Skip to main content

Pencil – A simple 2D animation software

When I was young, I used to make simple flipbook animations making use of the empty margins on pages of text books to draw sketches. The figures differed slightly from each other and when flipped through the pages with the thumb, it created the illusion of motion. It was fun.


Today, there are a number of sophisticated animation software with many advanced features that make animation easier but at the same time, they make the software harder to master. Most casual users do not want to or motivated enough to learn a complex animation software. They just want to have some fun.

If you are one of them, try Pencil - a free 2D animation software that brings back the traditional flip book technique of animation to the digital world.

Pencil doesn’t have a lot of tools, just a simple drawing toolbox with the usual tools like brush, pencil, coloring tool, eraser and the like. There is a color selection tool, pen width tool, a layer tool and simple timeline at the bottom.


Just like a flipbook, you have to draw each frame by hand. No keyframe animation, which is such a shame, but you can copy and paste your drawings to subsequent frames and make changes to it. Pencil supports both bitmap and vector drawing and you can make your sketch in either of the two. When you have completed drawing the first frame and move to the next, the previous frame is shown in semi-transparency to guide the drawing of the current frame.

The size and shape of the viewing window can be defined using the camera layer, and you can even add music to your animation using the sound layer. The final creation can be exported as a single image or sequence of images, depending on whether there is one frame or many, as a flash movie or in the .MOV format.

A simple animation movie made using Pencil

The limitations in Pencil make it impossible to use it in feature length animation movies. But Pencil isn’t trying to compete with professional tools. Rather, Pencil is trying to reach the masses and make creating animation an enjoyable task.

On the other hand if you looking for a better, free animation tool then you can try the previously mentioned Synfig and Liveswif.


Popular posts from this blog

How to Record CPU and Memory Usage Over Time in Windows?

Whenever the computer is lagging or some application is taking too long to respond, we usually fire up task manager and look under the Performance tab or under Processes to check on processor utilization or the amount of free memory available. The task manager is ideal for real-time analysis of CPU and memory utilization. It even displays a short history of CPU utilization in the form of a graph. You get a small time-window, about 30 seconds or so, depending on how large the viewing area is.

Diagram 101: Different Types of Diagrams and When To Use Them

Diagrams are a great way to visualize information and convey meaning. The problem is that there’s too many different types of diagrams, so it can be hard to know which ones you should use in any given situation. To help you out, we’ve created this diagram that lays out the 7 most common types of diagrams and when they’re best used:

How to Schedule Changes to Your Facebook Page Cover Photo

Facebook’s current layout, the so called Timeline, features a prominent, large cover photo that some people are using in a lot of different creative ways. Timeline is also available for Facebook Pages that people can use to promote their website or business or event. Although you can change the cover photo as often as you like, it’s meant to be static – something which you design and leave it for at least a few weeks or months like a redesigned website. However, there are times when you may want to change the cover photo frequently and periodically to match event dates or some special promotion that you are running or plan to run. So, here is how you can do that.