Animation help?

This is kind of a weird request, but is there an animation program out there that lets you work flat pieces to animate? Imagine cutting out paper parts of a body (side view) and putting pins where the joints are, so it rotates 360 degrees. I may want to do some other individual moving of the pieces (head bob or something).

That’s kind of what I’m looking for. I know I can use photoshop or gimp and just rotate or move layers, but thought there might be something easier. Does Flash do this sort of thing, and if so, can I export the frames individually as images?


To answer your second question, yes, you can export animations from Flash as a series of images.

Cool. Thanks! I’ll look into getting Flash then.

Flash doesn’t have anything built-in that is paper-doll character-animation-specific. But it does easily allow you to rotate shapes of your choice around a point of your your choice and translate shapes with keyframing. So the basic tools are there even if they aren’t character-animation-specific. And just having the timeline and keyframing framework in there is a big step up from using a basic paint program for this.

I’m not sure exactly what you’re doing but you may also want to check out Toon Boom Studio, which is cheaper than Flash and has better built-in tools specifically for 2D character animation.

Thanks for the alternate suggestion! I’ve done some video editing, key frames are nice. I’m trying to create sprites for a 2D side scroller that I’ve had bouncing around in my head for awhile. For whatever reason I’ve been bit by the motivation bug; it probably won’t last.

Here is a link to a cool program that lets you do key framing, inking the whole deal. I’ve mucked around with the demo. If you can master something like this you can really make some neat stuff. The basic version is pretty affordable as far as software like this goes

It looks like toon boom will be the way to go for me. Thanks all for the suggestions!

Vaguely hypnotic yet disturbing, I cannot look away!

BTW, the next version of Adobe After effects is going to have a similar technology for animating two d items called ‘Puppet Sticks’. The launch video on is pretty cool taking a video clip of a guy doing a karate kick, keeping the last frame static, adding ‘pins’ to rotate around and animating the guy kicking off some logo text.

Kind of like that kung fu game you can get on steam.