So as I wander around the various Facebook-groups, Twitter and other forums I often read questions like: „How can I animate 2D pixelart as sprites?“ or „What do you need to create a sprite animation?“ In this Post I want to share with you how I do my animations and the software I use for that. I also want to share a list of other software to be possibly used for that purpose.

My way:
Coming up with an idea for an item or a character in a game I first draw a some sketches on paper (yes, you read it correctly: paper). Those sketches are at first mostly shapes that I improve step by step. I sometimes try to use a variety of different shapes to later evaluate to find the best.
When I’m satisfied with the first sketches I use GIMP to draw it as pixels. GIMP allows me to use multiple layers for drawing, so I can play around with shadows, highlights and details of what ever I’m drawing. Final step is to export the image as a PNG-file, because it’s a common file format and perfect in use for pixelart.
Next step is animating the whole thing. For that you can also use GIMP by creating multiple layers for different animation steps and export them later as GIF-file ore just create a sprite sheat out of that different images. But because I find that terribly difficult (mostly because you can’t check fast how the animation looks with changing a small thing) I use some other software.
For animating a PNG-image I use Piskel. Piskel is a web-based pixel art animation software where you can view your animation live while drawing. You also have the possibility to view your animation in different frame rates. Using Piskel I make animation steps by copying the previous image and manipulating it. Also provided are default tools like color selection, shape selection and other handy stuff. When I’m done and satisfied with my animation I can export it in different ways, e.g. as a GIF. But we want to have a sprite sheat, so I choose the option sprite sheet with a size scale factor of 1.0. If you want to have a bigger image (higher pixel ratio but looking the same) you can change it higher values. If you want to have an animated GIF, e.g. for Twitter, you can export it as well, but be shure to change the width and hight of the final animation to at about 512 pixels.

Other software:
Here is a short list of software possible to use for that purpose.

Maybe you wonder why I only use open source software. The point is that I’m low on budget and those software is all I need. As a programmer I also like to share and appreciate great and hard work from others. That are the reasons I use open source software.

One thought on “What do you need for animating 2D pixelart as sprites?

  1. kszula

    As for pixelart, I lately started to use a thing called Aseprite. It’s really neat!

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