Character Animation Overview
The characters can perform basic actions to make the story more visually interesting. You can see an example of this in the Example Script: Basic Direction.
The simplest form is to have the character perform a short action while he/she delivers his/her line of dialogue. You can add these automatically using the Add Animations button on the right-hand side of your script.
Example: Here, Angie performs the “greeting” behavior WHILE the speech bubble appears.
| ANGIE (talk_greet)
Hello there, how are you?
Characters can also perform or do an animation without speaking.
Example: Here, Angie performs the “dance” behavior BEFORE the speech bubble appears. She’ll then stop dancing to deliver her line.
@Angie is dance1
I love dancing!
The @CHARACTER in [animation] waits for the action to be completed before the character does anything else. To start an action without waiting for it to complete – for example, if one character were to dance while a different character speaks – you’ll need a “starts” command in place of the “is.”
Example: Angie dances while you make a comment about it.
@Angie starts dance1
| YOU (talk_giggle)
You’re a terrible dancer.
You can preview all the animations available in the portal.
To preview the animations in the portal:
- Navigate to the right-hand sidebar in your script. Under “Library,” click “Behaviors by Character.”
- Choose the character you’d like to preview the behavior for.
- Click the behavior you’d like to see previewed. The preview of the animation will slide out over your script. After you’ve seen the preview, close it to continue typing.
All available animations are listed in the right-hand sidebar of your script page on the portal. Use this list to get familiar with the behavior options available for your characters.
If you do not animate your characters on every line of dialogue they have, your story will appear static and unprofessional. Make sure every single line has an animation. You can do this quickly and easily with the Add Animations button:
With the new art style, animations have different names than for the older art styles. Whether you were familiar with directing on Episode before now or are just getting started, it’ll likely be a bit of learning curve before you’re able to recall the names of the animations quickly. There are also a few new features to help make animating characters a more efficient process.
Keeping Characters Active
Some of the animations currently end with a character bent over, leaning forward, talking for too long, or otherwise frozen in an awkward position.
Just a few of the animations that do this are...
You’ll get a sense of which do this as you start to get more practice with directing. With these animations and the others that you notice freezing the character in an awkward position, it’s good to get into the habit of putting, after their line of dialogue and before the next character’s line of dialogue: @CHARACTER starts idle (or idle_happy, idle_arms_crossed, idle_sad, etc.).
Let’s look at a few examples...
In the app, open the story “Advanced Directing Examples” and click button “Keeping Characters Active”
To follow along in the script, open:
Then jump to “label sixtwo” using CTRL + F or CMD + F after tapping into the script editor. You can view the examples by tapping at the line you want to view, and pressing “Preview” button in the upper right hand corner to view the differences.
Example A: Placing the characters in idle after finicky animations keeps the characters active and the conversation looking natural.
Example B: Without placing the characters in idle after finicky animations, the characters will look awkward or “broken.”