Ever wonder how I made this animation (or any of these)? You'll learn how in this tutorial, including a detailed behind-the-scenes look.
How do you make animations that behave in a realistic way?
Last updated: Apr 12, 2006 (first version)
Level 4 update on Jun 9, 2007 (various enhancements)
Ever wonder how I made the seemingly complex-behaving, realistic-appearing animation at the top? Making these kinds of animations aren't just putting a bunch of frames together to form something that moves, rather, they have otherwise hidden details that are often not thought of. This tutorial will explain, step-by-step, in great detail, just how I went about making this animation and you can follow along to make your own variation of it yourself and other animated GIFs like it. It's not as complex as it seems.
While going through this tutorial, you'll see many (19) screenshots giving a behind-the-scenes look at how the animation was made. The screenshots on the main document have been heavily scaled down as having 1600x1200 images displayed as is means a high chance of horizontal scrolling and heavy memory usage. To view the full-size version of the screenshot, simply click on it. The screenshot will open in a new window (or tab) and be shown at full size. This way, you can read along with the tutorial and view the full-size screenshot to see what I'm talking about.
2 Tools used
I only use two main tools: a spreadsheet and The GIMP. The spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel 2002 in my case) is used for all the computations I do and for the planning. The GIMP is what I use to make the scenery with and to build each frame.
This tutorial is broken up into several sections and further subsections:
3.2.3 Animation creation tutorial - how I make my flash-like animated GIFs to the finest detail
18.104.22.168 Introduction - The indroduction and tools needed
22.214.171.124-2 Tools used
126.96.36.199 History - The history of my animation creation
188.8.131.52-1 The AVI days
184.108.40.206-2 MSPaint and early animated GIFs
220.127.116.11-3 GIMP and my latest animations
18.104.22.168-4 Automation leads to extreme complexity
22.214.171.124-5 Discoveries made along the way
126.96.36.199-6 The future
188.8.131.52 Glossary of terms and common formulas - Common animation-related terms and common formulas involved with art
184.108.40.206-2 Commonly used formulas
220.127.116.11 Planning - Forming the plan - what the animation will do and how to set up the spreadsheet
18.104.22.168-1 The base plan
22.214.171.124-2 The main plan
126.96.36.199-3 The detailed plan
188.8.131.52 Creating the scenery - Making the scenery - how to optimize it and work with it
184.108.40.206-1 Some important notes
220.127.116.11-2 The easy stuff
18.104.22.168-3 The mountains
22.214.171.124-4 Making the character
126.96.36.199-5 Adding the obstacle and speed data
188.8.131.52 Animating - Processing the frames - using the spreadsheet data to make the frames of the animation
184.108.40.206-1 Important notes
220.127.116.11-2 Doing the text objects
18.104.22.168-3 The first scenery frames
22.214.171.124-4 Further scenery frames
126.96.36.199 Testing - Testing the animation - how to test the animation to spot problems
188.8.131.52-1 Compiling the animation
184.108.40.206-2 Testing the animation
220.127.116.11 Tips and tricks - Tips, tricks, and shortcuts to make animation-creation easier and faster
18.104.22.168 FAQ - Some commonly asked questions and help to common problems