24 May 2022by vktoons

Animation: Take a first step and make it a small one!

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Since you read these lines, you like animation. Perhaps at some point you asked yourself how a carton or an animation in general is done. Even more specific, at some point you might wanted to try and create your own animated short. But…

But you were afraid to start it either because you had no clue on what to do, or because of your age or of the fear of the unknown or because you were scared of what your friends and relatives would say: “are you into these kids stuff”?

Yet, it is most probable that you have already animated something. Back, when you were pupils. Do you recall drawing consecutive images on the corners of your school books and then turned the pages quickly to watch the move? That was your first “movie”. Guess what! Some of the greatest animators still do it in the books they publish!

The first step for a simple animation is …will! To take a decision to create something simple. Decision is already half the job.Another quarter is to find your materials. Yes, animation is expensive (though not as much as in the old days), but you can make your short with almost zero cost. Do you know what it will take?

  1. A4 paper. Ideally rice paper, but plain 80 gr A4 will work just fine. 15-20 sheets.
  2. Pencil and rubber.
  3. A window glass facing sunlight.
  4. The Sun himself…
  5. A Scanner.
  6. Your computer.

Let’s create something simple: a ball rolling from one side of the paper to the other. We put the first sheet on the window glass and we draw it. Upon that we put the second sheet and we draw our ball a little further. The more the ball accelerates, until the middle of the sheet, the more the distance between the frames increases. Then, the more the velocity decreases until it stops, the more the distance decreases too.

Every sheet is a frame of the short.

Afterwards, we scan all the sheets and import the scanned images in any video edit software we have. We give each image a projection length let’s say 2 fps. Finally, we export our short.

It does not matter if our short is perfect or not. What matter is to start creating. Afterwards we will learn to spot our mistakes and correct them. We will learn the keys, the animation principles, the tools of the work. But without taking the first step, we will never make the second.