More than just a cut out

Hi, I’m a new Synfig user and was wondering if there was a way that I could do something a little more than just a cutout and rotate kind of animation. :unamused:
I was wondering if it was possible to have say a side shot of my character with all her rotating limbs. This way I can do an animation of her walking, but what if I want her to turn and face the front? I have side, angle, back, and front shots of my character, but I’m not entirely sure if there is a way that you can “put aside” or “temporary get rid of” the side shot and replace it with a front shot of the character so that you can give the illusion that the character is spinning towards the front with out the means of arranging blines or anything like that (like flash, frame by frame). I’m sorry, I’m not entirely sure how to explain it :slight_smile: :neutral_face:
Like, is there a way that one COULD do something similar to a frame by frame animation just in case of situations like these? :unamused:


Hi hahli1994,

You can do literal frame-by-frame in Synfig but you lose all of the speed gains of having stuff auto-tweened, plus - for me at least - tweaking a bunch of vector points (called “ducks” in Synfig) is, if anything, usually more work than just drawing frame-by-frame. Still, it can be done as this Preston Blair study shows:

I usually end up doing my frame-by-frame stuff in Pencil, inking and painting the cells in Inkscape (because I find Pencil’s vector tools unstable), then importing an image sequence into Synfig if needed for additional animation (e.g. a walk cycle against a moving background).


I do agree about the troubles of moving each duck, However, how do you use Synfig like a frame by frame program? I looked at many of Synfig’s tutorials, but I only saw tutorials geared toward animation through ducks and blines.

Hi hahli1994,
There is not universal recipe to produce head or body turns but here are some principles:

  1. Do you really need that the character turns in front of the camera?. The film director has several tricks to avoid a turn exposed clearly to the camera. For example a simple camera cut to focus to the cause that is taking the character attention allows you to change the point of view and not turn is needed.
  2. If you really need a head or body turn in front of the camera (yes it is needed in several situations) you have the following options:
    2.1) Use anticipation and counter actions to make the the turn more believable.
    2.2) When possible prepare the composition just for the turn. It is possible to do a 90 degree smooth turn without too much trouble if you study the movement and the order of the shapes. See this:
    2.3) If the limbs changes its perspective or is not possible to do a smooth transition then use frame by frame animation but only when needed. You don’t need to use the same technique all the time, just when the transformation of the shapes cannot carry out the full turn, then change to other shape that matches the previous status and continue the smooth movement.
  3. Let the watcher fill the gaps. If the turn is quick enough and the anticipation and counter actions are well planned, the turn effect can be achieved with a simple flip. See this:

In general any kind of complex movement needs study of the keyframes and a good knowledge of when use one of other technique.
See this:


You need to use the Paste Canvas Layer and animate the canvas parameter by switching between different canvases (compositions) at the end of each keyframe.
See this small video tutorial for that technique: