4 ways to make an animation

Table of contents:

4 ways to make an animation
4 ways to make an animation

Making an animation is not as complicated as it seems, it all depends on your skill and the method that is easiest for you to apply. Animation is the art of bringing a character to life; either drawing it, making it with plasticine (molding mass), wire or on the computer. Here you will find some of the most popular techniques and steps when making an animation.


Method 1 of 4: Prepare

Failure The Slug 6816
Failure The Slug 6816

Step 1. Decide exactly what animation technique to use

You can lean towards a specific technique or you can choose to combine several techniques. Find examples of animations made with your chosen technique on YouTube, for example. The most common techniques are claymation (using plasticine), stop-motion (made with any object), traditional (with paper and pencil), flash or 3D (the latter using computer programs).

Make Your Own Animation Step 36
Make Your Own Animation Step 36

Step 2. Find information about the technique you are going to use

It would be very helpful if you could contact someone who has experience using this technique for advice.

Make Your Own Animation Step 38
Make Your Own Animation Step 38

Step 3. Design a character

Make up characters that can be animated. Existing character designs can also be used.

Write a Comic Book Step 1
Write a Comic Book Step 1

Step 4. Create the script for your animation

You must plan and study the movements and actions that the characters will be performing. This step must be completed before bringing the protagonists of the story to life.

Method 2 of 4: Use stop-motion animation or claymation

Create a Claymation Armature Step 20
Create a Claymation Armature Step 20

Step 1. Place the character (s) in a working set

Make sure the set is well lit, preferably with artificial light as natural light varies throughout the day.

Make a Webcam Stand out of a Coke Can Step 4
Make a Webcam Stand out of a Coke Can Step 4

Step 2. Use a webcam

Place it in a well fixed place choosing the right frame for the set. It is recommended to use a specialized animation program, such as Digicel, to capture the images.

Step 3. Plan all the movements of your characters

Based on the script you created, you should contemplate the movements that the characters will make and draw sketches to have them at your fingertips when you need them.

Step 4. Photograph

Take pictures once, move the characters around a bit, and take pictures again. It is important to mark many contrasts between fast and slow movements so that the animation looks interesting.

Step 5. Export the video to a compressed format

You can choose avi for example to upload it to the Internet, or put it on a compact disc.

Method 3 of 4: Use Traditional Animation

Make Your Own Animation Step 37
Make Your Own Animation Step 37

Step 1. Build or get a nightstand

Professional animators use a disc and perforated papers that get stuck one on top of the other, on the night table. This allows you to view multiple drawings at the same time without moving them. You can use perforated paper for folders that you get for sale in any stationery store.

A very rudimentary animation table can be built with wood, a light inside and the "pegs", three metal rods where the perforated sheets are inserted

Make Your Own Animation Step 42
Make Your Own Animation Step 42

Step 2. Make an outline

The first thing you should do is a sketch on paper apart from the movement that the character is going to make. The sketch of the animation is very important for any technique, even if it is done by computer.

Make Your Own Animation Step 43
Make Your Own Animation Step 43

Step 3. Draw the first and last pictures

By organizing yourself in this way, you prevent the character from changing size, unless the change is intentional. At first it should be drawn in a very sketchy and dirty way, with a colored pencil. Once you have all the drawings made, you are going to highlight them with a graphite pencil to obtain greater definition in the drawing.

Step 4. Draw the most important positions so that the movement is understood

These positions are called keys. For example, if the character is going to jump you should draw:

  • First when he takes the momentum.
  • Second when it reaches the highest point.
  • Third when it falls.

Step 5. Sketch all the pictures

Draw in succession, one after the other, the rest of the drawings that go in between, of course, applying all the principles of animation, such as support, anticipation, arches, stretch and squash, timing, silhouette, contrasts, position, etc.

Step 6. Number and order the pictures

Photograph each drawing with a webcam directly to a specialized animation program such as digicel, to see how it looks and if it is necessary to make any changes. Once you have the final animation, scan it directly to the same program where it can be colored, assembled with different scenes, add backgrounds, etc.

Make Your Own Animation Step 44
Make Your Own Animation Step 44

Step 7. Flipe

While they are making the drawings, it is important to go "fliping", that is, moving the papers one after another while drawing to see how the movement is flowing.

Step 8. Export the video to a compressed format

You can use avi for example and then you can upload it to the Internet, or burn it to disk. If you want to see the finished animation of the character jumping that was shown as an example, you must go here

Method 4 of 4: Use 3D Animation

Make Your Own Animation Step 47
Make Your Own Animation Step 47

Step 1. Make sure you have a computer powerful enough to support 3D animation software

Almost always the requirements that are requested are minimal, 1GB of RAM, a video card with OpenGL support and a processor of about 2GHz, although the requirements vary from one program to another.

Step 2. Get the animation software

You can download Blender for free for any platform. There is also a free version of Maya, which can only be used for educational purposes.

Get Started With Blender 3D Step 3
Get Started With Blender 3D Step 3

Step 3. Find tutorials on the Internet on how to use the program

In the case of Blender, there is extensive free documentation on different sites. Do not leave aside also the video tutorials that can be found on YouTube.

Step 4. Find characters to work with

If you don't have the time or experience to build your own character, you can immediately download one of the available characters to animate. They are free and are under the Creative Commons license. Example: Generi by Andrew Silke, originally for Maya, now also has a version for Blender.

Step 5. Define the parameters

Before starting to animate, in the rendering options of the program that is used, define the (frame rate), or the frames per second at 24 fps, and also define the duration of the scene in seconds.

Make Your Own Animation Step 48
Make Your Own Animation Step 48

Step 6. Plan the animation by drawing a sketch

In the same way that it is done in traditional animation.

Animation 6
Animation 6

Step 7. Locate the camera

Position the camera in the point of view you want to see the character when the animation is finished. Render a frame just to see what it looks like.

  • Move the character's controls to their first position. Select all the controls that were moved and insert a keyframe on the timeline in the first frame.
  • Move the character back to the last position. Once you've moved it, record it on the timeline.
  • Go creating the key positions (key). Go moving the character in each of the positions and record them. Once you have the recording you can put play to see how it looks. Move the place keys on the timeline if necessary.
  • Create the intermediate positions as needed. Once you are satisfied with your animation, render the entire animation in.avi format.

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  • The design of the character must be thinking about the technique: if it is made of plasticine it must be very stable so that it does not fall when moving it, if it is going to be drawn it must be very simple since it will have to be drawn many times.
  • For stop-motion animations, any object can be used as a character; including food, furniture, pencils, toys, etc.
  • Claymation and stop-motion techniques are easier to do if one person moves the character and another is in charge of photographing. If there are two or more characters, put different people moving them.
  • Before animating a certain movement, it is a very good idea to study it carefully beforehand to know it. Watch movies frame by frame, especially animation movies, to see how they are made. This process can be very enriching.
  • To learn to cheer professionally, look for a professional in a studio or on occasion advertisements. Before taking a course, ask the teacher to show their work to check its quality.


  • Rendering a 3D animation can be extremely time consuming. Do not perform any other tasks on the computer while you are doing this.
  • Animating is extremely time consuming at first and requires a lot of patience and dedication.

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