Dynamic 2D video game character animation with free tools
3.8 (214 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,562 students enrolled

Dynamic 2D video game character animation with free tools

Design and animate characters for your game with Inkscape and DragonBones today!
3.8 (214 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,562 students enrolled
Created by István Szép
Last updated 4/2018
English [Auto]
Current price: $37.99 Original price: $54.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • You will be able to design, rig and animate your own 2D game character with free programs!
  • You will have a basic character animation knowledge!
  • You will be able to recreate my workflow and design and animate your own characters!
  • You will create simple animations, that are ready to be used with ANY 2D game engine!
  • Download the two free softwares we use in the course: Inkscape and Dragonbones
  • The course is mainly about animation, have a very basic Inkscape knowledge to start the course!
  • Optional: Have a character idea ready! You can use my character too, but you will learn more and have more fun designing and animating your very own creation!

Last update: 2018 April 1st.

With DragonBones 5.6 came the new Mesh tool! Check out lecture 17 and 18 and learn to use it today!
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Update: 2017 June 7.

Just added a lecture about the proper idle animation! New lectures coming soon!
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In this course you will learn how to combine two amazing free programs to create smooth and flexible 2D game character animations!

Inkscape is a free and open-source Vector Illustration software.
With it you can create versatile, ready to use character designs in no time! 
Draw anything, export in any size - Perfect for 2D game design!

There are several great courses published about Inkscape, but in this one you can learn how to create a character and make it ready to animate!

DragonBones is a free 2D Skeletal Animation program. 
Import your character parts, create the bone system and animate! It is really this easy!

The standalone version just came out at the end of 2016, so this is the first full and comprehensive English course about DragonBones! There are only a very few DragonBones tutorial online, if you want to learn the software, this is a good place to start!

During this game animation course you will

  • design a simple knight character in Inkscape (feel free to design your very own character using the same method!)
  • export the character properly to be used with DragonBones
  • assemble the character and build up the skeletal structure
  • create and use meshes to animate soft bodies, like cape and hair
  • create four basic animations for the same character: idle, walk, attack, die (more will be added later!)
  • easily modify your character to a totally new version, while keeping all the animations!

The course is mostly about DragonBones, so you will need some basic Inkscape knowledge to follow the design part at the start!

Follow the course and ask me anything as you develop your animations! 

Who this course is for:
  • This course is made for 2D game developers, indy developers or hobby game creators.
  • This course is for character designers who want to learn to animate their creatures!
  • The course is built for developers who want to create easy game prototypes with animation for free!
  • This course is NOT for you if you are looking for 3D animation! Both programs are great for 2D design and animation but not 3D!
  • This course is about game character animation, NOT about animating a full scene or animated movie!
Course content
Expand all 23 lectures 03:28:50
+ Before we start
2 lectures 03:07

Welcome to the course! Here is what we will do.

Preview 01:22

First thing first download Inkscape for design  and DragonBones for animation. Relax, both are free :)

Preview 01:45
+ Design your character in Inkscape
3 lectures 35:50

We need a character to animate, so let's draw one! First we draw the main proportions and basic shapes.

Design the knight character in Inkscape - Part 1

We draw the body parts as groups and add some details and colors to our hero!

Design the knight character in Inkscape - Part 2

Finally we add the feather, the cape and finish the character.

Preview 09:27
+ Prepare for animation!
3 lectures 16:34

Use this neat trick to export your Inkscape character design perfectly! It will be easy to modify and ready to animate! No special extensions needed! 

Exporting the design from Inkscape

Let's get familiar with DragonBones a bit!

Welcome to DragonBones!

Import your Inkscape design and put it all together in DragonBones in the correct order - it is like a puzzle!  

Import and assemble your character to DragonBones
+ Animate your character in DragonBones!
13 lectures 02:21:32

Animating in DragonBones is very much like animating a cut out puppet. In this lesson we build a skeleton for our puppet, so it will be ready for animation! It can be tricky, so take care!

Create the bone system of your character

Nobody was born with animation knowledge. Look at some real life examples before you start!

Using live video references

Let's make our first animation and create a simple move!

Our very first animation!

A character never stands still, let"s make it look alive!

Idle animation

A mesh is way to deform your asset and create a more organic and fluid movement for hair and clothes and other soft bodies.

Creating a mesh!

We continue the animation and I show you 2 more ways the mesh editor can help you i our animation process!

Animating more soft parts with mesh editing

Walk cycles are heavy but needed for our games - Let's understand the cycle and start with the legs!

Character walk cycle in DragonBones - Part 1: the first steps!

You don't walk with your legs only! - Let's move those arms too! 

Preview 11:34

In this lecture we use the meshes we built before to create a smooth movement for the feather.

Character walk cycle in DragonBones - Part 3: animating meshes!

Let's add some real flow: animate the cape mesh and finish the walk cycle! 

Character walk cycle in DragonBones - Part 4: final touches

When the character has a sword he will use it. Let's make a slashing move!

Creating an attack move - Part 1

Finish the slash and add a new object to make it look more dynamic!

Creating and attack move - Part 2

Every story comes to an end. Create a well timed dying animation in this lecture.

Dying animation sequence
+ Exporting animation and modular characters
2 lectures 11:47

Export your animation as an image texture and JSON file or as a sequence of images, or simply create a sprite sheet! 

Export your animated sprites from DragonBones

Easily create new characters fro man existing animation with DragonBones! Here is how!

Modular characters in DragonBones