schools week 7-11 Feb
www.animatedexeter.co.uk • brochure hotline 01392 265198
FLICK BOOKS - the basis for 2D animation
Flick-books are perhaps the simplest way to animate. All you need is a pencil and a small plain pad. The kind of animation you are doing is essentially the same as professional 2D animation This is used to make some cartoon films you are used to seeing on the TV or at the cinema, using thousands of separate line drawings which, when put one after the other in front of your eyes at a certain speed (usually 24 pictures – or FRAMES per second) create the illusion of movement.
The flick-book system was used to provide hours of entertainment for holiday-makers at seaside piers and funfairs in the early 20 century. Machines contained whole stacks of little pictures (drawings or photos) all linked up on a rotating wheel inside a special machine. The viewer paid a penny to see a short ‘film’ which was often humorous, sometimes shocking!
A 2D Animator will check the changes in the drawings laid on top of each other with a peg bar on a light box. You can put several drawings in order on the peg-bar and see exactly how one flows into the next, and know where to start your next drawing.
After a while you should get the idea of how much you need to change each drawing and in what way. Start with something simple like a ball bouncing – look around you at moving things and see if you can break their progress down into a series of simple but regular sketches. The results are often amazing!
The pages of flick-books should be firmly held together with a strong spine, and the pages must have straight edges, aligned together. This is because for small changes, which you make between one drawing and the next to work as convincing movement, the drawings must stay properly lined up in sequence.
The way we see our flick-book drawings animated is the same as the way the camera records animation drawings. In the process of 2D animation the drawings are aligned with registration pins called peg bars. The animation paper is punched with holes, which keep it fixed on a peg bar on the drawing board. The same peg bar is used again when each drawing is placed one by one, in the right order in front of the camera, or scanned in to a line- tester or computer.
When you are making your flick-book, do the first drawing at the back of the book, then, on the next page, you do another drawing, almost the same but a little bit different. Think of the parts of what you have decided to draw, and how they might start to make a movement. For instance, a seed growing a little bit bigger and changing shape slightly from one drawing to the next, and the green shoot emerging… Every drawing has to change a little from the one before, so you must keep looking back, referring to the last drawing when drawing the next one.
Animated Exeter is an Exeter City Council initiative realised through collaboration with our partners, funders, and sponsors and we would particularly like to thank South West Screen, Arts Council South West, City Screen, Devon Curriculum Services, East Devon District Council, participating venues, local businesses, animation companies, artists and volunteers for their continued support.