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While I admit I haven't been as in the know concerning animation lately as I have in the past, I have seen a definite decline in the production of "claymation," which is the loving industry term for clay animation. I know that it is being produced, but where? And why is it no longer so much in the public eye?

I used to dabble in animation, because it was what I did. When I started college I was in the animation program (before I was in film which was before I was in digital media which was before I drop majors entirely in order to finish faster which was before I got my job). I used to watch tons and tons of shows, movies, festivals and all kinds of shit like that, and I saw a lot of different types of animation. One type that has been around for a very long time and just kept getting more and more fun and interesting was claymation. Hell, I don't know if anybody even calls it that anymore; I know I started to when I first saw the California Raisins shit back in the day.

The thing is, I know it's still around, but I also know that production of clay shorts and even features has severely declined since the 80s. Why?

Well, for one, stop-motion is much easier and often looks better with its foam and armature-based models. Examples of this method are productions like The Nightmare Before Christmas (which is probably the best usage of it ever as well) and Wallace and Gromit. Often animators will quit working with clay in order to benefit from the advantages of wires and foam (which is what I think Nick Park actually did).

More importantly though, is the simple fact that computer animation is monopolizing, destroying, and changing the industry. Now, don't get me wrong; computer animation is the absolute shit and a half. It's just that the analog forms of animation can't get their foot in the door as much anymore, at least not without some help from CG.

Clay has a unique look. Like every form of animation (and art, for that matter) it has its quirks, difficulties, and strengths that make it its own. It has always been one of my personal favorite methods of making pictures move, and I think it should be brought back (even though it's not really gone). Analog animation is more important to me than computer animation because I've dealt with both; as a result, I know that while both are extremely hard and tedious work, analog animation is just naturally harder and takes more patience. It's just a matter of physically moving and dealing with things as opposed to physically moving and dealing with a mouse (excluding modeling).

I want to see clay animated commercials again. I want to see video games like Clay Fighter and that damn Claymates shit again. I want to see the California Raisins Christmas Special every hour on the hour. Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer video. Need I say more?

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