Making basic animated images - any decent free software?


New Member
I want to start making some videos, but I've come to the realisation I literally have no idea how to make them not suck.

I don't to make videos that are basically powerpoint presentations, nor do I want to make videos of my ugly mug talking into a camera, so I want to make some fun and engaging animations to illustrate what I'm talking about.

Initially I thought I could get by making animated .gifs but the results of this were pretty shocking.

Any help gratefully recieved :)


New Member
I doubt you're looking for stickman animation but look up Pivot for a simple stop-motion style animator, perhaps to practice with the concept of frame-by-frame. It's quite simple to use.

As far as general video making goes there are many options depending on your budget and goal. If you're looking to make slideshows without relying on Powerpoint and use Windows I would recommend Windows Movie Maker (pre-Vista, Version 2.6, don't waste time on anything more recent. You can download the old 2.6 from microsoft's site.) It is prone to crashing however so save often, but has an easy to learn and flexible interface for putting together pictures, videos, and audio how you want and for free. You import your pictures and etc. and then drag and drop them where you want and adjust to taste. It is my personal workhorse program for making videos and creates a product similar to what Thunderf00t or AronRa publish on youtube, though I don't know that they use. Animation is possible with MovieMaker but is the hard way of doing it. I don't know about the Apple equivalents but I would presume they are useful given Apple's emphasis on media creation. Programs such as muvee or the like(cheap programs released by major software labels that are marketed toward simpletons whom are looking to add sparkles to their home movies and etc.) suck, don't bother with those.

Regarding animation, you have Adobe Flash. The latest release is not cheap to get legally and has a steep learning curve but you can get the demo for free and see how it goes. Flash is not for the casual user, it delivers high quality but demands proficiency. You might find cheaper older versions at a thrift shop or on amazon (or take chances with pirated software) for a better price. If you become proficient with it you will get the job done provided your computer can still run the old stuff.

You can make a GIF image such as those you see on 4chan with any number of freeware GIF animators. They work by stop motion, for example if you want to make a GIF out of a clip from youtube, screen capture the clip every second or so for however long, save each image and then load those images in proper order on to the animator and then set a frame rate. They take patience to not suck. If you're looking to create actual cartoon(or what not) animations with GIF programs then practice with Pivot first to get a good grasp of how to make stop-motion smooth and well animated.

Freeware is your ticket in general. Browse the various freeware sites and see what you find for "Animator" "Movie maker" "slideshow maker" and etc. Be wary of computer security threats but do look around, as there are some good free programs.

Refer to sites like Wikihow or eHow for generally reliable instructions for various programs and of course search YouTube where you can see for yourself if a tutorial's author is skilled enough with video making to be instructing others. Avoid Yahoo answers like the plague.


New Member
Image: Gimp (manipulation + creation) and Inkscape (creation) - You can create animations (using frames) with Gimp too. Plenty of plugins (for example to extract frames from video) and lots of resources and how-tos available.
Animation: Blender - 3D animation as I understand it, but worth looking at.
Video: Lightworks - Professional non-linear editor, used in real films. Lots of RAM needed.

All FOSS projects*.

*Free and Open Source Software.