Best Practice: Pixel art animation

Trevor Van Meter uses animation tools to create a ten-frame run cycle for a pixel animation featuring the character he created in issue 117.

Imagine you have been hired to create a side-scrolling, pixel art action game based on the funtastic world of the Cake And Ice Cream Kid (created here). First, you'll need to come up with a style guide to use as a reference while you animate your characters.

A static image of the Cake and Ice Cream Kid and her sidekick Yogurt the Frog has been included, so you can either use this or create a character of your own. You can use these images to keep things to scale, and as a quick grab palette for colours and recycled shapes.

For this tutorial, you will focus on creating a run cycle that can be used throughout the game. This will loop through the run animation every time the main character runs from place to place.

Because you are trying to create a loop here, the animation will need to start where it stops and vice versa. First you'll rough it out, and then try to ensure there is a smooth transition from the last frame back to the first.

It's worth recycling as much as you can to save some time, and to make everything look symmetrical. For a run cycle to work there must be two steps, and if those two steps do not feel symmetrical, the character will look as if it's running with a limp!

Click here to download the tutorial for free