The JibJab movies have inspired and entertained viewers since their inception in the early 2000s. Often touching on political content, they present current issues in a humorous, animated setting. While the movies have grown considerably in their animation technique, their roots are in "cut-out" animation. In this style, individual patterns and shapes resembling virtual paper cut-outs are moved around on a screen. With some patience and effort, it is possible to create your own animation using this style.
A wide range of software is available for creating cut-out style animation. Many of these programs are complicated and expensive. But CreaToon is now available for free download, and it allows anyone to start animating right away. Visit the CreaToon website and download and install the software.
Unlock the software by downloading the "unlock.zip" file--also available from the CreaToon website--which will release all its functions. The software was not always free; the company added the unlocking mechanism when it stopped developing the program.
Before using CreaToon, familiarise yourself with the software's interface and techniques. The CreaToon website offers many tutorials covering most aspects of the program. It will be easier to start creating your own animation if you first see what is possible and how it is all achieved. Visit the website and watch the videos in the Tips & Tricks section.
Load images. Cut-out animations use existing images and then animate them together. In CreaToon, press the "Load Images" button (fourth from the left on the toolbar). Select the desired images in the pop-up window, and they will appear in the image pane of the main window.
With the mouse, drag the first image you wish to animate into the Scene hierarchy on the right side of the window, or onto the main animation stage in the middle of the screen.
Click the Translate button on the right side of the stage, and then drag the object with the mouse to adjust the image's size and its initial location. The Translate tool is a central part of the animation process, and it will create all the movements used in the animation.
Click on the frame counter indicator on the timeline at the bottom of the window. Choose a frame count that approximates the desired duration of your animation. For example, clicking on 40 will create an animation 40 frames long, or approximately 2 seconds in length.
Using the Translate tool, move your object into a new position. Movement can include resizing, repositioning, or rotation, or any combination of these. Motion will be created between your object's initial position and this new position. To view the results of your movement, press the "Play" button on the timeline. The animation will begin at its original state and automatically move the object to its resting state at the last frame. These steps will be repeated for each animated object in your movie.
Animation is a time-consuming process, and patience is necessary for good results. Once the basic methodology is absorbed, the complexity of your animations will quickly grow.
Tips and warnings
- Animation is a time-consuming process, and patience is necessary for good results. Once the basic methodology is absorbed, the complexity of your animations will quickly grow.