HowTo: Create a Six-Frame Animation with a Single Sheet of Paper
Pioneered by Rufus Butler Seder in his popular children's picture book Gallop!, and ably demonstrated by WonderHowTo favorite brusspup in the video below, "scanimation" refers to a novel (but distinctly old-timey) technique for cramming multi-frame animations onto a single sheet of paper by a process of superimposition and selective interference.
Interested in creating your own scanimations? It's easier than you'd think. In the following clip, Paul Overton of Dude Craft presents a complete overview of the process.
- A single 8½-by-11 inch sheet of blank printer paper
- A blank transparency—or, failing that, a second 8½-by-11" sheet of paper, a straight edge, a pencil, an X-Acto knife and a steady hand
- A graphics editor with layer support (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or GIMP)
- An image
- A printer
Step 1 Create & print your grid.
- Launch your graphics editor.
- Create a new US paper-sized document.
- On a new layer, create a grid by adding black bars (measuring 3/16" each) separated by empty spaces (measuring 1/32" each).
- Print your grid to your transparency.
- If you intend to create a six-frame animation, the bars of your grid must be 5x the width of your spaces, not 6x as specified in the video.
Step 2 Create & print your composite image.
- Open & center your image on a new layer in your grid.
- Create five identical copies of this new layer. These will be the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth frames in your animation.
- Return to your first frame & erase whatever parts of your image overlap with the black bars of your grid.
- Select the second frame of your image & rotate it 60°. Scoot it over by 1/32" &, as before, erase whatever parts of your image overlap with the bars of your grid.
- Select the third frame of your image & rotate it 120°. Taking the first frame as a starting point, scoot it over 2/32" (i.e., 1/32" from where your second frame now is). Delete whatever parts of your image overlap with the bars of the grid.
- Repeat this process for the remaining three frames (substituting 180°, 240º, 300° and 3/32", 4/32", 5/32" where necessary).
- Turn off your grid.
- Print your image.
Step 3 Center your printed grid over your printed composite image.
- Align your printed grid with your printed image until the first frame comes clearly into view.
- Gently drag your grid horizontally across your image as demonstrated in the videos above.
- Make more!