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I've got a stick figure in the corner of my UI, but I don't like the way he's just standing there, without moving. I'm stuck without additional frames of animation, so my only recourse is the manually move the sprite up and down, left to right, rotation, or whatever else you can think of. Basically I can do everything besides drawing another sprite of animation.

I've tried things like have it subtly bounce or rotate a bit to give it a little bit of dynamism, but I don't believe its the best approach.

I've got a static sprite of a stick figure, how do I give it a bit of life?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why can't you draw more? Is it lack of artistic skills? Because you can always make your sprite look like it's moving or breathing by just dragging the head and torso a little bit in paint and animating between those frames. You can also cut out the body parts, make them into smaller bitmaps and draw them where you want to animate him. \$\endgroup\$ – Peethor Nov 30 '15 at 6:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I could buy more art or try to make some myself, but I'm dealing with a lot of sprites so having a solution I could apply to all of them at once would be great. \$\endgroup\$ – TankorSmash Nov 30 '15 at 19:49
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There are many ways. I'll try to list some, from simplest to more advanced:

  • Stretch your sprite vertically/horizontally a bit, as if it was breathing
  • If that fits your game, make it skew, rotate, move around a bit
  • Draw several more sprites and loop through them
  • Generate UV map for your figure and shift map coordinates for head, body, limbs, etc each frame
  • Split your figure into parts and animate the parts (head, body, limbs)
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In addition to what others have suggested, you can also vary:

  1. Color
  2. Luminance
  3. Opacity
  4. Apply transitions to it, such as a vertical or horizontal wipe, blinds, page curl, etc.
  5. Apply filters to it, such as distorted TV, getting sucked into a black hole, etc.
  6. Do other things around it, such as making it rain, snow, etc.
  7. Change the lighting on it so it appears to cycle through a day and/or night
  8. Make it hold various items at different times - balls, flags, tools, whatever

EDIT: Another option you have is to animate the background the figure is against rather than the figure itself. You could have a texture or procedural pattern that you move in some way (translate, scale, rotate, whatever).

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