strategy tips for drawing

Hello everyone, this is my second post as a newbie. I was looking around for certain tips I’ve not found, so I’ll need some help (thank you in advance).


I have read in tutorials and forums and the Synfig’s manual that I can import images made by GIMP/Inkscape, and I’ve done. I have some expertise in GIMP but not in Inkscape, and I saw Synfig has vectorial drawing tools. I’ve started to make my first simple animation (a simple guy walking), so I draw him in GIMP, saved arms, legs, torso and head in separated PNG files (drawing them in separated layers with an alpha channel for transparency), imported them in a new Synfig file and encapsulated them for preparing for the animation.

What I saw:

-Every image I’ve imported (I think was imported as layer, is it right?) has the same size (the original image size). I’ve not cropped to the minimum to help me when I was importing them. I was looking for a tool to crop the layer (as exists in GIMP), but I didn’t foud it, so by now all the layers have the same size.
-Every tutorial I’ve seen uses Synfig’s tools for drawing “moving” objects
-In the manual says Synfig make Morphing animation when the image is vectorial and Cutout animation when image is either vectorial or bitmap images

What I do not know (excluding the meaning of life and some other little stuff):

-When it is NOT a good idea to use GIMP or Inkscape and importing to Synfig? I mean, took me a lot of time to learn GIMP, Inkscape is hard to learn to use too, and I was thinking how many time I should dedicate to use drawing tools from Synfig. It’s a matter of Cost vs Benefit and reuse. I think if I know how to use one tool for drawing and if I could just abstract to learn how to draw in Synfig and only (in the beginning) just learn how to animate, it could help me to focus in just one task. How much wrong am I?
-Vectorial images are better animated than others? which type of images and wich sizes would be the better in order to not loose quality? (suppose an animation 900 x 900 px).
-Any other tip like ‘hey, if you try to use X for Y, then your live would be much better because Z’, where ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ are in a high level of abstraction (i.e. ‘hey, if you crop your images BEFORE importing it in Synfig, then your live wold be much better because ther is no tool to crop layers (correct this if it’s wrong!)’).

These questions are for making an idea where do I must focus in my first steps in Synfig. I think if Synfig has some options/task/tools/whatever wich could be done with other specific tool (like drawing in GIMP or Inkscape), I will use them because they are specific for drawing, not only for animate in Synfig, and will only focus to learn in Synfig what is necesary for doing a good animation (not excellent, just good -or average- by now).

I hope I wrote it clear enough. If not, blame Google Translator :wink:
Thank you again for reading this, and if you answer something, I’ll thank you again :slight_smile:

What you’re asking depends a lot on your animation style. If your animation style is to make a lot of character animation (talking, head turns, eye blinks, walking, stretching, shape deformations, etc.) you definitively need to go to vector drawing. It would avoid you to draw raster images of your different poses many times and would allow to reuse the created stuff for different purposes.

Vector drawing has some drawbacks too. In certain occasions, using that animation style, the morphing of the shapes is so complex that it isn’t worth to make the effort of doing the artwork in vector because its usability is only for a few frames. In that case is better to go to a frame by frame style and then it is better to use a raster application (Pencil, MyPaint, Krita, Gimp, …).

But vector drawings has also many benefits too. It is possible to define styles to your artwork and change it completely just modifying a few parameters. Doing that using raster drawing tools is much more time consuming.

If your style is simple cut out animation (rotations, scale and translations) you can go and use raster images or vector images for that style. In that case any raster drawing application is fine.

Regarding on if it is worth to learn the Synfig drawing tools instead of learn Inkscape and then import the artwork to Synfig and animate it I have some advices:
If your animation style is cutout, then it is perfectly fine to draw in Inkscape and import the artwork into Synfig. It would work like whether it were been created on a raster application (treated as a whole).
But if your animation style implies many animation tricks (masking, layer movements in the z axis, variable outline width, etc.) it is much better to draw the artwork directly in Synfig Studio. Also, sometimes, for shape morphing, it is needed to consider the exact position and the number of vertexes and how are the items linked between the different layer. Those kind of advanced used is possible to do only within Synfig Studio. Even if you draw your artwork with Inkscape and then import it in Synfig Studio, the shapes are placed in the layer stack in a non proper way in order to achieve those tricks, and finally you end rearranging the layer stack in Synfig Studio for that.

I hope it helped.