bicycle travel animation

Hello all,

i’m new in the forum and i’m currently (for a while already) trying to figure out how to use synfig to make a small animation presentation for a DIY activist bicycle trip (… i’m quite impressed with synfig (many years ago i used to play around with macromedia flash [on early versions i think flash 4 or 5]), but still didn’t get it how to plan my animations properly i think… understanding the best workflow for doing an animation and then getting it better…

i already have a first sample of the intro, but still fighting with making that animation less stiff…

still didn’t get well how to use different canvas (like for the snail in the intro)… and also how to make it follow a bline that is not straight (only two points) when i try to do that it just starts randomly disappearing, turning around or going back and forth (even in this attached version, althought i can’t see it in the edition mode in any frame, when i render it the snail jumps to the midle and return back to the original path for one frame :open_mouth: )…

besides this problem i’m trying to do something like the animation flight over a map (in this post: "Indiana Jones" style flight animation with the line moving out of the original place and the solution of making different lines (like suggested in the same topic by dustbunny) doesn’t work for me as it would make different segments faster than others and i don’t want straight corners, but a rounded path… would a change of thickness during the animation work?..

not sure if i was able to explain what i really mean, english is not my mother language… i attached the intro file and the map i started (not the last attempt as i got a crash on synfig in the meanwhile)…

i hope in the end to be able to link diferent scenes in one animation
biketour-intro.sifz (17.5 KB)

Hi taborda!

Regarding to make an object follow a BLine, have you tried to follow this tutorial?

And about show the outline progressively, can you take a look to the Advanced Outline wiki page tell us if it fits your needs?

Very nice logo animation!

i did follow both tutorials… i will try to replicate the problem i had with following a bline with more than 2 point with my snail (it jumped back and fliped around a lot)…

about the advanced outline for the map i just worked it around with the width points, had a problem about the speed not being linear and after re-reading the follow bline tutorial the “Homogeneous” parameter solved it… thanks :wink:

about the animation of the logo i still found it a bit stiff but will try to work on the snail canvas to make it move the antenas and the outline to see what it will look like…


hi genete,

i just found this post: June' 10 - four leg walk cycle... about the four leg figure movements and this book on cartoon animation (where that first image comes from):

and was wondering if you would now of something similar for a snail movement… i’m not much of an artist (more engineer/programmer) but i can try to follow some explanation figure like the one for the dog :smiley:


Same here!

The first requisite is to have available the hand drawn keyframes. In the case of the four leg walk cycle the images come from that book. I don’t know any similar sources for a snail movement. You can watch some videos to figure it out.

Second is to import the artwork and make the animatic (transition of the raster images inside Synfig Studio)

Thirds trace one main keyframe and later, adding keyframes forward one by one, animate the rest of keyframes by pushing the vector art you created on the first keyframe.

Last is to tweak, tweak and tweak to achieve to give life to the movements. Add intermediate waypoints when needed.

That’s all.


that’s a nice aproach to animation, i was thinking on something similar… but i still don’t quite get the way to do it, as you can see in my file the snail it self is a diferent canvas, i was trying to animate the small bike inside the snail…

if i would start animating the snail body (the outline of the yellow part) to make it look like moving, would you change it on the snail canvas or on the main one?..

i imagine the snail stopping on one place before the end of the animation, would then the snail canvas have the same time lenght as the animation so it’s possible to make it stop? (right now i’m using a time loop for the little bicycle, i imagine that will not be the best aproach for the movement, as i want it to stop…)

ok… maybe no real question here, will try it and hope not to crash (it happens a lot to me when UNDOing- and that is quite useful for learning… but i’m enjoying the software a lot and just have to get used to save it more often)


You can do it on its own canvas or the main one but in the last case you need to have its own canvas opened I think.

You can animate the Duration parameter to make it zero seconds (no loop). Beware to use Constant interpolation if not you’ll obtain a slow down animation.

In general I recommend to not use exported canvases unless you explicitly need to duplicate the canvas in several places (which is not your case). It is much more flexible to use inline canvases for animation of a single object.

You can turn your snail into inline canvas by copy and paste operations.
Regarding to the riding cycle inside the snail, the same, use inline canvas. Just zoom in to edit.

Exported canvases has some troubles with edition and keyframe locking when edited in the main canvas so better avoid it when not thinking on re-usability.


i ended up not using the time loop layer…but was a good hint to animate its duration parameter… starting to understand better how synfig goes…

i don’t understand quite well the diference betweeen difernet-type canvas ( - not in here) for now i already heard of paste canvas, inline canvas, exported canvas and canvas… don’t understand the diference yet…

you’re saying that my snail is an exported canvas? don’t remember how i did that…could be following some manual for tests and don’t remember, i thought it was a inline canvas… :open_mouth:

anyway, i’m getting more satisfied with the snail movement now, thanks for the hints (i’m glad to hear more), will start going further on the map scene…
biketour-intro.sifz (45.6 KB)

Each Synfig document (sifz file) has one root canvas. The root canvas defines the image size, fps, start end times, keyframes etc.
Every time you encapsulate one group of layers you obtain one Paste Canvas Layer. Each Paste Canvas layer has one parameter called “canvas”. Initially the canvas parameter is “inline”. It means that the canvas inherits the properties from the parent canvas recursively up to the root canvas.
If you right click and “Export” the canvas parameter you end with a “non inline canvas” with its own name. That exported canvas can have its own properties: dimensions, fps, start and end time, keyframes, etc. But usually those properties aren’t modified by the user when exported, but it is possible to do it.
Also one exported canvas can be used in many places many times using one Paste Canvas Layer each time. Clicking on the canvas parameter might allow to select the local available canvases (the exported ones on that document). But you can refer to one external canvas (even the root one) by telling the file that holds it after select “other…” from the drop down menu. It is explained in the wiki.

Yes, it is :mrgreen:

i think i understood a bit better now…

other question (althought i’m not sure if this post is on the correct board of the forum):

I made a second sifz with the map scene, zooming on the europe map and a line animation from bcn to veneze, only after i noticed it was too short/fast (just 5 seconds, so everything, zoom and follow line, were going too fast) is there an easy way to make it longer with the keyframes and waypoints distributing correctly (proporsional) on the new timeline?.. i could only change the end time of the animation and then distribute the keyframes and waypoint by hand… i imagine with more of those it can get tricky…

First, you need to make the animation longer so go to Caret menu->Edit properties.
Then go to the end time and write a higher value
Later you have to modify the keyframes lengths by ALT dragging them on the time bar.
It would expand the inner waypoints too.


still need to understand better when to use keyframes or just waypoints, as stretching and cutting my animation was not so easy :wink:

anyway, it ended up like this:

any sugestions on making it better?.. also would like to add some music to it and maybe some real video fotage of last year biketour, which program would you advise?.. my computer is rather old (And slow - synfig would stop many times and render weirdly - i imagine for lack of memory)…

The Text layer in Synfig is quite bad. You should use better the actual rendered text (use high dimensions to make it not pixelate) as imported images and place them on the map. The texts won’t shake like they do now.

I don’t like so much the font of the main texts. They are very difficult to read.

Also I would make text appearing more dynamic, as you said with a video footage.

First, export our animation to png sequence. That would allow to have transparent background. To combine video under the animation you can use one non linear video editor. I would choose one of those two: