I had never really dabbled in computer animation before, but I recently discovered Synfig, a free, open source animation program. It's a lot of fun to play with.
The first animation I created on Synfig was a very simple 8-second animation of a ball dropping on the floor and morphing into a ghost. I spent the better part of a rainy Saturday morning learning how to make Synfig do my bidding, and the remainder of the morning watching Birth of a Ghost on loop (yes, I am easily amused).
My introduction to animation was by way of flipbooks. In 1996, when the cricket World Cup was held in the Indian subcontinent, you could exchange Coke bottle-caps for cricket merchandise. My friends were into collecting trading-cards. I was by no means indifferent to trading-cards, but I saved my bottle-caps till I had enough for a flipbook, which had Saeed Anwar majestically lifting some hapless spinner over long-on.
I knew in theory how TVs worked, and I had seen a zoetrope at BITM, but until I beheld a flipbook, I don't think I had truly comprehended how a rapid display of still images can create an illusion of movement. I also realised – and this was even more interesting – that I could make my own flipbooks. But after a few months of doodling in the corner of notebook pages, I thought I had gotten over my flipbook phase.
Except I hadn't, really. My Synfig experiments got me thinking about flipbooks again, and one day during my lunch-break, I seized on a wad of post-it notes which was on my desk and re-created Birth of a Ghost on flipbook.
Here are both videos, for comparison:
Birth of a Ghost (Synfig) (0:08)
Birth of a Ghost (flipbook) (0:04)
If you want a hand-drawn flipbook, send me an email. I can make one and post it to you.