Flipbooks provide a fun, simple and portable way to see plants in action. A flipbook consists of series of pictures held together in a stack at one end so the stack of images that can be "flipped" through with your thumb. A computer is not needed for viewing a flipbook and they easily fit in a shirt pocket so they be taken and viewed anyplace. For example, if a class were to create a time-lapse movie as a project, the students could easily make a flipbook of the movie that they could take home to show family and friends. In addition to possibly getting more students, especially young one, interested in plants, flipbooks may also result in spreading some knowledge about plant biology to the general public. Most importantly, flipbooks can be fun.

The QuickTime movies shown on the "Plants in Motion" web pages basically work by flipping images in sequence in a manner that is similar to simple flipbook animations. If you have a printer connected to your computer, it isn't too hard to create flipbooks on paper from these QuickTime movies.

The easy way: We will soon have some printable pages that have image series from a selection of our Plants-In-Motion movies. These montages will be available as jpeg images that can be printed, cut and assembled into flipbooks. Although they can be printed from the browser, it is better to save the images to your computer and then print them from a image editing or paint program so you don't get all the browser junk. If the images are printed (or glued) on stiff paper like card stock, the pages will flip easier and last longer.

Making your own flipbooks from QuickTime movies: To make flipbooks from any of the QuickTime movies in the Plants-In-Motion we site, you will need to be able to save the QuickTime movie to the hard drive on your computer. This requires using a registered version of QuickTime (QuickTime Pro - $30) and the correct plug-in for your browser. You can register at the apple QuickTime web site (http://quicktime.apple.com/).

One method for making flipbooks from the QuickTime movies is to use the free image analysis software developed by NIH called, NIH Image. However, there are many image and drawing programs available that can be used to assemble the images. NIH Image is convenient since it can be used to convert a QuickTime movie to a "stack" of still images. These image "stacks" can then be assembled into a montage using the montage function under the "Stack" menu by adjusting the parameters to the desired number of images you want to print on each page. Six to nine images per page seems to work pretty well depending on the content of the image series. There are various formatting options available from the montage command so experiment a little to get the size that works best for you. Once the images are combined as series on single pages, print them, cut out the individual pictures and assemble a flipbook.

Flipbooks can be made from time-lapse series or QuickTime movies of anything that is fit to print.