While big budget animated films are all the rage for the likes of Disney and Pixar, you can actually create your own low budget production using open source software that you can download for free if you visit blender.org.
Download and installation is pretty straight forward. What is more daunting by far is launching the package and trying to figure out your way around the interface. If you are familiar with 3D animation software, it will all look pretty familiar. And more intuitive, I am told, than most professionally available packages as this has been designed by the kind of people who will use it.
But for newcomers there is a great tutorial on wiki that will see you from newbie to, well not exactly pro as the title suggests, but certainly able to start doing some simple modelling and animation within hours.
Persevere and you will be amazed by what you can create.
Now while the text and screen shot tutorial is really great for stepping you through the processes to your animation, some people prefer a more visual medium. So I just want to show you this series of films on YouTube that address some of the more complex activities once you have your feet under the table.
Super3boy has made a series of 26 video tutorials uncovering the many mysteries of Blender that I am finding incredibly useful. Start at number one and work your way through.
Pretty soon you will be Blending like a pro and posting your own short films on You Tube.
If 3D animation is a bit too much for you, you can still exercise your creativity in your every day correspondence. Do not get stuck in a rut with boring old fonts like Times New Roman and Arial - getfreefonts.info instead.
I love the quirky selection of fonts on these pages, that are sure to brighten up any letter, e-mail or presentation. Tantrum Tongue, BubbleBath, Easily Amused - they have great names too.
You can search the fonts alphabetically then browse through the pages until you spot something that suits. There are 2,500 fonts to choose from, with the sample text displayed beside each download link so you can see what you are getting. Simple and functional, this site delivers exactly what you would expect with the minimum of fuss. Lovely.
THROW ME (http://petersbn.members.dynasigns.de/throwme.swf)
This site is well worth a visit as long as you have some time to spare, I found it incredibly hard to drag myself away.
Start by swinging your mouse back and forth to build up momentum and when you are ready to throw, hit the space bar to see the little ... what would you call that? A ball with an eye? Anyway, whatever it is, it does not half fly. Keep your hand over the space bar as you get the chance to boost your flight occasionally if your eyeball lands on a cloud - the longer you leave it to relaunch the little fella, the less powerful the boost.
Your go ends when he hits the ground and will fly no more - but use your space bar again and you have a limited amount of stamina to give him a lift and hopefully hook onto one of the cranes along the hillside, which gives you another chance to launch him into outer space.