Laser Animation Flipbook





Introduction: Laser Animation Flipbook

Oldschool flipbook-bookflipping meets newschool hightech-laserphotography!
Or, less excitingly expressed, you transform a GIF into a cool GIF into a flipbook.

Grab your light sabers and let's get started, woosh!

Step 1: The Ingredients

Clear your table and decoratively arrrange the following things you will need:
  • A good camera: DSLRs are nice. Basically it must have the function of manual shutter speed (20sec)
  • A laser pointer: Red or green or both
  • A dark room
  • A nice GIF
  • Animation Shop 3
  • Paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Glossy paper to print on or a good address to print flipbooks

Step 2: The Right Animation

It is not easy to find the right animation. It has to fulfill the following criterions:
  • Lenght: 30 - 60 frames, when you calculate 10 frames per second, that would be 3 - 6 seconds (genius).
  • Content: A simple motive, a person doing something is nice.
  • Movement: The character should move in each frame, because the frames will later be drawn one above another in different colors.
You can either search for animated GIFs in the internet, use a video or draw it yourself.
Some examples for suitable animations:
  • PBJ-Banana
  • Bouncing Ball
  • Sports
When you are satisfied with the animation, open it with Animation Shop 3 (freeware).

Step 3: Preparation

In Animation Shop 3, you can see every frame of the animation. When you use a movie as animation, you should delete every second frame, because they show about 25 frames per second, while you only need 10 fps.
Make screenshots of the frames and arrange them on a canvas in a photo studio. You can add numbers to the pictures to keep the right order.

Print the frames in the right size and transfer the animation per hand on a sheet of paper: Each frame in another color (see photo). Surely it is kind of an advantage when you know how physics work and bodies react on impacts, actio & reactio etc etc, but a picture drawn in 20 seconds in the dark with a laser pointer doesn't provide much place for details anyway.
  1. Draw a curve where your character moves on(if it moves)
  2. Start with a frame in the middle, add first and last frames
  3. Make crosses on the curve for the missing frames
  4. Add the frames in between.
Then you will probably have something like on the photo, I added a paper knot for the guy to jump over. 

Step 4: Photo Session

Make your room as dark as possible, arrange everything and follow these instructions:
  1. With lights on, focus your camera, which stands on a tripod, and turn auto-focus off, it has no function in the dark.
  2. Find the first frame with your laser pointer and remember how it looks.
  3. Make a photo with the lens opened for about 20 seconds, depending on your animation.
  4. Trace the picture with the laser pointer carefully. My hand had a great talent in covering what I was drawing.
  5. Observe the result and delete it if it's crappy, or you will later  have difficulties to sort the frames.
  6. Move on to the next frame and repeat step 2-5.

Step 5: Covering Page

Your flipbook deserves a covering page, so be creative and take a nice shot before you clean up.

Step 6: Finishing

You should add a white border of about 25% to the left side, this is the "blind spot" of the flipbook.
Then you can either
  • Send the pictures to a print shop that does flipbooks (What I did, because of the edges; In order to provide a comfortable page flipping, you need precisely lined up edges. Unfortunately it hasn't arrived yet.. But I want to publish the Instructable before the contest closes ;))
  • Print the frames on glossy photo paper (Why photo paper? It can display black much better than non-glossy paper, and photos in the dark are somewhat dark) and glue them together at the blank areas.

You can see a GIF of my finished animation below.



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    14 Discussions

    Very creative. I like this.

    really :)


    really :)

    really :)

    really :)

    really :)


    This is an awesome technique. Did you come up with this or did you find it some where? I guess it doesn't matter, I'm giving it a go anyway. It's so simple. Love it!