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When Chris O’Shea and the team at Cowly Owl had the idea for their recent game Monster Mingle, they realized that their vision requires really powerful animation tools. The team decided to use Anime Studio Pro on this project, because the new FBX export feature allowed them to bring the animations into Unity using rigged skinned meshes, rather than sprite based frames. Using animated files, Cowly Owl added expressive, fluid movement to the game. Chris shared with us his team’s Anime Studio and Unity workflow.

When Chris O’Shea and the team at Cowly Owl had the idea for their recent game Monster Mingle, they realized that their vision requires really powerful animation tools. The team decided to use Anime Studio Pro on this project, because the new FBX export feature allowed them to bring the animations into Unity using rigged skinned meshes, rather than sprite based frames. Using animated files, Cowly Owl added expressive, fluid movement to the game. Chris shared with us his team’s Anime Studio and Unity workflow.

Monster Mingle is Cowly Owl’s digital toy that lets children create their own monster, exploring a magical world full of creatures and surprises. It was created in part by Chris O’Shea with illustration & character design by Nick Stoney, animation by Wip Vernooij and sound by Resonate.

First step of Cowly Owl’s workflow was rigging and animating the characters in Anime Studio Pro. Then they  imported the FBX files into Unity. After that, they trimmed the animations in the import setting and added scripts to the animation timeline to control events and sounds. Where they could, they used Mesh Baker to convert the multiple meshes per model into one mesh and sprite sheet to cut down draw calls. Chris and Wip also used a double sided unlit shader on the models, so that they could be flipped in the game.

Screenshot of a monster in Anime Studio side by side with Unity:

anime pro 2

For the main character, the type of legs on the monster affects the movement animation of the body. By using Anime Studio, Wip was able to animate all of the leg walk cycles with all of the bodies attached. In the game, you can change legs and bodies, so the character build controller code switches meshes on and off depending on the part chosen. Custom attachment code added further parts and animation to the body bones, attaching eyes, mouths, wings and horns. He also used Mecanim to create a state machine for controlling all of the animations.

Both Chris and Wip said that Anime Studio Pro helped them to achieve the look and feel that they were going for with Monster Mingle and that it was an invaluable tool in their game development pipeline. Because of the flexible integration with Unity, they’d recommend it for any game developer’s toolkit.

Learn more about how Monster Mingle was made in this ‘making of’ video:

Want to try Monster Mingle? Get it here.

About Anime Studio Pro

Anime Studio Pro is a powerful animation tool. Aside from game development, it has been used in animated shorts, TV commercials and full length films. It was recently used in the Oscar nominated animated feature film, Song of the Sea, created by Cartoon Saloon™.

anime pro 5

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  1. Anime Studio Pro is great. I use it way back for art projects with ASP 7.

  2. I’ve been using Spine Animation with Gideros and now with Unity for my games (http://www.guava7.com).
    It’s a great tool game developers need to know! http://esotericsoftware.com/

    1. It is a great tool indeed! And having the Unity runtime source is cool too.

    2. Thank you for mentioning an alternative tool. I’m currently not up to date with 2d animation software.
      While I do appreciate even the shopping channel-like Unity Blog posts, it needs people like you in the community who help me make a more educated decision.

  3. I’d like to mirror the sentiment about these blog posts being too product placement-ish. At the very least, a fair comparison between similar tools should be provided.

    1. I’d like to add I was up and running after 2 work days of doing the tutorials ASP provides. And that I have a Wacom Bamboo with Wireless USB connection.

  4. Please refrain from future product placement posts. Of course you have technology partners, sponsors etc. but I want the blog to be informative not advertising.

    1. Well, thanks for posting your opinion. This is mine: I like any kind of post related to Unity.

  5. So why would use this tool over say something like Spine or Spriter?

    I’m sorry to say I’m finding these product placement puff pieces basically useless. Unity should make blog posts about best practises. Eg ways to animate sprites for use in the 2D tools that don’t require huge sprite sheets. So focusing on one tool and not covering the other options out there is doing a disservice to your customer base.

    1. I haven’t used Anime Studio Pro, but the biggest advantage I think it has over Spine is that you can edit the artwork in the same software. So you can edit the artwork whilst your animating. In Spine if you need to edit the artwork you need to go to Illustrator, edit, export to png and than re-import in Spine.

  6. It’s cool that AS can export to FBX and I’ll agree the animation tools are very nice, however the drawing tools are a little sub-par for the price they want.

  7. How could anyone invest money in this tool!
    The review *** for this tool on the asset store are terrible!

  8. My 2 favorite tools. I use Anime Studio since it was Moho. Well done.