Skip to main content

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.


Related Udemy Affiliate Links

Comments

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular posts from this blog

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

The Extraordinary Tourist Classic Coat outfit created using Reallusion's Toon Designer for CC3. I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996. It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it. But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm ). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs . Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures , and Toon Hair , designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker. The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that w

Artbreeder - Using AI created Character and Background Content in your Animations

A selection of User/AI generated images from Artbreeder. If you're looking for an endless supply of 2D character and background images for your animations then Artbreeder , an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) that generates image mash-ups you can tweak as much as you like, could be the ultimate content library. What is Artbreeder? Artbreeder is free to use though there are various paid plans, that give you additional features, such as higher resolution download images or more settings to play with. All images created on the site are Public Domain (CC0 License) and can be used in commercial projects. Using Artbreeder's online app you can generate head shot portraits, full body characters, landscapes, and other scenes simply by choosing two or more existing images to mash together then, using a series of sliders, to select which traits from each image you wish to lean toward in the final image. Photo Comparison - Top is my original uploaded photo. Bottom is Artbreeder's ap

Jarrad Wright, The Big Lez Show - Who Would've thought Animating with MS Paint Could Take You So Far?

A friend of mine recommended I should check out The Big Lez Show after I mentioned to him I make animations for living. He said the show's creator, Australian animator, Jarrad Wright , just makes episodes from his home using MS Paint. Somewhat shamefully I hadn't heard of The Big Lez Show, but the fact that it was being made with MS Paint absolutely hooked me into checking out. If you've never heard or seen the show then you, like I was, are probably thinking how good could it be? MS Paint has kind of a cult following of hardcore animators but no one would use it as their primary animation tool on a series, right? WARNING - before going any further, you need to know The Big Lez Show and its humor contains some pretty strong language. By strong I mean it's peppered very liberally with the 'F' and 'C' words and is very every day Aussie, blue collar speak. Unapologetically, all of that, is part of why it's so good. There's a good chance you've

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc. I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations. I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity . AV Voice Changer Interface. Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply

Eric W. Schwartz: Cartoonist, Animator and Amiga Die Hard

July 1992 Edition, CU Amiga Featuring Amy the Squirrel. American Cartoonist, Eric W. Schwartz , (whose unofficial Amiga Icon, Amy the Squirrel, is pictured on the July 92 edition of CU Amiga cover on the right) is my only real animation hero. Sure there are the big names like Disney , Chuck Jones , Tex Avery and even Preston Blair whose influences can all be seen in my own cartoons but Eric did what none of the others could. He showed that really great 2D computer animation was within my reach with little more than an Amiga Computer , a copy of Deluxe Paint and Moviesetter . This was at a time when computer based animation was in its infancy (outside of computer game animation) and Flash was something that lights did. There were many great Amiga artists but Eric was really the only one consistently making very funny, traditional style animations. His humor and drawing style is heavily influenced by classic Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons but he managed to build on this,

Animating Warwick Hays Skateboarder Ed Character for Cartoon Animator - Can Ed Kickflip?

Skateboarder Ed. Character by Warwick Hays. Warwick Hays has built quite a sizeable collection of characters, props, and backgrounds for Cartoon Animator that I've yet to really explore, however, being the tragic skateboarder that I am, it was surely fate that I would buy his Skateboarder Ed G3 character as my first purchase. Now I don't know a lot about Warwick but, based on the design of the skateboard prop that comes with Skateboarder Ed I'm fairly certain Warwick doesn't know much about skateboarding, and/or probably didn't use a good reference when designing his skateboard. Bart's skateboard has changed over the years, though curiously, even later versions, barely get closer to what an actual skateboard looks like. To be fair, Warwick's holding up a tradition of animators who clearly haven't seen a skateboard or noticed how skaters actually ride them. Just check out Bart Simpson's flat plank of wood with wheels from the opening int

Real Human AI Text to Speech Voice App by Replica Studios - AI voice actors for games + films

Replica Studios TTS App. Image: Replica Studios It really pays to attend Reallusion's free animation demonstration Webinars. At a recent webinar, host, Kai DeNeve, featured Replica Studio's A.I. Voice Actor system . Replica uses Artificial Intelligence to learn a real voice actor's speech patterns, tone, and inflection, which can then be used with their Text To Speech (TTS) system to produce the most realistic computer generated voices yet (or at least that I've come across). You can even fine tune how individual words are said and more. Their TTS system works through a downloadable desktop app for Mac and Windows. There are also bridging apps if you want to use their system for voices in UnReal and Unity Gaming systems. Sign up for a free account and get 30 minutes of free voice downloads (that's 30 minutes of recorded audio - not 30 minutes to download audio - that you can download a line at a time). After that you can purchase 4 hour blocks for just USD$24.00.