I found a very interesting computer game under development called “Cletus Cay” that uses our favorite form of animation – stop motion.

It’s a very unique approach to gaming using stop motion in this way. The lead artist and designer of Cletus Clay gives some excellent insight in to how this stop motion method was designed in to the game using clay ( Claymation) characters and set props.

I have reproduced his interview below from YouTube.

The InterView – Behind the Scenes – The Making of Cletus Clay

Hi, I am Anthony Flack. I am the lead artist and designer of Cletus Clay.

Why are you making a game out of clay?

I started out making regular stop motion, animation for TV video. When I started making games, it seemed a good way to make sprite games. It was a good method that I had for making 2D sprites. But what we’re doing now is quite lot more complicated than that. And it has become more about the challenge of how close can we get to create a convincing illusion of the stop motion animation, as opposed to using conventional CG methods. I think the in building the models by hand and photographing them in a way that captures the little idiosyncrasies of the model. It gives the whole look of the thing, an intimacy I guess, that people respond to like they respond to a handmade thing.

Claymation-Wagon-By Anthony Flack

Claymation-Wagon-Copyright - Anthony Flack

What is the process?

So, this is the process that we go through in order to create our models and composite them together in scenes in the game. Everything starts out as preliminary sketches that I scrawled out at the start of designing the game, which allows us to go through and see all the different elements that we need to build. And, then each one of the models is built individually either by myself in New Zealand or Sarah in the UK. And then the models are photographed, cut out, cleaned up in photoshop. And then we take that image and we sort of extrude it into 3-D by mapping it onto a massive triangle and just sort of pulling out the parts of that shape to create a relief sculpture which looks 3-D from the front. Although we make an essentially a 2-D side scrolling game, we’re using 3-D models to represent everything. So if we going to composed them all together in a way that doesn’t look like a bunch of flair photographs stuck together, then we going to need to account the parallax. We’re not dealing with full 3-D shapes, but as long as the camera keeps pointing forward, then the allusion is maintained.

This is one of my models here, is a little stop motion footage of me actually building a model of barn. It is one of the larger models in the game. Even though we’re assembling everything from pieces, I still wanted to use larger freestanding models as much as I could and really try to make sure that the computer didn’t end up dominating the process too much. But there were still plenty of old professional model ants being used. Okay, so that’s being basically how we take a real models and translate it into Cletus’ virtual world.