Using animated cheerleading clipart is a great way to spruce up your team's web page, turning static pages into eye-catching and fun sites for fans, students and other cheerleaders.
Which Is the Right Animated Cheerleading Clipart for You?
There are basically two ways to get animated cheerleading clipart:
- Download pre-made animations
- Create your own
Both solutions have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Finding Animations Online
Since cheerleading is so popular, it is rather easy to find animated clip art for just about anything - cheerleading included. Unfortunately, most of the free clip art sites are filled with ads, ads and more ads, and very few actual animations. Still, these sites do exist. Even the "Amazing Animations" site has actual animated gifs that can be easily inserted into a web page. There are very few actual animations compared to ads, but there are three pages of them.
Another disadvantage of the "free" sites is that the animations are usually of a very low quality. However, with a small investment - sometimes as low as a dollar - you can get some flash animations of cheer gear like megaphones. Sites such as iStockPhoto will sell you clip art that is royalty-free and sharp and professionally made.
Creating Your Own Animations
Almost all of the image editing applications such as Photoshop, ImageReady or Flash contain "simple" animation tools. However, simple is a relative term, and there is definitely a learning curve involved in using any of these programs to produce your own clip art. You could also contact your school's art department and see if there might be students who both know how to use the program and who are willing to donate time to create animations for you.
The process of creating the frame-by-frame animation is actually fairly straightforward, and could even be done with the help of a digital camera to use your own cheerleaders in the animated clipart.
- Whatever program you use, it will probably give you a series of "frames" for your animation. You don't want the animation to be too long (at most two seconds) and so ten frames (at five frames per second) should be fine for your first animation.
- Take photos to create each step in the animation. For example, you could have one cheerleader in frame 1, and then a picture of two cheerleaders in frame 2, etc., building a pyramid or performing another stunt. Take a lot of pictures so you can choose the best ones.
- Import each photo into the frames in the right order (you may need to use the program's "help" menu to figure out how to import).
- Select "Export as Animated GIF" (or, if you're using Flash, as a Flash animation or .flv file). The .GIF format is currently the only way to show animations on almost any web page - no plugins or special browsers needed.
- Make sure the file size is small. While broadband is very common, a large animation can still slow down your web page loading for your team's fans. Animations shouldn't be more than 200kb for clipart.
- Save the file to your web server (again, you may need to use a different program or consult the help files for this part).
While this is a general guideline for creating your clip art, every program has its own specific methods. Another way to get around the burden of the learning curve and equipment costs is to use an online animation tool such as Go Animate!. These are relatively simple websites that provide free tools for creating as simple an animation as zooming text to a complicated story cartoon. Whichever method you use, remember that a little animation on your site goes a long way. Don't fill your site with lots of distracting motion. Just pick one or two good pieces of animated cheerleading clipart, and let your message speak to the people.