How make a 2d animation cartoon movie

Written by chris moore
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How make a 2d animation cartoon movie
It takes thousands of drawings to create a full cartoon movie. (cartoon snowman image by Stephen Coleman from

The two-dimensional cartoon is the original form of animation before the advent of 3D computer graphics. Creating a 2D cartoon can be less complex than creating 3D animation and less costly. It will still take a lot of work and effort to produce cartoons like these. It's a matter of drawing and shooting individual drawings in succession that creates the action when the film is played back. You can use this method to produce a silent cartoon or add your own sound and dialogue.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Posterboard
  • Paper/transparencies
  • Pens, pencils, markers and paint
  • Video camera

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  1. 1

    Write and draw up a complete storyboard of the movie, which is a panel-by-panel script of the movie's actions and lines; think of it as a crude comic book on large posterboard. This is your movie's blueprint.

  2. 2

    Draw and colour the characters and surroundings to make the animation frames for your movie. You can do this on paper, but the more professional method involves drawing and painting on transparent sheets, known as "cels".

  3. 3

    Continue drawing the above-mentioned frames; you need one for each slight movement your characters and other objects make in a scene. Please note that it takes about 24 frames for one second of recorded video.

  4. 4

    Arrange your completed frames in the order that they will be shot in; stacking them on top of one another works well, going first frame to last from to top to bottom.

  5. 5

    Shoot each individual frame with your camera, then move to the next frame and shoot it. You only need to capture each frame for a split second.

  6. 6

    Play back the cartoon movie. You can likely do this on your camera's playback function or by uploading it into a computer movie editing program by connecting the camera to a computer through a USB cord. With the computer, you can also crop, cut and edit the movie as you see fit.

Tips and warnings

  • If your movie has sound, especially dialogue, you need to determine if you're going to draw and record the animation first or record your audio. You need to know if you must create the animation to follow the dialogue or vice versa.

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