Need some help or tips with synfig bone animation, please

Am new to “animation” software, and decided to start with Synfig for an educational project.

Have been working out what have wanted to do so far, with audio, and animating backgrounds and text…thanks to some of the info available through Youtube, the Synfig-wiki and similar.

Now, have been stuck for several days on animating a pre-made character using “bones”…nothing seems to work as hoped. Can really use some help, or maybe advice if Synfig is just not “cut out” (no pun intended) for what I hoped to do? Thank you for taking the time to read, if you can :slight_smile:

What I did:

*imported a pre-cut Illustrator figure into Inkscape, then exported as an “SIF” file to use in Synfig

*in Synfig grouped the parts (arms, legs, heads, torso etc)

*then imported the figure into my pre-existing animation project (which has sound, text, bkgrd changes)

*then created some switch-layers over the face of the character, for its mouth and eye movements. Which are working, however quite slowly (at least prior to rendering, which I have not tried yet)

Now I am at trying to animate just an arm of the character. I had some small success with the “Basic Bones Tutorial”, on Some of the info I can find is spread out over time, and things have changed at certain points…I’m not sure which should be the right one today.

What is happening:

*It seems that whatever edits I make can be done both within the document the character is imported, or within the original character file/document itself. The changes take place to both documents.

*I am able to move the arm, however it will stay in that position starting back from frame-zero to where I make the change (which I don’t want), then go back to the original position going forward (which I don’t want). And doing it VERY slowly, taking minutes to do so.

My thoughts/questions

*does it matter that the figures original file is “SIF”, and the project file imported to is “SIFZ”?

*do I need to attach each individual section to each individual bone, in seperate processes? It gets a little messy selecting all layers and bones to make all points visible, and try to select the right points to attach…I think I may have grouped “upper arm”, “lower arm”, “hand” all together and linked to parent and two child-bones, but hard to remember right now.

*should there be just one “bone layer”, within the character’s parent file, or a bone layer in each body-part folder?

*would I be better off to just start over and learn opentoonz, instead?

Somehow I have not seen a lot on this, past tutorials for animating an arm, or a whole body at once…and am not sure which is the right one to look to as of 2018.

Could not get Papagayo to work on Windows 7. I assume isn’t meant to? Just did my own mouths and switch-files.

I TRULY appreciate your time and any help.

Thank you so much!!!

Ok, maybe my advice is useful in this situation:

To what is happening:

  1. That changes happen in both documents when you import it is intentional you’re linking it directly and not making a copy. This is so you can focus on the animation of one part in one document and compose several documents in a big project together.
  2. Did you make sure to activate / deactivate the animation mode when editing the arm? Also be sure you haven’t set any unwanted waypoints or keyframes.

To your thoughts and questions:

  1. sifz is just the compressed form of sif, so you should be able to save just save a sif as a sifz. It shouldn’t matter if you imported one into the other.

  2. If you have grouped the part together you can right click on the group an press select all children. Then you can press ctr+a to select all points. Finally with ctr+left click you select the bone layer and right click -> connect to bone on the bone you want your selection being connected to. It helps to have the bone layer on top everything else so you can easily click on it.

  3. Yes, a bone layer is a single object containing a hierarchy of bones (child bones/ parent bones). Once you have linked everything you only need so select this one layer to edit your animation.

  4. Not quite sure which one is better. I haven’t used opentoonz enough to help you with that. But it seems like you can accomplish your goals with both programs

  5. For Papagayo make sure to have the correct version of python installed to run it. Also be sure to download the correct version of Papagayo which is PapagayoNG-1.4.2.

I hope this answers your questions.