Lighthouse (2008) animated with Blender.
Sophisticated computer animation programs such as Autodesk Maya, Softimage and 3ds Max can cost thousands but there is a free program called Blender that offers many of the same features. Some impressive animation has been produced with Blender including Lighthouse (2008), Kajimba Trailer (2009) and Sintel
Screen shot from iClone video tutorial 'Scene Creation'.
There are many reasons why people are attracted to making animated films. If your overwhelming desire is to use animation to tell a story then the iClone computer animation package is definitely worth a look.
It uses the same sort of technology that powers the animation in computer games. As you create the animation it can be played back in real time to see how it is progressing. It can also be rendered to various movie formats for upload to YouTube and such like.
iPad screenshot of PixStop in action
Made for ages 10 and up, this iPad Animation app is available FREE for fun or education, whether you’re an animation novice or fan. It is available now on iTunes.
Designed for educational use, the Hue Animation Studio is a great way to introduce children aged 5+ to the art of stop-motion animation. At the moment it is selling on Amazon UK for less than £50 (full price £79.99), the kit contains everything you need to create stop motion animation videos, apart from a computer.
The kit includes a Hue HD camera, fully-featured animation software for Windows or Mac and Plasticine modelling clay. With Christmas just around the corner it would make a wonderful gift for a youngster in your family. It is sure to keep them engrossed during the Christmas holidays.
DigiCel FlipBook enables you to draw 2D animations with your mouse or tablet pen. You can also import drawings captured with a webcam or scanner. It creates a movie file you can watch on any media player, post on the internet or record onto DVD and play on TV.
It is a good tool for practising drawn animation because it allows you to make key frames and then space then out to add in-betweens. Once you have created a few drawings you can play them back at various speeds and decide if you need more in-betweens.
MonkeyJam is a free digital pencil test program that runs on the Windows operating system. It lets you capture images from a webcam, camcorder, or scanner and assemble the separate frames into an animation. You can also import existing images and sound files from your computer. Although it is designed for pencil and paper, MonkeyJam can also be used for stop-motion animation. Once you have created your movie it can be exported as an AVI file.
Windows Movie Maker is software for creating and editing video movies and is included in Microsoft Windows. The feature that makes it a useful tool for novice animators is the ability to add single pictures and play them back as a movie. You can also add sound effects and music and export your finished work to a move in WMV or AVI format.
The first step is to open the program:
1. From the Start menu, click All Programs.
2. Click Windows Movie Maker.