Moveable camera - Do I even need it?


I have a very fundamental question. I want to create animation that basically imitates old 2D videogames, meaning that a main character will run through a variety of environments, jump on platforms, kill enemies etc. while he stays in the center of the screen. So far so good.

Here is how I would go about achieving that:
Create the entire environment, put the character at the beginning and use paths and waypoints to move him along the level until the end. Then create a “camera object” that only captures a small part of the entire scene and is always centered on the character. Only what this camera sees would be rendered in the end.

That’s the theory. However, I couldn’t find a convenient way to achieve this in Synfig. I know about animation using .lst files and I have worked through the “Follow bline” tutorial and both of these techniques work well. However, I couldn’t find a way to create and control a camera.

My first and most basic question is: Is my way of doing things even common/sensible? I’m completely new to 2D animation and as such have never worked with any other program. And if my way is valid, does Synfig enable me to do it? Or would I have to use another program like Toon Boom, Flash, etc.?

I know that in traditional animation, the camera is stationary and only the cells/layers are moved. This however appears to be a bit tedious for my purposes…

I just need some pointers. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

NOTE: I stumbled upon this thread, leading me to believe that Synfig doesn’t support my method out of the box. But my basic question remains: Is my way of doing things sensible, or is there an easier, more efficient way?

The most efficient way to perform that effect is this:

  1. Use the camera widget template and place your animation below.
  2. With the camera off, animate the character along the long horizontal background. Be sure that you have put your character inside a Paste Canvas layer and that you move the origin of that Paste Canvas layer to move the character and internally it moves its limbs as stationery.
  3. Export the Origin of the paste canvas layer (which is animated with the movement of the character) and give it a name.
  4. Then the link the camera origin to the exported value of the origin of the paste canvas. With this you assure that the character is always centered on the camera since the camera moves exactly the same than the character.

The usage of the camera is optional if you have a fixed frame and zoom and rotation.
I hope it works.


I am not able to understand how to create the Camera Object. Could you please provide a step by step instructions on how to make the camera object. It would be of great help. I am using 0.63.05


Have you read this?

Is it planned to add a camera tool to Synfig soon?
And then positing the Layers in 3D space…or not real 3D but that I can fly through the layers just in one direction from the front to the back of the scene and reverse, as if I am looking into a flip book…and then having a depth of field value, that would be great and a big plus for the look of an animation :smiley: