Flip charts make a set of images or drawings appear to come alive. Their simple human-powered animation method shows the basic premise that makes motion pictures look like real life. Slight differences from frame to frame make a sequence of pictures or text seem to walk or jump. To create a flip chart yourself, you can use simple tools, leverage the power of computerized technology or combine the two to express your ideas.
If your flip-chart subject matter lends itself to hand-drawn artwork, put your artistic talents on display. The techniques that underlie the earliest animated movies work just as well today. With a tripod-mounted camera focused on a drawing board or easel, photograph each page or step in your drawing progress and assemble the results into an image sequence. You need a lens that can focus on close-up subject matter so you can fill the image frame with your art. To assemble your photos into a movie, use Windows Movie Maker or the Mac's iMovie. To make a traditional flip chart, print your drawings and riffle through them by hand. You also can use online resources to draw and animate your flip-chart art in a Web browser.
When you view an animated GIF, it proceeds frame by frame through a series of images, displaying the sequence automatically at a predetermined speed. Timed correctly, the result gives you the flip-chart look of a hand-powered animation process. You can build an animated GIF in any image-editing application that supports the file format, in a program designed specifically for GIF-building tasks or on a website that accepts uploaded images and creates animations from them. Some GIF-animation products include the ability to set different animation speeds for individual frames in a single document. Other options restrict you to one overall transition speed.
Within Microsoft PowerPoint's toolset, you can set type or draw simple artwork, and use the program's transitions to advance through a set of slides automatically. Once you complete the slide sequence that tells your story, you can save your PowerPoint file as a movie. Within PowerPoint's movie-creation options, the program enables you to retain your transitions, hide or show the playback controls, add a soundtrack, resize your work to specific dimensions and optimize it for playback or image quality.
Create your flip book artwork or type in any application that supports individual pages or frames and print your work to an Acrobat PDF file. To make a PDF display page by page like an animation, you can press the "Pg Dn" key on your keyboard to move through your file manually. For a more sophisticated approach, add interactive elements, including playback controls, to your source document so they show up in the PDF you create from it. Page-layout software such as Adobe InDesign and the open-source program Scribus includes these capabilities. You also can add interactivity in Adobe Systems' Acrobat applications.
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