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

Posted on Oct. 12, 2020, 7:56 p.m. by KittysSmut • Last updated on March 2, 2021, 1:05 a.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 or more frames, this is quite simple to achieve in Blender with the graph editor, the dope sheet, and some sampling and scaling of the keyframes.

As an example, here's a cube; The original is smooth, the sampled version is choppy, that's the basis of the effect.


Original smooth cube animation


Sampled cube animation

Here's an example of the effect in action, this animation includes facial movement that is sampled and a splined camera movement.

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, or deselecting the blue arrow, just make everything visible) Switch to the graph editor, select everything and hit key > sample keyframes.

Graph Editor with keys visible

Sample Keyframes selected

Sampled Keyframes

Step Three


Alright, this is the important part, in the dope sheet, select everything from the point you want the 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". if you want each frame to last 3 frames, you'd do "0.3" for example.

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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


Now 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. We need to do this so Blender automatically compensates for the spacing between the keyframes and deletes every other frame, otherwise we'd be doing that manually, and Neither of us have the patience that that.

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 change according to the set keyframes, otherwise it'd be interpolating according to our mode and we don't want that.

enter image description here

You're done, enjoy your newfound choppy animation style, Try out different keyframe distances (2, 3, fuck it, try 5), and generally have fun with it.