Help required for my animation


I started learning animation with Synfig. To start with, I have a small 1 minute story in mind. It is like water is dripping from water tap -> a bird come to that tap flying from a distance -> drink water and fly away ( haaa what a great story !!! but I like it :slight_smile: )… I made an attempt after some learnings of basics of Synfig. But I got stuck after this. Please see the video I uploaded.

I am stuck at the following points

  1. I wanted to make the water drops a repeatitive action and grow the size of the water on the ground
  2. While this is happening a bird is coming flying from a distance.

Could some one please make a screencast tutorial video on how to make this animation. I know I am asking for a big thing. But if such a tutorial is there, it will be very good for a beginer like me.


Hello Salil, welcome to the Synfig community!

I think the first thing you need to do is study what you want to archieve. How does water drip? How does a puddle form? How does a bird fly? etc.
Youtube is an excellent reference resource, like here. Muybridge did a fantastic job on human and animal locomotion documentation that is still today, some 150 years later, one of the best resources, google Muybridge images.

Next, have you tried the Synfig tutorials? Should get you up and running with the program.

Also some steady foundation in animation is also good. Try The Animators Survival Kit.

Good luck!

Hello Rylleman

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. Thanks for the links too. I will try to get some insight into the details of the theoretical aspects of the animation and movements.

Still, I was not trying to look at the perfection of the images in my first animation. But I wanted to see how things can be put together using synfig to get the desired output. Here I just wanted to know the three points that I mentioned can be achieved. If I make it without following animation principles, it will be pretty ugly for sure. But if I get the output, I will be the happyman and I can do some study for animation principles and bring in those theory to my work make it look better. That was the intention behind the post !!

Muybridge is a great collection of all human/animal movements.


Hi Salil,

First you need to isolate the water drops into a Paste Canvas layer. You can do that by encapsulatingthe layers involved in the water drop animation. Please read the corresponding wiki sections on how to achieve that. This section of the manual is interesting here too:
After you have isolated your water drop, you can force it to repeat the animation using the Time Loop layer. Place a Time Loop layer on top of the children layers of your new Paste Canvas and they will be affected by the Time Loop effect. The layers that are outside (the bird and the rest) wouldn’t be affected by the repetitive water drops)
If you get stuck with the Time Loop layer please let us know. It is easy to get confused with the times.


thanks a lot for the help. I will try out these. I started reading materials related to the theory behind the animation movies and all. Also is doing some hand work on Synfig. It is pretty interesting to learn such a great tool. will definitely put my questions on this forum in case I get stuck.


One quick question

Could you please give me some insight into the parameters of Time loop layer. and how do I repeate the timer loop for specific time … like only 4 loops I want …


Time loop is a confusing stuff indeed … I am tired of making it perfect for my animation … the moment I attach the timeloop, the whole sequence goes for a toss.

The following are two videos I could make with and without timeloop

Settings for timeloop that is attached to waterdrop
Link Time = 1s 15f
Local time = 1s 15f
Duration = 1s 5f

Is there any fundamental issue with the settings ?

Consider this animation:
A Start layer that moves its angle with this waypoints
36f angle=0º
42f angle=45º
48f angle=0º
54f angle=-25º
112f angle=0º

It has two movements between 36f and 48f one quick movement and one slow movement from 48f to 112f
Now let’s place a Time Loop layer on top. We want to repeat four times the animation from 36f to 48f starting at frame 24f and after that continue with the animation from star’s 48f to 112f without repetition.

  1. First uncheck the Symmetric parameter.
  2. First modify the parameters to do the first four cycles:
    Link Time = 36f. It is the time where the material that is going to be repeated starts.
    Local Time = 24f It is the time where we want the loop start in our time (the time of the animation)
    Duration = 12f. It is calculated based in the length of the source material. In this case the animation to loop goes from 36f to 48f that is 48-36=12f.
  3. Play the animation and you get a endless 12 frames looped animation from frame 24f to the end of time. To do only four frames you have to do something at the frame where the four cycles end. This is the frame:
    Local Time+NDuration = 24f+412f = 72f.
  4. At 72f we need to tell the Time Loop that:
    a) Don’t do more cycles. It means that the duration is infinite. You can enter EOT in the time field and it will be interpreted as “End Of Time” or a time bigger than anyone.
    b) The source material at 72f should look like if it were at 48f. So we need to tell to the source material to rewind its time 48f-72f=-24f
    c) The local time should coincide with the animation time so we should tell it to be 0f that is the neutral local time.

See the attached file to checkout the results.

And yes, it is a little bit nightmare :slight_smile:
looped_star.sifz (1019 Bytes)

Thanks a lot for the description … I made my first cut …

Not bad :slight_smile:

now I think I need to go to drawing table and get the basics … I some how wanted to see some thing working … Now I am happy …

synfig is definitely a great tool

Great work salil! :slight_smile: Glad you managed to create what you wanted in Synfig!

Thanks a lot …

I wanted to do ‘some thing’ end to end … now I know the whole cycle and what all things are involved in it etc. Thanks for the boot camp lessons …

I have one more question … is there any way we can have armature like system in Synfig. AFAIK we can attach the rorate layer with an object ( another layer ). Instead if we can attach an armature like thing to part of a layer and if we get a seamless deformation of the body, it would be great. ( what I mean to say is - we make a leg layer with full leg and attach armature to hip, knee , ankle joint and fingers. So if I move knee armature, the skill will deform seamlessly and hence we get a realistic feel - this we can do in blender - but it is 3D. Is similar thing possible in Synfig )


Congratulations on your animation salil - it’s lovely!

Genete has done a lot of work on a Bones feature for Synfig:

However he’s also working on a new renderer as well - we need at least 12 Genetes working on Synfig!

Please checkout the stickman from Morevna Project:

The animation is so cool. Good work!

Good job Salil :smiley:
Glad you could create what you wanted to…in Synfig!
Synfig is a great tool i must say!

Thanks Kaushal for the good words …
I think in Indian context, water is going to be a biggest problem of near future… I want to do some campaign through facebook and other social media about the importance of water … I thought animation would be a good media to do this … hence I stated searching for a good tool which can help me make some good animation movies … only when I started, I realised all the intricacies involved in it :slight_smile: … now I am slowly learning the things behind the screen … it is pretty much interesting …
btw I have seen your work in your blog. All are good work … may be one day I can associate with you and make some good work !!!


I have one more quick question in this regard. I know I am being more and more impatient :slight_smile:

To get the walk cycle , I can use rotate layer on top of my leg and hand - but this works well only if I am doing a rotation in z axis, how do I get rotation in x and y axis … ? I can’t think about it in 2D drawings … so how does people achieve it in 2D animation … or is it that - we keep different images of the movement in consecutive frames and get the effect - rather than using layers ?


That’s the most difficult thing in any 2D animation. Turn something using 2D drawings and make it look like if it were 3D.
Everything depends on the animation itself.
Is it a quick movement? or is it slow? Is it a small arc of rotation or a large arc?
Based on those requisites you have to design your movements to achieve the effect of a rotation. Remember that all this is just an illusion, you have to make the viewer’s brain fill the missing parts not detailed in the movement. So there are many “tricks” that would help on perform a complex animation like a turn like for example anticipation, counter action, overlapping and exaggeration.

It is 100% worth to buy a animation book. I bought the Animation Survival Kit long time ago and I’m very happy with it. Any other is good for starting. Also, there are many tutorials on line.

Look this example of a head turn of a girl:

If those are the keyframes of your animation you just need to identify which parts are in front of others and which parts of the drawing persists in all the sequence. Then choose one of the keyframes, trace it and continue with the rest. The automatic interpolation should help on the in betweens.

Notice that there are the two overlapping actions that appear in the hand drawn keyframes of the example. Can you identify in which part of the drawing are produced the overlapping?

So far, which are the keyframes of your desired animation?


Thanks a lot Genete. I will take a look at this.

Yes I have collected Animator’s Survival Kit and is reading it now. That book is a real good treasure.