An Introduction to 2D Animation For Game Development

Animation has been the way we have flourished in the game industry. How your character moves or interacts with the world was how the industry became popular. Be it a simple sprite change, a walking motion, morphing to another action due to impact, or even the fun look you get when you just let your character relax for a while. Animating your game correctly can be crucial for many genres of game development.

We’ve built our new animation system, “Marionette,” in Cocos Creator 3.4. And while we work on sharing better tutorials on it, we thought we’d at least give 2D developers a great look at how to animate their games. We collected a few fantastic YouTube animator channels that we feel make amazing animation that you can follow.

21 Foundations of Animation

They say there are only 12 principles of animation. Still, expert animator and teacher Dermot O’Connor (angryanimator) give his additional 9 more principles to get you a complete idea of what is going on. As a Disney and Don Bluth animator, he gives us a quick look at each item. If too fast, you could take his classes to get an even more extensive understanding of each part.

Other great videos from angryanimator:

His Tutorial Classes on Linkedin Learning

Walking Animations From the Professionals

One of my favorite video channels is BaM Animation. These two are real-life animators in Burbank, California, working on actual animation for TV. So they know their stuff. They built entertaining and exciting animation videos discussing the art and redrawing art from followers.

This episode is fantastic and gives you a great quick idea of how much work it takes to do a walk cycle. From here, you can start to see some of the basics you’d see in animating a character

Other great videos from BaM Animation:

How to Start Animating Your Character: 4 Principles

Character turns like a Pro

5 Tips for Amazing Storyboards

Ben Marriott is one of my all-time favorite After Effect animators on YouTube. Though he works mainly in Adobe products, he gives me and others a lot of great ideas and shares some fantastic examples of what animators are up to, giving you some key ideas on your next animation.

This video is all about getting yourself ready to start the animation. It takes time and effort to get  yourself to a final product, so to save you time, it’s best to start early with a great storyboard—Ben shares five tips on how he does his work.

Other great videos from Ben Marriott:

The 10 Biggest Motion Graphics Mistakes That ALL Beginners Make

The Ultimate Dose of Animation Inspiration

How To Animate a 2D Flame

2D Animation at Klei Entertainment

Let’s get to the gamer side and look at Klei Entertainment’s talk at GDC. It’s great to actually look at the process from the aspect of the game developers. There is no place like GDC, and we are starting to finally get more and more talks from the GDC Vault on YouTube. Though the talk is in Flash, it works with any art software.

We highly recommend living in this channel and searching out all the animation discussions. There is a treasure trove of discussions and many great developers openly sharing their tips and tricks.

Other great videos from GDC:

Cuphead’s Animation Process and Philosophy

Making Fluid and Powerful Animations for Skullgirls

Put a Face on It: The Aesthetics of Cute

Keyframe Animation Masterclass

This again is for Adobe products, but we use the same ideas of keyframes for Cocos Creator. This class will give you a lot of great curves that are very much like the many curves that are preset into our software and why they look that way.

It’s great for when you aren’t animating something directly but want a feel of animation on your character. Once you get into this, you can check out other videos about keyframes.

Other great videos on keyframes:

Value Graph Keyframes Animation Reference

Animation (Part 1) in Cocos Creator 3.0

Animation (Part 2) in Cocos Creator 3.0

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