Clay animation involves stop motion filming techniques, which utilize figures and backgrounds made of malleable substances such as clay or plasticine. Clay animators can provide artwork and special effects for television cartoons, films and video games. Animation programs allow students to get hands-on experience at school or through internships with animation studios. Individuals who aren't seeking degrees in animation can study clay animation in courses and workshops, often offered for art educators.
While no specific degrees for clay animation exist, students interested in this artistic field may consider associate degree programs in animation, such as the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Advanced 3D Animation or Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Animation and Visual Effects. Many colleges and technical institutes offer these degrees through online or on-campus programs.
Students wishing to become more proficient in 2D and 3D animation, stop motion film and clay animation techniques may decide to obtain a bachelor's degree. These programs may take four or more years, and are offered full and part-time. Certain programs offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Animation with a concentration in stop motion film. Programs may offer some classes online.
Educational prerequisites for both associate and bachelor's degree programs may include satisfactory SAT scores, computer skills and artistic aptitude may be considered during the application process.
Associate Degrees in Animation
Courses provide a basic overview of film and video animation, and may include classes such as:
- Video graphics
- Two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) modeling
- Layout and design
Bachelor's Degrees in Animation
A bachelor's program will focus on preparing students to work in many types of animation including traditional, stop-motion, computer and clay. Bachelor's degree programs in animation primarily include coursework similar to the following:
- Visual development
- Film mechanics
These courses are given to art and multimedia educators who wish to instruct others, or those who wish to attain further education for themselves. Program and workshop lengths may vary and classes may be given during summers or on weekends. In addition, some workshops offer hands-on teaching experience involving actual students and clay animation materials. Individuals will be trained in all aspects of clay animation, including:
- Stop motion filming
- Set designing
- Sculpting and character creation
- Lighting techniques
- Camera operation
- Video editing
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for multimedia artists and animators may increase 6% for the years 2014 through 2024 (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, these workers earned $63,970 as a median annual salary.
Students interested in clay animation can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree, and/or participate in training workshops to study visual development, editing and more. Graduates may find work as multimedia artists and animators.