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Eleven Mostly Free Comic Book/Strip Resources For Your Next Motion Comic

TET Cool Image.
Created with Lywi.com Comic Maker.

One really exciting use for Cartoon Animator and other animation software is to assist in the production of creating motion comics. If you're not familiar with motion comics just think of them as a kind of video comic book that typically features (but not always) all of the dialogue in each panel read by voice actors along with limited animation to make the still images more dynamic and visually interesting.

Below is a demonstration motion comic I made many years ago when I reviewed Smith Micro's Motion Artist software (which has since been discontinued but, if you can find a copy, its entire purpose was to create motion comics and other motion graphics). Follow the link to the review if you want to see how this was made.

The great thing about motion comics is that they're much easier to animate than an animated cartoon short. Often much of the animation will be moving a a static image of a character, panning the camera across a scene creating a parallax effect, or making speech balloons appear at the right time etc.

If you're using Cartoon Animator you have access to the entire Reallusion Content Store and Marketplace so you don't even need to be able to draw. 

If this sounds like something you'd like to try, below I highlight eleven resources that may help get you started. Note that I am not affiliated with any of these sites or resources, they are all tools that I either personally use, have used in the past, or discovered in the course of researching this article.

Most of the resources are fine for personal use and sharing on social media. If you want to use any in commercial projects I'd strongly recommend checking with the developer and their Terms of Service just to be on the safe side.

Cartoon Animator

Animated Toon Bubbles by DexArt.
Animated Toon Bubbles
by DexArt.

Obviously you'll need something to animate your comic panels. Cartoon Animator makes this easy with it's built in parallax capability and an entire Content store and Marketplace to choose premade characters, props and backgrounds. DexArt is one developer marketplace store well worth checking out for animated effects that are ideal for motion comics.

Cartoon Animator's in built Text Tool includes comic book style speech balloons as well (which I use all the time). I have a course for using the Text Tool in Cartoon Animator if you want to make sure your text and speech balloons look their best.

Clip-Studio Paint

If your graphics editor of choice is Clip-Studio Paint this software is packed with comic creation tools (before it changed its name it was called Manga Studio). Follow the link to the official website Comics and Manga Page to see how you can use it to draw and format your entire graphic novel inside the software. 

Krita

Comic Creation tools in Krita.
Krita has some basic comic
creation tools like speech
balloons and page templates.

The free drawing software, Krita, includes a comic book manager, templates and a vector library of speech balloons. It's not as extensive as Clip-Studio Paint but it's a great resource if you just want some pre-made panels and speech balloons.

Canva

If you've ever used the free, online graphic design tool, Canva, you may be interested to know they have an entire section for creating your own comic strips. Many of their templates and other assets are completely free to use, while you can extend their range by upgrading to a premium subscription.

Comic Studio

The Lazy Animator Comic Studio with just my own characters.
Comic Studio lets you build a library
of just your own assets.

Comic Studio is an interesting, free tool that lets you create an entire comic creation studio around your own art and characters. If you're making comic strips featuring your art quite often this could be a tool for you.

The site itself is like a social media site for comic makers with the option to use other people's Comic Studios to create comics too (though I wouldn't use other user studios for your own commercial projects).

The only down side here is that speech balloon options are severely limited to one style.

Make Beliefs Comix

Make Beliefs Comix, comic creator is really intended for kids, family, and educators but if you're making motion comics for any of these groups the style of graphics available might just be what you need.

Lywi Comic Strip Maker

Lywi Comic Strip Maker.
I found Lywi difficult to use as a comic
creator. However it's easy to save assets
like speech balloons as transparent PNG
files for your motion comics.

Lywi Comic Strip Maker is literally a free cloud based app for turning photos into comics. No sign up, just straight to the app's project window. Could be ideal for sourcing all the components you need to create your motion comics.

Smilebox Comic Strip Maker

Smilebox is actually a collection of different free tools. Their Comic Strip Maker is intended to help you turn your photos into comics with many templates and graphical elements to assist you.

Toony Tool

While you can upload your own images into Toony Tool the included templates, and library of characters, animals, and objects have a very distinctive drawing style that can work well with irony style humor. Toony Tool can also save your comics as an animation or video file.

Free Comic Maker

Free Comic Maker online
Free Comic Maker. Not as many
options as others but very useful
and ad free once you're in the editor.

Initially this site looks like it's going to be overloaded with ads but once you launch Free Comic Maker the interface is clean and ad free. Upload your own images or make use of the templates and included library.

Storyboard That

Not really a Comic Maker as such however, Storyboard That does have some cross over with speech balloon elements, cartoon based library content, and more. You could certainly use it as a source of content for you motion comics but it could also be a very useful tool for storyboarding animations and other video productions in general.

---o ---o--- o---

As you may have guessed most of these tools are applications for making comic strips in their own right and not really intended for motion comics. The idea is to use them to source and create the comic book elements you need to make motion comics with an animation software like Cartoon Animator.

You could plan your entire comic in one of these apps then use that as a starting point for turning your strip into a motion comic. Think of it as your storyboard.

Example of Motion Comic Animated Panel.
All of the comic elements for this panel were created in
Lywi Comic Maker and exported as separate elements.
They were then imported and animated in Cartoon Animator.
This whole panel took less than ten minutes to animate using
Cartoon Animator's Elastic motions and the camera.


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