Get animated with N.E.mation! through Claymation!

Have you ever heard of N.E.mation! ?

It is an animation competition where youths create animation clips to share their notions on Total Defence. Since 2007, Nexus (the central coordination agency for National Education) has organised these N.E.mation! competitions to provide an avenue for students to express their personal ideas about Total Defence in a creative and fun manner.


These animation clips were made using an animation technique called 'Stop Motion', which was also being used in films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Chicken Run. And boy, I was glad to be given an opportunity to attend a workshop to create my very own stop-motion animation clip! YAY! The workshop was held on a Friday evening at Nanyang Polytechnic (the institution where I previously studied at). Arriving to a fine buffet spread that was catered specially for us, all of us had our fill before we proceeded to one of the computer labs to begin the workshop.


While waiting for everyone to settle down,
the friendly trainer chatted with @anthonyl1m.

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This is our trainer, Joshua, from Animagine.
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But to tell you the truth, as much as I was excited, I was also thinking to myself at the same time when I was in the computer lab, "Die lah! My drawing sucks... How am I supposed to create an awesome animation clip?!". Shortly after, Joshua mentioned in his introduction cum briefing that actually, all the students whom had participated in the N.E.mation! competitions had no prior experience in animation.


I know, I should be feeling more relieved upon hearing that, right? Instead, I was thinking, "What??! No prior experience? And how did they manage to create such creative work of art?", and then my mind started thinking back of some N.E.mation! clips that I have ever seen before... They were done so beautifully that one would not think that they actually have had no prior experience to it. Don't believe? Check these two clips out:

THIS...

Btw, the above clip was shortlisted in the Annecy Festival 2009 (something like the 'Oscar for Animation').
It was also one of the finalists for 'Top Local Commercial' category in Mediacorp's Viewer's Choice 2008.


AND THIS...



Amazing animation clips by the students, right? :D


After Joshua gave us a quick but detailed introduction on what Animation is all about, he showed us a short clip as to how to use the Animaker, Animagine’s proprietary stop-motion animation solution. Afterall, we would be using this software to create our very own animation clip! :p


In addition, since we were going to do a Claymation (Clay + animation) clip, a 'how-to' clip as to how to mould a clay bookworm was screened to us too. I also learnt that claymation is a widely-used method for stop-motion animation as it is easy to remould/reshape the clay object. Next, we were paired up in twos, with @anthonyl1m as my partner for the evening (and maybe for the rest of my life too~).


Each pair was given these tools and materials to mould our own clay Bookworm.
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A guideline was given to us to mould the bookworm into an approximate size and shape.
By the way, when he saw the 'Bookworm' word, he mentioned to me 'Bookworm Club'.
If you know the Bookworm Club that means we are from the same era then! HEH! :p

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We starting moulding and shaping the bookworm together...
While we were doing that, I felt like as if we were rolling dough and baking together. LOL!
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We added our own design and personal touch to it...
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This was our worm... :)
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Don't ask me why there were horns on the bookworm... @anthonyl1m added that. But it was definitely ok to do that, since animation is all about fun, being expressive and creative, while communicating your thoughts and ideas to the viewers! :D

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Once we were done with our bookworm creation, we started the production part.
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To create a stop-motion animation clip, one requires a camera
(attached to a tripod and the computer) to capture the numerous shots.

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Each small movement (manipulated by the animators) made by the object(s) involved in the animation clip had to be captured as its own individual frames. By making minute adjustments to the object, this created an illusion of movement when the frames are placed in a continuous sequence.


So once you position your object the way you want, you simply capture that shot
and then move on to take a shot of the next position.

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This was the preview screen where you can playback your creation.
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There are also various useful functions that will aid you in making an awesome animation clip. During the making of my clip, I accidentally moved the webcam which would have led to an 'unsmooth' movement transition of my worm. However, the 'Onion Skinning' function saved the day as it displayed a 'ghosting effect' which allowed me to see the previous frames that I captured. In this way, I was able to re-adjust the webcam position to its original position and proceed with the capturing of the remaining shots.


Finally, presenting to you... Our finished product! (^_^)


A video of my clip as shown via the Animaker software



WOW! My animation clip is so nice right? (Self-praising hehe!)

In actual fact, the other animation clips made by the other bloggers were totally fantastic, in my opinion! For example the one by Sidney and Mus - Their imagination and creativity were totally out of this world!


I remembered that Joshua (the trainer) mentioned that a small boy managed to create an animation clip within 15 minutes. So, isn't animation easy? YES IT IS! :D


The top 10 teams (out of 100) for the current N.E.mation! 5 competition had been selected. They are undergoing a three-weeks training and mentorship by Animagine to produce animation clips with the theme "Home - We make or break". The judging and release of these clips for public voting will start in January 2011. The results and animation clips by these teams will be broadcasted on major media channels from February to March 2011.


But I think the most fantastic thing about participating in this competition is that the winning team will have the chance to visit Dreamworks Animation SKG in the United States! Ultimately, even if one doesn't win, having the opportunity to be part of N.E.mation! and communicating their opinions on Total Defence through the creative way of animation is definitely a valuable learning experience for all! :)


Check out N.E.mation! website for more info: [Click HERE].
View more videos at N.E.mation! Youtube channel: [Click HERE]


And before I end this blog post, group pic time!
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I believe all of us had a fun and enriching evening! :)
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2 Response to Get animated with N.E.mation! through Claymation!

24 November 2010 at 21:26

Nice one. ^_^

24 November 2010 at 23:12

That looked like fun! Albeit I think its quite time consuming :p

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