It's been a while and as usual a mix of real life turmoil and health issues stopped me from doing what I enjoy... but I have not been 100% lazy, laid back and enjoyed a nice long vacation.
I started to work my way into Spine and Spriter to finally get to those animation tutorials. There is one waiting for the robot game, another one from the request list and the special fx swoosh and swirl parts would like nice animated.
So... I went and took the Green Dwarf (from the free art bits) and modified him a little bit to work. Just a minor variation on the faces and mouth parts.
I started with Spine, the setup takes a little bit of time to get into and a few good videos will help understand the process (and yes, I will record a video or two on setup and animation). I am very impressed with the flexibility of the program. It allows alterations of the skeleton at all times, the x-sorting can be adjusted per animation, turning elements on and off is very intuitive and the exported data worked fine with the coder friends who tested it on different platforms.
I started with a basic idle animation (to see how things interact), continued with a walk (which is a little more complex when you have fixed legs and not separated upper, lower legs and feet) and then played with the tools that are part the dwarf art. The walk would look different with or without them. Luckily it's a breeze creating a copy of an animation in Spine and modifying it to create variations.
I will record a video soon (once I am a bit more confident) and will also turn the assets for the dwarf and the skeleton back to free.
I strongly recommend checking Spine out when you are looking for a 2D bone based animation tool: