Cartoon experiments
The challenge: to tell a story in pictures on one side of A4, then animate the images...
These cartoons are personal stories told as animated gifs* with added music. They'll play in any web browser like InternetExplorer, so no need to download a special player. (* a gif is an image format used on the web)

1.1 Tickling - 1 min. animated gif (354k) - no audio.

1.2 Tickling - 1 min. animated gif (354k) with embedded mp3 (64k). Total 420k.


2.1 Pyro - 1 min. animated gif (190k) with embedded mp3 (268k). Total 460k.


Technical help - how to make your own cartoon:

1 look at this scan I used to make Tickling. Print this frame - PDF or GIF - so it fills a sheet of A4. Draw your own storyboard in the frame, scan it, tweak it in Photoshop to make it look good.

2. you need to single out each frame, so each individual frame measures 320x240 pixels. Name them in order: 010.tif, 020.tif, 030.tif, etc.

3. launch Image Ready from Photoshop's file menu. To create an animation in Image Ready, you need to make a new PSD and paste the individual frames into it in order.

4. use Image Ready's animation feature (Help > "Animation"). You can reverse the frame order and use tweening for cross-fades. Feel free to use another less-fiddly tool to create your animated gif. There's freeware out there. Aim to keep your animated gif to 1 minute and optimise it so filesize is no more than 350k.

5. if you want to add sound, convert it to a small mp3 file and use a *.m3u meta file to play the embedded audio. (Right-click and save pyro.m3u and pyropopup-mu.html to look at the code with a text editor).

6. it's good if you can keep your animation and sound filesizes to less than a total of 450k. This will take one minute to fully load on a normal phoneline - 56k modem.

That's the technical outline but, as anyone who's ever make a digital story will know, it's the story that's usually the most challenging bit... Good luck.

Gareth Morlais, 10/09/03.
Gareth is
one of the Capture Wales/Cipolwg ar Gymru digital storytelling team at BBC Wales.