Animation: Most Popular Articles
Want to try before you buy, or looking for something simple but functional with no strings attached? Here's a list of various animation software packages available for download. Some are entirely free, some are shareware, some are free with limited functions (with more available after paying), and some are free trials that either expire after time or come with certain critical options disabled.
If you're publishing for the web, you'll need to be able to insert your SWF file into your website, right? Here's a quick guide that will help you figure out how.
As a 3D modeling program, Google SketchUp successfully unites principles of line drawing with 3D for a bare-bones program that lets you produce surprisingly complex 3D artwork.
While animation is a complex art that can require years of schooling to perfect, for the hobbyist - and even for some self-taught professionals - it’s surprisingly easy to get started from the comfort of your own home and begin producing animations from scratch with just a little studying, hard work, and practice.
There are 8-frame walk cycles, 10-frame motion studies...but how many frames actually make up one second of animation?
3D bump maps are used to create raised texture surfaces on 3D models - but they actually start off as flat 2D images.
I'm not about to throw my towel in the ring over the fight between which is better, Japanese or American animation...but nonetheless, let's take a look at a comparison between the two and what makes them so markedly different.
If you're less of a digital animator and lean more towards the traditional, you've probably got a studio as cluttered as mine--and there are some supplies that you just can't live without.
Not a week goes by when someone doesn't ask how much money an animator makes. What kind of salary should an animator expect?
The walk cycle is one of the most important animation techniques to master, but you can simplify it a bit in Flash even when drawing each individual frame, whether in whole or in part. This basic stick-figure walk-cycle demonstrates the basic ideas and discusses key concepts of figures in motion.
Frustrated by the dearth of inexpensive animation solutions compatible with the robust and powerful Macintosh platform? Take a look at this list of five software packages that will let you animate for $250 or far less.
Find links to the music and sound effects that you need for your animations - royalty-free and free for download.
You can import a series of numbered images to Flash and have the program automatically distribute them in sequential order across keyframes.
In this lesson we'll cover how to create a new blank movie file in Flash MX, and the tools and steps involved in making your first simple animation using motion tweening.
So you want to learn to animate, but may not be the best artist. Do you need to refine your artistic skills before you can dabble in animation?
Take this quiz to see what type of animated story suits you best.
The stop command is most likely the most basic of all of Flash's ActionScript commands, and the most essential. It's also a good place to get started with familiarizing yourself with the concepts of working with ActionScripting.
Try out a version of the classic 'Magic 8-Ball' created using Flash ActionScripting.
Before Flash CS4 there were motion tweens and shape tweens - but now CS4 and CS5 introduce classic tweens. What's the difference?
CAD programs seem like just another type of 3D animation software - but really, what's the difference? Why do CAD programs get their own special classification?
In the first Flash lesson , we covered motion tweening as a basic "Point A to Point B" process, moving
Ever wondered how they make those Flash ads that can be dynamically positioned anywhere on the screen, but that have a transparent background? In just four steps, I'll show you how. Page 4.
Ever tried to make a animation flip book? It's not nearly as complicated as it seems, and can be a good way to practice your animation principles by using unorthodox sequential animations instead of keyframes and in-betweens.
If you want to add actual expression and realistic mouth-movements to your animation, it helps to study how the shape of the mouth changes with each sound. These ten basic phoneme shapes can match almost any sound of speech, in varying degrees of expression--and with the in-between frames moving from one to the other, are remarkably accurate.
Ready to dive in and start animating? You may not be as ready as you think. These 5 pre-animation tips will help you define your workflow and direction to make sure you don't flounder on the way.
Flash symbol types can, at times, be a little confusing.
Anyone can seek out a career in computer animation, regardless of any measure of artistic talent; all that you need is to know what you want, and to be willing to put in the necessary effort to achieve it. This article gives a basic set of guidelines on where to start, and a little advice on how to pursue your chosen field.
You may often hear reference to video rendering, render times, render speeds, etc. in the field of computer animation. But what exactly is rendering?
Disney is no doubt one of the most famous names in the animation industry, known for providing entertainment directed to adults and children alike; with theme parks around the world and a world-class animation studio and business franchise, the company nearly dominates the industry.
Another way to control your Flash motion tweens is through an option called Easing.
Whether you draw your 2D animations traditionally or digitally, there are some skills essential to both incarnations of the craft. One is the ability to draw simple but effective animation characters with clean, easy lines and basic shapes.
Frame-by-frame animation can be difficult when you're working on one frame at a time with no reference for the previous or next frames. Flash has a solution for this dilemma--known as onion-skinning, an option that you can turn on that shows a range of frames both before and after your current frame.
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Never written a resume for an animation career? Here's a few tips to help you out today to land your next job.
This will be one of the easiest lessons yet; all we're going to do is add a looping audio background to our Flash character animation to complete it.
You may be more familiar with cutout animation than you think, especially if you're a fan of a certain raunchy animated show on Comedy Central.
While working for yourself can be extremely rewarding and quite convenient, you should always be aware of the added responsibility and obligation implied, and of any hardships that you might encounter and will need to plan for. The points that I'll cover here are things that I've learned from my own experiences as a freelance artist, animator, designer, and writer; I hope that they'll help you as well.
Creating animations for video games is much different from creating animations for movies. The major difference is that a movie is meant simply to be viewed, while the purpose of a video game is to interact. For this reason, animating for video games can be much more difficult than animating for video games; however, this reason is only a broad generalization of the differences between the two genres.
: Short for "Computer-Generated Imagery"; refers to any artwork or animation created with computers.
An animation key frame is a single still image in an animated sequence that occurs at an important point in that sequence.
Here we explore the concept of individual scenes in Flash, and how to create and manipulate them to make options to associate with our buttons.
You've probably seen some pretty cool 2D animations that use style tricks a little different from the standard side-scrolling, black-lined textbook animation. There are tons of ways to make your animation stand out using unique tricks and experiments; here are a few pointers you can try.
If you've been working in Flash for any period of time, by now you've probably realized that mouse-drawing anything beyond a basic pre-defined shape can be pretty time-consuming, and pretty difficult, if not downright impossible (and maddening). I'd recommend getting a graphics tablet.
This lesson touches upon a small but essential piece of knowledge for working in Flash: exporting as a movie instead of a Flash SWF file. Page 2.
Often people differentiate animation techniques as traditional or computer animation -- but aren't always clear as to what the distinction refers to.
We know how animators make characters move - but how do they make them talk?
Read a quick tip on the differences between = and == operators in Flash ActionScripting. Page 3.
: "Tween" is actually short for "in-between", and refers to the creation of successive frames of animation
Rather than working with simple shapes and reusable objects, let's work with the techniques used in cinematic animation: hand-drawing each frame using keyframing and in-betweening techniques to describe progressive motion.
Layers can be confusing for some people, especially when they're used to painting or drawing on a flat surface.
For those with a more artistic and less technical bent, learning computer animation can seem a daunting task involving complex programming and impossible technical requirements. But is it really necessary to learn computer programming to learn computer animation?
Asking if Flash is better than an animated GIF is rather like asking if a USB thumb drive is better than a floppy disk. Both have their purposes, and both can be useful - even if one is a bit limited and outdated.
Computer animation can be be fun, but it can also be quite costly. But it's not always necessary to spend that kind of money; for the curious, the studious, or even the aspiring professional, there are much more cost-effecitve ways to get your feet wet. If you know where to look and how to shop, it's not that hard to compete with the big boys without spending the big bucks.
One of the most important building blocks in ActionScript 3.0 is the variable.
Animation isn't just a career; many things learned throughout your career as an animator can provide valuable life lessons, as well.
2.5D animation? Is that a half-finished 3D animation? Not quite. 2.5D animation is a way to make 2D jump off the page into 3D space.
While there is, in fact, a great deal of work involved in realistic computer animation, there's less magic, mystery, and painstaking effort than you might think. Those unreal motions are, in fact, all too real, and are accomplished through the use of motion-capture technology. Many movies and video games make use of this technology to animate their digital models.
In case you missed when it was covered in Lesson 5, here's a quick tip on how to use the trace bitmap function in Flash to turn bitmap art into vector images.
You've heard of polygons in geometry, but what do they mean in 3d modeling and animation?
You can simulate a camera zoom effect in Flash using tweens.
Looking for somewhere to display your animations? Why not submit to the animation showcase?
In this tutorial, we'll take a look at parts of the 3D Studio Max version 4.26 environment and help you to get more familiar with the tool panels.
Considering how expensive animation software can be and the difficulty of returning software to many retailers, picking the wrong animation software for your needs can be a costly mistake. What questions should you ask yourself when selecting an animation software package?
3D animations often show amazingly detailed hair and clothing. But are they modeled individually? Do animators create each strand of hair, and design entire outfits that can be added to characters like paper dolls?
Before you start animating, it's a good idea to draw up a character sheet/character breakdown of the subject of your animation, both for reference and to familiarize you with drawing different views. Let's take a look at the basics for a character sheet.
Beneton Movie GIF is a fairly useful GIF animation / editing / sequencing program that may not be particularly special, but at least it serves its intended purpose flawlessly.
Use the Flash projector to make your files available to those without the Flash plugin.
If you don't know how to use maps and lighting in your 3D modeling program, you're doing yourself a disservice. If you've perfected your modeling skills yet can't get rid of that plastic look, this just might be why.
Trying to figure out how to get into animation school? Just like any other college, there are a few requirements - and while some are the same, others are wildly different.
It's possible to switch the order of Flash timeline frames without manually moving them
This is just a quick dip at the trot, a basic checklist of things to do for those comfortable with Visual Basic; this isn't intended to be a full step-by-step, but more a basic overview as to the steps inherent in creating an easy 2D animated screen saver using the language.
For an animator, the demo reel is like that final exam in your senior year, complete with all of the extra work, stresses, and last-minute panics. And like the final exam, it can mean success or failure--not only in your education, but in your career. You've probably worked on a variety of projects during animation school, some fun, some not. But do you need to include every last one of those projects in your demo reel?
Usually when you play back your Flash timeline, it plays once and then stops on the last frame. If you
Flash has many useful applications; from character animation to programming, it offers a dynamic platform for a multitude of uses. What's your favorite use for Flash?
Creating a detailed, full-color character animation using traditional frame-by-frame methods is a long and at times difficult process, even in Flash. For this lesson we're going to take the first step and rough-sketch our basic motion for a simple action, using block shapes representing a character we wish to animate.
: The creation of moving pictures in a three-dimensional digital environment. This is done by sequencing
Using the Brush tool, you can paint in freeform in Flash, fine-tuning the way your fills are applied using various options. Page 2.
Some things are fairly self-explanatory, and silhouette animation is one of them - though the classical definition of it may not be what you think.
As an animation program, CrazyTalk Animator doesn't quite fit the mold of typical frame-based animation software -- but it does make it extremely easy and extremely entertaining to apply animation principles to photographs and illustrated content.
While Adobe Flash gets a lot of coverage as a major 2D animation and rich content production package, is it the only 2D animation software package out there?
Snapping in vector drawings has its uses, but when it's just making life harder for you, it's time to turn it off.
: "Persistence of Vision" refers to the phenomenon where the retina retains an image for a brief split-second
A trek through the Uncanny Valley can be fatal for a 3d animation, where so much relies on creating empathy with your audience and naturally enabling them to suspend disbelief. So why, if we so often strive for photo-realism in 3d animation, is that realism sometimes a bad thing?
It's time to take a bit of a leap in your Flash education by learning how to control movie clip timelines from within the main timeline. To do this we're going to use buttons to tell Flash when to play individual movie clip animations.
Having a nervous breakdown over your breakdowns? Don't; they're just simple in-betweens that hold a pivotal position in your animation sequence.
The first step in starting off your animation is to get your basic motion down. For that you don't need perfect drawings; you can use stick figures, as long as they capture your basic proportions and get your motion down. Grab your light desks and get ready to go.
An animation stand is essential to filming animations, but it isn't as complicated as it might sound.
With this lesson, we'll pick up at the end of where we left off in Lesson 1, with a lesson on shape tweening in Flash MX. Shape tweening can take two different shapes at keyframes set any number of frames apart, and mathematically calculate the frames in between to produce a smooth animation depicting the transformation between one and the other. Page 2.
While Anime Studio 5 definitely isn't a program that you can dive in and start using without at least a passing knowledge of the fundamentals of animation, it still provides a rich, full-featured animation experience that simplifies the process and allows you to produce high quality animations for less effort.
: The creation of moving pictures in a two-dimensional environment, such as through "traditional" cel
Learn how to hide and unhide Flash movie clips with the click of a button and a very easy three-line actionscript, using _visible and the logical NOT operator (!) to alter the visibility state.
It's easy to see why Toon Boom Studio has been the choice of many major animation studios for their 2D animation and 2D special effects needs. With 3D scene planning, advanced drawing modes, automated lip sync mapping, dynamic cameras and effects, and integrated sound scrubbing, it's a complex and richly-featured tool ideal for serious animators; the software is a great advance in the animation field, while maintaining the familiar and comfortable feel of cel animation methods.
Send your Flash documents quickly and easily right from inside the Flash program, without having to go through the extra steps required to create a new e-mail and add attachments.
While at first glance it might seem that there are dozens of computer animation software packages that all do exactly the same thing, at a closer look that is very far from true. First, some computer animation software is designed specifically for 2D animation, while others are designed specifically for 3D animation; within those two categories, the various software packages can be further subdivided by purpose and functionality.
Anime Studio Debut is definitely a good (and cost-effective) way for animators to branch away from Flash and into programs targeted specifically for cartoon animation.
Cels? Who needs cels? Drawn-on-film gets rid of the cels, the paint, and the cameras to take animation to a micro - and very hands-on - level.
Similar to the Magic 8-ball but building on the techniques used, you can create a random sentence generator that can take user-input words and string them together into funny sentences.
Shape Hints make it easier for Flash to interpret how it's supposed to morph one complex shape into another in a shape tween.
You can conceal and reveal the default mouse cursor on the Flash stage, with an easy single-line Actionscript.
Animating is about much more than just sequencing frames together to create motion. It's about telling a story - and it takes quite a bit of thought, imagination, and planning to make sure it's a good one.
Cylekx 2.9 is bland, unimpressive addition to the line-up of second-tier graphics and animation programs.
Toon Boom Animate is yet another installation in a growing line of award-winning animation packages.
The third part of our first lesson in 3D Studio Max's tools covers the panel of primary tools taking up the right-hand side of the interface. These are the main tools that you will use to create, modify, and control your objects.
DigiCel Flipbook is an animation software package that creates an animation studio, complete with tools, on your desktop.
Using a storyboard will help you organize your animation, and match you mental visualizations of scenes with the written script. If you use a storyboard you'll find that you'll be able to plan your animations more cohesively with clear marker points to show progress, and you'll save yourself a lot of time and trouble when struggling to make the entire thing come together from beginning to end.
Flash movies are improving in quality, but with greater quality comes larger file sizes.
One of the most basic principles of animation is the walk cycle; it's often the first thing beginning animators will tackle, and mastering the walk cycle - which is a breakdown of the basic stages of a single step - is one of the first hurdles in mastering the art of animation. But what about the run cycle?
You can expand your Flash movies to fit any browser at any side just by changing the measurements in the HTML embedding to fit a percentage instead of a fixed pixel amount. Page 2.
It seems a farfetched dream, doesn't it: the idea of something that you worked on being played on broadcast television for all the world to see. If you work in the animation industry, that might not be as impossible as you think; odds are, if you're employed by one of the major companies, a project that you've participated in will likely get air time as part of commercials and promo spots. But if you're an individual or a small company, it's not that easy.
When referring to "Flash", sometimes it can be a little unclear what we're referring to, as often it
You can use motion tweens to create the illusion of a panning camera on your Flash stage.
AnimatorDV is a stop-motion animation program that could convince even those who hate stop-motion to give it a try.
Now, to make the button transparent, you're going to adjust the alpha. Select both the line and the fill,
Using your favorite graphics program and a video capture program such as SnagIt , you can easily create
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: "Vector animation" is a term used to refer to animation whose art or motion is controlled by vectors
Three-dimensional models can possess amazing levels of detail; not only in sculpted shapes, but also in texture. In truth, what you're looking at isn't clever modeling, but an illusion of texturing.
Vector animation is generally considered more advanced than raster animation. Why?
We see animated GIFs all the time (no, really, even with Flash and PNGs, we do). But what are they, exactly?
Flash proves that you don't need a 3D program or even a complex 2D program to create easy two-dimensional shapes with the appearance of three-dimensional depth.
One great thing about the newest versions of Flash is that many effects that previously had to be constructed manually are now automatic features - including text drop shadows.
Numerous animated television shows and movies make use of 3D animation rendered to look 2D, inked lines and all. Some use wholly 3D-rendered animation; others combine it with hand-drawn 2D. But how is it done?
The Swap Symbol function is just like Flash's Swap Bitmap function, but instead lets you switch any symbol on your stage out with any symbol in your library.
With ActionScripting 3.0 taking such a drastic turn away from the old paradigm of ActionScripting 2.0, it helps that Flash CS3 allows you to create a document using the old scripting style; here's how.
Based out of Emeryville, CA, Pixar is an award-winning animation studio famous for its computer-animated film shorts and for the feature films that it produces in conjunction with Disney, who splits costs of production and distribution by covering all distribution issues while Pixar handles production.
While Flash SWFs are considered one of the more advanced methods for publishing animated and streaming content to the web, there are times when using an animated GIF for smaller, shorter animations would be more to your advantage.
: What Is A Wireframe? There are certain things essential to understanding any discussion on 3D animation:
iClone reminds me a great deal of Bryce's Poser, but advanced to the next level. Even the newest beginning animator can dive right in and have fun tweaking the preset models to create and animate your own
Is hand-painting still the standard for 2D animation, or have digital methods overtaken the traditional days of acetate and acrylic?
With a work-in-progress, it's always good to be able to stop and check how the overall project is coming along--especially in Flash.
Ulead GIF Animator is a nicely packaged little program that would be extremely useful for the hobbyist or casual animator.
In animation, a timeline refers to the breakdown of frames sequenced over time.
For this lesson, we're just going to learn how to create a simple button that doesn't really do anything other than demonstrate a mouse-over effect, just for the sake of learning the steps. We'll also touch on action-scripting for the first time.
A cel is the transparent sheet of plastic upon which final animation artwork is transferred in order to be painted in and then laid over a background and filmed.
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Let's pick up on the last lesson to add a bouncing sound effect to our squash and stretch animation, using Flash audio to bring more life and depth to the animation.
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: The term "animated graphics" can cover many things, from flash SWFs to animated GIFS to banner ads.
: Which Is Better: Working for an Animation Studio, or Freelancing? As with many industries, animation
It's time to combine the buttons and scenes created in Lessons 9 and 10, using ActionScripting to tell Flash how to behave when our buttons are clicked.
Convert lines to fills so that you can use Flash's fill-related tools and options to edit them.
While I wouldn't really call Stupeflix animation software, it does at least produce animated content in a limited form: usually composites animated as slideshows, lists, and presentations.
The latest version of Flash brings the shiny.
What's the easiest way to turn photos into animation? With After Effects!
Many people think that 3D movies require special 3D animation in a modeling and animation program, and that there's some trick to it. In truth, that's not how it works at all.
FotoMorph is free image morphing and animation software that lets you apply changes and effects to image morphs.
: "Dope sheet" is the informal/common term for the worksheet used by animation directors to plan the
Are your animations protected by copyright? Do you know, or have you never thought about protecting your work? Take a look at this article to find out what rights are guaranteed to you by U.S. copyright law, how to obtain proof of those rights, and how to further protect them.
A flip book is a book of pages in which sequences of an animation are drawn, on at a time, on each page.