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What is a Flipbook?

A flipbook or moving pictures animations is a special type of picture booklet, where each page contains a similar image that gradually changes on every subsequent page. The person is supposed to quickly flip through all the pages to blend the image on each page into the next page’s image. It creates the illusion of animated characters or objects in motion.

Flipbooks were one of the earliest forms of animated imagery and motion picture technology ever in the world. Before there were computers and television shows, people had to rely on flipbooks to see moving images in action. Each flipbook page contains a picture of a person or object in a slightly different position. Longer flipbooks have more drawn-out action sequences compared to shorter flipbooks.

It is almost the same concept of how cartoons are made. Illustrators design an image for each frame and then put all of the frames together in sequence. Once the frames are played in subsequent order, the illusion of animation is created. The only difference with physical flipbooks is you must use your fingers to flip through the pages. Animators and filmmakers use projection technology to make their illusions.

It takes a lot more work to convey a message or story in a flipbook. Drawing the imagery on each page is time consuming compared to writing the story in text format. However, the viewers will benefit more because they don’t need to devote as much time to reading anything. They can flip through the book within a few seconds to understand the basic message of the story.

How to Hold a Flipbook

Speed is the key to making the illusion work well. Some people are better at reading flipbooks than others. It requires you to hold the flipbook properly, with one hand underneath the book and the other hand flipping through the pages. On the flipping hand, your thumb and index fingers do all the work. You use these two fingers to lift all the pages and release them one at a time, but quickly.

Flipbooks don’t always read from the front to the back. Sometimes you have to start on the back page and flip through to the front page to get the entire animated image. It is easier to flip through the pages when the books are smaller because your fingers have a better grip on the pages. Bigger flipbooks with lots of pages will require you to use more than two fingers.

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