling animation school based in Seattle, will give free classes at the Sequim and Port Angeles libraries. Pre-registered students will learn how to animate their own movies, including how to operate a video camera while taking photos of clay characters. All materials and equipment are provided. Sign-up deadline is Dec. 10, but Sequim Library branch manager Lauren Dahlgren encourages parents to sign up their children as soon as possible before the 30-person limit is met. Reminiscing about watching clay animation movies when her son was a child, Dahlgren describes clay animation as an “art form” that’s “really fun for children.”
Lukas Allenbaugh, founder of The Clay Animation Network and a former elementary school teacher, argues that animation has the capacity to incorporate basic and advanced concepts in math, physics and language arts with an infinite range of themes for unique story lines. The program seeks to build a community of animators who can inspire and learn from one another.
An example of clay animation is the British short film series “Wallace and Gromit,” in which all the characters are made from modeling clay on metal armatures and filmed with stop motion animation. Each frame, or still picture, is recorded on film or digital media. When the individual stills are played back at a rate greater than 10-12 frames per second, the illusion of continuous motion is achieved.
Kathy Woodford, a mother in Bellevue, had nothing but positive things to say about her experience with the Clay Animation Network in an online testimonial.
“Claire and I went to a three-hour clay animation class on Sunday that was amazing,” Woodford raved. “I can’t say enough good things about the instructor, Lukas Allenbaugh.Lukas has a wonderful way of quickly explaining to the kids just the concepts they need to understand.”
Scott Wheeler, a father in Dallas, Texas, set up a studio at home, using a webcam and some stop-frame animation software, after his son attended a class.
“He had an amazing time in the class and still can’t stop talking about the fun he had,” Wheeler wrote.
Student works are displayed on the Website under “Animations.” All of the clips produced through the Network are placed on a child-friendly YouTube channel and strictly controlled by staff. More than 350 videos have been posted so far.
While clay animation is the Network’s most popular class, other categories include radio control cars, stop motion animation and cartoon animation.
To find out about other Clay Animation Network offerings, go to www.cancancan can.com or call (206) 607-7493.