The world of animation software is dominated by a handful of industry-standard titles. However, the margins are dotted with more specialized pieces of software, often designed for animators who prefer to work outside the demands of studio production. One such program is Animake It, a piece of software that aims to provide an accessible animation experience that ties in with current remix trends in online content.
“We were first inspired to create an easy in-browser animation tool in December of 2013, and fully jumped into the project at the end of January 2014,” project leader Sami Majadla told Cartoon Brew. “We were talking about how tedious it was to create animation, and were imagining ways in which one could puppeteer an animation in real-time. These thought experiments eventually led to where we are today with Animake It.”
Watch this video for an idea of how Animake It works:
Images found on the Internet can be imported directly into the program by copy-pasting the URL. Once an image is inserted into a project, the user can animate it simply by dragging it around the screen with the mouse; the drag-and-drop motions are recorded as part of the clip. The program is also compatible with the Leap Motion controller.
In addition, it is possible to import media such as animated GIFs and YouTube videos, thereby allowing pre-existing animation to be incorporated into the Animake It project.
With an interface consisting of only five buttons, Animake It is certainly an easy-to-use program. “I think that Animake It is best suited for creative people that want to bring their imaginations to life, but are scared by the idea of learning After Effects,” said Majadla. “If one of those people were to try Animake It, they’d be able to create actual quality content within minutes.”
Although Animake It is obviously far more restricted than well-known programs such as Flash and After Effects, Majadla feels that the process of animating directly with a mouse lends an organic quality that is not found in high-end animation software.
While watching the samples on the Animake It website (particularly “Psychedelic Simpsons”, which can be watched here if you are using Safari or Chrome) I was reminded of a specific precedent. During the Flash animation boom of the early 2000s, a number of amateur animators worked in a form that came to be known as “animutation.” These deliberately deranged musical collages of various pop culture icons from Colin Mochrie to Jay-Jay the Jet Plane were popular in their time but eventually went out of fashion.
In Flash, even the kind of basic cutout animation that the animutations utilized were rather fiddly to create. Animake It, by contrast, seems tailor-made for animutation-like videos.
“Animake It fully embraces the remix culture that is so popular throughout the Internet,” Majadla explained. “We allow users to use anything that can be visualized in a browser as source material. With Animake It, you can create whatever crazy mash-up may exist in your head.”