Blender Grease Pencil
I’ve been using Blender for years and one of the things I like the best about the program aside from the fact that it’s totally free and open source is that it’s such a swiss army knife. Some programs do a lot of things, but the way you can connect one workflow to enhance another workflow in Blender is very well done. Modeling, Sculpting, Animation, Compositing, VFX and even 2D drawing and animation using the grease pencil. I use it mainly for modeling, but I think grease pencil is incredible in terms of it’s potential. There are some things I’d still like to see in the future, like being able to export to gltf for the web and see some workflow improvements. But overall Blender is a powerhouse for 2.5D animations using a mix of 3D and 2D…both grease pencil and geo cards for cut out style animations like you might make in a program like Spine. I’ve been working on a project recently where I used Blender for puppet style cut out animations. And more recently, with one of my classes we did a bit of deeper dive into designing 2D characters in Blender like you might do in Photoshop.
This was the result and I was pretty happy with it in the end. I’ve been telling myself that I should make more 2D art in Blender just to really stress test and develop a steady workflow for the toolset. Also, just as an FYI, Affinity Designer svg exports are compatible with the Grease Pencil svg import in Blender. More so than the Illustrator tests that I did.
Here is the artwork that I made with my class. Some more things that I can see myself doing is making sure all the elements are popped out onto their own separate layers and creating an armature to easily control things like the mouth, the eyes, the hair tuft and the arms. Thinking about it, I’m sure it would be possible to setup drivers to scrub through different poses states of the grease pencil object by using the driver to turn on and off different layers of the grease pencil that show different poses.
We just need a solid export option…ideally for gltf/glb to get these experiences working well online in a way that preserves the ability to make use of the 3d cameras. Kind of like Sketchfab dose for 3D models.