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How to Animate a Character with Bones in Anime Studio

Updated on January 23, 2013

What is Anime Studio?

Anime studio is a graphic animation program for drawing and creating animated characters in 2D. The features included in anime studio allow you to create your characters and then use the bone feature to animate them. When you draw a character on Anime Studio, you use line vectors, which can be reshaped using points.

Once the character has been created on anime studio, it can be animated by providing the character with bones, like the bones a human being uses to move. Bones allow a character to move every part of his body, even the fingers. Throughout this hub, I m going to show you how to add bones to a character created in Anime Studio.

How to Add Bones to a Character in Anime Studio?

To add bones to a character in Anime Studio, you have to create a bone layer. Click on new layer, in the layers palette, and then click on bone. Double click on the new created bone layer to open the layer setting window and name it character.

Creating a Bone layer
Creating a Bone layer | Source

After you've created a bone layer, drag all the layers you've created of your character into the bone layer by selecting them, then, dragging them into the bone layer. You'll know that the layers have been brought into the bone layer when you click on the left arrow of the bone layer and the layers below are hidden.

Dragging the Layers into the Bone Layer
Dragging the Layers into the Bone Layer | Source

Now click on the add bone tool on the bone tool palette. On this character, I started adding bones at the pelvis. Then, I added the next bone to the upper body of my character. When you get to the arms of the character, first specify which bone you want them to link to, by selecting that bone first, for example, I first selected the bone on the upper body of my character and then I added bones to the upper and lower arms, thus, the bones are linked to the big bone in the upper body.

Adding Bones
Adding Bones | Source

How to Add Bone Constraints to a Character in Anime Studio?

Bone constraints let you define limits on the movement of your character’s bones. without this feature, a character moves awkwardly, for example, a leg can move freely in 360 degrees when using the manipulate bones tool. the constraint lets you limit the angle at which a bone can rotate.

Click on the select bone tool and then select the right upper leg bone. Click on bone constraints in the tool options area. On the pop up window, put a check mark on the angle constraints option. Now, set the minimum and maximum angles to minus 45 and 45. You will see two little lines on one end of the upper leg bone. They indicate the angles at which the bone in that body part can move.

Bone Constraints
Bone Constraints | Source

Do the same procedure with every body part of your character. You might want to set more angle movement to body parts, such as the legs and arms and less angle movement to the neck, head and feet.

When you have finished adding bones to your character, select the bones layer in the layers panel, then, click on the manipulate bones tool. Now, you can test how well the bones move on you character's body. If you notice that some body parts move awkwardly when manipulating the bones, you might have to make an adjustment.

Manipulate Bones
Manipulate Bones | Source

How to Bind Bones to Layers in Anime Studio?

Select the eyes layer on the layers palette, and then click on the bind layer tool. With the bind layer selected, click on the bone on the face where the eyes are located. This will bind the eyes to the bone on the face. Do the same with the mouth and hair. Do the same for the rest of the body parts, clicking each time on the layer that you want to bind a bone with.

After you’ve gone through all this steps, you should be able to move your character using bones.

Bind layer
Bind layer | Source


To animate a character using bones in Anime Studio, you have to create a bone layer, first. Next, you click and drag all the layers you’ve created of your character into the bone layer. After that, you select the bone layer and click on the add bone tool. From here all you have to do is add bones to the body parts of your character.


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