Hi Spine experts :)

My team is currently using spine for several things in our game to great effect - it's a wonderful time saver and I'm excited about leveraging skins for easy asset swapping on our characters - but I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea of animating a character in the top-down perspective. I understand how beneficial Spine would be for a side-scrolling camera angle because less things tend to overlap, but in this camera angle, I'm finding that I need to create nearly every surface of our character because at some point, it's going to be visible in the animation:


Things like the cloak flapping are especially time-intensive. I'm wondering if it's simply easier/faster to model and animate the character in 3D and do paint-overs for 8-directional animation. I'm hoping someone tells me I'm thinking about this the wrong way because I'd prefer using one set of tools for all animation work, but that may just be unrealistic.

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Hi Zooch!

It looks like yours is not a pure top-down view, where you'd need to only draw all these parts once as seen from the top, but more of a multidirectional character with the addition of having a not very forgiving point of view.

Your art style is amazing by the way. Now let's tackle this beast.

A series of streams about making characters turn in every direction with an example project is available here:
Spine: Twitch: video SS5JGbD5BJY

In addition to this here are some tips:

- meshes are your ally. often having a point bone on each border or angle (but a reasonable amount like one per corner or per side) will mean you'll be able to manage and distort an asset for animation and hopefully for more than one direction

- modularity is key to make overlapping more natural. separate the hand from the upper and lower arm, as well as the hair from the head. If they're supposed to overlap in perspective, you want each on its own nice bone. It may seem like a lot without even starting to animate, but you'll be happy to have freedom and flexibility once everything is set.

- For the cloak you may paint a straight version with 3-4 different shading effects to simulate horizontal wind strokes. You prepare the mesh for one of them then duplicate its slot and replace the image path so that another image will be showing, you can then fade in and out this new image(s) when needed while controlling the cloak deforming with bones. This uses a reasonable amount of bones and images without sacrificing some cool effects. You may add some special cloak images if you feel these will be seen very often but try to start by limiting yourself.

If you have any specific problem or doubt I'm happy to reason on it with you (:
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Hi Erikari,

These tutorials are amazing! Thank you for all the work you've put into them, I'm now going through each of them now. You've given me hope (and an action plan)!

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