Animation Editor for DS

 AnimEDS is a software that let you define compound animations. Your characters are made of a fixed number of sprites (limbs) each, and for every animation frame, you can move, flip or swap graphics for those sprites.

Here is a pendat edited in AnimEDS. Your animation is made of frames laid on the timeline. For each frame, you define the position and look of each limb. Position is simply changed by pointing somewhere on the frame editor pane; look is defined by selecting one of the sprites available in the sprite page for that limb.

On the top-left of the edition screen, you have the 'limbs set'. You can think of it as a collection of layer in photoshop, except that they're smaller. The pendat here is made of 3 wooden part, 2 feet, 2 hand and 1 face. Both wood and face share the same sprite page. (hands and feet shared another one).

A Companion to SEDS

AnimEDS is part of the DS Game Tools project. It isn't quite a standalone program. Drawing pixels to fill the sprite page is the task of SEDS -- the Sprite Editor for DS. Importing new pixels over WiFi is part of runME tool, etc. One important consequence is that AnimEDS cannot open arbitrary files on your flash card, but only those 4 projects that SEDS manipulates. 

  • They are located at the root of your memory card
  • They are named SpriteA.spr, SpriteB.spr, SpriteX.spr and SpriteY.spr

There is a way to install SEDS and AnimEDS on your flash card so that they can switch to each other through "SEDS" and "MEDS" buttons in the file screen. If you use that, make sure you save your project to file every time you want to switch.

NOTE: switching between tool might not work in an emulator.

 Exploring Contents

Press START to enter the 'file' screen, then L trigger (or touch 'LOAD' on the screen) and finally select one of the four .spr files by pressing either A, B, X or  Y button. You should get something like the picture below.

Now, use the DPAD to navigate through the available animations and press A to load one of them as the edited animation.

If you want to start a new animation based on that one, select an empty slot on the animation page and press Y to copy the current animation at that place.

You can also explore the available sprite pages with the << and  >> buttons. Mind the word at the bottom of the sprites: if it says "sprites", you're good to use those in your animation. If it says "other!", you might not be able to use them in a game.

When you're ready to work on an animation, press START to be sent back to the edition screen.

If you want to save changes, come back to the file screen and press R (or touch 'SAVE' on screen), then R again to save back to the original file, or either A, B, X or Y to replace one of the working files.

NOTE: when you explicitly use START-R-A to save, MEDS (and SEDS) archives your former data in /data/seds/*. When you use START-R-R, it just gets a backup in SPRITE{ABXY}.bak. You may need to put your SD card in a PC to recover those backups. Don't expect emulators to be able to save.

Editing an Animation

Okay, you have picked an animation, you press START and you can start editing it. Here are the widgets that will help you on your task

  • The preview: touch it once, and it will play the animation. Touch it while holding L, and it will play the animation in loop (if it is a looped animation.
  • The timeline. it is selected by default. press UP and DOWN on the DPAD to navigate through frames, or LEFT and RIGHT to adjust the timing of the selected frame.
  • The frame editor: will let you move limbs around. At any time, there is a selected limb, identified by a little white. Touch anywhere within the frame edition area and that limb will center at your stylus. you can then use the D-PAD to fine-tune the location of that limb.

Sometimes, just moving things around is enough (like with badman's hands or head), sometimes, you want to swap the limb's picture for another one:

  1. ensure that limb is selected, either with the frame editor or using the limbs set (touch it to select it)
  2. the sprite page will automatically show your options for that limb
  3. touch the sprite you want on the sprite page, and it will be updated on the frame.

A few more "advanced" things about animation edition

  • pressing Y when the timeline is selected copies the current frame.
  • L+Y on the timeline copies the frame at the end of the animation.
  • L+touch on the timeline lets you move a frame freely.
  • L+touch on the frame editor let you activate the frame editor without moving limbs (the previously selected limb still apply. You can fine-move it with the DPAD if this is your intent)
  • click the > arrow at the end of the timeline to scale it and make room for twice as much frames. L+click it to auto-scale the timeline and fit the animation
  • You can also select the 'end of animation' marker using DOWN direction enough. You'll see the *CTL* button appear above the animation preview. click that button to switch between looping animation (:|| end-of-anim marker) and one-shot animation (|| end-of-anim marker).
 Remember when using the tool: pressing L+R shows embedded help & hints in the frame edition screen.

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