We are pleased to introduce you Claire – the new LUCY CLAY guide and mascot. From now on you can meet her in our videos. She is here to help you understand how to properly use LC Tools. Read the story of how she was born from the perspective of her designer.
My name is Petra Vilímková and for the past 5 years, I have been working as a graphic and product designer for LUCY CLAY. A month ago, I got a chance to take a one-week course of Digital Clay Animation at ArtCamp – a summer school of Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art, University of West Bohemia. I didn’t hesitate for a moment about taking the course. After all, I love learning new things, it was held at my alma mater, and more importantly, the course was taught by amazing teachers Ali and Mousa Khalkhali. You may already know them if you create with polymer clay or if you attended their course at the past Polymer Week (2018) in Pilsen.
Ali and Mousa are from Iran and together they create under Khamirestan brand. Ali’s fascination with clay was started in kindergarten. Later on, in 2005 he got his first share of joy from polymer clay and it was a shifting point in his career as a graphic designer. As he says, it was like the discovery of fire by a caveman. Finally, in 2012, Ali and his brother Mousa, established Khamirestan to share their experience and their art to the whole world.
So, the first day of the course came, and I started to work on my animation by creating a sketch of the future Claire.
As you know, sketching is indispensable during the early phases of every creative project. When creating a character that will be made of polymer clay later, it is important to know your polymer clay modeling skills. You need to end up with clear outline sketch which is easy to transfer into a 3D character, don’t lose time with shading and tiny details.
When I had my concept ready, it was time to create a polymer clay figure. To be honest, it’s been about 10 years since I last worked with the polymer clay. Fortunately, the polymer clay is a great crafting material suitable for beginners and professionals alike.
The easiest way how to transfer a sketch into the figure is by using templates. They can be cut out from the copies of the final sketch. Have in mind you have to make a separate model of each part you want to animate. Sometimes it is even better to create every single hair separately.
To transfer our characters to the computer we needed to take separate photos of each part of the character.
Good quality photos are essential for the next steps. You should never take photos in a hurry! Always take your time to set up the lights to get the best shading. You can do a lot better if you learn to use your camera in the right way.
ANIMATING THE CHARACTER
Finally, after copying photos to the computer, it was time to breathe life into our characters and let them surprise us.
After cutting the parts of the body from the background and bringing them all into the one Photoshop file, Claire was brought to life in the Adobe Character Animator. Is still quite new software which allows you to bring your character to life through your own performance. Using your webcam and microphone, Character Animator matches your expressions.
The week passed quickly and we said our goodbyes. But before that, we presented our characters at a small exhibition (it was so much fun) and received the certificates. The whole week was great. There was nothing that I could complain about, although it would be better if the course took more days. I’m sure there is a lot of more stuff we can learn and get better at. So, see you, maybe next year?
More photos from the course:
Petra lives near Pilsen, Czech Republic. Ever since childhood, she has loved learning new craft techniques. By age fifteen, she began studying art at various art schools in Pilsen before receiving Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Design at the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art, University of West Bohemia. She has been working for LUCY CLAY since 2014.
Copyright ® 2019 LUCY CLAY | Photos: Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art, University of West Bohemia, Ali and Mousa Khalkhali, Petra Vilímková
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