South Australian Artist, Writer, Video Producer and Animator, David Arandle working under the pseudonym 'The Extraordinary Tourist' or 'TET' for short Blogs about his personal animation projects as well as Tips, Software Reviews, Featured Animators Animation Business and a whole lot more.
Pencil is a 2D bitmap and vector based, free animation tool for MACs, Windows and Linux that I'd like to say is the perfect introduction to 2D, computer assisted animation but can't.It is a great tool. Synfig Studio is intended to be professional 2D animation software and is available to download for free.
Can't draw or animate to save your life but want to create cartoons or explainer videos?
Wondering what animation software Pixar uses to bring us magical movies like Monsters inc 2? Around 18 minutes into the presentation, we can have a good look at the interface and see Monsters Inc’s University character, Dean Hardscrabble, the dean of the School of Scaring faculty, in motion. Instead of being displayed in the viewport as we are accustomed to, the controls or Avars (this is how they are called at Pixar) are tucked to the bottom right of the screen and displayed as some sort of advanced channel box or spreadsheet since this is the term used in AL, the ancestor of Pixar’s Menv.
An other interesting thing we notice is that Presto runs on Linux and the Gnome environment. Ah and to finish this post, what a better way than posting Monsters University’s third trailer!!!


In fact you can create an entire animation within Pencil, including audio tracks, and then export it all to a single movie file that you can upload anywhere.
On top of that you could choose to edit all your frames in any bitmap editing software you choose then just import them into Pencil, add some sounds, export to a movie file and you're done. If that's all you need to do I highly recommend this software - its free - so give it a try.Once you get into vector animation the frustration starts to set in. If you haven't properly closed an area you'll keep getting a warning message telling you there's a gap in your drawing or you've 'Zoomed Out too much'. This is a known problem that is documented within Pencil's manual.It's frustrating because often there are no obvious gaps - even if you zoom right in to check.
If you can't find any gaps then the best solution seems to be to break the area up into smaller fill areas using the 'invisible line' tool.
Then fill each section as you go until the area is all filled.Because of the buggy nature of this software, personally I wouldn't use it to create anything too advanced like a full vector animated movie. On the second there are ten frames for the fire.You'll notice there is also a camera layer in the time line. Just like other layers you create key frames for the different camera shots.For GoAnimate users you'll need to create a camera layer for your object with just one key frame.


You'll then need to size your object relative to how big you want it to be (initially) compared to the stage (generally it's best to make sure your object always fits within the stage. You can easily make it larger once you've imported it onto the GoAnimate Stage).You'll then need to position your object in the top left corner of the stage with the corner being approximately in the middle of the object as shown below. Whilst it's great for backgrounds, animated props and heads, it cannot save files in the correct format for characters.Despite it's short comings I've used Pencil to create all my vector based props on GoAnimate.
Sometimes I drag my feet thinking, oh no, I don't want to use pencil again, but, unless you want to buy some software, I haven't come across any other free vector animation software compatible with GoAnimate.Like I said it's a good stop gap. If you find yourself using Pencil a lot and you're really interested in flash animation then you'll probably want to buy something better eventually.That aside, for a free program it really does have potential. The drawing tools are quite basic but, with enough patience, you really could do some very impressive animation work.



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