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.
While the results still don't compare to studio animations built from scratch and driven by hours of hard work, Poser 8 has come a long way from its stiff, plastic origins to provide even non-animators with a way to fully realize their imaginations and see their concepts come to life.
Combine Photoshop and After Effects to easily update your animation and backgrounds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flash lets you group and ungroup objects so that you can move or transform them as a single unit before ungrouping them to work on them individually.
Animation isn't just a career; many things learned throughout your career as an animator can provide valuable life lessons, as well.
Not a week goes by when someone doesn't ask how much money an animator makes. What kind of salary should an animator expect?
You can import a series of numbered images to Flash and have the program automatically distribute them in sequential order across keyframes.
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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.
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.
WidgetCast caters to the world of Web 2.0 and constantly-connected social media by providing a tool that allows you to package your content as micro-applications that can easily be shared anywhere Flash can go.
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?
Is it better to label your independent work as a studio or individual?
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
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?
In this FAQ response, the essential differences between traditional and computer methods of animation are explained.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most important building blocks in ActionScript 3.0 is the variable.
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.
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?
Layers can be confusing for some people, especially when they're used to painting or drawing on a flat surface.
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.
: "Tween" is actually short for "in-between", and refers to the creation of successive frames of animation
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You may often hear reference to video rendering, render times, render speeds, etc. in the field of computer animation. But what exactly is rendering?
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.
You can simulate a camera zoom effect in Flash using tweens.
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.
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.
Read a quick tip on the differences between = and == operators in Flash ActionScripting. Page 3.
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.
: The creation of moving pictures in a two-dimensional environment, such as through "traditional" cel
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.
An animation key frame is a single still image in an animated sequence that occurs at an important point in that sequence.
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.
: The creation of moving pictures in a three-dimensional digital environment. This is done by sequencing
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.
Another way to control your Flash motion tweens is through an option called Easing.
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.
: "Persistence of Vision" refers to the phenomenon where the retina retains an image for a brief split-second
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flash symbol types can, at times, be a little confusing.
I waded through the iTunes store and downloaded all the free animation apps so you don't have to, see which ones ended up being the best!
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?
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.
Never written a resume for an animation career? Here's a few tips to help you out today to land your next job.
It's possible to switch the order of Flash timeline frames without manually moving them
Snapping in vector drawings has its uses, but when it's just making life harder for you, it's time to turn it off.
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.
Toon Boom Animate is yet another installation in a growing line of award-winning animation packages.
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 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.
Use simple layers, transparency, and a few basic ActionScripts to make a spotlight follow your mouse cursor to reveal a hidden scene. Page 9.
What's the easiest way to turn photos into animation? With After Effects!
Take this quiz to see what type of animated story suits you best.
: "Vector animation" is a term used to refer to animation whose art or motion is controlled by vectors
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.
Cylekx 2.9 is bland, unimpressive addition to the line-up of second-tier graphics and animation programs.
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.
Youtube vs. Vimeo. Which site is better to post your work to so it'll shine in the brightest light?
While the animation in Robots is visually stunning and a wonderful example of what attention to detail can do, I think that this film can teach animators a much more important lesson: what not to do when creating an animated film/story. That, my friends, is what we will be discussing today.
: "Squash and stretch" refers to an animation technique used to depict exaggerated animated motion. The
Flash movies are improving in quality, but with greater quality comes larger file sizes.
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?
In animation, a timeline refers to the breakdown of frames sequenced over time.
DigiCel Flipbook is an animation software package that creates an animation studio, complete with tools, on your desktop.
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?
Animation and animatronics sound similar, and both involve the process of making things move to simulate real motion - but what's the difference?
You've heard of polygons in geometry, but what do they mean in 3d modeling and animation?
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.
A flip book is a book of pages in which sequences of an animation are drawn, on at a time, on each page.
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.
Looking for somewhere to display your animations? Why not submit to the animation showcase?
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.
Ulead GIF Animator is a nicely packaged little program that would be extremely useful for the hobbyist or casual animator.
Shape Hints make it easier for Flash to interpret how it's supposed to morph one complex shape into another in a shape tween.
Vector animation is generally considered more advanced than raster animation. Why?
It's almost impossible to draw a perfectly balanced character in symmetrical perspective without a few guidelines, let alone animate them accurately. The most basic of guidelines are called structural lines and center lines.
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.
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?
Using the Brush tool, you can paint in freeform in Flash, fine-tuning the way your fills are applied using various options. Page 2.
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?
When working in 3D animation, should you model in centimeters, inches, miles, feet? How do you pick a standard of measurement? What's the default?
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?
What is Motion Graphics, and how does it differ from animation?
You can use motion tweens to create the illusion of a panning camera on your Flash stage.
When you turn Lock Fill on, though, this treats every shape filled by the gradient as part of one gradient
Use the Flash projector to make your files available to those without the Flash plugin.
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.
If your'e thinking of buying a gift for an animator but you're a little stumped as to what might be appropriate, take a look at these ideas for gifts for the holiday season (or any season when you're in the mood for giving).
Having a nervous breakdown over your breakdowns? Don't; they're just simple in-betweens that hold a pivotal position in your animation sequence.
Animation Spotlight checks out 11 Second Club, a website for character animators to practice their skills and get critiques by professional artists!
You can conceal and reveal the default mouse cursor on the Flash stage, with an easy single-line Actionscript.
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. Page 2.
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.
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.
Background paintings act as static backdrops to traditional 2D animations.
For some of us there's a pivotal turning point in our careers, a moment of inspiration or choice that changes our lives and directs our paths. For many of us it was that moment that pushed us to become animators, whether we've achieved our goal or are still on that path. What was that moment for you? What inspired you to become an animator?
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.
We know how animators make characters move - but how do they make them talk?
When referring to "Flash", sometimes it can be a little unclear what we're referring to, as often it
Animation school can be expensive. Is it necessary?
You can save custom-defined colors from your Flash palette to the Swatches panel.
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.
The frame rate is the measure of the number of frames displayed sequentially per second of animation in order to create the illusion of motion. The higher the frame rate, the smoother the motion, because there are more frames per second to display the transition from point A to point B.
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.
Use the Smooth and Straighten options to clean up the artwork that you create in Flash.
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.
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.
Using your favorite graphics program and a video capture program such as SnagIt , you can easily create
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.
Usually when you play back your Flash timeline, it plays once and then stops on the last frame. If you
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.
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.
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. Page 3.
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.
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.
Colorful shape tweens aren't limited just to solid colors; you can also tween gradients to change colors, and fade in and out of each other. Page 2.
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?
: What Is A Wireframe? There are certain things essential to understanding any discussion on 3D animation:
What is pixilation and how is it different than stop motion?
People have the strangest ideas about animation and the animation industry. Here are a few myths I've encountered, and the truth behind them.
Out of YouTube's new content creation applications, this one feels a little more like a true animation program despite the fact that it's still a drag-and-drop app--just in 2D.
Flash plugin Keyframe Caddy streamlines replacing symbols for lip sync and symbol animation to make your work easier and faster.
Now, to make the button transparent, you're going to adjust the alpha. Select both the line and the fill,
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.