Animate Stykz Men!

February 18, 2011, By Christian Cawley

In the past animation and creating an illusion of movement has fascinated man. Zoetropes and flick-books were created as rudimentary forms of animation, and with the advent of cinema more effort was placed into these systems with the development of photographic flickbooks that were viewed in a coin-operated stand.

However it is easy to forget just how difficult animation was – which is why it’s always good to find tools that help to make animation possible on a computer. One such example is Stykz, a free tool that allows you to animate stick me.

Available on Mac OS X, Windows and shortly Linux, Stykz can be downloaded from www.stykz.net. As a means of understanding something animation as well as providing creative entertainment for family and friends, this is a great piece of free software.

Animate Stykz men!

Download and Install Stykz

The Windows version of Stykz shouldn’t take too long to download – it weighs in at a modest 9.4 MB and requires a minimum system of Windows 2000 SP4, 1 GB or RAM and a 1 GHz processor; for optimum performance, however, a Windows Vista/7 system with 2 GB RAM and 2 GHz processor are recommended.

To install you will need to unzip the Install Stykz.exe file from the downloaded ZIP archive – the actual installation should be complete in a matter of seconds, and you will be able to launch the application from here.

Stykz opens with an interesting “welcome center” – from here you can create new animations, open previously created ones and learn how to export your creations to QuickTime or other formats.

Creating a Stykz Animation

To get started with this really cool application, go to Create a New Document > Default Document – the animation software will then display a stick man.

It’s really simple to use Stykz – all you need to do to animate your stick is to drag the character at his joints, represented by a red disc, and position these where you want them. When you’re happy, click New Frame – the previous positions of the character’s limbs will now be slightly greyed so you can see where they were previously in order to position the limbs in this new frame in a suitable manner. Too much movement will look jerky – too little will take a long time when you come to play back the animation with the Play button. To move the entire figure, use the amber disc.

Playing Back and Exporting

Once you have created an animation that you’re happy with, use the File menu to Save the animation or Export Animation. This second option allows you to save the animation as a MOV format file if you have QuickTime installed or if not an animated GIF file, or simply a set of individual JPEG, GIF or PNG frames onto which you can add additional elements such as backgrounds or character enhancements to your animation.

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