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Basic animation tutorial

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#1 Erix


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Posted 21 July 2007 - 01:07 AM

The animation in this tutorial will be done in Photoshop (however Paint Shop Pro can be used, or the likes) and Animation Shop (which is included in the Jasc Software with Paint Shop Pro). I’m only new at this myself, so I’m sure there are much better ways to do this, but at least it will give beginners a starting place.

This is a basic animation:

1. Scan in your sheets of sketches. If you can do them all at one go, it will help with consistency for color, contrast, and size. I normally scan at a high resolution, saving it as my master copy. You never know when you’ll need that larger copy and it gives you more room to play if you just want to focus on one sketch on the sheet.
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2. Adjust the contrast or brightness to match what you actually sketched as my scans always make everything look more washed out than what they are in person.
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3. I want my backdrop for the animation to be 350x200 pixels, not included a little extra for writing at the bottom of each frame. So I resize my scanned sheet so that each sketch within it is going to be under that pixel size. I resize the whole sheet at one time to make it easier and more accurate for creating the same sized individual proms. This is assuming, of course, that I have fairly accurately rendered the proms size wise to correspond with each other on my sketch paper.
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4. Starting with the first image in the animation, rotate the image to match the orientation you desire. In this case, I’m going to make it face up. This step is actually very important with the prom sketches. If I don’t match the curve of the limb, it will show dramatically in the animation. I do this before I crop because if I crop and then rotate, the backdrop corners of the images will look different than the sketch. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but rotating first will help.
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5. Using the “selection” tool, I outline the image I want to focus on, and then crop.
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6. Selecting the ‘clone stamp’, I can clean up the sketch eliminating stray marks or writings that I don’t want to include in the animation. I suggest the clone stamp because the background of this sketch isn’t really a solid color since it is a scan of my paper. If I just used a dropper to select a color from the background, it would be more noticeable that I erased something since it would only represent one color. By using a clone, it represents all the colors. I adjust the brush settings to fit the area a little better.
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7. This is a cleaned up sketch.
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8. Save in a folder specifically dedicated to this animation. I number them in the order that I want them to appear in the animation to save getting them in the wrong order.
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9. Now it’s time for the next sketch. The cool thing is that with Photoshop, all I have to do is click to the point in the history window that quickly takes me back to the point where I rotated but didn’t crop. This saves a lot of time!
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10. Continue on with steps 4-9 until all the sketches are completed.

11. Once I have all my sketches ready, I open up Jasc Animation Shop and start the Animation Wizard under ‘file’.

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12. I define the size of the backdrop for each frame, allowing an additional 50 pixels in the height for writing at the bottom.


13. Define the color for the backdrop of the frames.


14. Here are the positioning definitions I set.

15. I usually chose to loop the animation. The frame display time isn’t really important at this stage, as I usually tweak it during the animation process. But if you don’t a complex animation, then setting it about 50 is a nice relaxing setting.

16. Click on “add image” and then find the path to the folder with the images in it that you want to use in the animation, highlight them, and then click ‘open’.

17. If they are out of order, simply click on the up or down keys, or use the other buttons if needed. In this case, I will click the ‘move up’ button to push that number 7 to the bottom of the list.

18. Click ‘finish’ and the animation strip will appear.

19. Next comes the fun part. I’m going to add a ‘registration mark’ to align my images. This is an important step for a smooth transition between frames.

20. Use the curser button to move each sketch within the frames to light up to the marker.

21. Click “view” and then “animation” to check your work. If you’re happy with the alignment, then we can move on. If not, continue step 20 until you are.

22. I’m going to add text by clicking on the “A”. It’s not the best method, but the best way I’ve found using this program alone. There are “text effect” tabs for further trials, but can get complicated. I actually prefer to use Photoshop, but that will be in a more advanced tutorial later on. Move the text to a position that is easy to match with the rest of the texts when you add them to the other frames. I’m using the lower left hand corner.

23. Click on the little arrow at the top left side and it will allow you to select the next frame. Click in the next frame, making sure it’s highlighted and then repeat the process. Continue on with all the frames in the same manner.

24. Click on the little arrow again at the top left side of the screen, then right click on a frame. A menu will pop up and you want to go to “frame properties”.

25. I like the main frames at setting 50 for display time. I usually make the first and last ones a little longer though. So do that for each frame, but maybe set the first and last ones at 150 instead. Or even 150 for the first and 300 for the last. The frame properties will already be at 50 if you’ve followed step 15.

26. Go back to the first frame and highlight it. Then go up to Effects at the top of the screen and choose “Insert image transition.”

27. Make sure to hit “animation frame” on both sides so that the program will transition between the two. Play around with the settings until you find one that you like. Remember, the more frames per second, the higher the file size will be, but also the smoother the transition. Frame rate also plays into this.

28. Once you press OK, you see the additional frames that were added. They’ll be highlighted in blue. Continue doing the process in 26 and 27 until you get to the last frame. Leave the last frame alone.

29. View animation again. If you’re not happy, make the adjustments. If you are, then start the saving process. You can save it as a gif or as an avi, plus a few others. Some websites won’t accept gif’s, but the avi’s make a lot bigger file size. You do have the option of adjusting the quality/file size to make your files smaller. This particular animation was 787k for the gif. The avi was 32MB for 24 bit, which isn’t bad, but this is a smaller animation. Changing it to an 8 bit make it 10.9 MB.

30. To view the basic animation, please click here:

Basic animation\

My NOAA10963 full animation of the 13 day observation was done a little differently in parts. I'll add that tutorial on another day.

#2 SallyR


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Posted 21 July 2007 - 01:47 AM

THANK YOU Erika! :) What a huge amount of work you have done to put this together for us! I for one can't wait until I get the chance to get a sketch sequence together so that I can try this out, and...... :yay: :whee:.....I have just realised that I have animation shop on my laptop :jump:

Thank you again :thanx: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower:

#3 Sidewinder


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Posted 21 July 2007 - 04:28 AM

Hi Erika!
Wow, you've delivered some really great sketches over the last days and weeks and the tutorial is simply great likewise.
I think, I should try to animate something at some point of time, however, I haven't gotten much into observing the sun...but that'll change anytime soon! :)


#4 Dee


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Posted 21 July 2007 - 04:49 AM

oh Erika what a super tutorial and what a load of work you put into my solar sketch animation

Thanks for everything


#5 darkstar528



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Posted 21 July 2007 - 06:30 AM

:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

#6 Erix


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Posted 21 July 2007 - 04:57 PM

Thanks everyone. I hope it can be useful to those of you there were interested in doing the animations.

Sebastian, this type of thing is good for any sequences, whether it be camera images, sketches of planets, terminator movements on the moon...there an endless list of animations that a person could do.

Photoshop has Image Ready that I've played around with. It's similar to Animation Shop if anyone has that instead of A.Shop.

There's freeware I believe that has similar programs that you could use also.

And if anyone is interested in doing slideshows as in Having Fun in the Sun! that I did awhile back, just click the link that can get you registered in PhotoShow and take it from there. I really enjoyed creating the slideshow, but it's a lot different than watching an animation. Still the music that I found to go with it makes me happy every time I watch the slideshow. :grin:

#7 frank5817



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Posted 21 July 2007 - 08:16 PM

This is a great post. :bow: :rainbow: Judging from the animations you have done, you are already a master of both drawing and animating. :waytogo:

Frank :)

#8 kraterkid


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Posted 21 July 2007 - 08:29 PM

Terrific sketch animation tutorial Erika! :flower: :yay: :flower: This will be so helpful for any astronomical animated sequence in the future. I've got Photoshop but I'd like to get Paint shop Pro with Animation Shop. Do you know what revision has both? I priced Paint Shop Pro at the Corel website and I'm not sure if this has the JASC Animation Shop for the $69.95 online download.

#9 CarlosEH


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Posted 21 July 2007 - 11:20 PM


Thank you for your informative and wonderful animation tutorial. We all appreciate the effort and time that you have taken to put this together. This thread belongs in the "Best Of" category!


#10 Erix


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Posted 22 July 2007 - 08:14 AM

Rich, when we got Paint Shop it was from Jasc and is version 7.02. I'm not sure what the pro package contains from Coral. I see they have Animation Shop sold for 29 dollars

So it looks like maybe it is sold seperately from Paint Shop. It would be nice if you didn't have have to have Paint Shop on your machine to use Animation Shop. Photoshop is so much better of an editing tool that I don't even use Paint Shop hardly anymore.

It might be worth a call to them or an email to see if it's necessary to download Paint shop to use it. Or to even find out if Animation Shop is included with their package now.

#11 kraterkid


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Posted 22 July 2007 - 12:26 PM

Thanks for the info Erika! :D I think I'll contact them to see if Animation Shop is a stand alone product.

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