Though animated characters can be created in a variety of computer programs, the animations most often found online are created in Flash programs. Flash programs combine the tools of graphic design with video editing tools to allow users to create their own cartoons. The applications used to create Flash video usually require a fee, but if you want to create free cartoons with computer-animated characters, you can do so for free online.
1. Open your web browser and go to a free online Flash system, such as GoAnimate or Dvolver (see Resources). Sign up for a GoAnimate account to access the entire website. Both GoAnimate and Dvolver have basic editing systems that provide animated characters and sets for cartoon creation.
2. Click the “Animate” or “Create” button and then “Animation Studio” to get into the Flash editor on the website. Choose a setting or theme from the list of options to set a background for the cartoon. The setting automatically appears in the design pane of the Flash editor.
3. Add characters to the background by clicking on a character in the animated character panel and dragging that character to the design pane. Move the character anywhere in the design pane by left-clicking the character with your mouse, dragging the character to a new location, then dropping the character.
4. Click on the “Music” or “Sounds” button in the tool bar to select audio for the scene. If you want to add text for your characters, click the “Text” button in the toolbar and type the text into the box that appears.
5. Make your characters move on the background. Click “Actions” on the toolbar, select a character when prompted, and then choose any action on the list to make the character perform that action.
6. Click “Preview.” If you are happy with the cartoon you created, press the “Save” button to save the animation to your computer.