syncing 2D and 3D possible?

Hi there,

I wonder if it is possible to use traditional 2D animation as single frames within blender, maybe as textures on a plane, to animate a 3D model (sync its movement) with the 2D stuff. I know a strange question but here’s the reason:
some weeks ago I was working at a 2D animation company as a toonz artist and the guy sitting next to me was doing 3D animation and modelling with maya. now he had this part where a 2D animated character walks over the screen, pulling something like a barrow which was build in maya. so he had the scene opened in some kind of compositing/editor in maya with BG and the characterand the 3D model displayed frame by frame as he pushed the slider of the timeline forth and back. he was then able to sync the handling of the barrow’s bars with the character’s hands - frame by frame. Has anybody got an idea if that could be possible in blender? would be cool to know as I am planning a 2D/3D short and I want to use as much as GPLed software as possible - like blender for the 3D stuff…



You could use your animated 2D sequence as an animted background (in camera view) to match it with the 3D action. If you don’t know how to do that, just ask, as it’s a bit tricky to setup.


gee that was fast!

sounds interesting, never tried that. but I think then you get one “layer” for the animated BG and one with the 3D model in foreground right? you think it would be possible to have the 2D in front of the 3D - let’s say to make a hand grab a bar… of course one can do it by “feeling” when you have the 2D in the back but it would be more precise i think to have the ability to have the 2D in front of the 3D object. that’s why I thought maybe I could use a plane with the rgba 2D animation on it…


theeth, I am definitely interested in what you offered. I was just thinking loud. :o

Ok, first, you need to setup an animated texture.

To do that, create a bogus plane (you only need it to create a material and a texture, we’ll delete it later).
Add a material. You can leave it as it is, we only really need the texture.
Add a texture.
Switch its type to Image.
Press the Load Image button and browse to where you sequence of numbered image or movie (avi) file is.
If pressing the Load Image button crashes Blender, use the little button next to it. It loads a file select window without preview
Animated textures work with both a numbered sequence of still images or a movie (AVI) file. Using an AVI file is easier.

  • If you used a movie, press the green Movie button at the top.
    Next, set both the Frame and Len button to the total number of frames in the animation. If you chose Movie, the total number of frames will already be written next to the Frames settings, so you just have to copy it over.
    To accurately type in a number, click while holding Shift on the button you want to set

Next, move your mouse over the 3D window and press Shift-F7
Click on the BackGround Pic button.
At the very bottom, there’s a “-” button next to some text that says: “select texture for animated background image”.
Click on the “-” button and select the texture we’ve just setup.

Go back to the 3D view with Shift-F5.

and you’re all set!


cool that works. maybe it’ll be some fiddling when it actually comes to syncing but…i played around with the textured plane as well - that gives nice playground! do you know that music video where all things that move (busses, taxis, people) are just 2D animated words? It would be easy to do that in blender with simple 2D loops as animated textures on meshes that move around. I love to find out the easy way!! thanks man. I hope I can show some work soon.



A bit of what you’re trying to do sounds an awful lot like standard compositing that you’d find in software packages like Commotion, Combustion, and After Effects. Unless you plan on integrating 3D graphics, Blender might not be the optimal tool for the task you wish to complete.

It’s about compositing live action with 3d, but it should work with your situation as well.

If you want to move the camera or something though it could be better to just have a plane with a texture in the middle of the scene like you said.

Hey Krizu, I’m doing much the same thing and wondered if you could share how your getting alpha mapping to display properly when using an animated texture?

Hey Theeth,

D’you suppose it would be a good idea to track the plane to the camera so the 2D animation is always front on to the point of view!

(On second thoughts, you could make some groovy effects by being able to turn the plane side on! Hmmm - I’ll file that idea for later!)


sorry for the long time with no response, but learning blender is a fulltime job for me :slight_smile:

I am not sure how your question is related to my initial post here or maybe I get your question wrong. As I know the approach shown by teeth, using the texture as background image/movie, shows the translucent part as black. If you can’t see anything use cameraview or orthographic view. (Numpad 5).

If you want to use an animated texture on a plane it won’t show up in the 3dview unless (I guess, never tried) you uvmap it. btw can you uvmap animations??!

My original post was more like compositing the 2d animation with 3d elements, to really match the movements of both. It’s not meant to really composite 2d and 3d in there, I do that externally in toonz or shake (for now) I just played around with this feature and I think it should work fine in most circumstances. have a look:
the blender screen
and the result tuned with gimp.


p.s. cool painter images there on your page. I’m a big ryan church fan too! :expressionless: