Make Animation At Home

Create animations from home using a software program.

Although large movie studios and graphics firms create 2-D and 3-D animations, you don’t need thousands of dollars or a crew of animators to make an animation yourself. With the right software program, you can make an animation right at your home computer desk. Animation in 2-D produces a traditional flat look used in older movies and television shows. Animation in 3-D can be photo-realistic or stylized. Whichever output method you choose, there are several software programs to help you through the process.


2-D Animation

1. Purchase and install a program such as Adobe Flash Professional, the premier 2-D animation creation software. Use both graphics and ActionScript programming code to create animations. The Flash animation format is mostly used to create animations for the Internet, although the animations can be used in videos as well. Adobe Flash Professional integrates with other software packages such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

2. Download and install Synfig, a free alternative to Adobe Flash Professional. Synfig lets you create vector graphics to produce 2-D animations that have the graphical quality of a feature film. Unlike traditional hand-drawn animation, Synfig lets you draw just a few frames of the action to create a fluid animation without drawing each individual frame.

3. Install SoThink SWF Quicker. This software package, which is free to try for 30 days, lets you create 2-D animations that use the same SWF file extension as Adobe Flash Professional. You can also export your animations as GIF image files or AVI video files. With an AVI file, you can burn your animation onto a DVD for viewing on TV. Create 2-D vector animations with SoThink SWF Quicker and program movement aspects into your animation with ActionScript code.

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3-D Animation

4. Purchase and install 3ds Max from Autodesk, also known as 3D Studio Max. This software has been used to create high quality 3-D animation seen in movies, commercials, and video games. Create photo-realistic animations by modeling the 3-D object you want to create. Add lights and cameras to your scene as you would for a real-life video shoot.

5. Use Maya to create 3-D animations. Also created by Autodesk, Maya works similarly to 3ds Max except that it specializes in character animations and modeling. If your animation is based more on the characters and their facial movements, this is a good choice. Maya was used to create the 3-D animation for movies such as “Transformers,” “Monsters vs. Aliens,” and “Iron Man.” Make your own movie-quality 3-D animations using this software.

6. Download and install Blender, a fully featured free alternative to the Autodesk 3-D animation programs. Model the objects and characters in your animation sequence, animate their movements, and render the final video using Blender. Use Blender to create realistic-looking animations without hiring actors or using video cameras.