Making it Move pt. 3: Waddling to LOGÓS

More about my early animations on the Atari 8-bit computers using MovieMaker.


In the 80s I was a big fan of the Bloom County comic strip, and a number of my early graphics and animations featured characters from it. The video opened with the Banana Jr. computer, but another animation featured the strip’s starring character: Opus the penguin.

First first animated walk was a waddle

Click to start the video here!

This animation features what is likely the first walk I ever animated. It would have been simple to just move the feet and wings, but when I think of penguins I picture that rolling waddle, and I think I got that just about perfect.

On the other hand, I was still new to the medium and hadn’t quite gotten a handle on how to work with such limited colors. You can tell from the edges of the screen that the (transparent) background color was the red, and all three of the remaining colors got used for Opus and the floor.To make him stand out better I should have used the red instead of black to draw the lines in the floor boards, or perhaps even had the floor fade (via dithering) from yellowish to reddish as it goes back, so Opus’s famed schnozz would stand out better.

This animation was actually one of several animated birthday cards I created, as I thought there might be some business in making simple video greeting card animations to send people. I was too far ahead of my time as this kind of thing really required email, YouTube or Facebook to be practical!


My friend Jennifer frequently commented that she thought the word “logos” in print looked like it would read “Lōgōs” which to her sounded like an exotic island.

It’s pronounced Lōgōs

Click to start the video here!

She animated this, although I helped a little in how the background worked. The shake-the-skirt-off gag was mine, as I felt it needed a punchline. I did help a little with tweaking the background and characters…but those girls really needed some hips!

Again, with four colors you’re very limited, so to make the hair stand out from the background each girl had to be in front of either white or green ergo the scenery was designed around making sure the characters would “read” in front of them.

The scrolling text was a feature built into MovieMaker, and easily added. In retrospect, I could have possibly used this to add another level of animation, like moving dashes or dots or something atop an animation.


I don’t recall for sure but I think the idea for this was hatched (pun intended) around Easter time, and again it’s mostly Jennifer’s work with some assistance from me.

Simple yet effective

Click to start the video here!

I thought and still think it’s kind of charming in its simplicity, but what really sells it the little tune that Jennifer composed with the very very limited 9 note scale!

My biggest contributions to this video were figuring out how to get around the limit of six moving objects at once. The solution ended up being that only a few eggs were ever animated objects at any given time. For instance, once we had the first five eggs on the screen and stationary we’d switch from displaying individual eggs to displaying a single “actor” that contained five eggs now adorned with letters to spell “HAPPY”. We then repurposed the remaining actors to animate the next row of eggs, switching a few of them to a single actor composed of multiple eggs, etc. When all the eggs making up the message were in place, they’re just two actors, leaving the remaining four to animate the chick and  the top and bottom of the egg. Economy!


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