Your first animation

Konstantin Dmitriev
A free video tutorial from Konstantin Dmitriev
Freelance artist, teacher and developer.
4.1 instructor rating • 7 courses • 1,633 students

Lecture description

  • Importing images
  • Transformation widget
  • Workarea navigation
  • Animation mode
  • Timeline
  • Waypoints
  • Preview Window
  • Managing Waypoints
  • Animation offset

Learn more from the full course

Creating animation in Synfig Studio

Learn how to create 2D animation with free and open-source software

01:25:57 of on-demand video • Updated April 2018

  • Create basic tweened animation using bitmap images (sprites)
  • Construct and animate simple cutout characters
  • Use skeleton to construct and animate complex characters
English #2: Your first animation In this lesson we'll create a simple animation about a boy going to school. This course includes a set of sample files, which you can use for exercises. Please download the workshop.zip bundled with this course and unpack it. Let's take a look inside the "first-animation" folder. Here we have a boy image. Next, the map image he would be travelling over. All images are saved in the PNG format. This is the format we use for bitmap artwork, since it provides compression without any loss of quality... ...and allows us to save images with transparent background. Now let's add the boy image to Synfig Choose "File" - "Import" from the main menu... then find the location of our sample files. Go to the "first animation" folder... ...and choose the "boy.png" file. Here we've got an image layer. Let's select it. Every image layer has a set of handles which allow to transform it. This handle allows us to move the layer. The blue point controls the rotation. Using this orange corner we can scale the image proportionally. You can also scale along a particular axis by dragging the yellow points here or here. Finally, this red point controls skew. I guess you won't be using it too often. So, lets undo the last action. You can also undo using the Ctrl+Z as in other applications. Let's insert the map image, it's the "background.png" file. As you can see, the image is too big. Let's select it and scale to fit the work area. And let's send it to the back. Like this. Now, I suppose, we also have to scale the boy and send him home. Selecting the layer... By the way, you can zoom in and out the current view by holding the Ctrl key and scrolling a mouse wheel. And if you keep the wheel button pressed, you can move over the work area. Now we have everything in its place. So, we want to make an animation of this boy going from home to school. Obviously, at some moment the boy will be at home, and at some other moment he will be at school. We have to switch to the *animation* mode and set the both locations for specific moments of time. Click the green man button here to toggle the animation mode. The green man becomes red and a red border appears around the canvas. This indicates that we're in the animation mode now. When the Animation mode is on, all changes are recorded in relation to current time. Let's take a look at the Timetrack panel at the bottom. It indicates that we're at the zero frame now. We can change the current time by clicking this grey area. Let's go back to frame zero. The boy is at home, everything is alright. Now go to the 48th frame and drag the boy to school. Look, right opposite to the Transformation parameter two orange diamonds have just appeared. These diamonds are called Waypoints. They indicate that a parameter has a new value at some moment in time. Synfig creates waypoints when we change any parameter in the animation mode. This waypoint indicates that the boy is at school... ...and this one indicates that he's at home. Note, that the motion between waypoints is calculated by Synfig automatically. Our animation is very simple, so Synfig can play it in real time without problems. But for animation with higher level of complexity real time playback may not be possible. That's why it's recommended to use the Preview feature. Click this button to open the Preview dialog... Here we can set the quality value and preview frame rate. Let's extend our animation a little. At the frame 96 move the boy to the store... ...and at the 115th frame - back home again. We can go to an existing waypoint and change its value. Oh, this boy is skipping his classes now! He's gone to the cinema instead. Also, we can adjust the speed of the movement by dragging the waypoints. Move this waypoint from the 48th frame to 20th. Now the boy is running to the cinema way faster than he used to walk to school. You can delete waypoints by right-clicking them and choosing "Remove" from the menu. Or, you can just hold Ctrl and Alt keys and click the waypoint with the left mouse button. You can also copy waypoints. To do so, move the cursor right where you want a copy... find the right waypoint... right-click it, and choose "Duplicate". Now the boy returns to exactly the same position as he was at the start. This trick is very useful when creating looped animation. Remember, waypoints are only created in the animation mode. Otherwise, any changes you make will affect every frame in your project. Let's try it. Turn off the Animation mode... and move the boy. Here we've got an alert asking if we really want to apply the change to the whole animation. Let's click "Yes" and see what happens. Now the boy is walking somewhere aside. Let's undo this. Note that we only get an alert if we change animated parameters. Otherwise any changes are applied at once. For example, let's try to move the background. See, no alerts here. So I guess we are ready for the next lesson. But first, let's save our file.