Adding simple animations for Single Sprites to be used in Renpy to make your project look… alive…… The Lazy way…

July 10, 2011

Ah… it’s been awhile… I’ve been really REALLY busy lately but what the heck… on with the subject…

What you see here is a mock up but will closely resemble the final output… sort of…

So what am I up to this time again?…. Well,  I was looking for cheap, fast, efficient ways to enhance my project graphically and one of the things I’m looking at lately is adding minute animations to each sprite to give the impression of being alive… So what are my options…

1 – Go Full 3D
While 3D in theory will grant any wish true… that is, to those who spent half a lifetime mastering them so not feasible… Not only I’m not good at modeling organic objects in 3D… chances are even if I am… it will look like just another poser render which is far from my objective style… so no go…

2 – Manually draw each sprite animation
While this will certainly preserve the style I wanted to achieve… drawing each frame manually will eat up a lot of time and effort… which is not worth it since the other objective of mine is doing it cheaply… and fast…

Another option I’ve been considering is Anime studio Pro and take advantage of their bone system… too bad that means you have to take apart your sprites and rig them… eating up precious time with really funny results…

Then I remember Photoshop had this funny little tool called Puppet Pin… so what is it?…. Well, it’s basically you put pins all over your single raster file and you bend, stretch it in any manner possible… the tool itself is really easy to use and will produce results in mere minutes… while it won’t have the freedom of the other previous methods… you can save much time on this method and as I said earlier, instant gratification… though right now… the only way I could think of is using this to create simple looping breathing animations or simple bobbing left and right… enough to make your single image sprites look alive (though, they still look funny as it is… with a few more tweaks… they will look good… I think)

Now the only worry I have right now is file size since I’m obviously gonna export each frame as .png and say you got a looping two second breathing animation at 12 frames per second… that means, you’re gonna show 24 images… not a problem on high end machines but will produce noticeable performance drop in lower end PC’s so I’m gonna have to find a decent framerate to achieve optimal results…

OK… I go now to prevent spoilers…

“POOF” (Disappears)



  1. The first one seemed a little forced, but I really like the look on the second one. It definitely gives the characters more life!

  2. If you’re inspired by the Idea Factory games (you have a PS3, right?), I think you were seeing this:


  3. Are you deforming the whole image? I think it would help a lot if you separated the face, neck, torso and hair for the breathing animation.
    At least the face, hair and body for the other ones. The way you’re doing it now makes it look a bit as if you were just pulling an image you drew on a rubber sheet.

    On the other hand, I’m sure you’ll find ways to make it look better, good luck with your experiment!


    A tutorial on how to make blinking eyes much more easily than I’d have thought (I used to draw the half-closed eyes) – since I know you like shortcuts. 😛

  4. Well, Mugen, actually you can avoid using lots of keyframes for your animation. Use 3-4 sprites instead and apply blending transition on the engine level. This will do the trick very nicely. ^_^

  5. As unlikely as it is that you’d read this comment, you may want to take a look at the way this psp game animated their sprites to make them look more lifelike (nevermind the boobs, look at the sequence at the end of the video). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXpijAqVFJE&feature=related

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