Create Animation Software

You can create quality presentations with your own animation program.

Developing animation software involves several operations. It’s worth the work. You can save money by making your own animation software because it affords you the opportunity to use graphics tools that you would normally have to pay for.

Instructions

1. Install and run a free animation program that has the features you want for the program you will develop. For example, if you would like to model and animate 3-D models, download Blender or Art of Illusion. If you want a program that has 2-D drawing and animation features, download Pencil or Synfig. If you want a program that only animates GIFs, try out APNG from GIF.

2. List on paper, during and after the program’s run, the features you intend to change or keep. For example, you may list, “The slider that varies animation speed can stay on the main screen. But the ‘Options’ menu should hold the option to play the animation backward.”

3. Download the program’s source code from the same Web page you downloaded the executable from. Read all documentation for the program, including notes relating what language it was written in and compile it.

4. Download and install an open source kit for compiling and debugging programs written in the animation program’s language. If the program was written in Python, download a kit from the Python download page. A compilation kit for C is available from the GNU Compiler page.

5. Read each of the source files for the animation program and write comments for any statement whose purpose is clear. For example, for the function that follows you could write the comment: “This function allows users to change the animation playback rate.”

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ChangeFramesPerSecond() {

NewFPS = Dialog.Open (“Enter frames per second (1-50)”);

}

6. Print each source file and duplicate each using Windows Explorer’s copy and paste functions.

7. Type the animation program’s code into a new set of source files. This will provide further insight into how the program works.

8. Compile and run the program with the instructions included in the documentation you downloaded back in Step 3. This will ensure that that you have typed the program correctly.

9. Delete one of the source files and retype it from memory as much as possible. Read the printout made in Step 6 to aid you. Relying on your memory to reproduce the program code will build further insight into the program’s algorithms.

10. Recompile and run the program, then repeat Step 9 for the same source file until you can type it completely from memory. Learn the remaining source files with this same cycle of retyping and compiling. Doing so will give you enough understanding of the original animation program to let you start changing the program.

11. Number the Step 2 list you made so that the lower numbers refer to the simplest changes. For example, item 1 may list “Change the dialog box title ‘FPS selection’ to ‘Set animation rate.'”

12. Write the program code that implements item 1 on your change list. Compile, run and debug the program. Search for “debugging programs” in your development kit’s documentation for detailed instructions on debugging procedures for your language.

13. Write the code for the remaining items in the list to create animation software customized to your specifications.

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