Animation – Simple Movie making With the availability of both scanners and digital cameras it has become really easy to make simple movies and recreate the flickering images synonymous of early movie makers and which have led to higher quality movies and modern television. Making movies is a fun activity that can illuminate the history and technology of early inventors and artists. The fact that movie cameras shoot a rapid series of still images that are simply reshown as rapidly as the were taken is easily demonstrated by showing the pictures of Eadweard Muybridge; the pioneer photographer who produced series of animated studies of animals and people walking, jumping, and running and who is renowned for settling the debate as to whether a race horse completely leaves the ground when in full gallop. Muybridge was commissioned to prove this scientifically by Leyland Stanford (Stanford was a founder of Stanford University and who was also instrumental in organising the building of the Central Pacific Railroad) A search in Google images for “Eadweard Muybridge” will return a varied resource selection that can be used in putting together a simple animated demonstration and which might easily be repeated by the students. (images might need to be ‘pre-selected’ for suitability rather than letting students search for them themselves) The panels of images usually found for Muybridge’s work could be saved into any image manipulation software package and then be divided up into their separate image sections. If each of the sections is numbered to reflect its part in the sequence and saved as a jpeg file they can be pasted into any suitable software. One free package that will create animations as ‘animated gif’ files, is Animator-9 ( From a variety of other ‘download sites’ - click here to choose ) This allows the pre-saved sequence to be selected in the order of viewing and then resaved as an animated file – or it can simply be pre-viewed in the programme itself – or by double clicking on the file it can be viewed in MS-Viewer.This little download is a self-contained programme that can be deleted when it is no longer required – and It doesn’t add complicated hidden files to your computer system. To get the smoothest effect all of the images need to be the same size and this obviously won’t be a problem if images from camera are being used. If one of the Muybridge panels is being used and divided up within Photoshop, Photopaint or a similar programme then it may be useful to resize/ resample the image and adjust the size to be exactly the same number of pixels – both for height and for width. (This is usually done from the toolbar and ‘image > ‘resample’ (or ‘resize’) editing buttons.) To make these otherwise plain images a little more interesting and personalised, the Black and White pictures could be re-coloured using any of the art or colour changing effects. Colour can be altered in whatever creative way can be imagined using some of the ‘art’ effects such as solarisation or posterisation. When the sequence is complete make sure the ‘loop’ box is tagged and then pressing any key will give an impressive customised movie. Once images such as Muybridge’s have been used to demonstrate the principle then line sketches, screenshots or scanned images can be used. A series of digital images created with the task in mind can be treated in a similar way giving a much more personalised result as well as extending the range of skills used in production. Most cameras allow a series of pictures to be taken one after the other and the programme has settings that allow these to be imported directly for a range of cameras but the key to success with either the use of sketches or digital pictures is that a story and then a sequence for ‘shooting’ is planned before the task commences.