Really great stuff. Glad you showed your process. I am working on some framed sprite animations for a game and this is a good insight into another process. I am probably going overkill on the layers/frames. I have been tending to layer the arms/legs/head/torso in case I want to swap things out later, but I think I should try something more simplified like this.
Although I have been doing my frames in photoshop and later exporting the frames to either the Photoshop Timeline tool or After Effects timeline tool. For some reason the gif framed animation tool isn't that powerful and a little weird.
I was curious about what programs you are using to create and animate. Are you doing all of your work in flash?
Awesome, thanks for the tip. I am familiar with Rouge Legacy. I have even found that layers even help to make smaller adjustments without having to totally ease and pixel push entire parts of your image. Although I have also noticed this greatly increases the amount of memory Photoshop takes up when you have many modular parts (arms, legs, head, cape, etc.), so I think I may try something a bit more similar to what you are practicing.
As for photoshop I have been using that a lot as well for the pixel animation. I was wondering if you are using the more recent Timeline Tool, or the older framed gif animation tool?
I find it that the gif framed animation tool doesn't quite preview correctly and I usually have to save it out in order to get a better idea of how it is actually playing. Maybe a memory issue.
I know that Photoshop Professional has a few memory leak issues that are going ignored by the developers. I'm told that they're not present in Photoshop Elements, but I haven't bothered to go buy/try it to actually find out for myself. I remember using and liking GraphicsGale, but it's been so long since I've bothered with it.
Typically anything with layers you can use to effectively make a sprite sheet or animation.
I've used PaintToolSai to animate with before, but after all that I would export a sequence from the layers to import into photoshop for finishing anyways.
So if Photoshop is too RAM heavy for you, you could try finding other software to work in, or maybe find a way to cut down on how many layers you have to have running at the same time.
In any case be sure to restart Photoshop regularly if you're using the newer versions.
I have a feeling I may just be pushing too many layers in my files. Currently I'm running a core i7 iMac with 8gb of ram. Although I will try restarting photoshop regularly as I tend to leave it on all the time.
I often see tons of indie games or sprite attempts where the Idle stance has no movement at all, this pleases me.
Not sure if you have the same animation terms as I do with animation, so I'm dumbing this down just in case.
I highly recommend having some "double frames", where the duration of one of the pictures would be that of two pictures.
However even small frame duration increases work really well if you don't work directly on a timeline with a set Frames per Second.
While you might think it would add an awkward pause to the animation, this would be somewhat true if you used it on only one frame.
By using it on several frames you can change the pace at which the viewers eyes receive the change in image, making a slowing and quickening in the movement, you could really emphasize on the bouncing of the character in their idle stance- giving the character more weight and a lifelike characteristic.
And while the difference at a glance is subtle it changes the impression of how a lot of people receive it when they first look at it.
That's some really helpful advice, and I totally agree with what you're saying. I am kind of new to animation (I have, at least, not worked professionally with animation), so this concept was unfamiliar to me. The difference is noticeable, and the double frames really make the animation more dynamic. Thank you!