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Swarmer

Bitmap Animation Software

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All of the 2D animation software I can find is all vector based. Are there programs that assist in bitmap animation? I haven't done much animation before but what I imagine to be a good program for it would be this: - I can take a base image and then copy multiple frames of it - I can modify each frame with some good editing and distortion tools to make each frame slightly different. - Maybe some tweening for more distinct objects? (or is that for vectors only?) - Maybe a feature to load video and split it frame by frame to rotoscope it My goal is to make some simple 2D animations, like some trees or grass swaying in the breeze, using digitally hand drawn pictures. I think I'll just use Photoshop, and then add a layer for each frame and edit every frame, using the translucent previous frame as reference. Is there a better way (or program) to do this? Thanks.

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i think the tweening you are referring to is for vector graphics only, however, the word tweening comes from the word between which is actually a process used in professional hand drawn animation studios. the real animators only draw the begining and end of the actions in the animation and mark frame times and durations of the actions, then they just send the draft to the tweeners and they fill in the frames between. the family guy animators send it all the way to korea to be tweened. by the way, i use graphics gale for my pixel art animations. it works great. it even has onion skin. also, its palette features are awesome for when you need fixed palette graphics in a game! you can easily pick two colors to blend which is good for shading.

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Oh, so other people manually fill in the missing frames? That seems like a really efficient idea for professionals (although not one I have resources for).

What's onion skin? Actually, brb Googling.

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Onion skin is really a reference to the traditional animation paper, which is thin and somewhat translucent, similar to the layers of an onion.

In traditional animation, the animators draw the character models and reference sheets, then draw "key frames" (this is the origin of the term keyframe) with timing information - how many frames need to be inserted between keys. The in-betweeners (basically a team of junior animators) draw the frames between keys, but at this point all of the art is still rough. Another set of artists "clean up" these drawings by tracing the core shapes, creating outlines of consistent thickness, etc (though, of course, a studio can employ one artist as both an in-betweener and for cleanup). After cleanup, the cels (so-called because the cleaned up versions were drawn on fully transparent sheets of celluloid) are ready for painting, which is done on the reverse side, often in acrylic.

As single shot of final animation is composed by layering the background, all static elements, and then all animated elements on a peg board (for uniform registration) to be photographed by an overhead camera.

Yeah, digital technology takes a lot of that tedium out. [smile]

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Wow that sounds like a lot of work for just a few seconds of animation... having to do a multi-hour length film must be a real challenge.

Thank goodness for digital art... I feel almost guilty doing the work of a whole team in half the time! Although their superior quality is something they can rightfully brag about.

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Yes, a lot of work for a few frames of finished animation. Over the years, animators have employed a wide variety of techniques to try to get around the amount of work necessary. The most basic of these is the use of holds, which you'll still see in Flash animation today. Whenever a character does not move in a frame, the same drawing from the previous frame is used - the pose is "held." Limited animation techniques break a single character into multiple parts whenever possible and only animate the part(s) that move(s). You can see examples of this in Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Scooby-Doo; you'll notice a slight color difference between a part that's going to move and one that isn't.

Another technique is loops, and pretty much everyone still uses this today, from hand-drawn animation to 3D. Once a cycle of animation is completed, the same frames are reused over and over for as long as the animation is needed. Again, the Hanna-Barbera cartoons (famous for their use of limited animation to lower production costs for television animation, though critics bemoan the loss of animation quality) demonstrate this: Fred Flintstone running, Scooby-Doo and the gang running...

A unique technique I learned about recently, practiced by Anatoly Petrov - though I can't find any references now - involved painting a scene on glass, photographing it, then painting the next frame by adjusting the paint before it dries. Obviously, only so many frames can be created this way (and absolutely no scene changes), but the results can be quite impressive: Firing Range.

Digital tools are still just tools. It is important to have a firm grasp of drawing and animation principles to use them effectively, which is part of why I voraciously consume all information I can get about them.

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Actually you can do this all in Flash, onionskin tweening (for bitmaps too), it's all there.

What I do is;

1-draw stuff in Flash and convert them to symbols-graphics
2-or draw them in photoshop and import them in Flash.
1-2-contn.-if it's a character, draw every limp seperatly
3-assmeble the character in the first frame on the timeline
4-copy that frame (alt+drag on timeline)
5-manipulate the new frame
6-repeat steps 4 and 5 a lot.

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Hi there. I know another product that is cheap and does the same things you mentioned. It's called Paint Shop Pro 8, can be found at www.amazon.com, and comes with animation software called Animation Shop. It can do frame by frame animaton, with or without onion skinning, and has two animation wizards, one for text and banners, and one for picture animations where you select your images in order, and it will make them into one animation for you.Paint Shop Pro 8 (it's an older version), and Animation Shop go really well together, because one is for drawing, and the other is for animating. I know that they are both really easy to use because I have both. With Animation Shop, you can add lots of pre-animated effects and customize them too.

Happy to help
-Spludge Interactive

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