Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Making simple GIF annimations.

Yesterday I posted this video describing how to make an animated GIF by using Inkscape to position transparent PNG images over a background, and then using giffy.com to put them together as an animated GIF, however video is not an ideal medium for sharing information like URLs, so I'm adding these to this blog post, along with some other resources and ideas.

The software I used to create the PNG images is SmoothDraw, a free drawing package that works particularly well with graphics tablets. SmoothDraw is only available for Windows, however the open source package, Inkscape, which is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, would also be suitable for this part of the process. I've put a few of my PNG versions of Sarah's doodles at www.niallbarr.me.uk/picture_library/doodles.zip which you can use if you just want to play with the second and third stages.

In the video I also used Inkscape to position the PNGs over a background, however for the Daily Create 'Jump' animation I actually used a similar commercial package Xara Photo & Graphic Designer. For this particular task I don't think there is anything better about either package, but I prefer Xara for more advanced graphics (which may well be due to my greater familiarity with it rather than any intrinsic superiority over Inkscape.)

An alternative way of doing this, which might be better if you're using this as an activity for children would be to print out the PNGs, and carefully cut round the edges, and photograph them over a background - the technique used by Terry Gilliam for animated segments of Monty Python's Flying Circus. (Consistent lighting a fixed camera position are important if you're doing this.) A desk lamp and a webcam works as a simple setup.