10 Tips To Improve Your 2D Character Animation

10 Tips To Improve Your 2D Character Animation

Have you just completed an animation course or class and are you thinking about pursuing a career in animation? What a fantastic concept! The number of movies alone is enormous. Animation is frequently used in commercials and other videos. An animated profession may be quite rewarding if you play your cards well.

Of course, while pondering where to begin, a newcomer might easily become overwhelmed. However, we created this list of 10 tips to help you design 2D characters like a pro. There is no longer any cause for concern.

  1. Correctly capture the reference video

Make a video reference of you or a coworker playing out the shot after choosing how to stage your character to maximise attractiveness and intelligibility. To ensure that the character’s silhouette reads properly and that you can act with distinct movements, ensure the camera angle is the same as the one in your picture.

As you’re recording, consider creative methods to execute the shot. Make a bunch of various takes, pick out the finest ones, and then use those as a guide while you video yourself once again. This frequently results in a clearer performance.

Once you’re happy with it, integrate the video reference into your shot and sync it to the audio or dialogue.

  1. Make a decent shoot preparation

After you’ve prepared your 2D character animation, consider the controls you’ll employ. Position the global control of the character such that you may utilise the fewest number of controls feasible. Instead of using both translate X and translate Z, it is preferable to utilise simply translate Z to move the character ahead.

Additionally, it is preferable to set up the following on the head in World mode so that no matter how the character’s body rotates, the head maintains the same position.

As a result, counter animation is not required. The arms should only be set up in Local mode for physical shots when the character will be moving around a lot.

Only use IK for stances that need touch; otherwise, keep in FK mode. IK might make blocking out a movement quicker, but dealing with the in-betweens afterwards to make the outcome seem realistic is hard.

  1. Using step interpolation, block out

Block out your photo using step mode for interpolation based on your reference (in Maya, Constant interpolation). To make it simpler to add in between and breakdowns later, identify which postures in your reference video are essential blocking poses, and aim to arrange those keys on even-numbered frames.

  1. For face motion, use shark fin curves

The ‘shark fin’ curve, which helps to replicate quick motions like those of the brows and lips, is occasionally useful for face animation.

The movement begins swiftly in the image above before slowing down to provide a powerful strike. The eyelids respond nicely to this as well. We also prefer to pause a movement before beginning it again to prevent the timing of the animation from appearing too even.

Try to make the motions of the face’s parts—especially the eyes—occur in one or two frames, or three if the spacing is tight.

  1. Interpret the referenced video; don’t just copy it

Always keep track of the controls you used while posing the major keys, and be sure to use the same ones each time to avoid having one control counter-animate another.

To give your animation additional vigour, you’ll typically need to exaggerate the poses. To fully concentrate on the character’s bodily action, conceal anything that can be distracting, such as clothes.

  1. Make the switch to spline interpolation in the proper order

Start with the body’s translate Y control (up/down) whenever switching from step to spline interpolation (in Maya, Bezier interpolation mode) to ensure that the weight is correct. This is the essential condition for a successful animation. To concentrate on the primary movements more easily, if at all possible, conceal the character’s head, arms, and legs. Then, continue working on the body using translate X and Z and rotations.

Work on the head while just keeping the head and body visible until the body is moving convincingly, then move on to the arms, and ultimately the legs. Work in short bursts, such as 24 frames at a time, depending on how long your picture is. Smaller sections of the animation are simpler to concentrate on, and they appear less overpowering.

Always save a video of your shot’s step-interpolated version so you can compare it to your spline-interpolated version, and work to maintain the animation’s vitality.

  1. Avoid typical lip-synching timing pitfalls

Aim to have at least three or four frames for each movement of the jaw to avoid having a ‘snappy’ jaw. Additionally, for a more natural impression, attempt to overlap the movements of the jaw and mouth/lips rather than having them coincide. Copy the jaw animation curve into the lower face’s squash-and-stretch settings for extra suppleness.

Remember that the ‘oo’ form always appears earlier than you anticipate while lip-syncing. If you look at the video of someone stating, ‘Where are you? When they say ‘are,’ which is a whole syllable before the word ‘you,’ you can see that their lips are beginning to form the letter ‘oo.’

  1. Make your curves stand out

Consider adding an exaggeration pass while improving a character’s movements. You may give the animation more weight and vigour by fiddling with your curves and slightly altering them.

Additional controls may be added on top of your animation. The translate Y curve for the body should be copied onto the translate curves for the hips and upper body, shifted by one or two frames and toned down to provide overlaps and some pleasant bounciness. This curvature may be imitated on the cheeks, shoulders, and even the skull.

  1. Is the persona not acting at all? Include background motions

Add ambient movement if your character isn’t moving around a lot in the shot. Applying this pass to a body 2 control is a nice idea. Play with the curves to find something deft enough to keep the character alive while they aren’t moving around much.

This pass may also be applied to the head, arms, and shoulders to demonstrate how the avatar, just like in real life, continually battles gravity and adapts.

At this stage, you may also determine where to add a fat/jiggle pass to give the animation a more natural feel.

  1. Inspect your arcs using the onion peel method

Finally, utilise your software’s onion peel feature to check your arcs and spacings. If not, you may achieve a similar result by directly dotting a clear plastic sheet that has been put on top of your display.


As you advance in your animation abilities, keep these 10 suggestions in mind. Keep in mind that mastering the animation industry is difficult but a 2D animation video company will work for you. Recognise that you will take the time to learn from it. People will contact you to work with you once you have developed your talents to a specific degree. Simply be patient and continue to practise.

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