How To Transform Static Character Design Into Animations

How To Transform Static Character Design Into Animations

How To Transform Static Character Design Into Animations

The field of animation was first limited to entertainment but over the years, it has expanded towards different domains and industries. One field that has been impacted the most, positively, is the domain of digital marketing. Video marketing now includes animated content since it is easier to make and does not consume a lot of your time. However, if you simply set aside the concept of video marketing and focus on animated character for movies, commercials or even marketing purposes, you should know that it all stems from character design and illustration.

Supposedly, a children book illustration is going to contain still images of characters and sceneries in a picture book but the drawings are going to contain emotion and movement or else young readers would not be intrigued by it. Therefore, when you animate a character, you would first have to follow the basic rules of illustration design so the animation process becomes a lot easier for you.

To improve your character design and animations further, here is everything that you should follow to hone your character design skills.

Character Design

Research and find relevant references

Character designing is not an easy process instead it consumes a person’s efforts, time and dedication altogether. However, you cannot just blindly barge into creating an illustration. You need to study the different anatomical elements of character designing at first and acquire some relevant references first. After you have acquired the references you need for your character, the next step is to infuse them into the design itself.

Character illustration with movement

When designing a character before it is animated, make sure the design itself does not look too static and plain. It should have movement and motion even before you animate it. This is going to help you in simply illustrating characters as well since every illustration is made with the intention to convey a story. Each scene would be first designed and then animated therefore, make sure it follows the principles of motion beforehand and does not look too still to the eye.

Make use of texture and contrast

The texture you choose for your character is another important factor. Suppose you want to highlight emotion in your character’s facial expressions then the best way would be to add solid highlights of contrast into the face of the character. This is very crucial in defining the poses your character makes as well. When designers overlook this basic concept, the outcome is a result of bland gestures and expressions.

Do not leave out extra space

If anything, just never leave out too much space in an illustration. Especially the space left out in the gestures of a character is essential so at times, you can leave it out but not always. Space could be surrounding the body of the character, its gestures, poses or even its face but it should be utilized in a smart manner. The gestures also control the story or expressions you are portraying so try to make meaning out of the spaces as well.

Avoid adding extra details

Always try to follow the less is more concept as some artists and animators tend to be blinded by the fact that only extra details are going to enhance the appeal of the final animation. Sometimes you add so many details and elements that the character loses its actual essence and that is a huge mistake from your end. Know that the gestures and poses you will choose for your characters are going to be very different so just be very smart about it.

Tone down extra animations

To animate a character, no one is suggesting you animate each and every single panel or frame of your artwork. Follow the concept of mediocrity and bring a balance between the two. Animate the parts that only need to be animated that are why to include some still frames so that the final animated video does not look too unnatural to the eye. The animation needs to look subtle and natural not too forced and fake to those who will view it.


Character animation is not a new concept instead; it has existed for years. It has always stemmed from still images or frames of artwork but with the constant changes and emergence of digital tools, animating characters out of static images has become easier to an extent. Now that you are well aware of all the factors required in transforming an illustration into an animation, the next thing to learn is to make it more engaging and interactive. However, you do not have to go through separate resources to learn that as once you know how static characters can gain movement; the notion of animating them is simplified as well.

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