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An Introduction to Animation on Linux

What is an Animation?

Animation is the art of taking a series of still images - each slightly different from each other - and presenting them rapidly, one after another, so that the illusion of motion is formed. The effect is essentially an optical illusion created by our brains being unable to distinguish the individual frames, once the frame rate is sufficiently high.

Technically, all motion on film is produced in this way but the term animation is normally reserved these days for images that are produced artificially (-i.e. by drawing or computer graphics) or that are not shot in real time (-i.e. "stop-frame" animation.


Creating Animations using Linux

There is no shortage of animation applications for use on Linux, although your choice may be limited by the distro you are running (-at least, if you're not prepared to compile it from the source code). Which you choose, therefore, depends mainly on what you hpe to achieve - and the amount of effort that you are prepared to spend on learning the package. Over the next few articles, we will take in a range of techniques and packages, including the following:

PackageDescriptionUbuntuFedoraMintPuppy
GIMPCreate and Edit frames of an animation but you will need another package to actually animate themSCSCINQP
PencilCreate simple 2D animations by copying frames and altering themSCWBSC 
KDEnliveAllows animation of images created externally (e.g. using GIMP)WBWBSCWB
Synfig StudioCreate complex 2D/3D animations by generating differences to fill intervening frames (tweening)WBSCWBWB


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