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How to make Flash Props for GoAnimate with Pencil Animator

etourist Business 2010-07-23 10:20:31

I know there's a lot of GoPlus users out there wanting to make flash props but can't afford all the flash software. Well this is the tutorial for you.

Pencil Animator may not be the best Flash Animation software out there but it's free and you can use it to make really cool props even if you can't draw because it has the ability to let you trace from photos and drawings. I've used it to make a lot of my own flash props.

I've written a step by step tutorial on Google Docs for making your own flash props which you'll find at:


It's a PDF file that you can download if you wish. Don't be put off by the number of pages. Most of it is pictures to show you how to do things rather than tell you with a truck load of words.

Each page covers only one or two steps and walks you through every stage. Links for where to download Pencil Animator are included with the tutorial.

The current tutorial shows my process to create a vehicle for my Lil Peepz characters. In future tutorials I'll be showing you how to animate your props.

Let me know if you try the tutorial and especially let me know if you didn't understand something or have questions.   *Note: I've reposted this topic here for people who don't visit the 'How do I...' forum that often.

S࿂laяßabY Business 2010-07-23 10:29:50

That's really kind of you. And really well put together

etourist Business 2010-07-23 10:46:17

Incidently if you'd like to use the Lil Ferrari I made as part of the tutorial just search for 'tetlilferrari' in the community section of the studio. The next tutorial I'll be making a version of the same car but showing how to animate the wheels.

AlexWoodRules 2010-07-23 11:48:03

Thanks, iv'e been waiting for this!

Magitek 2010-07-23 16:12:47

Wow etourist thank you so much. I doubt many people really appreciate and realize what you do for the site. Thanks again, and great work as usual!

etourist Business 2010-07-23 19:27:40

Thanks Lil Fluffy. I do have an ulterior motive. It is my hope that by helping people out they'll learn to make better animations for me (and everyone else) to enjoy ;-)

Besides - there's no point in having the ability to upload flash if you don't know how to make a flash prop or you can't afford the software needed. Now I've shown you how to overcome both those obstacles.

AlexWoodRules 2010-07-23 20:03:31

@TET can you help me out at

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-23 22:45:31


I tried it and its so easy thanks to your tutorial. Thank you so much. Now all I have to do is wait and see how to make them move.

etourist Business 2010-07-24 01:52:29

Thanks CS4. I really tried to make it as simple as I could get given that people just want to get on with making their props rather than be bogged down in a complex tutorial.

@Marvel Sorcery: Great to hear you tried out the tutorial and that you found it easy to follow. I'm working on the Animated prop tutorial today so hopefully you won't have to wait too long.

Pencil Animator is actually a very well designed program. I like it better than Koolmoves in many ways. If it wasn't so buggy and had a few more advanced drawing tools I'd make all my props with it.

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-24 11:06:01

Yes it is very easier. I love it better than Anime Studios . IN ANime the tools are so hard and adding bones in anime takes hours of work for me because I dont quite understand the process.

I'm looking forward to your tutorial on animating. Thank you so much. This was a big help TET.

Linkre20 2010-07-24 18:06:10

Pencil Animator...

TET can you make them move? if yes then GREAT!!! but i got no pics to duplicate

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-24 18:57:56


Yes thats going to be his second tutorial.

AlexWoodRules 2010-07-24 19:02:29

no if you use windows, mac can do movie though  

etourist Business 2010-07-24 19:57:03

@ ✝Goku™✝ - It's Pencil 'Animator' of course you can make stuff move. It would be called 'Pencil Drawer' if you couldn't ;-)

I'm about two thirds complete on the second tutorial. There's no getting around the fact that it's a little harder to follow than the first but I'm trying to make it as clear as I can.

etourist Business 2010-07-24 19:59:33

Oh... and you don't have to trace pictures with Pencil Animator. You can just draw directly into the program. I just thought showing how to trace would be more useful for people who can't draw that well on a computer.

TheseStars Business 2010-07-24 21:08:31

Thanks TET, I think I will plan my whole Sunday around your tutorial.
Really, big thanks.

etourist Business 2010-07-25 03:59:39

Gosh I really hope it doesn't take your whole Sunday thesestars. You should be able to work through the tutorial in about an hour easily if you start with a simple prop.

The second tutorial about how to animate your Flash props with Pencil Animator is now complete. You'll find it at:


It does assume you've done the first tutorial and continues where that left off. It's a shorter document than the first but it is more wordy (unfortunately). Still has lots of pictures though.

I'd really appreciate feedback from anyone who tries it so I can know if it's easy to follow or not.

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-25 14:02:59


Okay Im back. Your tutorial was very well put together, I found it easy to understand. This is a big help to everyone who wants and easy flash software that's free. Thank you so much for making the tutorials and showing us Pencil Animator. Without you I'd still be figuring out how draw arms  in Anime Studios and getting confused with bones. Again Thank you so much!


LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-25 15:49:27

Although I did find it hard to make characters walk

TheseStars Business 2010-07-25 16:28:18

@TET --- I'm obssessive that way.  If someone if willing to teach me
how to do something---I'm gonna learn.
I've been dying to make my own talking flower for HOOT....so I thought
I would try that....and I wish I could of made my own Lemonade Stand
for my contest entry.  I could be dangerous with all this new knowledge
and GoPlus power!

Really thanks for taking the time to do this ----

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-25 17:12:14


Looking forward to seeing that talking flower.

etourist Business 2010-07-25 18:53:11

@Marvey Sorcery: A walking character is hard even for experienced animators. There's a great tutorial on the steps you need at:


You can get a decent walk cycle within 6-8 frames.

@thesestars: a talking flower should be quite managable with pencil. Looking forward to seeing it.

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-25 19:27:46


I checked out the tutorial and it worked wonders. I see now how to make them walk. Thnx for the tutorials.

etourist Business 2010-07-25 19:32:42

Great Marvel, looking forward to seeing your first walking character now that you know how to go about it. :-)

How did you find working with Pencil Animator?  Was it easy to use? Did it crash much? etc.

Personally I think it's great for drawing props with - far better than Koolmoves even. It's just when you come to coloring drawings in and actually animating that it becomes a little frustrating.

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-25 23:50:23

It crashed a few times. Once to where the point where i had to delete it off my computer and redownload it cos it said something about me missing a wingmin....

Other than that its really easy...a little frustrating coloring...BUT ITS BETTER THAN ANIME STUDIOS TO ME.

etourist Business 2010-07-26 03:18:01

I've never had it crash to the point where I needed to reinstall it. Whilst I was working on my car for the tutorials I had a lot of trouble with the fill tool (but that's a known bug that even the user manual talks about).

If the developers did just a little bit more work to remove the bugs and added the ability to draw squares, rectangles, circles and elipses - and added a rotate object/lines function - it would be just about perfect as a beginners-intemediate animation tool.

TheseStars Business 2010-07-27 15:41:02

Bump ----

Having some trouble with the fill in tool ---just like you said.

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-27 15:42:09

try using the color tool. thats wat i used when it wundt let me fill

TheseStars Business 2010-07-27 15:54:53

thanks...I'll try that.

I was wondering....about actions scripts.

I've been actually trying my flower in both PA and KM---following the same thought patterns in KM
as you are providing in the PA tutorial---which is brilliantly done, TET.

anyway,  I wanted my flower to first appear like she is sleeping and than open her eyes.
but I also wanted to be able to make her shake and talk.....I know I'm getting ahead of myself
but KM talks about creating files for these different action scripts---is that what you did when
you made HOOT? and it that what I see when I click on him to get him to flap wings, jump,
sleep, walk and/or show credits...so there is a separate file for each one of these moves?

I'm going to try just my flower in PA to talk----but my mind just won't let the other ideas
rest.  Can you offer something about these action scripts. Oh by the way, the car suits the lil peezs just perfectly.

etourist Business 2010-07-27 19:43:12

@thesestars: with Hoot every action he can perform is a seperate file. Just like my car in the tutorial it has two files - one for stopped and one for driving. They're uploaded seperately as props.

Characters differ from props in that you upload each action file seperately but each one is then added to a character file to create the menu for selecting each action.

For the most part you don't need to worry yourself at all about action scripts (which is basically a programming language for flash). You only need to know simple commands like 'stop movie' (if you don't want your animation to continously loop) or 'gotoandplay' (if you want your animation to start doing one action then loop continuously from a frame somewhere in the middle of your action). etc.

Action scripts do not apply to Pencil Animator which has no support for them.

Koolmoves does support action scripts but fortunately they are incredibly easy to implement. The majority you need can be selected from a menu with little additional knowledge needed for how to modify the settings.

etourist Business 2010-07-28 10:03:07

For those of you that have Koolmoves I've started on a tutorial to make flash props with that software. About a third of the way complete thus far.

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-28 15:26:28

I tried using KoolMoves but it was tooo hard for me. either that or i ddint no what the devil i was doing

etourist Business 2010-07-28 18:50:42

Hopefully my tutorial will help CJ. Koolmoves isn't that much harder than Pencil Animator and it has much better drawing and animation tools.

LörÐ §ör¢êr¥ 2010-07-28 19:38:03

ur tutorials always seem to hepl

Denom 2011-11-14 15:32:05

Where can I download pencil animator?

etourist Business 2011-11-14 16:02:42

Download Pencil from: http://www.pencil-animation.org/

Commedus 2011-11-14 16:12:19

Thank you so much! You have moved me to the next level of my education on animating! you are awesome sir!

Denom 2011-11-14 16:24:15


Doctor Bob 2012-05-04 18:38:34

A very big THANK YOU to etourist for the great tutorials on making flash props w/ Pencil Animator, they were essential to my creating a 1990 Chevy Caprice prop I needed to make.  I figured out how to make the wheels go slower/faster (dependent on less or more key frames within the 24 frames max), but I have one question remaining, which I'm hoping is not a dumb one......so once I have the car uploaded to Goanimate and in my scene, and the character is in the car, what's the best way to make the car move as well as the character, and make them perfectly in sync so there's nothing off b/w the two?  To the best that I could find, it appears that I should use the "enter/exit" function for the car/flash prop (since that's the only function available), and for the character do I do the same?  Thank you again for such great and easy to follow tutorials, and any advice or help on this matter would be greatly appreciated!!

etourist Business 2012-05-05 04:16:51

You can select multiple props by holding down the shift key and clicking on each prop you want to move. All the objects will be surrounded by a rectangle on top edge of which you'll see a 'slide' icon and a 'trashcan' icon. Click the slide icon and you can move all the objects selected as you would a single object.

Glad you found my tutorials useful.

Иїgнтмαrε 2012-05-06 09:23:36

Next can you make a tutorial about how to make the props move? like for example yo make a car like you did in your tutorial but how do you make the wheels move and stuff?

Doctor Bob 2012-05-06 12:02:29

Making the props move was actually covered in part 2 of etourist's tutorial, located here:  https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B-jb1QwWydW_NjdhZDQyZTQtNTI1YS00ZDkxLThlNzQtZjhiNTZlOTg4NzU1&hl=en

тяїcку 2012-05-06 14:12:43

I used to use Pencil Animator. But the crashes were just getting annoying. I remember once I was working on a small 1 min project for school. I finished like 32 seconds of It and BAM!!! And It crashed. All the hard work for nothing.
I find Macromedia Flash 8 to be more Family Friendly.

ModXYZ Films™ 2012-05-06 14:24:31


etourist Business 2012-05-06 18:01:05

And the lesson is... when using Pencil Animator... Save, and Save often... it's just that buggy.

TheseStars Business 2012-05-07 00:07:55

I'm digging DrawPlus....just purchased it after downloading the trial.  Love it!

Rocque 2012-05-07 00:32:25

Learning how to draw and make animations with a drawing program is part of my summer to do list.  I have tried a couple with the iPad, but they look like finger painting.  On one of my Happy Bunny animations I actually did have one scene that I drew and painted off site using a photograph as the background and I was happy with how it came out and no one noticed or mentioned it so I got away with it.  It is so much fun to be able to add custom features to your work.

тяїcку 2012-05-07 02:19:18

LOL! I ment user-friendly on my last comment.
@etourist ahhh yes. Save and save and save and save. The problem was....I kept forgetting. And It's funny since my crashes on that only happen If I wanted to make the drawing bigger or smaller. One of the most annoying things there that to me were even more annoying then the crashes was when you want to fill In a color In your drawing. You would need to zoom In a 100 times just to color It.

Tree Rock Creations 2012-05-09 02:29:00

Thanks. I might pursue this if my animations become popular.

pratieheads 2012-06-29 00:42:14

I figured out a way to get shapes to fill more easily. I make the largest shapes and fill them. Then I make a second vector layer and draw the subsidiary shapes on it, and fill them. Then I copy them and go back to the original layer and paste them on. This works best for me.

etourist Business 2012-06-29 02:19:47

@pratieheads - that sounds like a great tip. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing because that is my biggest problem with Pencil too - that silly fill error message.

Rocque 2012-06-29 14:34:34

Since I have a new computer and all my software is gone. I need to restart something to practice drawing with.  I still have my Bamboo pad and "pencil", and it was something I was going to experiment with this summer.  Will that work with Koolmoves?  Is that what I should use?  Or pencil animator?  I still have my CD for Flash 5 (I wonder if I can use that?).  

What I would like to do is add eyes and mouths to props or and make them talk to start with.  I would like the eyes to be sort of bulgy like used in "Cars".

etourist Business 2012-07-01 05:06:06

@Rocque - Your bamboo pad should work with Koolmoves but it's not that great as a freehand drawing program. Pencil animator's a better program for freehand drawing but doesn't support action script - which means any animation you make, once imported in GoA will continuously loop. Koolmoves will let you put a stop command in - useful if you only want an animation to play once.

Flash 5 may work but it needs to support action script version 3.0 or better. The best way to find out is to just try it. Flash 5 would probably work great with your bamboo pad though.

Rocque 2012-07-01 15:30:21

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to this.  I will see if that Flash program is still viable on this computer.  The thing has to be 10 years old.