How To Make An Animation Flip Book
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Hey everyone, Animation Girl here ready to share with you how to make a flip book with things you probably already have at home.
I thought there might be more than a few of you out there wanting to get into animation, but not exactly sure how to do it. Without fancy software or a down shooter camera things can feel impossible when you don't know where to start. But sometimes the best solution is the simplest.
It takes very little to put together a flip book animation. Honestly, you can do it with items you can find at home or school and if you don't have them, they cost very little to obtain.
MAKING THE BOOK
Aside from the obvious, pencil and eraser, you'll need either a pack of Post-it-notes or some blank note cards. You could even cut up some blank paper into smaller easier to handle pieces.
The preference to use Post-it-notes is that they are already stuck together, so you can just get drawing and don't have to worry about a binding.
If you decide to use note cards, they are great because they have a larger surface area and because they are stiffer and easier to flip through. Whether you use those or cut up pieces of paper, you will need a bull dog clip or binder clip in order to hold your finished animation together.
ANIMATING THE BOOK
Flip books work in reverse. The last page is the first page of the animation which means that you'll want to order all your images from last to first or when using Post-it-Notes, you'll want to start drawing on the last page first.
Let's talk about the process of animating on the Post-it-Notes, which is honestly the easiest method. Not only are the notes pre-bound, the paper is quite thin, which means you won't need anything additional to see the image underneath. Draw on the last page, flip the page down before it, and draw again.
Because note cards and cut up paper aren't pre bound, I suggest you number the pages on the back as you go. That way if they should fall out of order at any time you'll be able to put your animation back together.
If you are using regular paper you may or may not be able to see the images underneath without help, but you definitely won't be able to with the note cards. This means that you'll need an external source of light to help you do your tracing. Usually, this would be done by using a light table.
In an effort to keep things as low cost as possible another suggestion is to use a window. Did you ever trace images by pressing paper against a window as a kid? Just me? Well, it's a pretty basic way to get things done. Maybe not the most comfortable, but natural light is free and will make all your images shine through both note cards and paper.
How to Animate
Animation is all about movement. So as you go from image to image in your flip book sequence you'll want to change it slightly each time. Unless, of course, you want the image to be still, then it needs to be drawn exactly the same way it was in the image before it.
If you want the motion to be slow, move each image in small increments.
If you want the motion to be fast, move each image in large increments.
That's all there is to it! It's super simple and easy to do. This is a great place to start if you are wanting to try animation and see if you like it. It's also a fun way to test out your skills and improve your sense of animation timing when you don't have fancy software and tools.
Get out there and make a flip book today!