How do I animate letters changing into creatures?
September 4, 2021 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Okay, I'm new to creating videos. I have some limited, old experience with desktop publishing software/Photoshop. My goal is to take this static image I have of a word (made here) and animate it shifting into creatures, like snakes or just weird critters. So a few questions: how hard is this to do? Is it feasible for a noob? What are the best software options for doing so? Any other tips? TIA!
posted by overglow to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Define "animate." Hand drawn? After effects key framing? Blender 3d?
posted by history is a weapon at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2021

Best answer: how hard is this to do?


Is it feasible for a noob?

Not likely. (sorry!)

Animation like that is very difficult and very time consuming, Even simple animations are those things.

You could do this kind of thing with vector art in Adobe After Effects or Adobe Animate (the replacement for Flash), but that's very complicated software, and also not cheap. And not only do you need to learn the software, but you need to know how to animate.

You might want to look into software that does morphing. You feed it a starting image and an ending image, then you specify some points on the images for it to match up and then it create the steps in between. This is usually most effective when the images are similar shapes, like faces. So, you could have good results turning an S or W or L into a snake, but other letters, not so much.
posted by jonathanhughes at 10:44 AM on September 4, 2021 [2 favorites]


You throw a bunch of points on the outline of the letter. You throw a (same number) bunch of points on the animal. You map each point to each other point and do linear interpolation.

There's a horrible piece of math in there that will tell you that within the interior of the shape there's always one point that doesn't move (as long as the animation doesn't involve movement...)

Pretty, smooth, ... Maybe, maybe not. You can then tweak the linear interpolation from linear to some other function that goes from original to final position with a different velocity/acceleration/jerk/crack/snapple/pop to make it look nicer.

In the abstract, your letter is just a collection of connected points, your animal is just a collection of connected points, all you have to do is transform one set of points into the other.

For various definitions of trivial. :)
posted by zengargoyle at 6:14 AM on September 5, 2021

Blender is free and has a 2d animation mode and a tool called Grease Pencil that you could use to do this. But the learning curve is kind of brutal.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:47 AM on September 5, 2021

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