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Unknown Media: Flipnotes

The Nintendo DS franchise: highly renowned as the portable gaming device for thousands of the world’s favorite game series, with Pokemon and Animal Crossing only two classic titles that Nintendo fans have grown to cherish and love. With so many popular game titles and franchises dominating the most part of the DS market, thousands of lesser-known games and programs have been lost along the way.

That said, such undiscovered titles are not unpopular due to the lack of quality or services that they are able to provide. Games such as Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Rhythm Heaven have proven to be fantastic games, with high ratings from both the community and professional reviewers alike. The developed marketplace has simply restricted such titles from becoming exponentially popular.

Flipnote Studio, published by the Nintendo franchise themselves, is a great example of such a program that has been lost amongst the popular gaming titles of today’s world.

Flipnote Studio / Flipnote Studio 3D are both the same program, with the newer version simply a newer platform provided for the 3DS system. Appealing to artistically-inclined users, Flipnote Studio allows owners to create short “stereoscopic” animations, with many of the animations being solely based off of hues of black, red, white, and blue.

As the title infers, Flipnote animations are constructed in an individual frame construction manner. This means that the creator of a Flipnote would begin by sketching out a single frame of an animation that they are attempting to construct. After drawing the very first scene, the user would then proceed to draw the second frame of the animation, with the previously drawn frame as a translucent outline in the under-construction frame. This means that the artist can base their next drawing off of the previously drawn one. After drawing the second frame, the process continues, up until the point that the frames are played in a consecutive manner to portray the illusion of “animation”.

Most flipnotes play around 25-30 FPS, meaning that 25-30 frames are displayed in a given period of one second. This being said, a fifteen second Flipnote animation can take days to produce, with the animator required to draw an approximate amount of 450 frames in order to construct a smooth animation.

Now, enough with the technicalities. Although somewhat unpopular amongst today’s society, Flipnote Studio has managed to draw hundreds of interested artists together to form a tight-knit community. The Flipnote Studio franchise has actually created an online website, where Flipnote users can view the Flipnote Animations of other animators. Funnily enough, many people are not quite acquainted with the website, leading many artists and animators to form Flipnote compilations and post the compilation as a standard YouTube video, thus allowing non-Flipnote users to also learn of the animation style, and become involved in the Flipnote community.

Most Flipnote animations are based around concepts of death, love, struggle, and connection, with many animators using the program to create fandom-based animations. In reality, Flipnote creators have the freedom to create any type of animation that they can conceive, but most Flipnotes stick to similar animation styles and themes. Masks and original characters are very common in most Flipnotes, with many Flipnotes following a “flashy, vibrant, and compact” style of animation.

If not interesting enough, 90% of Flipnotes are played along to music, with the characters and backgrounds of the animations following the rhythm and beat played throughout a particular song. The lyrics are also oftentimes used to establish the primary topic of a given Flipnote, with the characters of an animation singing along or acting out the lyrics of a presented song.






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