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
184.108.40.206 Introduction - The indroduction and tools needed
220.127.116.11-2 Tools used
18.104.22.168 History - The history of my animation creation
22.214.171.124-1 The AVI days
126.96.36.199-2 MSPaint and early animated GIFs
188.8.131.52-3 GIMP and my latest animations
184.108.40.206-4 Automation leads to extreme complexity
220.127.116.11-5 Discoveries made along the way
18.104.22.168-6 The future
22.214.171.124 Glossary of terms and common formulas - Common animation-related terms and common formulas involved with art
126.96.36.199-2 Commonly used formulas
188.8.131.52 Planning - Forming the plan - what the animation will do and how to set up the spreadsheet
184.108.40.206-1 The base plan
220.127.116.11-2 The main plan
18.104.22.168-3 The detailed plan
22.214.171.124 Creating the scenery - Making the scenery - how to optimize it and work with it
126.96.36.199-1 Some important notes
188.8.131.52-2 The easy stuff
184.108.40.206-3 The mountains
220.127.116.11-4 Making the character
18.104.22.168-5 Adding the obstacle and speed data
22.214.171.124 Animating - Processing the frames - using the spreadsheet data to make the frames of the animation
126.96.36.199-1 Important notes
188.8.131.52-2 Doing the text objects
184.108.40.206-3 The first scenery frames
220.127.116.11-4 Further scenery frames
18.104.22.168 Testing - Testing the animation - how to test the animation to spot problems
22.214.171.124-1 Compiling the animation
126.96.36.199-2 Testing the animation
188.8.131.52 Tips and tricks - Tips, tricks, and shortcuts to make animation-creation easier and faster
184.108.40.206 FAQ - Some commonly asked questions and help to common problems