Introduction: Handmade Flipbook 2

I've made 2 more flipbooks and learned some more during the process that I want to share with those of you who might like to try this. I'm also including 2 short 10 second videos (mpeg-4) of the final 2 flipbooks.

Original Flipbook:

Step 1: Create Your Single Images

Nothing much changed in how I obtained the individual frames from the video - please see my other instructable ( ) for how this was done.

(I'm also testing out some free software to do the video frame grabs and create the individual framed images shown here. As soon as I find some that works, I'll post another instructable showing you how to use it.)

Just a summary: I used Pinnacle 12 to grab individual frames from a 3.5 seconds worth of video. I've found that a once inch tall stack of images is about 90-100 pictures - anything thicker than 1 inch and the flip effect just isn't that great unless you get really good at sliding your thumb back as you flip... experimentation seems to indicate a stack no thicker than the length measured from the tip of your thumb to the first joint works best.

After grabbing the individual frames, the first time-consuming portion starts - pulling each image into my graphics software (I use Flash to take advantage of layers, but you might also look at Inkscape - free OpenSource software that supports layers and exports to JPEG). When done, you'll have a large collection like this...

Step 2: Learned a Few Things...

You may notice in this that I've included the frame number on the left and right side of each image. My initial plan was to drill the photos in full 4x6 size before cutting them out. My first flipbook ended up having the number messed up by the drilling.

Well, it turns out that drilling BEFORE cutting out your frames isn't a good idea - I didn't end up drilling the 4x6 photos because as I was squaring them up and preparing to drill I noticed that about 3 of the images in the stack were slightly askew. This wasn't my fault, but the photo developer (Costco). That very subtle angling of those 3 photos would cause an animation issue... so my original reason for framing each image as shown here stands - it helps you to make sure that you're making identical cuts and that your final stack of images will not only square up but also all be oriented identically. Does that make sense? If I had drilled the stack of uncut photos, the holes would have forced those 3 images to retain their angle... but since after the images are cut out I'll be squaring up the stack using the right edge (the flipping edge) the 3 photos will be fixed.

Step 3: Print Them Out and Cut

This time I had two separate stacks to cut out - I've gotten faster at it, but it's still the most time consuming. You can see the three cuts that must be made on each photo - the right vertical cut that becomes the flip edge, the top horizontal cut, and the bottom horizontal cut.

Again, the right vertical cut is THE MOST IMPORTANT cut so be careful to make sure that you're ALWAYS cutting in the same place. For my cutting board, I try to position the white vertical guideline just to the right of the plastic cutting guide. This not only will help make the animation smoother but is the edge you'll use to square up the stack for drilling.

Step 4: Better Drilling Technique

For my original flipbook, I simply clamped the cut frames together and drilled down - ended up damaging the photo paper enough that it required some sanding down of the drill holes to make the stack return to its original thickness.

Someone commented that this would work better by clamping wood on top and bottom of the stack and drilling down. Worked like a charm. The wood on top (and workbench on bottom) keep the photos tight and prevent the drill bit (1/4") from damaging the paper. The stack you see here retained its original thickness (about 1") and the holes actually helped hold the stack together somewhat.

Step 5: Bind Them Up...

Here you see the final results... after verifying they flip properly, I'm going to trim up the leather a bit on the bottom flipbook and straighten the vertical cut on the top flipbook.

I forgot to take pictures of the leather binding process - sorry - but here's the best explanation I can provide. Estimate the height and width of the binding you need and cut it out. Place the cut leather underneath the stack and figure out where you want the edges of the top and bottom of the leather to overlap the stack. Drill two holes using one of your stack images as a guide on the BOTTOM flap. Then stick in two screw posts (pointing up) and fit the stack down on it. Your screw posts should be poking up through the stack slightly - if not, remove a few of the photos in the stack until the screw posts are protruding maybe 1/16" or so.

Next, wrap the leather around the spin and cover the top of the stack. Don't pull on it too tight but just enough to get it around... then press hard on the leather top - the screw posts will make two indentations where you need to drill the holes in the top of the leather piece. Drill those two holes, cut the leather if needed, and bind the stack up with the screw post ends.

Again, in the bottom flipbook here, I didn't cut back the top leather piece yet so it extends a bit too far over the stack.

Step 6: Closing Thoughts and What's Next...

These are fun to make... and people seem to love them. Something about the old-school style of animation I guess. A few closing thoughts:

1. Take your time - my 3rd flipbook is 100% better than my first in terms of the stack squaring up and I credit this to proper cutting of the right edge (flipping edge) and the new drilling technique.

2. It's hard to tell in these photos but each cut photo has a slight curl running top to bottom. In my first flipbook project ( see ) the photos curled left to right. The former is definitely the way to go. When the photos curl left to right, it's hard to get them to stack properly for drilling as the stack has a slight bow to it forcing individual frames to not line up 100% along the right edge. When the photos curl top to bottom, the right edge stays square during cutting AND after the binding is added, the stack is very rigid. Trust me on this or try it yourself. Wolf Camera provides photos with left to right curl... Costco top to bottom. I'm sticking with Costco.

What's Next?

1. I read a comment elsewhere that made me think how fun it would be to create a flipbook... of me flipping a flipbook... of me flipping a flipbook - I'll play with this and see how many iterations I can do before it loses decent viewability.

2. I want to find some free software to grab the individual video frames AND another piece of free software that will allow me to create the framing of each image using layers. This way I can provide instructions for that portion of the project that doesn't require you to own the same software I use.

3. I want to experiment with some different sizes of flipbook - I know the 4x6 photos don't flip very well (too large and unwieldy I believe), but there's so much wasted paper in each 4x6 I cut that I'm going to try and get maybe 2 frames per photo.

4. If anyone knows of any free software that is EASY TO USE and that can do the following, please let me know:

(a) Grab 1 frame of video and export to PNG or JPEG - isn't necessary to be able to edit the video, just take a 3-4 second short video and grab each frame.
(b) Import PNG or JPG and use layers to create a frame - then export to JPEG. - software should allow you to define the size of the saved JPEG (4x6, 5x7, etc) and export to that size.