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Creating cartoon animations?

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I remember back when I used to play Dodge Ball on the NES, I wanted to duplicate the graphics of the players on my little Coco 3. I picked up a piece of graph paper, hit PAUSE, and started plotting the graphics, pixel for pixel, so I could generate the graphics myself using the graph as a guide. But now, on my PC, if I wanted to create original graphics myself, say, for example, a guy running (nothing too fancy, just an 8 stage running animation that still looks like a cartoon), what is the best way to go about creating that? Should I sketch the cartoons out on paper (starting out with a stick figure and adding details later), then plot them on to graph paper, and assemble the graphics dot for dot in Paint, or Fireworks, or whatever else is handy? Or is there a better way to do this? Is there one best method, or do different artists use different styles? Is there a graphics package that makes all of this easy? Thanks for any input! [edited by - Waverider on August 15, 2002 10:13:25 AM]

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If you want to go with your graph paper approach you can open up Paint (on the Start menu, under programs-accessories), click the magnifying glass on the tool bar and select 8X (or 6X or 2X) and press CTRL+G to show the grid. Then use the pencil to too fill in pixels.

Of course I''m not artist so maybe someone who is has an idea (or software suggestion) for doing small sprite art...

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I'd prefer not to scan my work, since I need the bitmaps to be very precise for good animation. That, for the most part, I think, requires planning them out on graph paper. I just didn't know if there are any nice tools out there that help with this kind of thing.

I guess I could scan in the graphs as a starting point, and then color them in manually...

[edited by - Waverider on August 18, 2002 8:16:21 AM]

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The ideal way to do it is to use a program like Paint Shop Pro along with a Wacom tablet. It takes some getting used to, but it''s sure as hell easier than what you were planning to do. I looooooovvvve my tablet. They''re abit pricey but well worth the cost.

I also recomend getting, if you don''t have one already, books on animation to guide you in actually animating these tiny, pixellated, pictures.

----Steve

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