I’ve been doing some work on the 2D side of things in preparation for another game.
This has been the general workflow.
1. Make the assets in Clip Studio.
2. Pack the sprites with Free-Tex-Packer
3. Import the art into Blender, make a mesh for each sprite and UV map it.
4. Add the Armature bones.
5. Weight Paint
7. Export from Blender as an *.fbx with the animations baked.
8. Import into Unity
9. Add new Materials and import the UV images into Unity.
10. Add the *.fbx imported asset into a scene.
11. Add an Animator Component and drag the animations from the prefab into it.
12. Set up Triggers and connections for the animations.
It’s a lot of work. Especially if you make a custom mesh for each piece of art. But I did all this as I really like animating in Blender (especially now that the Pose Library is functional and part of the Asset Browser). But to tell the truth I think I got better results using the Spline system in Unity 3D with much less work. There are trade offs and I’ll go through them below after more exposition on the workflow.
In this post I’ll go through the asset creation process in Clip Studio.
Making the Asset
The 2D game has a bunch of cute animals so I dug deep into the Disney Sketchbook by Ken Shue and pulled out Bambi for inspiration.
Using this as a rough guide I drafted a few basic shapes for a “Deer” character which looked like this:
I started using Clip Studio last year in place of the Gimp. I’ve tried all sorts of painting programs and would choose Gimp over most of them (I will not spring for a paid version of Photoshop – it’s extortion!) but Clip Studio won me over with it’s brushes. It’s not expensive by comparison and I really like how it fits into the specific things I want out of an art program. I’ll often go back to Gimp for projects that require a lot of filters and image manipulation but for straight drawing on the PC Clip Studio is a good fit for me. I like how you can make custom tools that mimic your real life counterparts for a pencil or brush and find this program better at it than most (though Adobe Sketchbook runs a close second).
To start with I create a set of layers for the Inking of the artwork. One for each moving element in the final asset.
There is a pretty simple formula for this where each limb or piece gets a layer. But you have to have a general idea of what you are going to need in the final asset and what animation is required. There is no point doing a separate component if it’s not going to move or be seen in the final product. Trouble is a lot of this work is iterative and often you find that you have to go back and change something when it doesn’t look right. There needs to be an awareness of where pieces overlap and what lines are going to be warped by the armature bending or where a line needs to be extended behind a piece that might move and reveal where it ends by another layer.
It’s really easy to see on the body and legs but even here on the pieces surrounding the head the lines that make up the ears and hair and neck all have to move independently but still look connected.
Start to finish this took a couple of days elapsed time as there is a lot of noodling about with formats, designs and what-not.
Next up I’ll go into the Blender workflow and preparing the art for animation with complex and simple meshes.