Animation Software, Any? (Preferably Free, or Very Cheap)

Discussion in 'Useful Development Tools' started by CleanWater, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. CleanWater

    CleanWater Independent Developer Veteran

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    So, let's say I want to make an intro like this one for my games:



    I already know the classical animation techniques, but doing this in softwares like Windows Movie Maker are quite impossible, because I can't, let's say, "separate in layers" each element of the animation (characters, background, etc).

    Is there any software that can let me do this?
     
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  2. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    not an animation pro but i have a few alternatives

    first, the easiest but most laborious -- draw frame by frame in a regular image editor like SAI or Photoshop, then stitch the frames together with a simple animation tool (movie maker is ok for that actually, but photoshop's animation tool is quite nice as it converts layers to frames)

    secondly, blender or other 3d software can do the trick quite nicely and allow u to do other neat tricks, but it has a steep learning curve. still, simply by setting an orthographic camera and separating your animated elements in different objects you're able to greatly streamline your work

    then there's actual animation and vfx programs ranging from after effects to sony vegas etc. but i know zero of them.
    still, if you're going for low res animation (something that looks like a playstation cg) a mix of 1-2 with intelligent use of loops, camera and still frames will get you a long way, after all animation is not only about animating frames, it's about composition and rhythm
     
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  3. SweetMeltyLove

    SweetMeltyLove Veteran Veteran

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  4. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    so is a thorough, opinionated response that guides the OP to the pros and cons of each software for his specific needs
     
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  5. SweetMeltyLove

    SweetMeltyLove Veteran Veteran

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    The guy's extension of knowledge of animation tools is "windows movie maker". A little research is always helpful. If he's still unsure, then by all means ask around. (and please don't let my forum avatar lead you to think I'm being a smartass, just trying to help. Surely we can wait for an experienced animator to stumble upon this thread, but in the end, if we're using RPGMaker we're probably just beginners or hobbyists)
     
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  6. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I've moved this thread to Useful Development Tools. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.

     
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  7. Amarok

    Amarok Veteran Veteran

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    3d animation is your best bet as a solo animator if you plan on doing flashy things, though that carries its own set of problems. Making 3d anime look good is no easy task at all. A good way to avoid this wii game looking problem is to use rotoscopy. Gundam unicorn and other related productions used this technique of tracing over 3d to a great effect.
    For this technique even photoshop can be used, the software itself doesnt matter much as long as it allows for layers and art tools. (Newer versions of photoshop also have specific animation tools)
     
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  8. BlackRoseMii

    BlackRoseMii Veteran Veteran

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    If you're looking for a free alternative to photoshop, you should definitely try out Gimp. It's easy to use and the layers are used as frames as well. You can also choose how long a frame should stay and if the next frame should be completely replacing the previous one or should just be put over it.
     
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  9. Amysaurus

    Amysaurus Digital Artist Veteran

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    I hate to say it, but free and animation software are not the easiest combination to come by, lol. A lot of free/cheap softwares will work - they just tend to take some workarounds. My suggestion(s) would be the following, but keep in mind that there is plenty of software I haven't tried:

    1. Blender (because I like free things). Blender will let you animate in 2D or 3D, and you'll be able to layer things as needed. You could:
    A. Draw out each frame and import them as a texture (or PNG Sequence).
    B. Import a storyboard as a texture, draw out each frame using a brush tool, then export as an animation.
    C. Create the animation in 3D, render the animation as a PNG Sequence, then use the frames as a reference to draw over.
    2. Adobe After Effects CC (relatively cheap). After Effects is what I use to make animated sequence for my game - I've made menus, opening sequences, and ending credits this way. You could:
    A. Draw out each frame and import them as a PNG Sequence.
    B. Animate each asset separately (backgrounds characters, etc.), pre-compose them (basically turn them into animated layers), then combine them however you'd like.
    3. Adobe Animate CC (relatively cheap). I haven't used this software since it was still Adobe Flash, but I assume it's similar. Not my favorite, but works well for 2D animation. You could:
    A. Draw out each frame and import them as a PNG Sequence.
    B. Draw out and animate each asset (backgrounds characters, etc.) as separate layers.​
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
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  10. CleanWater

    CleanWater Independent Developer Veteran

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    I forgot to say I'm looking for a software that saves the videos in .avi (supported video format on RM2k3).

    The original 2D animation techniques uses layers (just like in GIMP or Photoshop) and animate the characters, objects, etc, separately. Using GIMP for example, would allow me to do this and save as .gif, but it won't be of any help when importing to a game.

    Note: Did someone actually watched the video sample I posted? A lot of persons here are directing me to Blender and other 3D animation alternatives. :guffaw:
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
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  11. Amarok

    Amarok Veteran Veteran

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    so it has to be hand draw animation no matter what? not even rotoscopy allowed? maybe this one fits the bill then, its the software studio ghibli used and free. https://opentoonz.github.io/e/
     
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  12. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    @CleanWater people are directing you to blender because, despite being a 3D engine, it has animation capabilities that can be used perfectly fine for 2D animation through billboarding, as i've described in my post. Plus, rotoscopy, which is the technique of rendering something in 3D or filming it from real life, then using it as direct reference / tracing for an actual 2D drawing, is also made much easier when you have a 3D animation as a base. Blender CAN output as AVI. But even software that only outputs to .Gif can STILL be loaded in an application as simple as movie maker, and then exported to .avi from there.

    Anyway, by assigning different animated textures to different billboard objects, and moving them around with blender's animation capacity, you can make something like this.
     
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  13. Amysaurus

    Amysaurus Digital Artist Veteran

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    Lmao, I wouldn't have mentioned a 3D-only software after you posted a 2D animation. That'd be silly. It's a bit of work if you don't like messing with textures, but like I said, I like free things.

    OpenToonz is okay (I was trying to remember its name for my first post, lol), but I had a lot of issues with the interface. I'm not sure if that means it's difficult to use, or if it's just not for me though.
     
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  14. CleanWater

    CleanWater Independent Developer Veteran

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    @Amysaurus @Amarok @JosephSeraph :guffaw: Thanks for the nice suggestions guys, but, I never worked with 3D before, so learn everything from scratch, just to do the very same thing I already know how to do in the old fashioned way…:kaophew:
     
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  15. Amysaurus

    Amysaurus Digital Artist Veteran

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    It’s all good! I totally get that, and good luck with your animation! =)

    (Feel free to hit me up if you need any animation tips btw. I’m not a pro by any means, but it’s what I’ve been studying in college for the last few years haha.)
     
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  16. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member Developer

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    I'm surprised nobody mentioned Krita which is one of the best art softwares right now...and it's free! And yes it has animation capabilities.
     
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  17. batch

    batch nailed-down sack of angry bees Veteran

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    If you're committed to the highest degree possible, pick up blender. The learning curve is nuts, and turns away a lot of people at the first sight of its interface. Despite it being a nightmare to look at, though, it's powerful and can do 2D pretty decently.
    This
     
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  18. Spoopy

    Spoopy Web Developer, PHP, NodeJS, RubyOnRails, Sass, HTM Veteran

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    As @Archeia suggested, Krita is a good piece of software, they recently added in animation features, which include onion skinning, on top of that it has a wrap mode for painting tiled textures. Blenders NPR rendering is quite good too and I'd highly recommend it, the learning curve might be steep and long to master, but it will pay off in the end.
     
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  19. ksart

    ksart Artist Veteran

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    if you're already familiar with 2d animation techniques and your biggest issue is being able to work on separate layers in one file then i suggest manga studio 5 ex, it's reasonably priced and has an easy to use timeline/animated frame scrubber with onion skin and will save in .avi format
     
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  20. fimamati

    fimamati Veteran Veteran

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    I'm a little confused are you looking for a movie editor or are you looking for a graphics program like photoshop that support layers?
    P.s Just a little FYI. Blender does more than 3d modeling.
    I have anime studio, manga studio, and gimp. I still end up using blender to import my completed frames and export them as avi and others. I use all kinds of stuff to get the job done. lol

    Oh gee. one more thing and I'm done for real this time. your description and video makes me think of anime studio. it looks like something someone would do with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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