These days with the advances in computer software programs, it's easier than ever to make your own animation.
In its simplest form, animation is just a series of single images played one after the other with slight changes and variances to represent movement.
In fact, I can remember my grandmother showing me a very basic homemade animation that was created using the corners of a book.
She had drawn a little man moving ever so slowly into the corner of each page. If you looked at each page, the static image didn't mean much. However, when she flipped through the pages of the book it looked like that little man was doing very energetic jumping jacks.
When the pictures are shown one image after another very quickly, it gave the impression of real movement, even down to the changing expressions on his face and the sweat droplets flying off his forehead.
So, to make your own animation without using a computer, all you'll need is a flip book, a pencil and an eraser.
You simply draw an image on one page and then alter that image slightly on each consecutive page. When you flip through the pages you should notice that your little pictures look like they're coming to life.
This kind of early animation is still the same principle behind all animation, where each individual frame is comprised of an individual image and each consecutive frame contains essentially the same picture but with minor changes added to represent movement or action.
When most people think of animation, they immediately think of the big-budget animated feature films and the amazing cartoon characters that come to life on the big screen.
Not all animation needs to feature hand-drawn cartoon characters. It's possible to animate regular photos of your family, friends, pets or anything you want.
When making your own animation, you need to remember that each picture is an individual frame. In order to make the animation look like things are moving or action is happening then you'll need to position those frames on a time line.
Your time line shows what's happening to the object in the frame during a moment in time.
If you want the main image to look like it's jumping, then you would need to have one frame showing the object on the ground and the next image showing the object a little above the ground. The third will be a little higher before the fourth shows the object coming back down and so on until the object is back on the ground.
By overlapping the images from previous frames you can create the illusion of movement. The human eye stops seeing individual images and begins seeing actual animation. In order to create an overlapping effect, you need to experiment with the frame rate.
Your frame rate is the amount of time each frame is shown. If your frame rate is very slow, then your animation will appear jerky and disjointed. Each image is clearly visible to the viewer so they won't see it as actual movement. They'll be seeing each individual image one at a time.
By increasing the frame rate, or speeding up the rate at which the frames are displayed, you create an overlapping effect. Most cartoons on television have a frame rate of around 12 frames per second. That's a lot of frames to make to create a cartoon!
Windows Moviemaker is free and it's good place to start as it shows what each individual frame looks like as you create it. You can copy previous frames into new frames so you'll know the base objects are still the same, but you can alter or move parts of the new frame to make it appear as though things are changing or moving.
There are also many other software programs available that can allow you to make your own animation.
When you're making your own animation, you may even want to add captions or music or even recorded voice-overs to allow your animations to speak or laugh or sing along to the music. You're only limited by your imagination.
We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make your own animation. If you've tried your own animations or if you have suggestions you want to share we'd love to hear from you.
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