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Making a cartoon
Children love cartoons. And if you offer them to make their own cartoon, they will be just delighted! In this article, I'm going to say to you how to make a simple animation on your own. I'm not going to tell you about specialized animation programs. Instead, we'll do it classically – we'll make plenty of separate shots and stick them together in a single video. It's not difficult at all and a lot of fun! And there is an educational moment here as well – your child will understand how cartoons are made. Besides, we'll practice being patient.
So, to make a simple cartoon, you'll need:
- a digital camera
- a program for making videos out of photos
- the "stage" and the main character
- bright imagination
Of course, you can take it seriously and add a tripod and good lighting to the list, but we're making an unprofessional cartoon, aren't we?
Okay, let's have a look at the following example. We're using a Sony NEX 5N camera, free software for making such videos, Bolide Slideshow Creator. And we're going to use a sofa as the "stage" and a strange Lego construction made by my son as the main character.
The idea is simple – you need to make sure your camera isn't moving and directed at the "stage". In this case, I just put the camera on the sofa. At the stage we're slightly moving the character and making a shot, then a bit more and we're making another shot. Keep doing this as long as you have patience and imagination. :) For this shooting, I deactivated autofocus on the camera and set the focus manually so that the stage could be clearly seen, and in different shots, the focus isn't changed.
The more shots you make, the more interesting and smoother the cartoon will be. Experiment with it!
Sticking together separate cartoon frames into a single video file
At that step, there can be some difficulties, so I'll explain in detail the whole process. When everything is ready, copy all the shots made for the cartoon into a separate folder. Then start Bolide Slideshow Creator.
Originally, this program was for making slideshows, but it gives you an opportunity to set the minimum delay between the shots. It’s free and, additionally, there are some convenient moments for our goals, which I’ll tell you about.
Now let's consider that step by step:
- Add all the shots made for the cartoon to the program. To do that, press the button on the PHOTO tab, enter the folder with the shots, while in the folder, press CTRL-A, to select them all and click "OPEN". All the photos should appear in the left-hand column of the program.
- Insert the shots to the project. To achieve that, click on the special button and choose the pop-up menu "Add all sorted by – file name ascending".
The camera usually numbers the shots in the file name, and cartoon shots are inserted into the project in the right order.
- Remove the transition effects added by the program – we're making a cartoon, not a slideshow. To complete that, select one of the effects, press CTRL-A to select all the others and then press , to remove all the effects at once.
- Set the fragment duration. To accomplish that, select the first frame, then press CTRL-A to select all the others. After that, we set the fragment duration in the special field:
To start with, I recommend you to set one-tenth of a second. And after setting the fragment duration, make sure you click on the button with a green circle to apply those changes in settings.
- Set the maximum resolution of the video - 1920х1080:
- Click on the button "Save video", where we choose the format and quality. Judging by my experience, the best choice is the WMV format and "Best" quality.
Wait a little bit, and your cartoon is ready! We've got the following one:
This was an example with ten frames per second, fragment duration being 0.1 seconds. For this cartoon, we made 71 shots. And here is another example – the same project but having the fragment duration of 0.05 seconds:
And here are a few more self-made cartoons
Making self-made cartoons is a lot of fun! And below you can see three more cartoons made by my son. To do that, we made 85 shots, but got wrong with the focus a little bit:
And here is another strange LEGO creature, a rocket flying away and a crazy horse :)
This one is made of 172 photos joined together.