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2D Animation

Workflow

  1. Select the Sprite in the Sprite Editor.

  2. Build the Sprite Bones hierarchy in the Bone Editor (menu: Sprite Editor > Bone Editor).

  3. Generate and edit geometry, and assign skin weights in the Geometry and Weight Editor (menu: Sprite Editor > Geometry And Weight Editor).

  4. Place the Sprite in a Scene and add the Sprite Skin component to generate the bones of the Sprite.

  5. The Sprite is now ready to be animated.

Bone Editor

Create and define the bones for your Sprites and their hierarchy in the Bone Editor.

Bone editor window

Create and Edit Bones

There are two tools for creating bones - the Create Bone Tool, and the Create Free Bone Tool. With both tools, the first bone created is the Root bone of the Sprite's bone hierarchy. However, both tools parent newly created bones differently.

If no tools are selected, the Bone Editor is in Transform mode. In this mode, select and move any bone's Pivot, Body or Tail around to transform its length and size.

Create Chain Bone tool

Select the Create Bone tool Create Bone iconand click anywhere in the Sprite to start creating a chain of bones. In Create Chain Bone mode, newly created bones are automatically parented to the previous bone in the hierarchy in a continuous chain. To deselect this tool, select Esc.

Chain Bones

Create Free Bone tool

With the Create Free Bone tool, new bones are parented to the currently selected bone and ignores the bone chain hierarchy. This is useful if you need to create bones that do not form a continuous chain.

To create a new bone:

  1. Select and highlight a bone to be the parent. If no bone is selected, the Root bone is the default parent.

  2. Select the tool, then click an empty location to set the starting Pivot of the new bone.

  3. Move the cursor to where the bone should end, and click to set the Tip of the bone.

  4. The new bone is created, parented to the bone selected in step 1.

Free Bone tool

Free Move Tool

Use the Free Move tool to detach a bone from a chain and move it independently, however it is still treated as being parented to its original parent bone.

Free Move tool

Parent Tool

The Parent Tool is used to change the parent of a child bone. First select the child bone, then select the Parent Tool, and finally select a bone to be the new parent.

Parent tool

Split Tool

The Split Tool will split a selected bone. First select a bone, then select the Split Tool. The selected bone will be split into two even length bones.

Split Bone

Delete Tool

Select a bone, then click the Delete Tool to remove it.

Bone Editor Shortcut Keys

Tool Shortcut
Create Chain Bone B
Create Free Bone N
Free Move M
Parent Bone P
Split Bone S
Delete Del
To deselect all tools Esc

Geometry and Weight Editor

This editor is where Sprite geometry is generated, and vertex weights are then assigned to the bones to deform the geometry.

Geo Weight editor

Generating Geometry Automatically

Sprite geometry can be generated automatically or created manually.

To auto-generate the mesh, set the editor to Geometry mode.

Auto-gen Geo button

Then select the Generate button at the top-left of the menu bar.

Auto-gen Geo button

Adjust the following parameters to refine the generated geometric mesh.

Property Function
Outline Detail Density and accuracy of the mesh to the Sprite outline.
Alpha Tolerance Threshold for transparency considered when generating the outline.
Subdivide Subdivides the mesh to increase tessellation. Higher values increase the tessellation and complexity of the generated mesh.

Creating Geometry Manually

Create mesh geometry created manually in the Create Vertex or Create Edge modes., then double-click within a Sprite's outline to select it.

Geometry Mode select

From the top menu, select Create Vertex and click anywhere within the Sprite to create vertices. Then select Create Edge and click on vertices to connect them together to form new edges. Select Split Edge and then click on an edge to split it into multiple pieces.

You can create vertices and new edges directly in Selection mode as well. While in Selection mode, double-click anywhere on the Sprite to create vertices. Hold Shift to connect a selected vertex to another to create an edge.

Weights Mode

Select the Weight mode, and then select a Sprite to begin applying skin weights. Click Auto Auto button to automatically generate weights based on the Sprite's bones, which can be edited manually later.

Editing Skin Weights

The Weight Editor is used to manually edit skin weights.

Weight Editor

There are two tools to edit the Weights - the Slider and the Brush. The Slider allows direct manipulation of the values of selected vertices; while the Brush tool allows you to 'paint' skin weights directly on the mesh.

Weight Editor Settings

Property Function
Mode Current behavior mode of the Weight Editor
  Add and Subtract Increases/Decreases influence on vertices around the selected bone
  Grow and Shrink Increases/Decreases influence on vertices that are already affected by the selected bone.
  Smooth Averages the weights of vertices with their neighbors, creating smoother deformations.
Bone (unavailable if Mode: Smooth) Displays currently selected Bone. A different Bone can be selected via the drop-down menu.
Normalize Enable to ensure the normalized weight of selected vertices is equal to 1.
Amount Amount of weight applied on selected vertices
*Following available in the Brush Weight editor only
Size Size of the brush cursor.
Hardness Amount of weight applied by the brush. Higher values increase the weight per brushstroke.
Step Number of increments needed to apply the full weight of brush.

The weights for selected vertices can be viewed and further adjusted with the vertex inspector located at the bottom-left of the Editor window.

Weight inspector

You can preview the effect of the painted weights within the Sprite Editor. Select and hold a bone to move or rotate it. The Sprite's geometry mesh deforms according to the weights painted. Releasing the bones resets them and the mesh back to their original state.

Sprite Skin Component

The Sprite Skin component is needed for the bones to deform the Sprite mesh in the Scene.
Sprite Skin component

  1. Drag and drop the Sprite Asset onto the Scene after its bones, geometry, and weights have been are set-up in the Sprite Editor.
  2. Add the Sprite Skin component to the Sprite.
  3. Click Create Bones to generate the bone hierarchy of the Sprite in the Scene.

Bone hierarcy in Scene

Select and hold a bone to pivot it around its head and deform the Sprite's mesh directly in the Scene to begin animating it.

Plunkah Deform

Shift+click to select multiple bones at once. Moving selected bones together deforms the mesh across all of them.

Plunkah chain deform

Bones that are not directly chained together can also be selected and moved together. Areas of the mesh influenced by the unselected bones are not deformed.

Plunkah free bone deform

Select and hold the head of a bone to detach it from the previous bone in the chain, the mesh will deform accordingly.

Plunkah detached deform

Use the standard Transform tools to deform the Sprite's geometry mesh for greater precision. Note that the Rect Transform tool cannot be used to transform the bone gizmos.

Transform tools

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