Animation has been around for decades. Early animation started with crudely drawn figures in flip books. Today, animation artists combine hand and computer animation to create detailed, sophisticated animations that are stunning. You can accomplish full animations with either of these methods, but used in conjunction, the results surpass anything the animation field has seen. Amateur animators are taking advantage of computer technology and the widespread availability of animation software to bring their animations to life. Learn how you can create your own animation pictures with just a little practice and the right tools.
Animating by Hand
Decide what you want to animate. Use loose sketch paper and keep it stacked in front of you so you can test the frames (each sheet of paper will represent a frame) as you draw.
Draw your starting image. Make this a rough sketch without all the details at first. If you're drawing a man running, for instance, capture the outline of his body, the position of his arms, legs and head, and his facial expression. Don't worry about shading or texture yet.
Sketch the same image on the next sheet of paper, varying the position slightly, using the same drawing technique. Continue to draw the same image on each sheet of paper, always varying the position slightly to enhance the effect of movement. Flip your pages as you go to ensure the animation is going smoothly.
Complete your series of animations, then go back to the first and add any shading or coloring details needed to enhance the animation. Now you can scan your pages or photograph them and load them onto your computer for software enhancement.
Choose the animation software you want to use. DigiCel Flipbook is a low-cost alternative to expensive animation studio software and features all the tools you need for creating computer-generated animations. Anim8or and Penci are free animation software packages (see resources). Any of these software programs will help you get started, and later you can step up to more expensive packages if you want to.
Open the software and use the drawing tools to create a simple sketch. You'll be presented with an array of drawing tools, and color and shading tools to accomplish this. Use a simple pencil tool to create a rough sketch of your drawing.
Recreate the initial sketch from scratch, with slight variation for animated movement, or you can duplicate the original sketch and use the erase and draw tools to make the changes.
Continue to replicate your images until you have four or five-enough to create a simple animation. Compile the separate images into one file and play your animation. The good thing about animating with computer software is the ease with which you can add and subtract elements to refine your animation.