Best way to make a figure for Animation?

Hello, I’m new in Synfig, and I’m currently at my first tracing of a figure. I have read the manual and the tutorials, but I need some advice from people with more experience.

First of all, I have worked a bit in the past with 3D Animation programs, so I’m kind of used to the idea of making a model and then just deciding how it will move. I think I can do the same with simple figures, creating the figure with all the elements that are obscured with rotation, like hair, and then, when it is time to rotate the character, playing with the order of the layers and stuff like that. But, would this make things easier or more difficult? Would is be easier and faster to have one figure and constantly changing it to match the storyboard, or creating the figure from scratch when needed as the scenes change?

Also, what is the best way, in your opinion, to actually make the figure? Having it as one or few big looping Bline(s) and moving the ducks (what I like to call call “clay method”), or making a looping Bline for every movable piece, like one Bline for every finger (I like to call that “puppet method”)?

Oh, also, how can I make three Blines and then loop all three of them at one duck, creating an arrow? And, can I hide part of a Bline behind another part of the same Bline? Or there is no way and I have to have two Blines for that? I did not find it in the manual… Maybe I missed it?

Thanks in advance.

There is not a general solution. You have to study each scene and evaluate the cost of create a new figure from scratch or reuse a more complex one. A good storyboard is always a good investment.

Same than above. It depends on the complexity of the figure and its details.

Can you draw in other program (or just by a pencil) what you want? I don’t understand “hide part of a bline behind another”
Meanwhile, have you seen the new features introduced in the latest release?


Thanks, after some experiments and practice I see that a storyboard is always needed. Also downloaded the latest release.

I was basically asking if I can draw a hand as one big Bline and have some fingers go in front of others, but I can just have a Bline for the palm and each finger anyway, so I don’t have to.

Thanks for the help. :mrgreen:

One question, though. Since I have worked a bit with 3D animation programs, I’m kind of familiar with working with bones. Is there such a feature in Synfig? That is, instead of moving the figure Bline by Bline, having a simple stick-figure-ish “skeleton” locked to the figure, so that I can move the skeleton and the movement being translated to the figure. This would be useful for some simple moves, and also to have many characters making the same moves (like when dancing, training at a dojo etc).

You need more than one layer to create overlapping and z depth sorting shapes.
Regarding to bones, we have a development branch with a basic core bones structure but it has to be setup manually. There is not GUI for bones at the moment. Bones branch is not included in the stable release yet. We need more people to dedicate to day by day stuff to allow developers to dedicate to those areas (bones gui).
Here is an example of bones usage I did some time ago:

Is there any way for me to do that, without having any programming knowledge at all? A how to guide or a tutorial or something? I would like to try it, but I don’t know anything about programming or coding.

First, there is not binaries available yet without build the branch by your self. Second there is not manual or guide to set it up. I have one file with the setup done that I can upload and you can study to understand how does it work.
I need to do it in other computer. Probably this afternoon.

I’m sorry for not have any other documentation but as I mentioned, it is not fully completed.


Thanks, I would appreciate it. I will try to make the best of it. :mrgreen:
Also, you don’t have to apologize. You give the whole thing for free, after all. Even if it’s still incomplete, you actually do us a favor. :wink: