Aardman Animations, Ltd. is an Academy Award winning British animation studio based in Bristol, United Kingdom. Aardman is famous for its claymation and stop-motion animation productions, particularly the plasticine duo Wallace and Gromit.
Aardman was founded in 1976 as a low-budget project by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, who wanted to realize their dream of producing an animated motion picture. Their first big break was providing animated sequences for the children's art series, Vision On, for which they created Morph, a simple clay character. Around the same time Lord and Sproxton made their first foray into adult animation with the shorts Down and Out and Confessions of a Foyer Girl, entries in the BBC's Animated Conversations series using used real-life conversations as soundtracks. However, these two shorts were not actual Aardman productions.
Later Aardman produced a number of shorts for Channel 4 including the Conversation Pieces series. These five shorts worked in the same area as the Animated Conversations pieces, but were more sophisticated. Lord and Sproxton began hiring more animators at this point; three of the newcomers made their directorial debut at Aardman with the Lip Synch series. Of the five Lip Synch shorts two were directed by Peter Lord, one by Barry Purves, one by Richard Goleszowski and one by Nick Park.
Park's short, Creature Comforts, was the first Aardman production to win an Oscar. Park also developed the world-famous clay modelled shorts featuring the adventures of Wallace and Gromit, a comical pair of buddies: Wallace being a naive English green-knitted-tank-top-wearing inventor, and Gromit his best pal, the intelligent but silent dog. The pair undertake many adventures such as A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), the latter two winning academy awards. In 2000 Aardman Studios produced their first feature film, Chicken Run, an award-winning worldwide box-office hit.
Following the success of Chicken Run, DreamWorks and Aardman signed a 3-picture deal, the first being seeing the return of Wallace and Gromit after a ten year absence in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The film took the next Academy award for full-length animated film. In April 2007 Aardman signed a three-year deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment.
While Aardman is best known for stop motion, the studio has also dabbled in CGI with productions such as Owzat, Al Dante, Planet Sketch and Flushed Away.