A fanime can be created with the simplist of programs, all that's really needed is a basic drawing program and video editing software. In Windows, a combination of MSPaint and Windows Movie Maker is most common. An alternative for Macs is iMovie.

What you need:

  • A Story
  • A Drawing Program
  • Video Editing Software
  • A Tablet (Optional, but recommended)
  • A Microphone
  • Audio Recording Program
  • Voice Actors
  • Music and Sound Effects
  • Time

Preparing a StoryEdit

Writing a script involves knowledge of various elements

  1. Characters
  2. Setting
  3. Plot

In some cases, the "fan" in fanime comes out, as the stories are based off of pre-existing anime/manga. In other cases the creator makes a unique story.

Write down the setting and understand the various places that your characters will be interacting with each other.

Create the characters! What's anything without characters? Know who your primary characters are, especially your protagonist. However, it is a good idea to avoid too many cliches when creating an original character. One of the many pitfalls in a character is that of being a Mary Sue. To avoid this pitfall, give a character many varied traits, including flaws. Nobody is perfect, and nobody enjoys a character that is absolutely perfect in every way. It's annoying. This Mary Sue Litmus Test is an easy way to figure out if your character is too cliched, and how much more work you need to do in characterization.

Also, make a character sheet, especially for main characters. You are going to be drawing these characters a LOT. You might as well get some practice now.

When working out the details for your fanime, make a storyboard. A storyboard is basically a strip comic, and can be as detailed or simple as you need it to be. Even if it's stick people, it allows you to understand the direction you're going in with your story and the techniques you're using (pacing and "camera" angles). It is a huge aid in long term projects, where you may have forgotten what your plans were over time. Having a goal and working towards it may be one of those important factors that keeps your fanime going instead of being cancelled like many others.

Drawing ProgramsEdit


A brief tutorial on Coloring using MSPaint

There are a variety of drawing programs available for free. MSPaint is pre-installed and is one of the most available options for those who wish to create a Fanime. There are other options, however.

Free Programs

  • The GIMP- is a free open source image manipulation program similar to Photoshop.
  • openCanvas 1.1- is a freeware digital drawing program meant to be used with a tablet.
  • Paint.NET- is a freeware photomanipulation program for Windows.
  • Oekaki boards also offer drawing tools online, with nothing to download. There are usually fewer tools and options available, but can usually offer more than Paint.
  • Animation Programs can eliminate the need to use video editing software. These programs are made with animation in mind, so they are more user-friendly than simple drawing programs.
  • OpenToonz is an free and open source version of the animation program Toonz. It was used by Studio Ghibli and is perfect for anime.

Other Programs

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Paint Tool SAIis made with anime in mind and is cheap. A one-month free trial is available.
  • Adobe Flash - Very expensive, but can produce very professional results.
  • Celsys RETAS!PRO - Software used in anime studios, and the anime counterpart to Manga Studio. While it's several times more expensive than Flash, it has an unlimited free trial, but without the ability to export common formats.

There are other programs, and your own research may be necessary to find just the right one for you.


Using a tablet makes it much more simple and efficient to draw on the computer. Wacom is the more expensive brand, but usually comes with Photoshop Elements, or Painter, both of which are wonderful programs to use. Instead of worrying about the rigid lines of MSPaint, drawing with a mouse, or using a scanner, just use a tablet!

Most come with pressure sensitivity, so the effects are similar to that of pencil on paper.

If your art using a mouse doesn't compare to your traditional art, or if you want to produce images at a quicker rate, a tablet may be what you need. It should be noted, however that the learning curve for a tablet is steep, and will take practice to get used to.

Video EditingEdit

The basic process behind making animations using a combination of a drawing program and video editing software is this:thumb|200px|right

  1. Draw a frame
  2. Save the picture
  3. Upload into movie maker
  4. Repeat

When using a program designed for animation, the fanime can be made frame by frame and can use tools such as onion skinning to smooth out the animation. Tweening also simplifies the process further.

A typical american animation has about 24 frames per second. That means for a 1 minute video, expect to draw 1,440 frames if each one is different. If saving a video as an AVI format, it is usually 15 frames per second. Standard anime use 4 frames per second for normal scenes and around 12 fps for action sequences.

If the fps is too low, then the video looks choppy. This is a common issue in many fanimes, as not enough frames are drawn.


Once the animation is made all that is left to do is prepare the audio!

Windows movie maker has a "narration" mode that allows you to record over your animation for voice acting, but this is usually pretty impractical.

Audacityis a free audio recorder and editor that is useful for creating MP3s and editing your voice. It has various features such as background noise removal and pitch changing. Once you finish your own audio, simply export it as a wma or mp3 or whatever and upload it into movie maker!

Voice Actors

At some point in time, you may need to use someone else's voice. Maybe you have more than one character. Maybe you're a girl and you don't sound like a guy. This is where voice actors come into play. If you can, try to find someone you can contact fairly easily. This can include friends or family. That way, you can tell them upfront what your want them to do and you can pester them if they are missing your deadlines.
This means you should HAVE DEADLINES. Some people are lazy, they won't get to work unless you make them. A reason that some fanimes don't get off the ground is because nobody does their job and actually voices the characters. Furthermore, IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE YOUR ANIMATION DONE FIRST. Then your voice actors have an idea of what they are lip syncing to and typically the animation takes longer than the audio recording. You may just have your videos up quicker that way.
Get someone you know will be committed. This may be a very long process, depending on how long it takes you to animate. You may be doing this for months if not years. Find someone who will also do this.

Can't find someone in real life to aid you? Have no fear, auditions are here!

Post a video of your audition on youtube and try to find various voice actors on the internet. Free ones. Offer character descriptions as well as how the ideal voice for the specified character should sound (i.e. deep, girly, high pitched, canadian accent, etc.) as well as a short script for the voice actors to use. You should choose lines that have a range of emotion, so you know what type of actor you are getting ahead of time. A lot of people have a difficult time with shouting due to low quality microphones. You can test this by having it in the auditions, or you can avoid this issue altogether by not having a lot of lines with shouting in your script.
Also have a deadline here, and understand that if you don't get the word out you won't have a very high turn out. Try to cast people as multiple roles if their voice allows for it.

Sound Effects

Alright! So you have your animation and your voices, all that is left is to touch it up with some nice sound effects!
Google Free sound effects and you can find plenty of things. has user submitted sound effects in a variety of file types, but it is always FREE.
Many sites do not offer these sounds for free, so it may take some research to find exactly what you're looking for. If you have a good microphone and the right equipment, try to make the sounds yourself. Record, edit, repeat.


Using music is great for intros or background music, but copyright is always an issue. When uploading to youtube, consider where you are getting the music. If it is from a well known artist, there is the chance that it will be censored and your video will have no sound, be blocked, or won't be posted at all. What to do? Use creative commons.
Jamendois well known for the free music available, and flash sites like Newgrounds has audio available. Read what the requirements are before you download, but most often they only require that you give credit to the musician. Even if it doesn't say so, it's always a good idea to give credit where credit is due. (It also prevents lawsuits)