How to Create and Publish Animation
If you have any aspirations for creating and publishing animation but find the idea rather daunting, then you have come to the right place. Follow this guide on how I made the little animation video "Football". Which software was used in what order and so on? Read each step carefully, and bookmark this page so you can come back later for the fine details. Of course, there are many other, probably more expensive programs you can use to create animation, but this simple and inexpensive method works fine.
Why Chose Animation as a Medium of Expression?
Everyone is born with an innate curiosity and the power to create and publish animation. Animation is a perfect medium to challenge and incorporate several creative talents into one end product. It starts with an idea, an imaginary vision. But what is the use of an idea or vision without being able to share it? In order to be able to share that idea, it has to turn into a product that is visible and comprehensible to an audience. The medium used to express an idea becomes the reality of that idea.
I have chosen the above simple football animation video to show how to create and publish animation.
This game of football only has two protagonists: a human foot, and a little red ball. At first the ball allows itself to be used as an exercise prop by the foot until, perhaps by accident, the foot squashes the poor little red ball. When the ball has recovered from the shock, she gives the foot a few pokes into the right direction and forgives him with a comforting sole-rub and a kiss. The music was inspired by an old French song “Une Abeille Un Jour De Printemps / A Bee on a Spring Day."
The technical process of creating animation is slightly more complicated than say, writing and illustrating an article. However, working on animation is more varied and interesting than just plain writing. Besides, the information one can convey with animation often cannot be described in words, yet it can have an equally strong, if not stronger impact on the viewer.
Which Animation Software?
The software used to create and publish the "Football" video consists of the following programs:
- Macromedia Freehand to Draw the Images
- Anvil Studio to Compose the Music
- Adobe Director to Animate the Images
- Quicktime and Movie Maker to Convert to HD
Macomedia Freehand to Draw Images
Where did the "Football" video start in its infancy? Well, the entire process, from the idea to its full fledged video started at the "Freehand” drawing board. With its simple and powerful design tools, Adobe Freehand formerly owned by Macromedia is an imaging program that uses vector graphics for design, document production, and editing. You can change the size of the images with no loss of quality.
I have never been trained, nor am I particularly good at drawing, but as with everything else, practice improves skills. As you can see in the next animation video I made, Freehand has taught me to see images in a graphically balanced and economical way to help me find my own style of drawing.
A Sample of Freehand Drawings Converted to jpg
Adobe Want to Kill Freehand
Today, Freehand has no new features nor much exposure. The idea is that Freehand users should become users of Adobe Illustrator. But not all new, expensive things are better than proven old ones. I have been working with my good old Freehand program since 1996 and it still works fine for me. Despite Adobe’s policy, a large number of users around the world want to use Freehand for the ease of its many capabilities, including the ability to text layout.
A campaign for the salvation of Freehand was launched at FreeFreehand.org. This is what they have to say:
"Freehand is quite possibly the best vector-based graphics application ever created. Worldwide, many of the leading graphics designers, illustrators and cartographers, just to name a few vector-reliant professions, still use Freehand. It's a remarkable fact considering that development ceased just prior to Adobe acquiring Macromedia in 2005."
I believe the only places you may still buy Macromedia Freehand is on Amazon or eBay at a fraction of the cost of Adobe Illustrator.
Macro Media Freehand
FreeHand 10 offers graphic designers powerful productivity features, including master pages, the new Macromedia user interface, and sophisticated vector-based illustration tools to create images and image related text shapes.
You can enhance your project work flow by creating a document once, then publishing it across multiple media, including print, the Web, and beyond.
It has gradients for backgrounds, layers, effects, and even animation applications. FreeHand offers a rich collection of preview-ready presets that designers can use to achieve results right out of the box.
Anvil Studio to Compose Music
The sound was written in a free program called “Anvil Studio” as a midi file, then converted to a wave (wav.) file, and uploaded to the Adobe Director animation program discussed below. The sound file goes in first since all the precise timing of the animation has to be in sync with the sound. So in this respect the sound file becomes the timeline for all the action.
What Can Anvil Studio Do?
Anvil Studio ™ is a free Windows program for people who want to:
- record music with MIDI and Audio equipment,
- compose music for MIDI and Audio equipment,
- sequence music with MIDI equipment,
- play with music using a computer, and
- print sheet music from standard MIDI files.
You don't have to be able to read or write music when using Anvil Studio as the software automatically generates sheet music for any composition you create on the on-screen keyboard. So as you are playing a tune, Anvil Studio writes the music for you. There is no need for the music score to create animation. It is just fun to see one's composition in written in music notation. However, the notation helps getting the melodies and rhythms correctly laid out. In the actual animation, only the finished soundtrack is used. Now, how to animate the pictures to match the sound?
Adobe Director to Animate the Images
Following the creation of the still pictures in Freehand, the images are copied and pasted into Adobe Director. Also formerly owned by Macromedia, Director is one of the best multimedia and animation authoring software.
Director is a very powerful media integration and programming package. Its versatility to incorporate images, audio, digital video, flash movies, and even a 3D engine in a single application is unrivaled. I used Director to animate the "Football" movie.
Adobe Director 11.5 and its incorporated Adobe Shockwave Player software help you develop compelling animation, YouTube videos, interactive games, demos, prototypes, simulations, and eLearning courses for the web, Mac and Windows desktops, DVDs, and CDs. With Adobe Director you can create once and publish virtually anywhere for the greatest return on your creativity.
Images Copied Into Director
Scoring the Animation in Director
Once both the soundtrack and the images are in Director, it is now just a question of placing each image in its correct place under the music to last for the required duration. Exactly in the same way that an orchestral musical composition is scored, whereby all the different musical instruments are written each on a separate stave, several images acting in the animation at the same time also each require their own score line.
Adobe Director Score
Are YOU an Animator?
Have you ever made animated movies?
Quicktime & Movie Maker
From Director, the movie is saved as a QuickTime movie, then converted and transferred to Windows Movie Maker as a WMV-HD quality file, ready to share or upload to Youtube.
Have a Go?
Even if you are not a trained artist, this method on How to Create and Publish Animation imposes no boundaries on your creativity and the end result looks professional. For any questions or suggestions, please follow the comments discussion below.
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