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Flipbook Animation Tutorial: Fun With Shapes

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It is officially time for part three of our SketchBook Pro Flipbook tutorial for the desktop app. If this is your first introduction to FlipBook, be sure to check out Part 1: Bouncing Balls and Part 2: How Things Drop to get caught up. All of these tutorials are based on techniques by illustrator Andre Quijano, This tutorial focuses on the active movement and shape-shifting of basic shapes. There are four topics we will be covering in this tutorial: easing in and out, smearing and multiples, stuttering, and morphing. As always, download the PDF file of the Fun with Shapes Flipbook Tutorial for detailed step-by-step instructions. If you want the express crash course, keep reading! Make sure you’ve already read through at least the very first tutorial to know the basics of Flipbook before you get started.

Exercise 1: Ease Out, Ease In

This technique will enable your animations to have smooth motions that accelerate and decelerate at the appropriate (and realistic) pace. Simply increase the number of frames when you get near the end point (or at the beginning if you’re easing in) and continuously make the distance between the circles closer and closer. You will likely be using ease out much more often than the alternative but it’s basically the same concept for either movement.

ease in out example

Exercise 2: Multiples and Smearing

You can always use multiples of the same shape to demonstrate speed, but at times that may not be enough. This is where smearing comes in. Instead of using multiples and having to draw several extra frames, you can include a single or fewer number of smearing frames to show speed. As shown in the examples below, you can throw in some action lines to show the path of the motion. Use your judgment to figure out which method will work best with the movement you’re trying to convey.

flipbook tutorial action example

multiples example

smearing example

Exercise 3: Stuttering

If you’re looking to animate an object that skids as it comes to a halt, you can use the following technique to create a “stuttering” effect. As you can see from the first gif, the square looks like it’s sliding to a frictionless stop. To add the stuttering effect, duplicate the frames so that there’s a repeat of each one when it’s slowing down — it will give the impression of strain.

stuttering example 1

stuttering example 2

Exercise 4: Morphing

This one is quite simple to figure out. Once you have the frame with the shape you’re starting with as well as the frame for the shape that will be the end result, you can fill in the frames in between gradually moulding it from one to the other. You can get creative and try three or more shapes to start with and fill in the frames in between to morph into each one.

morphing example 1

morphing example 2

Once you get the hang of morphing, you can play around with different shapes as well as combining 2D and 3D shapes (as demonstrated below).

morphing 2d and 3d

Not a SketchBook Pro Member?

If you want to give Flipbook a try but you’re not a SketchBook Pro member, you can try a free 15-day trial (no need to provide your credit card information). Download the SketchBook Pro Desktop version if you haven’t done so already and unlock your Pro membership from within the app.