Vinton got his start making independent films while a college student at Berkeley. His first fully produced short called Closed Mondays, was 8 minutes long and won an oscar for best animated short film in 1974. After winning the Oscar, Vinton quickly established Will Vinton Studios in Portland Oregon. In 1978 Vinton created a 17 minute documentary, showing behind-the-scenes footage of how he created his films. The documentary was titled Claymation, a term that caught on with the public and has now grown to be synonymous with clay animation.
Vinton continued to make animated films in the ‘80’s and his projects continued to progress. He quickly began doing special effects for movies such as Michael Jackson’s Disneyland-Disneyworld film/ride Captain EO. Additionally Vinton created several very successful commercials and commercial characters such as the clay animated California Raisins.  
Vinton continues to make animated features, and in the early 90’s he began to use CGI to make films and characters such as the Red and Yellow M&M’s. After his studio was bought out by Phil Night, Vinton created Will Vinton’s Freewill entertainment which continues to make animated films.