If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know I am a fan of Flickr.com – it is a excellent way for us to share our pictures with friends and family. I recently took a set of pictures that I wanted to animate, flipbook style, but I had two obstacles to overcome. The first obstacle was that I didn’t take the pictures using a tripod, I just took them trying to keep the camera in pretty much the same place. Doing this will make for a jerky result. In fact, I knew this would be the case. While I was taking the pictures I was trying to decide how to solve the problem. Sure, it can be done manually using [name of your favorite image editing program here] but it is a tedious process. After a lot of searching I discovered Adobe Photoshop CS3 has built in tools for automatically aligning images.
The process is actually pretty simple. First, I resized the images (using Picasa) to a more manageable 600×800 using Picasa’s Export functionality. From within Photoshop select File | Scripts | Load Files Into Stacks… to import all of the pictures into individual layers in a single picture, making sure to select Attempt to Automatically Align Images (note that this can be a slow process). Then, select File | Scripts | Export Layers to Files to export the layers into individual, better aligned JPEG files (in a new directory).
After I had better aligned images, I uploaded the images to JumpCut.com and made a flipbook out of them. I set each frame to 0.35 seconds. The final result looks kind of cool. During the alignment process the image distorts just a touch giving somewhat odd angles to the various pictures, but the portrait being drawn stays relatively still which gives the flipbook a neat effect.