Pivot – a great tool for teaching children animation

Pivot stick figure animator is a great piece of free animation software that is ideal for introducing the principals of movement to children. When the software is first opened there is a stick figure in the centre of the frame. Each limb is jointed and can be moved by grabbing red spots with the mouse curser and dragging them. When you add a frame and move the figure a grey shadow is left in the old position in an onion skin effect. This allows you to judge how much to move the figure. Once two frames have been completed the animation can be played so you can check how you are doing as you go along. The frames also appear in a strip along the top of the work area.

The animation can be saved at any stage as a piv file and also as an animated gif file. Here is a 12 frame test animation that I made with the Pivot software.

The onion skin effect.

There is much more that you can do with Pivot. You can import any jpg or bmp image to act as a background. I created the background of the above animation in Photoshop using a few oval shapes and saved it as a bmp file. When it is imported it is added to all of the frames. If you don’t like the effect you can remove it and try a different background.

You can also design your own stick figures using a range of shapes. It is simply a matter of dragging each part into the work area. The four short animations that are included with the software give an idea of what is possible. They feature a man, a horse, an elephant and some dominos.

Pivot stick figure animator runs on a PC with Windows 98/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7.
It is a free download from the SnapFiles website.

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