Analog Animation Tutorial

Analog Animation Tutorial from Paul Overton on Vimeo.

As promised, here is the animation tutorial I've been working on. The video is a intentionally a little repetitive, because the process can take some time to wrap your head around. Below, you'll find some resources including a zip file that has both the grid drawing and the heart animation file. Have fun and please leave any questions in the comments section and I'll do my best to answer them.

***CORRECTION:In the video, I keep harping on the black bars being six times the width of the spaces in between them. This will work fine if you have a seventh frame of animation. If you are using six frames of animation, the black bars should be five times the width. My bad. Many apologies if this caused any frustration and thanks to my readers who caught it!


Click here to download ZIP file containing animation materials.

Link to Rufus Seder's website, who I believe, pioneered this technique.

Link to Gallop: A Scanimation Book


  1. cool paul! my daughter got that gallop book from my mom a while back and i thought it was so neat. a butterfly flying would be cool! well, actually, i can think of a ton of things.

    your vids are always great! you really break it down.

  2. Thanks Diane! If you make one of these, please send along a little video, or at least some pics! Cheers.

  3. not that I don't have time for an 8-minute video....but, I already watched the first one before knowing it was flawed. Can you highlight where the original instructions went wrong?

  4. juniper- If you move the next "cell" over six spaces it will still be covered by the black bar. Just move each successive layer over by the width of one "clear space" in the grid, and it works.

  5. i dont understand why everyone keeps saying that we have 6 frames and that the width of the black stripe should be 6 times the width of the clear stripe.

    if you look at the hearts.pdf file and count from one stripe to the next stripe that belongs to the same frame (should more or less continue the profile, ie, aprox same height) you will see that there are 7 frames. (ie, between each stripe of the same frame, there are 6 stripes of other frames)

    this is reasonable, as there are 7 positions on which the clear stripe can be. this can be seen if you overlay two striped sheets. the first position is the one of where both stripes match. then you can move the top stripe to the left 7 times, 1 for the clear one and six foe the black one.

    this is easier to picture if you just have a black stripe that is twice the width of the clear stripe. you get 3 frames, not two.

  6. ive created a little tool to do this animations. you provide it with the frames and it will do the rest on its own.

  7. Anon - I published a correction in the post. Thanks for catching what should have been obvious to me.:-)

    Lucio - Awesome! Thank you!

  8. Awesome tutorial! We bought Gallop and other Rufus Butler Seder books after seeing his work in the south san francisco bart subway station. I was debating taking one of the books apart to see how it worked, but am so glad you figured it out and made the great tutorial. Can't wait to make one! THANKS!!

  9. So, is there a cookie in my future(girl)?

  10. Alice, Yes! Even though I didn't really understand your formula, cookies will be baked!

  11. that's the same priciple as with prism cd trays etc...

  12. Hi Paul,
    Great post.
    I also got "hooked" by scanimations, and prepared a software to build automatically the superimposed image out of the initial sequence of frames.
    I am writing a blog post to describe what I did, and I will publish my source code, in Processing language.
    ( for release notice, stay tuned on my blog page or on my twitter account @mgua )

    Unfortunately, I am having problems in accurately printing my images and transparency grids. I am using a laserprinter. I tried to print from many applications, and I am sure that my files are crisp and not dithered, but the printing process or the printer actually blur the images. I am currently working with 1024x768 or 800x600 pixel source images and I need a printing procedure which is independent from printer, and that guarantees no dithering nor scaling of any kind. Do you have any suggestions?

    PS: scanimations are great for kids (remember harry potter's newspapers?), and I am planning to put scanimations on my children school book covers, as soon as I am able to work out the printing problems.

    thank you,

  13. Thanks for sharing the tips Paul. I'm going to give that a shot.

    BTW, you may or may not remember, but I'm one of many of the Texas dancers that used to stalk you guys when you used to teach Lindy. It's so awesome that you're popping up left and right on these craft blogs! Way to go!!!

  14. Hi all, here is my code for building scanimations:

    it comprises a processing sketch and some explanations.

    Marco ( @mgua on twitter )

  15. Marco - Thanks. I can't wait to try it. Did you work out your printing problem? I didn't come up with any answers on my end.

  16. Yes Paul, I found a solution for printing. It is not optimal, and requires using Photoshop, which is not supposed to be widely available. I am looking for a better solution.
    Still have to explore scaling and printing options of freely available packages like and gimp.
    Marco ( @mgua on twitter )

  17. Paul-

    Your tutorial inspired me to create some animated Valentines Day cards for my kids. You can see the results at I also posted the Photoshop CS4 template I created and some instructions for others who want to try it.

  18. chrispix - Oh man! I bet they loved those. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Hi Paul
    I perhaps don't understand everything you say because i'm french ...
    I have one question: how do you switch from the black hearts to the striped hearts?
    Do you use photoshop? i really need an explanation...
    Thanks for your answer

  20. Hey Paul!
    Im a student at Emily Carr University and I am using this as a method for the art I am creating for my science class project where we are learing on the brain, optical illusions and the Moire effect. After all my research your about the only one that has explained this well and thuroghly, although I am trying to do all this manually without using photoshop..=S
    Relating to science I either want to do the evolution of a flower or a flying butterfly, do I have to stick to only 6 frames or can I create more? By doing this will it change the with of my lines?

    Thanx so much and wish me luck~

  21. Patricia,

    Six is about the max in order to have it look good. Good luck!

  22. hey paul! i have just discovered your post! i have printed out your pdf files and been trying to get it to work all day, the image moves but you cannot see the heart clearly, its driving me mad! i know your files are right i am sure i am doing something wrong, but i'm not sure what it is! are there any common mistakes i could have made? if the lines of the grid are not dark enough could that be the reason?
    looking forward to hearing from you and thanks so much for making this video its really cool

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  24. great post! very helpful!!! thanks a lot

  25. nice work - Checkout open source software animbar ( that creates this kind of animation automatically from a set of given frame images.