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  1.  (9583.1)
    Hello. I'm wanting to tackle my second attempt at animation, this time in a 3-minute short film. I have an idea, which I'll work into a script, and I can draw, but I wanted some advice from anyone who might know or have experience about how to go about actually making the animation happen...

    Here is my first attempt:

    I used the totally abysmal Windows Movie Maker, which I won't do again, and obviously there's not much actual animationgoing on there...

    But basically I want to take a shitload of jpegs or whatever that I'll draw and put them in a sort of "stop-motion" computer program (I use a PC) that I can put an audio track(s) with.

    Any recommendations on (hopefully) free software that's for animation? I've looked through Google, but without trying every single program mentioned, it's hard to know exactly what I'm going to be getting... There's one called Pencil that seems like it might be something I want, but I'm not sure.

    And I want to burn to a dvd afterwards, so a program that exports usable video files would be nice.

    Thanks in advance
  2.  (9583.2)
    I think it depends on how hands-on you want to be with the art, I think. It sounds like you want to draw and scan everything in. Is this the case?

    I've always been a Hertzfeldt fan, mostly for the whole art of making his pieces, but also because how labor intensive the work is, as seen in this video...

    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2011
    I've used Pencil before. It is free, but it doesn't do the best job, and if I recall it doesn't export to many video file formats. It's really mainly meant for pencil tests, to check the progress of your work, and not for finished animation.

    I think you could probably use Blender. It's a free 3D software, but you could probably just import the jpegs into it in a timeline, have them be the background or on a flat plane and not put any 3D in there, and just render that out as a video file. It would probably be an irritating process to figure out, but I bet it would work.

    Here's a soundless video tutorial showing someone using blender to set up the equivalent of a multipane 2D animation rig:

    My impression is that Blender is quite a hassle to learn, but is most likely more than powerful enough to do some very sophisticated things in 2D. I think you can import a series of jpegs as frames into blender and just play them, but you can also import images, map them to flat planes in blender and then animate by sliding planes around, compositing effects over them, etc.

    Maybe combining Pencil for quickness and Blender for compositing and rendering might be the free Open Source animation suite you need?
      CommentAuthorHEY APATHY!
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2011 edited
    I use MAGIX Edit Pro It exports in every imaginable format and does audio tracks. it has single frame capture/single frame time codes which is all you really need for animation. Normal rate is 12 drawings equal 1 second.( I do all the drawings on paper and photoshop) That's all I know. this short has over 2000 drawings but was shot on 16mm and underexposed ...
      CommentAuthorEd Sludden
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2011
    Theres a few options available for free 2d animation software, I managed to get some results from

    You might want to look at trying a demo for CelAction. (Its used on Humf and PeppaPig, I think)
    Or you could try an AfterEffects demo, I'm pretty sure you can queue up sequential images in it, and its widely used.

    But for production line 2D with an easy learning curve I'd use something like Toonz. But
    again your looking at paying for it -but I thought I'd mention it anyway.
    The only downside to learning Blender for 2D is that blender is a steep learning curve
    and a lot of the processes and lexicon are not transferrable to 3dsmax or maya. I guess
    because its free, that makes it entry level, but then so is Modo. I don't think Blender is
    used much in industry (that I know of), so Blender skills may not be transferrable. I used
    3dsmax in games development to move 2d graphics about, as if it was AdobeFlash, but
    sequential drawings in Max is a bit of a faff and I'd say, try a dedicated 2Dpackage before a 3d one.
  3.  (9583.6)
    link <---this is an article i wrote about a year ago linking to all of the freeware animation programs i played around with.(scribbler link doesn't work)

    For what your talking about 'pencil' would do the job and then add the audio in another program, if your going the classical route 'monkey jam' can do it, i'm not sure if you can import a sequence of .png's but i know you can export your file an an .avi or a sequence of .png's to then import to 'premiere', best of luck.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2011
    Just wanted to say I liked the short piece you've done already and am looking forward to seeing what you come up with here.
  4.  (9583.8)
    Thanks for the suggestions. I will look into all of them, but just off the bat, hey apathy's method seems like what I want... I will keep you posted as to what I end up doing.
  5.  (9583.9)
    Hey frequent, just wanted to add that I'm thinking seriously about one of those computer drawing tablets because right now I spend = amounts of time drawing the stills as I do scanning them but otherwise the technique works really well.