Introduction: Make a Paper-based Animation

 Have you seen the cards where there appears to be a moving picture just by using a piece of plastic with lines on it and an image underneath?

This instructable shows you how to make your own with just a computer, printer, paper and transparencies.

I'm assuming that you have the Gimp image editor installed. Hopefully you can translate this as needed for other programs. 


Step 1: Create the Base Image and Gridlines

Create a new file that is 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels

Create a new layer called 'Grid 1'

Select that layer from the layer dialog

Create the grid by selecting the 'Filter' menu then 'Render' -> 'Pattern' -> 'Grid'
unlock the horizontal and vertical settings for width, spacing and offsets.
Use the following settings (image below shows the settings for the 'Grid 1' layer
 - Width 0,18,0
 - Spacing 21,1000, 2
 - offset 0,0,6

repeat for layers 'Grid 2' to 'Grid 7' using horizontal offsets of 3,6,9,12,15 and18 respectively.

Step 2: Add Animation Frames

 If you have a gif animation file you'd like to use, use the 'File' menu then 'Open as Layers'. 
(there is a discussion at the end on picking existing animations)

If there are more than 7 frames, use the following guidelines
 - if there are 7-14 frames, pick every other frame
 - if there are 15-21 frames, pick every third frame
 - if there are 22-28 frames, pick every fourth frame
(or use a picking method that works for you)

If you don't have an animation, create seven empty layers.

Call each layer of the animation as 'Image 1' - 'Image 7'

Put each image layer below a grid layer. (i.e. 'Image 1' goes below 'Grid 1', 'Image 2' goes below 'Grid 2', etc.)

Step 3: Filter Animation Image by Grid Layer

Here are the steps to use the black portion of the grid layer to delete from the frame image
 - view the grid layer and the associated image layer (starting with 'Grid 1' and 'Image 1')
 - highlight the grid layer in the layers dialog window
 - select -> by color
 - click on a black area
 - highlight the frame layer in the layers dialog window and turn off visibility for the grid layer.
 - delete the selected area.(using the 'delete' key)
 - de-select all
repeat for the remaining layers (save early and save often!).

Step 4: Merge Image Layers

show just the image layers

convert to grayscale (if necessary) (image -> mode -> grayscale)

Save as 'image.gif'
choose option to merge visible layers (should be default)

make just one of the grid layers visible
save one of the grid layers as grid.gif 

Step 5: Print!

Print the 'grid.gif' on transparency
Print the 'image.gif' on paper.

These two files are in the '' file attached.

slide back and forth, and Woo Hoo!

Step 6: Selecting an Existing Gif Animation.

It must be:
 - high contrast (the more contrast, the better it will look, 2-color (black and white) is the best)
 - coarse detail (lots of thin lines won't show up well) on moving portions
 - if there is a 'stationary' portion of the image, it can use thin lines.