Graphics Using Adobe After Effects for Game Maker Animations

Gamerev147

Member
I just recently got Adobe After Effects because of the power it has to animate literally anything.
I had planned on using it to animate my sprites for Game Maker, however I ran into a few issues:

  • My animations can be rendered as a PNG or JPEG sequence, but there are over 200+ images after rendering a 10 second animation.
  • Game Maker runs our of memory when using this many sub-images for a single sprite (not to mention having an entire game with animations this large)
How can I avoid these issues? Is there another render type in After Effects, is there something I can change in GMS to avoid the memory issues?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thanks.
 

rIKmAN

Member
I just recently got Adobe After Effects because of the power it has to animate literally anything.
I had planned on using it to animate my sprites for Game Maker, however I ran into a few issues:

  • My animations can be rendered as a PNG or JPEG sequence, but there are over 200+ images after rendering a 10 second animation.
  • Game Maker runs our of memory when using this many sub-images for a single sprite (not to mention having an entire game with animations this large)
How can I avoid these issues? Is there another render type in After Effects, is there something I can change in GMS to avoid the memory issues?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thanks.
Having 200 images by itself isn’t the issue, it more likely the size of those 200 images that is causing problems.

How big are the frames?
 
Last edited:

Mert

Member
Having 200 images by itself isn’t the issue, it more likely the size of those 200 images that is causing problems.

How big are the frames?
Regardless, it seems like 200 texture pages, and they need to be rendered -> swapped -> rendered 1/60th of a second.

You must look for tools like Spine or Dragonbones.
 
Regardless, it seems like 200 texture pages, and they need to be rendered -> swapped -> rendered 1/60th of a second.

You must look for tools like Spine or Dragonbones.
That doesn't contradict what riKmAN said, though. If the singular images are small enough, they are not going to occupy a whole texture page by themselves.
 

rIKmAN

Member
Regardless, it seems like 200 texture pages, and they need to be rendered -> swapped -> rendered 1/60th of a second.

You must look for tools like Spine or Dragonbones.
OP didn't say that they are loading them via sprite_add so if the images were small enough they could all fit onto 1 or 2 texture pages easily enough.
If the images are so big they automatically require a texture page each due to their size, then Spine isn't going to help as the same amount of texture pages will be required.

It's unlikely OP will be able to / want to manually cut those sprites into individual limbs and then rig and animate in Spine, that's a whole different process which would mean completely changing the pipeline used and pretty much means taking After Effects out of the equation other than to use as reference frames for the Spine rig.

Hopefully OP is using 5000x5000 sprites as that would be the easiest fix.
 

Gamerev147

Member
Thank you all so much for your responses!
You must look for tools like Spine or Dragonbones.
The type of animations I'm doing don't require Spine or any sort of rag doll animation.
I'm simple using After Effects to create some animated GUI elements.

it more likely the size of those 200 images that is causing problems.
So far no "real problems" have occurred. I just didn't know if having 200+ frames (let's say 640x480) is normal, or would cause any major problems.

As of now, it seems like if I keep the images smaller, then everything should be okay if I manage my texture pages / swaps well.
Thanks!
 

Khao

Member
Use smaller images, use a lower framerate, use shorter sequences. If you're using them for special effects (as in explosions etc) you might be surprised at how good they can look at even half the resolution and framerate.

If you're still getting issues, think of ways to combine animations to create some more complex stuff. If you have a 10-second animation.... Could you possibly achieve the same result with just a short loop? Or heck, do you even need to render the full sequence in after effects? You could just export separate elements and animate them in-engine. Like, if you have a complex animated particle effect that looks really cool in After Effects, you might actually do a decent job by just rendering a single frame, and using that as your particle within Game Maker. Or you could do some cool stuff by having two different animations for the same thing and blending them together by changing their alpha in a crossfade-type effect.
 

JackTurbo

Member
AE is a really powerful package with some great potential for workflows that incorporate many different techniques.

I've used it as my primary workflow in my first few game jams partly because if this but also due to my comfort with all things Adobe (I'm a graphic designer by trade).

However that being said it's output is very much primarily aimed at video and video compositing, which means it'll often produce files or image sequences that are a bit too bloated by game standards if you're not too careful.

You want your gameplay and logic to run at 60fps (at least) but UI interactions and animations really don't need needs to be running that fast to still feel good. Try doing that sort of stuff at 15fps and you'll notice that in game it still looks and feels 95% as good but with 25% of the resource overhead.

Also look through the image sequences/frames that it produces. Are there sections that can be looped? Frames that can be held to allow you to cut out other very similar frames etc. There is often a lot of optimisation to be had.
 
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