How to Make Jib Jab Style Animations

Written by robyn tindle
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How to Make Jib Jab Style Animations
Use a digital camera in a fixed postion to make stop-motion JibJab-style animation. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You don't need to be an expert animator to make JibJab style animations, which are made using a montage of political figures. The easiest way to start making your own JibJab animations is by cutting out figures out of newspapers and using a digital camera and Microsoft Movie Maker to create traditional stop-motion animation.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Magazines or newspapers
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Plain paper
  • Digital camera
  • Tripod
  • Masking tape
  • Black paper or card
  • USB lead or FireWire
  • Computer
  • Microsoft Movie Maker or other editing program

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    Shoot Your JibJab Animation

  1. 1

    Cut out carefully some human faces and bodies out of magazines or newspapers with a pair of scissors. Cut the arms and legs off the bodies so they can be manipulated to move during the animation process. Trim around the body pieces (except the head) by 2 to 3mm to make the body appear smaller so that the head will look bigger to humorously exaggerate the figure.

  2. 2

    Find some suitable background images you like from magazines and cut those out, too.

  3. 3

    Draw a boxed frame, using a pencil and ruler, to your required size on a piece of plain paper. Stick the paper onto your work surface with masking tape.

  4. 4

    Lay down a background image that should be cut to fit the size of the boxed frame. Place your media face on top of the background image. Assemble the characters body bits into position beneath the media head.

  5. 5

    Take a photograph of the first frame of your animation. Use a digital camera on a tripod to keep the angle of the camera fixed on the subject. (Mark the floor with masking tape for where each tripod foot is positioned to be able to put the tripod in exactly the same position for the next shot, if necessary.)

  6. 6

    Tilt the media head slightly and take a second photograph.

  7. 7

    Make the media head talk. Draw a small wedge shape from the bottom lip and keep it within the chin area and then cut it out. Cut out a small square of black paper and stick it on the back of the face with masking tape to cover the mouth area. Put the face back onto the body. Position the cut out lip back onto the mouth but drop it down slightly lower to make it look like the mouth has opened. (Seeing the black will give the impression of the darkness inside the character's mouth.) Take another photo.

  8. 8

    Push the jaw of the mouth up into a closed position. Take a photograph.

  9. 9

    Manipulate the body parts by slightly moving each limb into a slightly different position and take a photograph of each frame.

  10. 10

    Bring in other aspects into the animated frame like other characters or other objects. Create new scenes in the same way, to be edited into the animation later. Continue to do this until you have completed as many frames as you wish to make within your JibJab-style animation.

    Edit Your JibJab Animation

  1. 1

    Connect your digital camera to your computer using a FireWire or USB cable. Save and name all your images in sequence.

  2. 2

    Open Microsoft Movie Maker or another film-editing program. Upload your photo frames and drag each photo clip down onto the editing bar at the bottom of the screen in the correct playing order.

  3. 3

    Click the time line. Reduce the time on each frame to play each frame at a faster speed. Do this by clicking on the outside line of each frame and sliding it along to the left to push it beside the previous animated frame.

  4. 4

    Add voices to the JibJab-style animation. Record your voices using Windows sound recorder. Save each sound file and upload the sound file to Movie Maker. Drag the sound clip down to the editing bar and place it onto the frame where you want the voice to play. (It might be a case of recording one word at a time and using one word per frame to keep it simple as Movie Maker is only a basic editing program.)

  5. 5

    Play the animation on the film-editing screen to see your JibJab-style animation come to life.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of cutting out a jaw shape for the animated mouth, you can slice the face in two by cutting a line in between the lips to part them. Also, you can choose to match the wrong bodies to the wrong heads to make the cartoon character look funny. As an alternative method, you can draw the bodies.

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