I currently am doing art for a game being made (by me...) and started to think of multiple different ways of animating.

The two I am currently debating, with myself, is single layered animation and multiple layered animation.

Single: The entire character is done on one layer, with all of the required frames.

Multiple: Different body parts on their own separate layer (i.e. arm on one, leg on another, and so on)

I would like help figuring out the pros and cons of these so then I could decide, preferably from someone who has done one or the other...or both, but anyone that could offer assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of How to learn 2d animation? \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mar 27 '13 at 22:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not at all....I know how to animate. I'm just looking for outside opinions and knowledge. Though I get that fact of why you would say that. \$\endgroup\$ – Archxiao Mar 27 '13 at 22:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ catalinzima.com/2011/06/2d-skeletal-animations \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Mar 27 '13 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Polling for opinions is not a good question for a Q/A site. Please read the FAQ about what types of questions to ask here. We expect questions to have a correct answer based on facts. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mar 27 '13 at 22:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I did not read through them, but read bits and pieces and skimmed through the rest. I........darnit. There seems to have been a miscommunication to you through my title. It seems as if my title is slightly misleading from my post. My fault. Oh and your "Polling for opinions is not a good question for a Q/A site." is incorrect as the FAQ states: "All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. How do we define that? Constructive subjective questions... invite sharing experiences over opinions." And I was looking for outside opinions and knowledge...Anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – Archxiao Mar 27 '13 at 23:31

Single Cons:

  • restricted effects - the same animation will play over and over, and you cannot randomize any of your characters movements.

Single Pros:

  • less files - this is really just a pro beacause I hate to see my res-folder flooded with .png-files. If you use multiple bitmaps, the same animation might demand 5+ different bitmaps (and if you are programming with limited memory, like a phone, save valuable memory).

  • easier animation - Loop through the frames, done!

Multiple Cons:

  • More files - (see Single Pros)

    • Harder animation - This might not be an issue if you're experienced with animations, but if not, positioning all the bitmaps (like arms and legs on a body) and making them move realistically might be a real pain when using multiple bitmaps.

Multiple Pros:

  • More freedom with effects - I have a friend who is building his own 2d version of Dead Space right now, and he is using multiple bitmaps for arms, legs head and body, so that when he shoots his enemies, different limbs fly off, and when they die its a gory mess of limbs and blood, if this was done using a single bitmap the pool of blood and limbs would look the same every time, but using multiple bitmaps, he can randomize the death-animation which gives the game a nice depth.

The above is for sprites only, since I program for android, I don't animate backgrounds, that would kill my heap. Feel free to edit to add your own Pro/Con experiences with this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What's easier/harder about the animation? Why would the number of files increase? Why can't you have the same effects in the single layer that you can in the multiple layer? \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mar 27 '13 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is my opinion, if you have your own, feel free to post it. I am a semi-beginner and this is what Ive experienced when trying both. \$\endgroup\$ – Green_qaue Mar 27 '13 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I was just asking you to expand your answer. Subjective questions require answers that are a bit more fleshed out. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mar 27 '13 at 23:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, thought you just meant that I was wrong ^^ Sure I can add some more. \$\endgroup\$ – Green_qaue Mar 27 '13 at 23:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your "Multiple Pros" bullet is highly useful, as I was leaning on having something similar to that in my game, and I wouldn't have realized that. \$\endgroup\$ – Archxiao Mar 27 '13 at 23:40

Backgrounds: I find it easier to make these with one element per frame. It makes a very nice (and easy) effect if you want the sky to move at a different pace than the ground or something like that!

Characters: I personally like to have the whole character on one frame rather than body parts in multiple frames, I find that it is just easier for me!

Sources: I made a 2d sonic the hedgehog platformer for my Computer Science class.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As in my topic, I would like some pros and cons as to why you like to have a whole character on a layer, rather than just because it is easier. But I do appreciate you sharing your opinions with me. \$\endgroup\$ – Archxiao Mar 27 '13 at 23:11

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