Claymation workshop brings art to life at ARC


Susan J. Silvester, animator and speaker at the Art New Media event Clay Animation With iPhone and iPad, shows event attendees how to set in place an iPhone to capture the animation.

Brandon Nelson and Brandon Nelson

In the first of American River College’s new series of art new media workshops, students gathered in the submarine meeting room in the Student Center on April 2 for a demonstration on using iPods, iPads and iPhones to create claymation films.

Susan J. Silvester, who served as the instructor for the event, has been doing claymation for about 25 years, including work on commercials for Twizzlers and Fruit Roll-Ups that she demonstrated during the lecture. Her first experience with animation came when she started on “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” a children’s television program from the late 1980s.

The lecture, which lasted from 10 a.m. to noon, was attended by three art new media students, and was open to the public at no cost. Students received firsthand experience in using an iPhone and iPad to create a claymation film several seconds long.

Silvester used a homemade rig to place a background, and then after making sure it would stay in place, put several clay ladybugs on the background and placed the iPhone above them on the rig.

She then called the three students up to help her slowly and carefully move the ladybugs bit by bit across the rig, taking still shots every time a lady bug was moved.

Silvester also showed students a 99 cent app that would allow them to take still shots and turn them into a claymation film.

“I hope students can do this themselves using the software, which is iMotion and the iMotion remote,” Silvester said.

“It’s really cool when you simplify things so you can do them at home,” said ARC student Tyson Kennedy. “I’ve seen (Silvester’s) work in the Kaneko Gallery, and I really liked it.”

While Silvester has not taught at ARC, she has taken some new art media classes at the school.

This is just the first in a series of events the art new media department is hosting this month. There will be a new event every Wednesday in April.