Sampled Keyframes effect ("Anime" animation, Spiderverse Style, etc.)


Posted on Oct. 12, 2020, 7:56 p.m. by KittysSmut • Last updated on Oct. 14, 2020, 4:42 p.m.

We've all seen the stylistic choppy animation style used by people trying to mimic 2D animation, but how do we achieve this in Blender?

The basis of the effect is to have each movement last two frames, and this is quite simple to achieve in Blender with the graph editor, some sampling and scaling.

Original:

Original smooth cube animation

Sampled:

Sampled cube animation

  • I'm aware a gif of a cube is not good reference material for a final preview, but it does the job

Spiderverse Gwen Animated Sample


Step one

Do your animation.

In order to convert an animation into the two stepped sampled style, pre-existing animation needs to be there, either make it yourself or grab some animation elsewhere.

Image of Blender's Dope sheet with keyfames visible


Step two

Sample your keys.

The first major step of this effect is to keyframe every piece of movement, this means having a keyframe for every frame of the animation, now you could go and manually insert keys for every single frame, but that's pointless when Blender includes it as a function. So select everything you want to be stepped (usually means selecting everything on your rig), switch to the graph editor, select everything and hit key > sample keyframes.

Graph Editor with keys visible

Sample Keyframes selected

Sampled Keyframes


Step Three

Scaling

Alright, this is the important part, in the dope sheet, select everything from the point you want the two framed effect to start and place your playhead there (i recommend from the beginning for simplicity's sake).

Next, we need to half everything so that we essentially remove half the keyframes, this is achieved by pressing s and typing "0.5".enter image description here

This will squish the animation curves all further down the timeline which is what we want. then snap your keys, I do this with 2.79 shortcut keys, W > Snap > Nearest frame.


Step Four

Re-scalng

So you've gotten your animation to be squshed down and removed half the keys, great, but that's not the speed or timing you want your animation to be in, so what next? rescale it back to it's original size. select everything from the playhead, hit S and 2 to double the scale, and press snap your keys again.

enter image description here

Step Five

Final Touches

Now you'll have everything timed and spaced correctly, for the final touch, you need to set the keys to constant interpolation, I do that by pressing T and clicking "Constant", this makes the animation only move with the keys.

enter image description here

You're done, enjoy your newfound choppy animation style.