Creating Talking Animations using Scratch

February 1, 2019

Making an animated cartoon sketch used to be something that was only accessible to professionals with top-end equipment and voice acting expertise just a few years ago. However, Scratch by MIT has changed this forever in the last decade by bringing a software that can be used by kids not just to make their own games but also to create fun animations on their own. Today, I want to show you how to create animations with the help of a short 15 min activity.


You can download Scratch Desktop by clicking on the following links: For Windows or Mac and install it before proceeding further. This should take about 5 minutes.


Once Scratch Desktop is installed, you can should see a screen like this:

 On the left, you will be able to see the different blocks that you can combine to help make the code. On the upper right side you will be able to see your characters (known as sprites) actually perform the actions as per the code that you have written.


So, lets get started! First, remove the default cat sprite by clicking on the 'x' button on the top right of the sprite button:






Next, you should click on the Choose a Sprite button in the bottom right corner:






Now, you should select the character "Dani" from the list, who will be our animated character: 


 In order to animate Dani, we can start off with bringing him from the left of the screen to the right at the start and ask her to say "Hello". Scratch has an option for text to speech, that is powered by Amazon Web (makers of Alexa). 


In terms of writing code, this is actually quite simple, you will need to join together a few blocks in order to make this possible. 


However, you will first need to add in the extension for text to speech. This can be done by following the steps mentioned below:









First, click on the Add Extension button in the bottom left corner:






Next, click on the Text to Speech extension to get the coding blocks with that extension. Now, you can make the code for the character to come out and say hello:



This code makes Dani come out from the left of the screen and say hello! The purple block (say Hello!) will also show the word being spoken.









Now, you can create a copy of the character Dani by clicking on the Sprite and selecting Duplicate:












Now that you have Dani2, you can change her costume by selecting her and clicking on the Costumes tab at the top of the page and changing the costume to Dani-b:


 You can flip her around by clicking on the Flip Horizontal button in the upper right of the page.


Now,  you can return back to the code for Dani2 by clicking on code at the top and update her code by changing the following:



















Now, Dani2 will come from the right of the screen (coordinates 250,0) and will wait before Dani has spoken before replying.


Now, you can add more more blocks to both Dani and Dani2 to continue with the conversation!

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