Creating animation in Synfig Studio

Learn how to create 2D animation with free and open-source software
  • Lectures 9
  • Video 2 Hours
  • Skill level all level
  • Languages English , captions
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion

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Course Description

In this course you will learn how to create 2D animation using Synfig Studio animation software package.

Synfig Studio is a free and open-source application available for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. By this moment it's known as the most powerful free tool for 2D animation. Do you want to create your own animated movie, or just animated postcard, or animation for a game? You can use Synfig Studio anywhere without limitations - at home, at work or at school.

Create your own animation using Synfig Studio

  • Learn all basic principles of creating animation of Synfig Studio.
  • Build and animate heroes for your animation.
  • Learn the basic and everyday animation skills, like face animation and walkcycle.

Cutout (sprite) animation technique

In this course I will show you how to create animation constructed from bitmap images. This approach is called "cutout" or "sprite" technique. Cutout technique is known to be the fastest way to create animation and at the same time it's the easiest way to learn it. Despite it's simplicity, the cutout technique remains very expressive and used by many creators to create exciting animation.

Contents and Overview

This course is created for people who would like to learn how to use Synfig Studio in a short time. It equally fits for those who just starting to learn computer animation, as well as for established artists who would like to master cutout technique with the free and opensource software.

The course will guide you from the very basics of application interface to the techniques of creating character animation and some advanced features. The sample files are also included, so you will be able to work alongside with instructor during the course. Also, all the lectures in the course are available for downloading and watching offline.

For your convenience the course includes subtitles in English, Spanish, Italian, and French.

This course is not for you if you would like to learn the technique of frame-by-frame (traditional) animation.


  • Written and recorded by: Konstantin Dmitriev
  • Translated by: Anna Orlova
  • Narrated by: Terry Hancock

What are the requirements?

  • You will need Synfig Studio version 1.0 or above installed. It is freely available for download here -

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Over 9 lectures and 1 hour of content!
  • Create basic tweened animation using bitmap images (sprites)
  • Construct and animate simple cutout characters
  • Use skeleton to construct and animate complex characters

What is the target audience?

  • Artists who would like to use free software for animation
  • School teachers who would like to adopt free software in the education process
  • Anyone who would like to learn animation

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee

Forever yours.
Lifetime access

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion


Section 1: Basic concepts
  • Interface basics
  • Creating simple object (circle)
  • Choosing color
  • Understanding layers
  • Editing layer parameters
  • Managing layers
  • Importing images
  • Transformation widget
  • Workarea navigation
  • Animation mode
  • Timeline
  • Waypoints
  • Preview Window
  • Managing Waypoints
  • Animation offset
  • Rendering to AVI format
  • Rendering to GIF format
  • Rendering single PNG image
  • Rendering PNG sequence
Section 2: Simple character animation
  • What is "cutout animation"?
  • Building character from pieces
  • Mirroring
  • Changing transformation center
  • Group hierarchy
  • Understanding keyframes
  • Managing keyframes
  • How to remove animation of parameter
  • Using keyframes to stretch the waypoints
  • Layer transparency
  • Using switch group
  • Sound layer
  • Onionskin
Section 3: Skeleton animation
  • A skeleton layer
  • Creating bones
  • Managing bones
  • Bones hierarchy
  • Linking a group to a bone
  • Unlinking a group from a bone
  • Animating bones
  • Creating walking character
  • Understanding filter layers
  • Using Timeloop layer

Instructor Biography

Konstantin Dmitriev , Freelance artist, teacher and developer.

I am freelance animation artist, working with open-source software since 2008. Currently I am heading a small studio in Siberian part of Russia. My team makes commercial, as well as indie animation works and our production is purely based on open-source software.

As a head of the studio I put a special emphasis on contributing back to open-source software world. Within our production process we continuously developing and improving various open-source animation tools. I was happy to present the results of our work at several international conferences, such as Libre Graphics Meeting (2012, Austria), FSCONS (2012, Sweden), Libre Graphics Meeting (2013, Spain) and others. Also, since 2013 I am acting as coordinator of development of Synfig Studio animation software.

In addition to all that, I am also work as a teacher by hosting regular animation classes in our studio.

What else can I say? I love animation, I love open-source and I love to share my experience. This is what I do. ^__^

Instructor Biography

Anna Orlova , Synfig Instructor

Translator, copywriter, a localization manager at Synfig. An English software training course is a good thing but studying can be even easier and more fun if students get course in their native language -- that's what I am doing with Synfig series together with all our contributors. Working collaboratively with awesome people all over the world is the best part, it always gets my mind going.

Project aside my time is spent teaching, translating, and reading, whether its language, literature and anything related.

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Average Rating
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  5. 1 Stars
    • Christopher Michael Rogers

    Great start. Up and going in less than a day!

    • Heidi H

    Great course which should spark interest in Synfig!

    First of all I would like to compliment and thank the creators for a great course! It was clear and easy to follow, and made enjoy using Synfig. Previously, several years ago, when I first tried the software I felt overwhelmed. I gave up almost immediately. I spawned maybe a circle or two, but the experience wasn't very satisfying. Synfig has come a long way since then. It is usable, and as these videos showed, quite easy to learn. The course itself is short, should take you about 1-2 hours, but you learn the very essential basics for using Synfig. The videos explain basic techniques (even a walk cycle and how to rig a character) when using the software and how to avoid common mistakes. I am very happy I took the time to do this course! (And can't wait to try out some own projects in Synfig!)

    • Matt Jordan

    Great update!

    Nicely executed update to keep this course current with Synfig 1.0. You get the basics of character animation in concise, easy to follow, bite-sized installments. Well done!

    • Tomáš Kotlant

    First Synfig steps

    The course shows probably the most important parts of Synfig, tutorial looks complex, but I find little disrupting, that it doesn't correspond in some ways to the newest version of Synfig. And some example files were impossible to find for me, maybe it is because the version. I have read somewhere, that because of 1.0 version there will be some updates for this course, it would be nice and useful. Now I'm preparing screenplay for my first Synfig animation, so in the real process of creating movie I will closer find out how much this tutorial was useful. There should be mentioned version of program in all tutorials, it would be helpful.

    • Walt Michalik

    Very Good.

    Glad I found this. It was a pleasure to go trough this course, because it was carefully planned and skillfully presented. The folks who prepared this must be professional educators, with good equipment. Sound was good enough that the accented english was not a problem for my poor hearing. I appreciated the smooth flow of each lesson, without errors or stumbling. This was well planned. I hope there are more like this coming. There is a real need for up to date Synfig tutorials. And I'm willing to pay for instruction of this caliber. Of course, doesn't hurt that I got this one with a 75% discount from Udemy.

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