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Submitted on
June 18, 2012
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Hello all and welcome to Project Educate - Animation!

This week is going to feature stunning animation, interviews with amazing people and a strong focus on Pre-Production within Animation. Also during the week I'll have facts about animation that you might not have known about!

I'll be featuring amazing animation, helping newbies get their feet wet and how to upload your animations to deviantART. I will also be talking about web animation sensations on websites such as Youtube and Newgrounds.  

Before we start, I'd like to push my Art History articles - I wrote two journals about the History of Animation up until 1990, so if you feel you dont know your Fleischers from your Windsor McCays then step this way!

Of course, though, animation exists everywhere and has done for hundreds of years! There are plenty of cultures that are ripe with animation, not just the West. Try Googling your country's animation history and industry!

What is animation? An introduction to the living art.

Animate as an adjective means to be alive, having life inside you.
As a verb, to bring to life.
As a noun to millions of people it is just a cartoon or 'a kid's show', but to those in the know, it's thousands of drawings, endless preparation and lots of coffee at night, and most certainly not always for children.

However, in a technical sense an animation as a noun is the illusion of flashing images to create a false sense of movement.
When you watch a movie or Nickelodeon for example, everything is an illusion called the Persistance of Vision - our brain cant handle the different images, and instead blurs them together to create something our brain is comfortable with.

Animation, today, covers every genre possible, and is also its own. It is a diverse world of fictional characters and scenarios that are not possible in real life, and that's what makes it so special.

We see animation everywhere, even if we aren't aware of it. We see animated films at the cinema, we see animated series' on TV but there's also a high amount of animation even in advertising and in post-production for films, and lets not forget video games, which could arguably be interactive animations. A portion of us on deviantART will have an animated icon, or an animated gif on their page. 

Basics for beginning animation.

A lot of my friends ask me how to start animation, where to begin, what stuff to buy and what Wacom tablet they need. The short answer to that is: nothing. You dont need any fancy equipment, rostrums, Cintiqs or even a pegbar to start.

Easy ways to start animating.

If you try out any of the methods below, submit them to the Project Animate! Folder - all will be featured at the end of the week.

Remember you're making movement. To animate is to bring to life. All you need to do is move something. This can be done in the simplest of ways, and as a beginner you dont have to worry about any of the scary things I'll mention later.

These are very humble and simple methods for creating animation - you might have already done something very similar!

1) The Flip Book

Staple a few pages of card together and make a tiny flip book. Then draw something on each page, changing it a bit each time. The flipbook is always impressive!
Things you can use for flipbooks include notepads - make sure it's not too thick to flick! Do it in an excersize book corner, or your sketchbook and flick through. The simplest forms of animation are often the most fun to create.

You can even use photos or videos and print them into a flip book.

Even if you're a professional, have a go at the humble flip book, it's something fun and easy to do!

First, get the amount of pages you want. More pages means smoother animation, but also means more drawings. 
Secondly, be aware of a margin - you'll need to bind it together and this could potentially be a blind spot, so avoid drawing in that area.
Thirdly, draw your images. Dont stress about it being accurate or too detailed, try stick figures even.
Step four, test! Animation is all about testing and testing and observing, so flip it and see if you're happy with it. If you are, then bind it and you're done!

2) The Paper and Lightbox

Back in 2007 I grabbed some thin paper and one of college's lightboxes and I drew five frames of a panda eating bamboo. It was scanned in and I couldn't believe I'd made it move. It lead me to create more amateur animations such as:


This was a huge direction for my life - I discovered my love for traditional methods of animation.

If you have a sunny day, a window and a few sheets of paper and a pencil and a scanner or camera then you're all set to go! 
Using your window as a lightbox you can create your own animations in no time - your arms might ache after a while, but it's effective enough!

First, make sure your paper is translucent enough to work with. If it's vellum, it wont work very well.
Next, draw four or more sequential images. They dont have to be perfect but pay attention to consistency within your lines, and make sure your pages line up perfectly.
It's a little harder to test this, but you can get into the early habit of 'flipping' (which is holding your paper and literally flipping through. Professional animators use all five fingers to flick back and forth in fluid motion to get a rough idea of how the animation plays).
Next, take photos or scan in your images and use freeware such as GIMP or your copy of Photoshop CS4+ or Adobe ImageReady to put the images together and play them. (You could import them into Flash too, but Flash's GIF export is very lossy.)
Tadaa! One easy pencil animation!

Moving up from this, you can buy yourself something called a pegbar. It's a device so simple, yet specific that holds together all your punched paper.
Animation paper is translucent and often pre-punched to fit your pegbar, it comes in field sizes more often that regular paper sizes.
You can also purchase lightboxes and animation discs that become your workstation for traditional animation. 
As I know animation equipment isn't in your nearby 7Eleven shop, or even in art shops for the most part, you can visit to see a great list of traditional equipment for animation.

A pegbar (3 pin)

3pinplasticpegbar by ditto9

An animation disc and lightbox.

12fLightBoxOpen by ditto9

3) The Animated Gif

I wont elaborate too much on this, as I will devote an entire day to how to go about creating animated gifs. However, an easy way to create an animation digitally is to create a few frames, minimum of two, and animate them in free software that help you export them. If you already know how to do these, then show us what you have! 


So have a go at some of these methods and see how you feel. There are many of inventive ways to make your own animations, and the beauty of animation is experimentation. You dont know until you try something! 

We will shortly have a folder for you to submit to :) Until then, get animating!

An introduction to the Animation week of Project Educate!
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TopHat-Trexxxy Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ode2sokka Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My one, and only, animation: [link]
FionaCanajART Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Whaaa the flp box has always been a challenge to me!lolXD btw great material you got here!
jcroxas Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I remember animating before on our notebooks when I was just a little kid. it was one of my favorite past times and im actually amazed with how traditional animation works :)

I havent done an animation using the traditional method before but i just use Adobe AFx for my 2d projects and Autodesk maya for our 3d animation. they're both awesome!

great intro :)
Lightbringer2025 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Filmographer
FYI Newstarters, NOT ALL animators are addicted to coffee.
Coffee, like any other drug is addictive and apart from staining your teeth it can increase your heart rate as well as blood pressure and cause other health problems in the long run.
Coffee is also scientifically proven to damage the DNA so if you don't want your offsprings to born with any health problems stay away from it specially when you are animating.
There are alternative herbal options to consider without the side-effects that coffee brings. This [link] has an interesting information.

Apart from that, this is a Great starting point to all you newbies out there!
Great Job Morgan!
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Oxygen is directly related to the ageing process (that's why anti-oxidantso are pushed a lot when it comes to anti-aging.) In fact, they say that if it was possible to live without oxygen, we'd live for hundreds of years, easily.

Sunlight is also has negative effects, in fact, nearly anything you can think of has a negative effect!
Lightbringer2025 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Oxidation and Oxygen are not the same thing my dear! Anti-oxidants do not expel the oxygen from your body. They do however help rid of 'oxidation' caused by unhealthy eating habits such as fast foods, fizzy drinks, chips n burgers, tin foods and processed foods). Oxygen is vital for your body function, lungs, heart and *specially your brain*. without the oxygen, even anti-oxidants can't do their jobs.
If you are worried about the ageing process, I have a list of things that you can do to stay younger, longer and be happier.
It is true that sunlight, if exposed to it for long periods can cause premature ageing and worst, skin cancers,
But, there is a secret that has been kept from humanity for a long time. Knowing when to look at the sun can dramatically increase your lifespan and rid your body of any diseases.
Focus on positive things in life and your life will be so much better!
ditto9 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Haha no, they're certainly not all addicted to coffee - I dont even drink it myself :)

Thanks! ;u;
Lightbringer2025 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Good to hear! :)
U welcome!
TheHedgeHopper Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
very awesome!
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