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Blender 2.8 Amazes with 2D Animation Features. Might Be the All-in-One Animation Studio for You

Hero - still from a 2D animated short
created in Blender 2.8 with Grease Pencil.
There are a number of animation apps that like to promote themselves as the one tool for all your animation needs and, while many are certainly very powerful, I think Blender 2.8, released earlier this year, may be the closest yet.

If you're not familiar with Blender it's been almost the go to tool, since at least 2002, for anyone wanting to learn 3D animation on a budget - and nothing is easier on the budget than completely free.

With the release of 2.8 not only is Blender a complete 3D animation tool, it's now also a complete 2D animation tool. That's right you can use it to create 2D, hand drawn animation, motion graphics, and bone rigged 2D characters. As well, it has plugins that can give 3D animation that 2D look.

Hence my suggestion that Blender 2.8 is truly the one tool for all your animation needs (because Blender is also very capable at VFX - think of any 'live action' movie that uses CGI to create almost anything in a scene that wasn't there during principle photography).

YouTuber, Blender Guru made this incredible video, that I happened to click on, not expecting to be as wowed as I was, that runs through all of what's new in Blender 2.8 (which is more of a 'all the reasons why you should learn Blender' list than a 'what's new'). If you're just interested in the 2D animation features skip to the 9:44 minute mark.



Personally, I tried to learn Blender way back somewhere around 2004-5 but didn't have a computer powerful enough to run it (lots of crashing at the most basic level of use). Since then I've checked back in from time to time just to see how far the software has come but, even though I now have a computer that can run it, I still haven't been compelled to go there. Especially since I've had iClone as an alternative.

However, seeing all these new 2D features, and the fact that I still want to learn how to sculpt and animate my own characters in 3D, Blender is looking like the ideal tool for all my animation needs.

The feature in Blender that makes all this 2D goodness possible is called Grease Pencil. It basically allows you to draw 2D vector graphics in 3D space. The video below is Blender's own Grease Pencil showcase and is the animated short shown in Blender Guru's video above. Watch through to the end where you'll see behind the scenes video of scenes being created in Blender.



If that's not enough to convince you to look at Blender for 2D animation because, maybe you're not into hand drawn animation, check out the video below by YouTuber, CG Geek.

If you can get past the Sponsor ads and the Wacom tablet review, it's a good demonstration of several 2D animation techniques Blender can do including, hand drawn, motion graphics, and bone rigged characters.

Although this video is titled as a beginner tutorial, I suspect CG Geek's target audience is people who already know Blender but haven't explored Grease Pencil yet. If that's not you then it's a good, detailed demonstration, of Blender's 2D capabilities but to actually learn them you may want to start elsewhere. To me it's barely a tutorial as he definitely assumes you have a good knowledge of Blender basics already.



If all this looks exciting Blender 2.8 can be downloaded free from the Blender Website. It's available in Windows, MacOS, and Linux versions. There's also a playlist of Blender 2.8 tutorials to teach you the fundamentals on the Blender YouTube channel.

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