I have always loved stop-motion animation and I want to learn how to make my own short films. 
Specifically, I love claymation. I just moved to the Portland Oregon area and I don't  know anyone so I figured now is a great time to get started.
Could anyone point me in the right direction of how to get started?
Any great books/Internet guides/movies to read pertaining to stop-motion/clay sculpting for beginners?
What kind of clay/sculpting tools do I need?
What kind of software should I use?
I own a Cannon Powershot G12, Will that camera suite my needs?
I fully understand how much work is involved even to make a film as short as 2 minutes.
I am going to read the guides on this site in the meanwhile. 
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Thanks for the tips. I am excited to start taking test photos with the camera. Do you suggest I can the lens that comes with the camera (like you did)?

Cellarmation said:

I don't normally weigh in on this sort of thread as there are so many people here that are more knowledgeable than me, but I think I might have something to add here. I am using the exact same camera (Canon EOS 1000D) for plasticine stop motion animation and it is great. I think you have made a good choice. I am using the camera with a fully manual Nikon prime lens with an adaptor. I got the adaptor off Amazon (Amazon Link) and the lens second hand off ebay. You can also see the wire for the mains adaptor in the photo below.

A fully manual lens has manual control for the focus and the aperture. This avoids some causes of flicker. I think it also helps keep things simple, and makes it easier to really learn how lenses work. The photos in this album were taken with that camera setup, so it might be an example of the sort of quality you can expect.

Josh C said:

I have been doing a lot of reading on armature. I didn't actually know these existed until I started my research. I am not confident in my ability to make one on my own (at least not yet). I think I am going to order one so I can see what they look like in person first. From there, I think I will experiment with building my own.

I have a story in mind for my first project, so my next step will be drawing character designs. Now that I have done more research, I don't think the characters will be 100% clay. I will have a better answer after doing my of my preliminary research/work.

You are right about the camera. I was unable to get it working with live view. I went a head and ordered a used DSLR off the internet (Canon EOS 1000D/Rebel XS). Hopefully this will suite my needs better.

I have not used the lens that came with it once. I have kept it in a box in case I want to use it as a normal camera at some point or I want to sell it. I imagine by the time I am done with the camera it will be quite worn out though.

I only have the one manual lens at the moment which is a prime, but I will probably buy additional lenses at some point. I may well end up using the lens that came with the camera to play with different focal lengths and help work out what other primes to buy. So keep it around, you don't know when it might come in handy.

Josh C said:

Thanks for the tips. I am excited to start taking test photos with the camera. Do you suggest I can the lens that comes with the camera (like you did)?

If you are planning to buy an armature, it might be a off your budget. But that would also be a good idea to purchase one to see the look of them. 

If you are planning to make one for yourself, I recommend that you use armature wire and you could use polymer clay as a start then level up later on with epoxy putty. Goodluck! ;)

Here are my photos of the armature i made. See the difference with the one with polymer clay and the one without. You could use this for reference.\

(Tip: Imagine the armature will be like the skeleton of your clay model)

Attachments:

You could purhcase some of the following: 

CRACKING ANIMATION BOOK

http://www.amazon.com/Cracking-Animation-Aardman-Third-Edition/dp/0...

ANIMATION KIT WITH STOP MOTION PRO

http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Animation-Stop-Motion-Studio/dp/B006...

TOOLS FOR YOUR MODEL-MAKING

http://www.amazon.com/Darice-11-Piece-Clay-Cleaning-Tool/dp/B001ED3...

FRAMEGRABBER (you decide what software you like) I recommend this as a good start. This is what I use currently.

http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Technology-CSD3M-Claymation-Studio/dp/...

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