Search form

Blinkink Builds Claymation ‘Layla’s Story’

The Royal Foundation for Early Childhood launches ‘Shape Us’ campaign with a 90-second stop-motion film directed by Sam Gainsborough about how kids develop and are shaped by the people and environments surrounding them.

The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood recently launched “Shaping Us,” a new long-term campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of the first five years of a child’s life. Spearheaded by The Princess of Wales, with support from people in the world of media, music, science, and sports, the campaign will begin with the release of a short film highlighting how babies and children develop in response to their earliest experiences.

BlinkInk's Sam Gainsborough created a 90-second Claymation film that shows how a little girl named Layla develops from pregnancy to age five and how her interactions with the people and environment around her shape her young life. The short film features a track by Lokki entitled “Breathe a Breath of Me.”

In the film, Layla navigates various experiences, beginning as a newborn, then as a toddler, and finally as a young child - with the help of those around her. The film shows how her interactions with people and places – from her parents’ cuddles to a reassuring arm on her shoulder from a nursery teacher and supportive cheer from a swimming teacher – stimulate her brain and development. It also shows the importance of the support Layla’s parents receive, helping them manage the everyday worries and challenges of caring for a new baby. Finally, the film ends with Layla celebrating her fifth birthday, surrounded by a large group of family, friends, and others who have been instrumental in “shaping” her life.

Gainsborough and his creative team explored using Claymation to illustrate a child’s development. He built on his previous experimentation in the monochromatic style - using sparse vibrant colors, noting, “This technique seemed to be a nice way to portray all the magic happening within.”

“It was great working on this film - I loved the simple idea, and it felt like we could really push the technique,” Gainsborough shared. “It was fun to think, let’s just take one tone of plasticine and see how we can explore the Claymation technique to tell our story. The whole team were really hardworking and incredible, and everyone was totally behind the ambition of the project.”

The team didn’t have access to motion control, so they had to take a traditional approach to the camera moves.

“The animator would hand animate the camera, and the whole set was built on a huge turntable that could be animated frame by frame,” Gainsborough explained. “The camera itself was suspended on scaffolding, counter-balanced by sandbags, which meant it could be hand-animated for the sweeping camera moves.”

“I loved the idea of starting the film in a two-dimensional space and then gradually make everything three-dimensional and more detailed,” he continued. “This was an idea I had had for a while, and this project felt like the perfect opportunity to try out these ideas.”

Finally, Gainsborough added, “To shoot this job, we made a studio in the offices at blink-ink - so thank you to everyone there who put up with the smell of plasticine for the whole summer.”

Check out “Shaping Us: Layla's Story:”

Source: Blinkink Productions

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.