2D Animation: How to Create a Simple Animated Flag In Toon Boom Studio

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Sometimes, you may need to have flags added to your 2D animation scenes.

It could be for your pirate ship or an army in battle.

It could even be for your cool animated greeting cards to celebrate your country’s national day or your favorite sports team.


If you’re creating your animation using Toon Boom Studio, you’re in luck.

Here is a super easy way to create a animated flag in Toon Boom Studio.

As usual, I’ve put together a brief demo video to help walk you through the animation work flow.

As you can see from the video, it’s very quick and easy! Let’s have a closer look at the steps.

Detailed Steps to Create Your Animated Flag

So we basically create the animation with the usual basic steps of creating the art element, rigging, and posing/animating.

The FIRST step, which is creating the art for the flag, can be done either by importing a ready-made image or drawing the image of the flag in a drawing layer. This should not be too difficult for flags that don’t have intricate emblems or images. If the flag has lots of details, it’s easier to just import a picture than trying to create it in the software.

The SECOND step is to rig the flag using the bone rigging technique. Switch to Camera View and select the Bone Creator tool. Just like I show in the video above and the figure below, add a series of bones along the middle of your flag image.

Toon Boom Studio Flag Rig

The THIRD and final step of posing and animating your flag is a little more involved. Start by extending the exposure of the rig. In the demo video, I extended the exposure to 120 frames (see figure below). This will be my flag’s animation cycle. The longer the cycle, the more randomness you can add to the way the flag waves to make it that much more convincing.

Toon Boom Studio Flag Animation

You’re basically adding keyframe poses of up and down motions along the bone chain to create waves.

If you’re going after a more realistic waving flag animation, head on over to YouTube for reference videos. However, with this simple rig, you won’t be able to get it to wave very realistically.

Another helpful reference that you can look up would be videos about propagating waves.

Also note that the flag’s animation cycle may be different from (shorter or longer than) the duration of your full scene. So you will very likely want to cycle through (i.e. repeat) the flag’s animation cycle to fit your scene duration.

Next Step: Advanced Animated Flag Rigs

If you like experimenting with stuff, then you can try building more sophisticated rigs for your flag.

Animated Flag Created With Toon Boom Studio

The trick is to assign a series of bones to each major line in your flag’s art.

This means you’ve got a great deal of work in your hands if you’re dealing with complex images in your flag! One way to work about that is by adding bones around the complex art, but minimizing movements/animation of those bones.

To create the above animation, I rigged my flag with 6 chains of bones as shown in the figure below.

Advanced Animated Flag Rig in Toon Boom Studio

Remember to use the Bone Parent tool to link the chains together. Series #1 is the main controlling bone chain. Series #2 is parented to the final bone segment in Series #1. Series #6 is actually a continuation of Series #2. Series #3 is parented to the next-to-last bone in Series #1.

Notice how I made the bone segments longer at the beginning of the chain and shorter toward the end? That’s done on purpose. It let’s you add more waves/flapping action at the free edge of the flag just like the way real flags behave.

Animating the rig is very similar to animating the basic flag rig in the demo video. Just add propagating waves!

Try It Yourself!

I hope you’re able to create your own 2D animated flag with these tips.


Don’t forget to share this post with someone you know who may find it useful for their 2D animation hobby.



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