Limitations inspire Creativity
Brush Ninja is a Hand-drawn Animated Gif Creator. I created it as something that everyone can use.
When I was little I was always drawing. Non-stop. I loved it, and I still do. My parents always said I should get a job at Disney and it’s something I aspired to. Toy Story came out when I was 13 and watching the trailer I realised that was what I wanted to make. So at school I focused on computers and art.
At university I studied Digitial Art with Multimedia computing with a view to getting into the video games industry as an artist (my focus changed slightly but it was still art and animation oriented); but it turns out that’s not an easy career to get in to (more likely I am just not good enough). So I slowly moved into other areas of digital art such as web design & interface design; but the passion for computer art continued.
After 11 years as the Director of Web Development at Miniclip.com (an online games company) I set out on my own with a view to working on the projects I had always been passionate about.
Whilst at Miniclip we published an animation creator called Sketch Star. It was an awesome tool, built in Flash, but I always felt it was a bit too complex. Unfortunately it was taken offline in April 2013, and when I left Miniclip I decided I wanted to make something similar.
Taking inspiration from apps like Sketch Star and Flipnote (by Nintendo, my favorite video games company), I set out to make a new animation tool that was simple to use and accessible to as many people as possible..
Who am I?
Brush Ninja is built by one person, Ben Gillbanks. By day I am a web designer, and father, with a love of video games. I have a passion for creating things and can’t resist experimenting with new projects. Brush Ninja is one of them. You can find out more about Ben me on my personal site; Binary Moon.
Big thanks to Juan, the creator of the original Sketch Star app for inspiring me. Thanks also to my friend Niclas for his feedback and positive thoughts - check out his games, they’re awesome.
The web app was built with the following libraries:
- gif.js - Saving animated gifs generated by a browser.
- LZ-String - File compression library.
- Sortable.js - For re-orderable frames.
- JQuery - Making dom manipulation simple.
The site uses Jekyll as a content management system, and Gulp as the build tool. The site is entirely static, all of the code runs in the browser.
The desktop app is powered by Electron.