“It's not like the computer magically does it for you. Animation just takes forever."Stephen Hillenburg, Creator of SpongeBob Square Pants
Creativity is paramount in continuously creating distinct characters and worlds, to which animators exercise good practice by knowing how to prepare and organize animation assets for working on the animation project.
Animation assets are visual and audial elements or accessories used during animated films. Although animation assets can be textures in the background, they do not only elevate the design layout but can interact with each other.
2D animation assets in animation are items that fill the environment around the main action, e.g., the furniture, trees, clouds, and stones. Animators can easily let organization slide with the number of animation assets required, making an asset list a requisite.
So, where can you get the best animation assets as an animator? Whether you are looking for 2d animation assets or free animation assets, this blog covers all the information you need to build your animation asset library.
Best Online Places To Get Quality Animation Assets
Image by Natassja Velociraptor via Dribbble
Animation assets encompass all the individual elements in animation or games, including special effects, music, voiceovers, and 2D and 3D models.
Developing 2D animation seems easier than 3D, but that's debatable since creating or drawing the assets and smoothening the overall animation is severely time-consuming and challenging. For this reason, there are tons of free and paid animation assets animators can use available on the internet.
Animators asking, "where can you get the best animation assets," continue reading. Below are some online places for the best animation assets in 2D and 3D.
Animators can discover scores of 2D animation assets on Craftpix to create animation for as little as $10 once-off or sign up for a monthly subscription for $15.
Image by Craftpix.net
Craftpix also has innumerable free 2D character sprites, GUI elements, tilesets, and backgrounds, amongst other animation assets. 2D game kits are most useful for animators in game designing. For example, a game kit for a medieval game can include:
- Boss characters, main characters, and unique opponents
- Thematic tilesets, e.g., a forest, mountain, dungeon, castle
- Sets of magic effects, animations, and traps with animation
Whether an animator is searching for free or low-cost animation assets, Itch.io is a favored asset provider with over 30,000 game assets.
Image by Itch.io
Other than the free assets, $5—$15 affords animators and game developers countless textures, backgrounds, entire game maps, fonts, anime-styled characters, graphic design styles, and plenty of pixel art.
Animators and independent developers appreciate Gamedev Market for the high-quality animation assets and artwork the online marketplace offers through free and paid options.
Image by GameDev Market
Gamedev Market focuses on independent developers and provides plenty of assets to make game development quicker and cheaper by employing animation asset packs with 2D, 3D, sound effects, and graphics.
The editing, real-time 3D character animation software includes a vast collection of AAA motion capture animations animators use to create, clean, and record motion capture data. Animation assets are spread over diverse elements and movements in Rokoko Studio to match the animation characters.
Image by Rokoko Studio
Upon signing up on Rokoko Studio, animators can get 100 free motion capture animation assets, after which they have to pay between $3 and $6 for each.
Animators can access over 40,000+ game assets with a commercial-use license, free from Kenney Assets, including 3D and 2D animation assets, UI, and audio.
Image by Kenney
Excluding the $20 to purchase all the assets as one bundle, the animation assets are high quality despite being free. Kenney's animation assets look similar despite being so diverse in genre.
From animation assets to tutorials, ArtStation has everything animators need. With a marketplace showcasing nearly 60,000 assets and over 10,000 artists, ArtStation presents high-quality free animation assets and models in distinct styles.
Image by ArtStation
Although single assets may cost a few dollars, some tailor-paid animation assets vary between $250 and $500 for expert-crafted rigged characters. ArtStation offers other resources like brushes and a jobs board.
Every animation asset an animator needs to design video games is on Unreal Engine, presenting assets like mega scans, code plugins, environments, and architectural visualizations.
Image by Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine has industry-specific assets for:
- Automotive and Transportation
- Film and Live Events
- Training and Simulation
Arguably one of the largest animation asset marketplaces with a considerable collection of 3D assets, Turbosquid is the industry standard and has amassed more than one million assets in total.
Image by Turbosquid
Turbosquid caters to 3DS Max, Unity, Maya, Cinema 4D, and Unreal Engine software and, category-wise, is most well known for:
As one of the most known game engines, Unity is full of high-quality animation assets from every genre; however, 3D is the marketplace's best feature with over 41k assets, although some 2D assets are worth a look.
Image by Unity Asset Store
Some animations are pre-set keyframe animations, others contain motion capture data, and animators can also find plenty of low poly meshes and a few pre-made animations.
Pricing options in Unity range from $10 to $300; the asset art styles are usually more eclectic and of a higher quality than in other marketplaces.
Where Can You Get The Best Animation Assets For Web
Image by Download Cloud
Below are some animation libraries animators can use to effectively and efficiently utilize these code-based library files.
1. LottieFiles provides animators with online tools and assets to create and embed interactive web animations. LottieFiles simplifies motion design by enabling animators to create, edit, and ship Lottie animations on any platform as effortlessly as fixed assets.
Illustration by LottieFiles
Lottie animations are compatible with Android OS, iOS, Windows, and software programming languages like Vue.js, React Native, Flutter, and Angular.
2. Animate.css is one of the most widely used animation libraries and includes ready-to-use CSS animations for emphasis, sliders, guidance, and home pages.
For animators using Animate.css in their animation projects, adding animations is as simple as linking the CSS and adding the CSS classes to HTML elements. Integrating JQuery to trigger animations upon a particular event is fantastic for incorporating animations to enhance the user experience.
3. Popmotion is a composable animation library enabling animators to create stimulating keyframe, spring, and inertia animations on colors, numbers, and complex stringers and is the power behind the animation in Framer Motion.
Image by LevelUpTuts via Youtube
4. Mo.js adds zest to websites by utilizing motion effects. Compared with other animation libraries, the JS animation library stands out for its speed, simplicity, and modularity.
Mo.js adopts a different approach to its animation structure and code to create smooth animations, maintain control over your animation, and customize animations based on your project needs.
5. AnimeJS is a lightweight animation library, excellent for smoothly animating HTML elements, CSS properties, JS objects, and DOM attributes.
Image by Michael Jiang via Medium.com
Animators can effortlessly create ripples, overlapping, directional movements, follow-through, and other animation effects utilizing AnimeJS.
The modular structure in GSAP enables animators to select specific functions to craft high-performing animations using jQuery, Canvas, and SVG while working well with other software applications like Adobe Animate.
Animation Software To Have The Best Animation Assets
To plan and budget correctly, animators should use storyboards to estimate the list of animation assets required for the animation project. Storyboards help animators recognize how much art the animation movements and scenes have.
For example, a smiling face with five different drawings can require five separate animation assets and would need in-between assets for rotating the head smoothly from side to side.
Image by Kira Kvartsov via Pinterest
A comprehensive asset list is foundational to planning for the animation production, whether an animator chooses 2D or 3D animation or claymation.
In gaming animation, Asset Forge enables animators to create 3D models and 2D sprites using building blocks from a library of over 900 pre-made blocks.
Animators can export and use their models in game engines, including Unity, Blender, Unreal Engine, and ThreeJS, and use the 2D sprites in game engines compatible with sprites.
Creature Mixer is another software tool used in gaming animation to create functional animation assets. Animators can use the software for educational and commercial animation projects, excluding projects relating to or containing NFT and crypto animation.
Is It Better To Create Or Buy Animation Assets
Image by Pete Ferguson via AKF Partners
Animation assets have never been in more demand than they are at this time in gaming animation. However, continuing the trajectory beckons the question of whether "should animators and developers create their animation assets or buy them?"
Animators constantly need to review how they can streamline their work for developing and fine-tuning to publishing their animation productions.
Firstly, it depends on the desired outcome. Buying animation assets is a likelier option for an animator interested in only developing a gaming animation. However, animators vested in learning the trade tricks may be better off creating the animation assets instead.
The game development stage influences whether creating or buying is a better choice. For instance, it may be more beneficial for an animator to design the storyboard, script, and code and purchase assets like environments, animations, and models later.
The input dilemma between time and cost significantly influences an animator's decision to either build or buy. For example, an animator should consider the cost of purchasing an animation asset relative to the time they would spend to create one.
Both approaches cost time and money, and the animator needs to weigh the project priorities. Below are the pros and cons of either.
Buying Animation Assets:
- Online marketplaces offer countless options, including free and paid, basic and expert, and 3D and 2D animation assets.
- Animators can access thousands of animation assets regardless of experience.
- Some animation assets suitable to your vision may be expensive to purchase.
- Animation assets found in online stores are available to everyone, increasing the chance for duplication.
Creating Animation Assets:
- Animators can exercise their originality and creativity with no constraints.
- The animator owns the asset design and prototypes.
- Creating animation assets may be time-consuming, compounding other inefficiencies of the production process.
- An animator may not reach full potential with insufficient resources and input from "peers" or critics.
What Do You Need To Know About Animation Assets
Animation assets are like an animation's inventory list, as much as animation software is part of an animator's stationery list. An animator wondering, "where can you get the best animation assets" can create a list of the animation assets necessary for the animation project or scene using the animation storyboards.
Animators can buy 2D animation assets to speed up development or create their own for unique outcomes, either way, using 2D animation software is advantageous since modern computers can render efficiently.
By focusing on all animation asset considerations, an animator can quickly plan around and figure out the significant elements of the animation like the characters, story, and props. However, being an animator does not need to be strenuous.
Visit our blog on How to Start an Animation Studio, and check out the Business of Animation free masterclass to grow your animation skills. Join the animation accelerator program to know how to start and grow a successful freelance animation career or studio.