HowTo: Create a Six-Frame Animation with a Single Sheet of Paper

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.

You Will Need:

  • 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.

  1. HowTo: Create a Six-Frame Animation with a Single Sheet of PaperLaunch your graphics editor.
  2. Create a new US paper-sized document.
  3. On a new layer, create a grid by adding black bars (measuring 3/16" each) separated by empty spaces (measuring 1/32" each).
  4. 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.

  1. HowTo: Create a Six-Frame Animation with a Single Sheet of PaperOpen & center your image on a new layer in your grid.
  2. Create five identical copies of this new layer. These will be the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth frames in your animation.
  3. Return to your first frame & erase whatever parts of your image overlap with the black bars of your grid.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Repeat this process for the remaining three frames (substituting 180°, 240º, 300° and 3/32", 4/32", 5/32" where necessary).
  7. Turn off your grid.
  8. Print your image.

Step 3 Center your printed grid over your printed composite image.

  1. Align your printed grid with your printed image until the first frame comes clearly into view.
  2. Gently drag your grid horizontally across your image as demonstrated in the videos above.
  3. Make more!

Want to master Microsoft Excel and take your work-from-home job prospects to the next level? Jump-start your career with our Premium A-to-Z Microsoft Excel Training Bundle from the new Gadget Hacks Shop and get lifetime access to more than 40 hours of Basic to Advanced instruction on functions, formula, tools, and more.

Buy Now (97% off) >

Other worthwhile deals to check out:

Join the Next Reality AR Community

Get the latest in AR — delivered straight to your inbox.


Well, that's just radical man.

i agree. great instructions.

nicely presented getexcellent. also overton is remarkable in fluidly explaining the step by step: he explains so clearly such a complex animation procedure in an unscripted screencast. wow.

i cant get to the bottom of it..
should i place all the hearts centered and then move them to the right or left? or move the grid to the right or left? and i cant find the PDF files as described in the video... please help :)

Nice tutorial. There is this open source software animbar ( that shortens the process significantly. It creates a "scanimation"-like animation from the given frames within a few mouse clicks.

thank you

sorry if this is a dumb question but what does 3/16" convert to in millimeters because when i do 3 inches by 16 inch rectangles they are far too big to fit on the page

thank you xxx

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest