How to Make Free Animations - Pivot Stickfigure Animator




Introduction: How to Make Free Animations - Pivot Stickfigure Animator

About: So, hi, I'm Keith-Kid. Who the hell are you? I am one of the regulars here at instructables. I am a tried-and-true jack of no trades with absolutely no experience in any category. Still, I'm fun. My Top Ten: …
Hello, Are you one of those persons who just saw an animation and thought it would be cool to make your own? Or maybe you want to know if you're cut out to make some, but You don't wanna waste hundreds of dollars trying to find out?

Well There's a Solution: Pivot Stickfigure Animator

Pivot StickFigure Animator is a free animation program. It mainly uses lines and circles to create animations. It is a very simple program, that is great for learning to animate, and always good for practicing.

The creator, Peter Bone, decided to make a free to use animation program for people who would like to learn if they are cut out for animation, but don't want to spend money in the process. His program has been praised for being simple, effective and best of all FREE!!!!! Be sure to thank this guy any way you can!

Pivot can be used for beginner projects:

By West921

But don't think its just limited to two stickmen fighting:

By Alex Grinjov

Here is the official page of Pivot. Also, check out Peter Bone's other programs

An Msn Group for Pivot can be found here

So without further a do, here's how to make Simple Free animations

This Instructable is still under construction and is not even remotely finished. Some steps may seem out of place, but please be patient.

Step 1: Getting the Software

First of all, you have to download the software.

You're probably unsure if you should download this program. You might be Thinking that it may have a virus or spyware.

Well, search google all you want. This software has received numerous awards for being safe. If you still don't trust, ask around, maybe someone you know uses it.

Pivot Stickfigure Animation

There are two great reasons to download the program.

1) Its free!
2) Only takes up 1 mb. Really!

Step 2: Get Familiarized With the Program

An icon saying "Pivot Stickfigure animator" will probably appear in your desktop. If not, look for it in the start menu.

Open up the program

First, Let's get familiarized with the program.

The first thing that you'll notice is that theres a stickman in a Large White Space. This Large space is the canvas, where you will put your animation.

On the top of the page, theres a Long Empty Space, this is where each frame will go in.

On the left, you'll see some buttons: ( In descending order)

* Play - When pressed, will preview how the animation is coming along.
* Stop - When pressed, will stop playing the preview and go to your current point in the animation
* Repeat - If checked, will keep playing the preview until you hit stop, If not checkes, the preview will only play one time

* Add Figure - This is where you can insert a new figure. When you open up the program, it will say stickman. This is because the stickman is the default Figure. If You've created new figures, you can insert them by choosing the name of the figure and clicking "Add Figure"

Current Figure - Options for the selected figure in that particular frame

  • Delete - Will erase the selected figure from the frame
  • Center - Will move the selected figure to the center of the canvas
  • Colour - With this button, you can change the color of the selected figure
  • Front -
  • Edit - WIth this button, you can edit and alter the figure. You can add or remove segments. You can also delete the whole figure and create a new one
  • Flip - Will move the figure to the opposite position of the one its currently on
  • Size - Determines the size of the figure in each frame
  • Back -

* Next Frame - Saves the current picture as a frame and moves on to the next one

In the Tabs:


  • Open animation - Opens a saved file for editing. Can only import files made in Pivot
  • Save animation - Save the current animation as a Pivot file for editing, or as a GIF image so you can put it on other places. Can also save as a bitmap.
  • Load Background - Load an image or drawing made with Pivot, as a background Image. Different Backgrounds can be used in different frames.
  • Clear Background - Erase the background from the selected frame.
  • Load figure type - Upload a figure from another user or Internet site.
  • Create Figure Type - Create a new figure. More about this in step

Step 3: Make a Stickman

Please Excuse the low audio, I have a cheap microphone

Although a stickman appears every time you open Pivot, you may want to improve on it or maybe even make your own character.

To make Your own stickfigure, first open up the files tab and click on "Create Figure Type"

A new window will open up. There you can edit or create a stickfigure of your own. When you click on a segment, it will turn blue, to signify that its selected

To create a segment, you must build it on the segment provided. All segments MUST be connected.

The buttons: (From up to down)

  • Add line - Add a new segment on the original segment or a new segment.
  • Add Circle - Add a circle to the figure
  • Toggle Segment Kind - With this button you can change a segment to a circle or Vice-versa ( other way around). With this tool, you can also turn the original segment with a circle.
  • Duplicate Segment - Creates an exact copy of the selected Segment. Useful for making identical arms or legs.
  • Segment Thickness - Change the thickness of the selected segment
  • Static / Dynamic Segment - Probably the most Important Button in this menu. Will change the segment type of the selected segment

A dynamic segment will have a handle and will therefore be able to move in an animation. The Dynamic segment is the default option, meaning that all created segments will be dynamic unless you change it.

A static segment will not. have a handle.

A segment is shown as grey in the builder if it is static and black if it is dynamic (when it's not selected). Static segments can be rotated in the builder, but not the animation.

  • Delete Segment - Deletes the selected Segment

Edit Mode

You can activate edit mode in the stickfigure builder by cliicking Options and selecting Edit mode

In edit mode, you can change the lenghts of segments. Remember to uncheck edit mode after you change the lenght of a segment, or it might ruin your stickfigure if you move something you shouldn't have moved

To save your stickman go to File> save as

To add the character to your animation go to File> add to animation. You have to name it.

To make a stick or line as an object, simply create a character thats only a segment.

Step 4: The Basics

Now Lets talk about the basics of making an animation.

Make a drawing, Change the frame, make another drawing, Rinse and Repeat

See an example:

When you download pivot, it comes with some demo animations to use as reference. Follow these instructions on how to open the walking demo:'

  • Open up pivot.
  • Click on the files tab and select "Open Animation"
  • Select the one that says "walking"
  • The pictures on this step are taken from the walking demo. Not made by me. The demo.

To make Your own walking animation:

Open up Pivot.

Since the stickman is already there, simply click next frame. and move the stickman to any position.

First thing you'll see is a gray figure behind the stickman. This is a very neat and probably the most important feature in Pivot that shows the position of the figure in the previous frame. Its very useful if you forget what hes supposed to do now.

In this step I'm gonna cover the most fundamental and probably most asked question of Pivot animation : Walking

Try this:

  • Observe each ilustration.
  • Make each illustration in 2 frames. That is, draw each picture and click next frame 3 times before making the other picture.
  • When you're done click play
  • You just made a walking animation!

The Best Advice I can Give You when it comes to animating: If you're stuck n something, stand up and re-enact it a couple of times. If you're stuck on walking, try standing up and walking around, so you can better understand how it works.

Save a copy of this project as a Pivot file by clicking file>Save animation. Call it walking. Trust me it WILL be useful in the future

Step 5: Adding a Background

You can add a background to a Pivot Animation, but there's a drawback- You can only use one background throughout the entire animation. So its sometimes best to create your own backgrounds in each frame.

To upload a background:

  • Go to File > Load Background
  • Select a picture
  • Choose to upload it as a Bitmap or a JPEG
  • Click open

Step 6: Making Objects

Here's a car I made in Pivot, using an old poster in my room as a reference:

A good artist knows how to use all the elements. SO now that you know a couple of basics, lets try using the resources.

Its always good to keep images close for reference. If you like you could put the picture as a temporary background so you can look at it

Here's an extremely useful tip: when you want to make something that comes from the middle of two points ( you can only create new segments on top of a point. SImply create a segment along the lines.) Observe first and second pictures.


  • Avoid round objects, use as many edges as you can find
  • Fancy cars are actually easier to draw because they have a lot of edges. regular cars nowadays have a lot of curves, which are quite hard to trace
  • You can try cartoon characters too!! For example, my avatar!

Step 7: Exporting and Using Your Animation

As you know, Pivot 2 (The Version we are using in this instructable) only exports animations in GIF format, which is not well accepted in a lot f websites.

In Instructables, GIFs are either slowed down of sped up. A lot. This basically ruins the whole animation.

A lot of people have noticed that the GIF is not accepted into movie maker, so they cannot upload their animations to websites.

Pivot 3 beta, offers the option of saving your animation as AVI, a format which is basically accepted by most sites and editing programs.

Personally, to show animations, I either:

  • Play the clip on Pivot itself, and use a screen recoding software to Record the animation.
  • Convert the GIF using a converting program. My personal Favorite is

Step 8: Running

Running is usually a crucial part in most flash animations.

To make running:

  • Basically its the same process as walking, but you have to flex the knees more and make the space between legs bigger
  • Remember to move the character a little more, since running covers more distance than walking.
  • Don't forget to move the arms, its a crucial part that many people ( Including me) leave out

Observe the Sequence of Pictures, because a picture is worth 1000 words

Remeber to save a copy by clicking File>Save animation. Trust me it WILL be useful in the future!!

Step 9: Running Up Against a Wall

A neat trick in most stickmen fights is running up against a wall and flipping . So let's do that

To do a wall flip:

  • First of all, the character needs a running start, it would look horrible to just put him there on the wall already
  • You need to define a wall. The easiest way is to just use the animation border, or the end of the canvas, as a wall.
  • Remember to curve the character while flipping after jumping off the wall, or else he'll look stiff and lifeless....well as far as that goes....
  • Also, sticking the landing can be tricky, so practice! Remember to flex the knees gradually as he (she) starts touching the ground, it will look much better if you do

Since we just created a running scene moment ago, let's use that. I'm starting from the 16th picture

Remeber to save the animation after you make it. It WILL be useful in the future

Step 10: Speed Bursts

My all time favorite: Speed bursts.

You know, that Dragon Ball Z style moment where the characters throw thousands of lightning fast punches and kicks at each other in a matter of seconds.

To make Speed bursts, There are two methods:

Method 1: Skip some frames:

  • This method is much easier. Simply create a punch scene in one corner.
  • In the Next frame, create another punch scene, far away from the original one. Repeat.
  • It will look like the characters moved all the way to the other side in the blink of an eye.

Method 2: Quick frames:

  • The key to this kind of speed burst is to make movements that only last one frame, and repeat them a lot
  • For example, make a left punch, then a right punch. Repeat that sequence 25 times, and you just made a speed burst.
  • Since you will repeat various positions a lot of times try this. Make a stick man in a left punch position. Save him and add him to the animation. Name him Left.
  • Now make another stick man in a right punch position. Save him and add him to the animation. Call him Right.
  • Now alternate them between frames. Make frame one have right punch guy and the second frame have left punch guy.

*Repeat this and youve made a speed burst

*You have to be patient. Speed burst often take a lot of time, but the outcome is very much worth the wait. Don' get frustrated if you don't get it the first couple of times

Remember to move the characters in correct positions, you dont want your guy to be punching randomly into the air!

Pic 1 is method 2

Pic 2 is the first method

Note that it took me SO long for this 3 second thing using the second method

Step 11: ENERGY BLASTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These aren't explosions. It's Dragon Ball Z styled Energy Bursts. If you're a kid, this is your favorite part of any show!

Here, I'll list the methods I use to make bursts.

Burst 1

I use this small burst for when energy balls hit the ground. Explosions are very hard to do if you're a novice, so instead settle for this quick method. This method

This list shows the order of frames I used to make the GIF below. This burst is good for about a second or two. I use it to avoid complicated sequences of explosions.

The Ball I used is about 1 /12 inches and size 164 if you measure it with a ruler (I should have worked on this....)

  • Frames 1-4 are the energy ball. This is used to show where it comes from. (Remember to add the color in this first part, or else the whole thing is basically ruined!)
  • In frames 5-6, I moved the ball closer to the center. Remember to think up the path the ball will follow before you start the animation.
  • In frame 7, the ball is below the center. Its close to the wall and the ground. (The canvas)
  • In frame 8, I changed the ball's size to 500.
  • In frame 9, I made it size 800, so it would cover the whole screen
  • In frame 10, I used the same size as in frame 7. I moved it a bit closer to the ground also.
  • In frames 11-21, I once again changed the size to 800 and changed its color to a clearer tone.
  • In frames 22-23, I once again made the color clearer
  • In frames 24-30, I made it even more clear.
  • Finally, In frame 21, I used a tone that almost resembles white.

Then you can continue the rest of the animation. Now try it!

Step 12: Extras

I will not say farewell, because I still have SO MANY things to add to this instructable, but not enough time.

Still to come:

  • Swords
  • Blood and effects
  • Downloadable resources
  • Backgrounds

Please contact me if you have a good pivot tutorial or have an idea for another step

Hope this helps you understand flash and if you're really cut out for it!!!!

Step 13: Inspiration

Before you start using pivot, see what its capable of doing. These are some EXCELLENT videos:

By Alex Grinyov:

By J'Brian (Jayther)

THis guy is Awesome!!!!!!

Stick em Up

Stick Em right

Stick em Left

Stick em down

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8 years ago on Introduction


Stykz is frame-based, letting you work on individual frames of your animation to make it just right. Onionskins let you see what was in the previous frame so you can make adjustments to your current frame easily.
New frames can be created by clicking on the "Next Frame" button in the Frames palette, or by simply hitting the Enter key... in fact, you can use the Enter key while you're manipulating a figure! It's kind of like taking snapshots of the current frame while you're moving or pivoting segments... this feature makes it very easy to get smooth animation.CHECK MY STICKZ MOVIE

Insurance:Pivot fighting Animation{Pivot stick figure animation}

Edit Directly On the Stage

No need to go to a separated "editing" window; figures in Stykz can be manipulated directly on the Stage. Grab a control node ("joint") and drag to pivot the attached segment and any segments connected to it. By holding down certain modifier keys, you can go into Extend Mode (allowing you to extend a line segment and move all attached line segments accordingly), or Distort Mode (which allows you to move a node by itself, and have any attached line segments adjust like rubber bands).
You can add new line segments to a figure by using the Add Line tool to click on a node and create a new attached line segment. You can do the same for circles using the Add Circle tool. Even beter, you can "draw" new segments by right-clicking on a node and dragging away - the new line segment is attached to the point you clicked on.
You can delete a node or add a node by holding down the Alt/Option key and clicking... if you Alt-click on a node, you delete it; if you Alt-click on a line segment, you add a node where you clicked.

Manipulating Figures

Use the Select tool to select and manipulate one or more figures. Figures can be rotated, scaled, flipped, duplicated, colorized, and aligned.
You can use the Subselect tool to select and individually adjust the line segments in a figure, setting their length, width, color, and angle.
Stykz’s unique PolyFill tool lets you fill shapes with just a few clicks! Shapes don’t even have to be enclosed to use the PolyFill tool; you simply click on the different nodes of a figure and when you click back where you started, the polyfill region is created! It can be filled with color and will move and resize as your figure is moved and resized.
You can individually relayer line segments within a figure so that you can get a “crossing arms” effect simply and easily, and you can change the layer of any selected figures to create the front-to-back order you desire.

Working With Animations

You can have multiple animation documents open at the same time, and can cut, copy, and paste figures between them.
Display the Hints window to help you work within Stykz; it tells you what you can do with each tool, and adjusts as you switch between tools. When you are comfortable with Stykz, you can keep it closed, or use it for a quick refresher in case you forgot something.
Arrow keys can be used to move selected figure(s) by 1 pixel; hold down the Shift key to move in 10 pixel increments.
Use the Commands palette to create buttons for commonly used actions - create your own custom layout, or use the default "Pivot 2" compatible layout.
If you want to work on your animation without being distracted, you can turn on Stykz's internal "backdrop" feature, which covers over other application windows while you're working in Stykz.


You can import stick figure files created in Pivot Stickfigure Animator and they will be converted to Stykz format automatically.
Test your animation in Stykz before you export it; Stykz can export to QuickTime, Animated GIF, or a sequence of images.
Reuse Figures Easily, Share Them With Others
If you have commonly used figures, you can save your figure to the Library where it can be used again and again in other animations by simply dragging and dropping it onto the stage where your animation is being developed.
You can share your Stykz files with others, and even include information with the file that tells who created it, when it was last modified, and even provides a place to include usage instructions.

Auto Save/Auto Backup

If you don't want to be concerned with having to remember to save your document as you work, you can turn on Stykz's auto save feature and it will do it for you.
You never know when you may want to revert back to an earlier version of an animation - Stykz makes that easy by automatically creating as many backups as you like.

Insurance:Pivot fighting Animation{Pivot stick figure animation}


Reply 1 year ago

I like this pivot. I wana Download


Reply 1 year ago



Question 3 years ago on Step 1

do you have pivot software for Android?


Answer 2 years ago

Hi how do I make this


5 years ago

His website went 404. Try Googling the software package.


6 years ago

hey i can't do anything what a rip off


7 years ago on Step 2

I don't know where do you get the program,i have no clue;This is a really great program but i don't know how to get it.


7 years ago on Step 2

it's not. you just need the internet