How to Make an Animation Movie

Things You'll Need

  • Paper/plastic cels
  • Pens, pencils, paint and brushes
  • Inanimate figures
  • Video camera
  • Voice actors (if necessary)

Animation movies have advanced greatly in the age of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and computer animation. If you're good with filming and movie editing software but not computer graphics, you can make an animation movie through one of the more old-fashioned methods. The most common methods are by drawing out the movie picture frame by frame or using stop-motion animation with actual 3-D figures. Either one of these will be a very time-consuming project.

Create a Storyboard and Choose an Animation Method

Decide what story you want your movie to tell. Write a rough outline of the plot and characters.

Create a storyboard for the story you are turning into a movie. This is essentially creating a script in a crude comic book–like form, as you are not just writing the lines but also drawing the actions in pictures, rather than describing them in written words.

Draw the animation scenes if you choose to use this method. You will need to draw one picture for each frame of each scene, with a new picture for each slight movement in the scene. This is much like drawing the pictures that make up a flip book.

Organize the figures you will use if you go with stop-motion animation. You can use anything from plush dolls to action figures to figures made from clay. Position all the characters exactly as they would be placed at the movie's very beginning.

Shoot Your Movie and Add Sound

Place the camera in front of your animation setup, be it the positioned stop-motion figures or all of the animation drawings stacked together with the first frame on top, down to the last on the bottom.

Click the camera's record button on and then quickly back off after a split second, as close to shutter speed as you can. Prepare the next frame by either flipping to the next drawing or altering the figures' positions ever so slightly. Then repeat for the next frame until the entire movie is filmed. Remember that 22 to 24 frames shot take up only a second of movie time.

Add sound and vocals to the movie if they are to be included. It can help to use the completed video as a guide for your voice actors, so they can time the lines to the action.

Upload both the completed audio and video recordings to the movie editing software of your choice, and use it to integrate the two and edit the movie.


About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.