Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Animation Programs

Drawn Animation Online Software
I'm running an animation club at a local school, and I had planned to use individual pictures and put then together using Microsoft .gif animator, but d'you know what? They've been enjoying themselves so much on  abcya's animation program that I've been looking for other online animation programs that we can use that will let us save the work. I've rummaged around the internet, and here's what I've found. 

This was my wish list:
  • Free
  • Save without login
  • Save work to your pc as .gif or other formats
  • 100+ frames
  • Onionskin (shadow of previous frame)
  • Picture carried from one frame to next
  • Layers - so different parts of picture can go onto different layers to move separately
  • Nice select tool
  • Shapes, letters, freehand and canvas size.
And here's the best one I've found:

(to save, choose publish > animated gif.)

Stop Press
Brilliant, now I use this will most children, especially when they start animation
The kids all love this one:

They love the stencils, although I think they limit the children's imaginations!

Others worthy of a mention...
These next are interesting, but can you can only send the resuls of your work to someone with email:
silly drawing flipbook. Fun.

These three are brilliant, but need an email to send the file to...
lovely stop motion, using posable objects that they provide
I've watched children use this for years. Select simple parameters, including dialogue, it does the rest.
like ajaxanimator above, but needs email to send.(alternatively a login will allow you to save)

This last one breaks all my rules. It needs a login, but it is simple and brilliant, and sells itself as 'The Zimmer Twins is a site devoted to kids and creative storytelling' and it really is simple to make animated stories with the tree main characters:

but there again, we're moving into other wonderful areas of beautiful creative art programs. See some of my 'art' tagged posts for more ideas.

Here's a very basic picture I made using abcya. Brilliant (the program, not my drawing!)

If I was doing this again, I would keep to a small picture, but make lots of small changes all over the screen, rather than just one. Making the shape small means you can't see all my wiggles and misses!

I've just found this website ( which appears to be free (though needs registration to save work)

I've created a teacher account so I can look after students' accounts securely.

I really like the movie maker resource. Looks really great.

Gif Animators
Remember if you are going to make an animated GIF, all the individual 'frames' or pictures have to be saved as type .GIF.

Paint, for example can use layers, which makes for great backgrounds, but when saving as a GIF it flattens the picture. After saving, simply press 'undo' for the picture to be unflattened after each save.

I've always used Microsoft Gif animator, which was a spin off of Frontpage, Mircosoft's Web page builder, but this doesn't seem to be still available.

But here is an online GIF animator. Haven't tried it, but it looks pretty simple to use and like it will do the job.

Stop Motion Stitching
I always used Movie Maker to stitch together the stills for a stop motion animation, but it's a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

But I recently found this no longer ships with Windows, and so more computers don't have it. But instead I've found this excellent program that is just used to put together still frames for this very purpose.
Recommended by many animation studios. It was tricky for me to get my head around, but I read some help files and watched a few videos

You can either 'capture' each image as you go along, with the camera attached to the computer, or take all the picutres on the camera, and then 'import' the picutres in one batch.

The trick seems to be to start with a new XPS exposure sheet then import the pictures. Preview and then save.

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