2D animation inside 3D + alpha

Hi all !

I would like to know what is the best way to animate a 2D character in a 3D animation.
It should be interesting to have an alpha layer for the character for shadow.

Any idea ? :slight_smile:

Don’t know the best way, the first one that comes to mind is to put the 2d character on a plane, mapped to color and alpha of course, as an image texture. But instead of an image, it is your animated movie.

Of course the traditional method of doing this with live action shots is simple compositing + camera matching.

It also depends on the sequence you produce it. I would say it would be probably easier to do the 2D last and the 3D first, drawing over the 3D as a BG.

I have tried something with a movie + node. It seems to be possible to set a color to alpha for a video.
Now i will see if it is possible to have a shadow.

EDIT : Ok, with texture node it is possible. Here my solution :

First, your texture “myVideo” is set correctly to show a video as texture with auto refresh.
DON’T set it to the material ! But create another empty texture with node.

In texture node, add an imput texture node, and use your “myVideo” texture.
Next use decomposition and composition of RGBA nodes to set which color to set to Alpha for your video.

Add tradshadow to other material.

Video is something else entirely. I thought you meant 2D character you would draw. Sorry.

Basically you just want to composite which sounds like the direction you are going.

I think you have to make the 2D character colored and for that you have to put it into blank space and after that you can do the further things.

From the 2D cutout script. Because it is truly cut out, it casts accurate shadows. No alpha needed.


cutout_dance.blend (201 KB)

I’m pretty certain this should be possible, but I’m asking just to be 100% sure.
Is it possible to place 2d animations within the scene, and control them with code? For instance, event A happens, so play character-jumping animation; event B happens, so play character-laughing animation.
The animation frames should be mostly camera-facing. Of course, the image frames will need to be alpha-tested – 100% visible / 100% opaque areas should be enough.


I have seen a animated movie “Ice Age” which was same like this.Very interesting and so beautifully animated.

The movie "ice age " is a cute film in its own right, and the character that is most to thank for this is the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat.He makes me happy.

I can’t help but wonder, are you shooting for something like this? I remember Paper Mario did something to that effect, maybe you could get some ideas from there.



Ice age is a 2002 American computer-animated film which is based on the conflict of man with the animals and at the last this lead to the peace when the elephant return the child of the human being.

"‘Avatar’ is the wake-up call to everybody to show how big a 3D movie could be in the marketplace.It is the best example of 3D direction.

The hardest to optain, with shadowing in post-prod, is to get that shadow following deformations on added objects as 2D layers while cutting. I guess this has all to be faked by distorting the shadow layer(s) by hand…
I tried it with rendering the copy of same scene containing a character, but with having the characters material uniformely dark on an alpha channel. Afterwards, i tweaked that as a layer behind the guy with FCP’s perspective video filter + deform. Result came out well enough for the purpose, though.