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How To Create Cartoons in Google Docs

As part of Google’s Demo Slam, a team of three artists created a piece of animation using the spreadsheet program Google Docs. Tu+ Uthaisri designed and directed the piece; Nam Doan and Arthur Metcalf animated the piece. Here’s a link to their source file (BIG!) if you want to see how they made it. It makes me smile to think that some day animation schools could be teaching students Google Docs instead of Flash.

  • Diego Moreno

    This reminds me a lot of Chuck Jones’s stuff. Nifty

  • Thinkbolt

    Damn. I can’t even do that with an ANIMATION program.

  • Google…THE MOVIE!

    You guys rock.

  • Pretty cool, but where was the story?

    • amid

      Shane – I take it you’re not familiar with the concept of abstract animation. Animators have been making films like this for oh, I’d say, the past century.

      • My bad…sometimes I forget these things. Animation gets beat up all the time for looking pretty but with no content that I forget that it is still and exploratory artform.


    • Chris

      Once upon a time 3 animators in 3 different places were challenged to create a Google Docs group to make the worlds most awesome 450 slide presentation in just 3 days. They started out with typical graphs, animating them to do neat things, which was the basis for making far more dazzling effects. After 3 days of what must of been a lot of hard work, they managed to create what could perhaps be the worlds most awesome 450 slide presentation using only Google Docs. The End.

      • Is my face red?

        No. No. This needs work. Once upon a time there were three orphans who only knew of flipcharts, but when they wished for a better method of presentation they was torn out of their safe world and thrown into the realm of Microsoft where Bill the gatekeeper was waiting to send them on a quest to…yadda yadda yadda…don’t get on at first…yadda yadda…big bad villain… go on a journey …yadda…one dies….isn’t really dead… yadda… enpowered…they triumpth and learn to do powerpoint presentations too.

  • The thing that’s really nuts is, using Google Docs as a starting point, I think they could create shared (cloud) animation software as functional as Flash in no time. Seriously, weeks (they’re really smart). It’s all there and with stuff like Sketchup, I have no doubt they’ll get around to it in the next few years.

  • Chris

    The only thing that bothers me is the whole “SLAM!” thing. It reminds me of Disney’s remix show of a similar name; “BLAM!” Bad by association, that’s all.

  • Jody Morgan

    Nifty. So, when’s the first feature made exclusively in Google Docs coming out?

  • Ryoku

    Impressive, but otherwise I was expecting “The new Honda Branch” at the end or something.

  • This is amazing and inspiring. I just threw Adobe CS out the window.

  • Karen

    VERY cool! Imaginative and fun.

  • love it! It made me smile :D

  • Ron

    Amazing. Really clever. One of my favorites all year.

  • rakesh

    wow!!pure genius!

  • Fantastic job! I love stuff like this. Great job guys.
    Now put in a stoner guy and a hot chick, and then you’ll have a new show for Adult Swim. : )

  • I sit here staring at an Excel spreadsheet and going, “huh?” That was AMAZING! Very well done and the music fit perfectly. Brilliant job. Loved it.

    As for the story, the writer in me says, “Story? They don’t need no stinkin’ story!”

  • Gummo

    I was torn between admiration and annoyance but by the end admiration won out!

    Really impressive work!

  • Wow, the nerdiest side of animation has just been re-defined. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I think it’s cool though.

  • “Nothin’ but Google Docs”?

    Play that with the music off and it’s not nearly as striking.

    I don’t see a credit for the artist (or auto-music program they used?) that got that piece across the goal line.

    • amid

      robcat2075 – When people call Toy Story the first CG feature ever made, nobody is stupid enough to complain that the music wasn’t computer-generated. Why is it that everybody else here can understand that the “Nothin’ but Google Docs” claim is describing the animation tool except for you?

  • L

    This reminds me vaguely of United Airlines commercials, I was expecting to hear Rhapsody in the background :)

  • Alissa

    Cool. Now I’m staring at a presentation due Monday and the only thing I can think of is playing with Google Docs. Yay for procrastination?

  • Exciting, innovative and fun. Great job, guys! :D

  • Kip W

    Years ago I figured that you could make flipbook animation with Hypercard stacks on whatever ancient Mac was in the office where I worked. Too bad Hypercard went away.

  • D Collard

    Love it, especially the scenes with the arrows.

  • johnnn

    really nice! yeah i guess a real beneficial point to get out of this is that good quality animation isn’t about the software… its about the design/drawing, movement, timing, ect.
    sorta like anyone can make an amazing piece of art with a 2 cent number 2 pencil… its not about what tool u have or can use, but what u make with it