How to Make Computer Animation

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Animation is generally the result of implementing time-dependent behavior on objects that are part of a complex system. Using static background and drawings, it is composed of a series of images sequenced in such a way that it provides the perspective of seemingly following a predetermined path. Developed based on the concept of transforming 2D objects into the 3D plane, it makes use of a rendering machine that translates the user's instructions into a complicated set of events normally stored in a single file. The development in this computer application field has paved the way for advancements in filmmaking, gaming, and presentations among others.

Materials Needed:
- Applications with a rendering engine
- video card (supports 3D graphics rendering)
- monitor
Step 1
The initial step to creating a computer animation is to conceptualize the story. This mental image creation process is important because it defines the flow of movement that will be observed by the objects in the animation. It will also define the starting, middle, and ending position of all objects concerned allowing the user to identify where the looping process begins.
Step 2
The background must then be introduced into the frame. In general, anything that does not require movement or is not defined as a character is considered as a background element. So if you are creating an animation of a butterfly moving from one flower to another under a cloudy sky, the flowers are part of the background. If the clouds are moving, then they are considered as characters just like the butterfly.
Step 3
Proceed by drawing every pose that you intend the characters to assume. Each pose must be made on a separate drawing or slide (in the case of Microsoft PowerPoint). The drawings must reflect the changes in the character’s appearance like a butterfly with closed wings, open wings, touching a flower, flying between the flowers, and so on. The number of drawings would depend on the number of poses the characters would assume. Like in the example, the butterfly may need four different drawings while the clouds may only need two.
Step 4
Make multiple copies of the background image based on the number of drawings required in the animation. Merge the initial pose of the characters with the background to create the initial frame. In the example, only two drawings of the clouds were made. Each drawing must have its own copy to correspond with the four drawings of the butterfly. In the same manner, there must be four copies of the background image.
Step 5
Save each frame with a different file name. To make sure that there is continuity and that the frame will flow seamlessly, copy the previous frame into the new frame deleting only the pose of the characters and replacing them with the new pose. This is time-saving especially when using applications like CorelDraw or even PowerPoint.
Step 6
Repeat Step 5 for all remaining frames until all the poses have been completed. Remember to save each frame with a different file name and take care not to overwrite previous frames.
Step 7
When all of these are finished, it is necessary to load animation packages with rendering engines like the GIF Construction set, Swish, Anim8or, Blender 3D, iMovie, or Windows Movie Maker among others. The user must load the frames in the order which they will be logically displayed. The delay in the display of the frames will dictate how fast or slow the movement will be in the final animated file.
Step 8
The completed file is usually saved in the GIF format. The output may also be passed through a compression package to minimize its size for use with websites or easier distribution.