2d Cutout Style Tutorials *UPDATED* 7/07/08

Here is a series of tutorials aimed at doing 2d cutout style animation in blender. I’ve decided to go ahead and start a thread here and post the first tutorial in the series to see what kind of feedback I get from the blender community. I have two other tutorials already recorded and will update this thread with their links when they are ready.

Update #5 [7.09.07] Just added a new tutorial covering replacement animation. It’s very basic for now. I suspect I will adding more to it as I update this thread in the future. Don’t forget to grab the “replacer.zip” It contains the python script you’ll need for this tutorial. It’s also got the .blend file I was using for demonstration.

Preperation Tutorial


Rigging For Cutout Animation

Replacement Animation

The assets link is a .zip folder containing the original cutout character in Illustrator Format.
There are also 2 .blend files. The first one is just the final character imported and prepared in blender.
The second .blend file is the same character with an armature and animation applied. I’ve also included
a python script I like to use for creating curves in blender.

Replacer Script and sample .blend file.


Fantastic tutorial! I’m looking forward to the whole series.

Curious, rather than zoom out and scale scale down the imported object, and since the object is already selected after importation and the 3D cursor is located at zero, couldn’t you press Shift A keys and select “Object to Cursor” then scale?

hey room-
I tried the Shift A trick you mentioned. But for me it just brings up the context menu. I was thinking maybe you meant Shift S? Selection>Cursor? Which is a fine way to do it. You’d have to hit the “centre new” button under Curve & Surface to get the object Center to the actual center of the imported object and then hit Shift + S + 2 and your object would snap to the center. Maybe I should mention that way of doing it in the tutorial? I kind of wanted to show where blender imports your curve data just so users have an idea where it’s going to first. Thanks for the comments and suggestion, I’m no where near an expert with blender… so I’m sure there are things that could be done better. :slight_smile:

ROOM335 said,
“Curious, rather than zoom out and scale scale down the imported object, and since the object is already selected after importation and the 3D cursor is located at zero, couldn’t you press Shift A keys and select “Object to Cursor” then scale?”

Oops! yes shift S and I see your point about showing where the object ends up. A newbie would be very frustrated looking for it.

jazzdalek -thanks for your offering to the forum. This is a great intro for using 2D within blender. I don’t have the app. you used - but do have Macromedia available so there may be a component within that can do vector. Any other suggestions out there?
Look forward to your continued tuts :slight_smile:

Hey Deltawing
i assume when you say Macromedia you mean flash? I was planning to
do a small tutorial covering export from macromedia flash. I might have that up later this week… along with several other new tutorials in this series.
So anyway I hope those will help with any of your questions.
I can tell you that You can export a file from Macromedia Flash as an Adobe Illustrator format which should import into blender provided you set up everything in flash correctly.

I guess I really got lucky. I was looking for info on how to import Illustrator files into Blender months ago. On a lark I decided to look into it again last night and found jazzdalek’s tutorial. Posted yesterday, that’s luck! I am definitely looking forward to more tutorials if they are in the works, but I do wonder (not to hijack this thread) if 2d animation in Blender is viable.

It looks really cool in the Comcast commercials, but what about South Park-like animations? (I know South Park was done in a 3d animation program) Does Blender have any advantages in 2d animation over Flash? (besides the price) I have little Blender experience but would love to hear I could do simple 2d vector animations in it instead of shelling out $600 for Flash, with a comparable amount of work.

jazzdalek - right… I have flash available but haven’t used it much. If you plan to post something re: .ai file(is this Adobe format?) that would be great!
Thriceberg…I think South Park was originally pitched as an effort done with stop motion animation. The network pick it up based on what they saw an it SP was then converted to computer app. designed to imitate the original look.

hey thriceberg!
I do alot of work with flash. So I know it pretty well. A few important advantages that Blender has over flash for me at least are. 3D camera, Particles, Armatures, IK, And being able to mix Animation in the NLE. I would say that i sort of miss the symbol system in flash. But if you use the Groups & Linking properly in BLender it’s almost the same thing. I think it might be easier to setup a cutout character you made in photoshop in Flash than it would be in Blender. In blender you’d probably have to build a series of shapes that you would UV map your bitmaps to. And then there’s Moho…$99! and it’s sort of the best of both worlds! It has it’s problems too though, it’s illustrator import is not so good. The really good thing about blender is that bezier curves work great!

Thanks jazzdalek, I really appreciate your input. I am aware of Moho but I guess it slipped my mind while considering options. One more quick question, though: Do you think rendering 2d animation on equal systems would be faster in Flash or Blender?

hi nice stuff here will you continue please?

Update in first post! Thank you. Looking forward to the next.

Thanks again for sharing, jazzdalek.

oops wrong thread

Just wanted to thank you for the tutorials. Really useful.

Great Tutorials…Thanks!:slight_smile:
I use also ofcourse Inkscape,Sodipodi and Expression 3 (Acryl) and DTP-Blender!
…save as ai or svg and Import in Blender…zoom out to see after import like in the Tutorial!
Downloads here:


and sometimes i use only Curves in Blender to make something like this!
I made Mickey Mouse …so its Time to Rig it like in the Tutorial!!
here a Screenshot:


Orangina Rounded Themes:

This is an awesome tutorial. I’m a graphic designer and I love to draw in Illustrator, it’s one of my favorite applications. I have tried to import Ilustrator files in blender before, but it was always messed up for some reason. I checked out the tutorials and I’'m defently going to try this out. I played before with animations in such way using premade graphics in Illustrator to import them in Flash and get crazy. :stuck_out_tongue:

When I have some sparetime, I’m defently going to try this out and do something cool with it. :smiley:
Anyways I can’t way for a nice tutorial for making a small animation, just curious how another people do such things, cause every time it’s a hell of a fight to figure out what’s a nice amount of keyframes to do certain actions. I know the fps in movies and such, but when you start making an animation you’re always thinking: ‘mmh is this the right amount of frames for a smooth nice walk cycle’ and when you check it out, it always appears to be slow or to fast, or certain movements are not smooth enough, aaargh I hate that, but finaly the results are worth the work. :slight_smile:

Keep going, I really love that cartoon style shown at the Blendernation article on the bottom, and can’t wait to make a cool animation with it.

Those are great! Thanks for putting them up and I hope you can find time to do even more. Very useful.

Some really nice art and animation jazzdalek. I saw your rigging blink tutorial and saw that
you used the bone envelope to link the curve-objects to the bones. It seems like its a lot of work to have to move
the bones back and forward, wouldn’t it be enough with parent each shape/shape group to a bone?

I couldn’t keep myself, and rigged and animated your cutout guy. His objects are bone parented.
Again some really nice work on the adverts. A question I saw on blendernation that the project was for “Laika” is that Laika-film in stockholm?

Heres the .blend


this is really cool! i tried animating an illustrator drawing file the first day of using blender and failed miserably,

this is extremely cool!
i was thinking of getting Moho (2d animation program with bones)
but Blender looks even better for this, and is free!