Easy Animation

Or how to turn your favorite drawing into your favorite mini-movie 




Enter the Shoe! 

Adding Cool Stuff!

Go Wiggly Legs! 



So, you're a doodler. You doodle on your math papers, you doodle in your English book, and you even doodle on your brother's forehead when he's napping on the sofa. What can you do with a doodle? Why, you can turn that doodle into a award-winning mini-movie, drawn, created, and directed by you. (Well, it might not win awards, but it's still all yours. :-)

How do you do this, you say? Why don't we find out?



This tutorial is meant for budding animation artists in grades 9 and up. If you are younger than that, you will most likely need the help of an adult. If you like to draw, and have always wondered how those animators at Pixar, Dreamworks, and Disney create their animated masterpieces, then this tutorial is for you. 

However, keep in mind, creating a animated movie takes time. You will not finish this in one afternoon. Learning to use the drawing and animation software is not always easy, but once you do, you will be able to use some very powerful computer art tools.


You wonder, why do you need something like this? I mean, what's it all foooor? 

This tutorial is meant to primarily be of use in art class, to allow students to not only learn drawing using conventional mediums, but to allow them to experiment with digital art formats. It can also be used by students, from home, to learn some basic animation skills.

Also, programs of the types used here, most specifically, vector-based drawing programs, are notoriously difficult to learn to use. Many programs of this type are also quite expensive. I use Adobe Illustrator for my own drawing/animation work, and this is a $500 program. I put some effort into trying out free vector-based drawing packages to see which one worked best for creating basic animation. Inkscape worked very well for this purpose, and hopefully, by providing the tutorial, a package like this becomes less intimidating to use.


Technology Elements Used Here

1. I am using Google page creator to create these pages. I also used an FTP file transfer program to upload the animations to my own website, so I could easily link to them from Google Page Creator.


2. I am also using digital photographs of my drawing and magazine clipping process.


3. I used Word 2007 to create .html files as well, using it to write the tutorial text while incorporating a series of screen captures of my animation process.

4. I created original video files of my animation work. While I originally planned to put up my saved .avi files (an easily playable video format for use with Windows Media Player), these were very large files--too large for the web. While I certainly have the ability to reduce, or compress these files, I did not want this to be a tutorial about "How to compress a large video file." (This is a fairly complex issue in and of itself.) Rather, I chose to output my videos as animated GIF files. These animated GIF files are much, much smaller than an .avi file, and easily playable on the web.

What you will need

For this project, you will need the following items:

1. Plain white paper

2.  Pencils and a good eraser

3. A scanner

4. At least 1 GIG of hard drive space 

5. A fairly fast computer with at least 512 megs of memory (more memory, if possible)

6. Scissors

7. Old magazines


You will also need to download the following computer programs:

1. Inkscape Drawing Program. This is a free vector based drawing program. Download it from: Inkscape Download.


2. Corel Animation Shop 3. This program  costs  $39 from Corel Animation Shop 3.


I am using  an older version of this program in this tutorial, which was called Jasc Animation Shop. Corel bought out Jasc, hence the name change. Jasc Animation Shop came included with Jasc PaintShop Pro Version 8. You can probably find this still available from online retailers as well.


3. You will also need a picture editing program, like Jasc PaintShop Pro (now Corel PaintShop Pro) or a free program like GIMP, which is available for download here: GIMP download.

Animation Introduction

 Perhaps you aren't familiar with animated films and how they are made. Here are two sites that offer an introduction to the medium.

What is Animation? The Basics.

Watch an Animated Video on Making an Animated Video!

Tutorial Format

Now, let's animate!


Use the links on the left side of the page to start the tutorial. The steps are listed in order, so start with the first one, and proceed down the list.


Or start by clicking here: Drawing