What software should I use for this very simple animation?
April 28, 2008 2:19 PM   Subscribe

Flash? After effects? Maya? Toon Boom? Something else? I want to make some very simple abstract animation videos. The simplest would be just full screens of solid colors fading slowly into each other. Slightly more complex would be the same full screens of colors fading into each other, but not all at once. That is, maybe start the fade in the center or corner, and slowly leak in the new color. Or another slightly more complex: The screen divided into multiple blocks of different color that slowly fade into other colors. Real simple, slow, mellow stuff. So, what's the right software for that? Thanks!
posted by The Dutchman to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a Mac, then Quartz Composer is pretty cool and easy to use (and you already have it).
posted by mpls2 at 2:25 PM on April 28, 2008

Response by poster: Oops. Should have said: PC with XP.
posted by The Dutchman at 2:26 PM on April 28, 2008

vvvv seems to be suited to this, in as much as it's a video pgramming language. But it also seems to be something of a sledgehammer for a penny nail...
posted by Xoder at 2:45 PM on April 28, 2008

Maya? For a color/alpha tween? That's definitely overkill :)

I'd just go with Flash. There are plenty of tutorials (and plenty of people who can help you out with specifics), it's a fairly easy program to get the hang of, and you can export to pretty much any video format without problems.
posted by Bakuun at 2:50 PM on April 28, 2008

It's easy to do in flash, but there's probably a free way to do it if price is a concern (I don't know of any, but chances are one exists).
posted by juv3nal at 2:55 PM on April 28, 2008

If you have any coding abilities whatsoever (seriously, really simple stuff), you could hack this up with imagemagick as a gif animation, or POV-Ray if you wanted to do something more complex like your second idea. Might be able to use OpenOffice Impress, even, since it exports to Flash though I'm not sure if you can set the background of a slide to change colors automatically.

Or Processing - it's a language designed to be easy for non-programmers to learn to do basic graphics stuff with. Haven't played with it myself, but I've heard you can get really spectacular results without a lot of work.

That said, if you have access to Flash, that's the easiest way to go; I'm just mentioning the others because they're free.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 4:33 PM on April 28, 2008

Processing. All the way. I write Actionscript for a living, have used flash to do stuff like what you want to do, and it is fairly easy, but if you want to play by the rules, flash costs several hundred dollars, processing is free.
posted by Dr. Curare at 5:27 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

What you're describing is ridiculously easy to do with Flash.
posted by Class Goat at 6:26 PM on April 28, 2008

You could just use Windows Movie Maker (or other video editing software.) Make an image for each colour you want, then drag them into the timeline. Then add transition effects (e.g: fade)
posted by so_necessary at 1:15 AM on April 29, 2008

As I understand it (though I haven't tried it), Adobe has a free open-source program called Flex that works much like Flash. There's ways to compile it and have it running on your local machine, but unfortunately you'll have to Google around about that cause I don't understand enough about it to explain it.

If you go the Flash route (grab the 30-day trial, since it's free) I would strongly recommend gotoAndLearn's tutorial on Tweener.

Color tweaking is much easier with AS 3 (actionscript version 3) than it was in previous versions, so most of these animations should be pretty easy to pull off with a little time investment.
posted by revmitcz at 12:34 AM on April 30, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Sounds like Flash is the way to go for me.
posted by The Dutchman at 9:34 AM on May 1, 2008

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