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Animating on your iPad: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Getting started with animation on iPad

Apple iPad animation

Animation is a fun and engaging way to express creativity. If you own an iPad, you have access to a powerful tool that can help you unleash your inner animator. There are several apps available that can help you create animated videos, cartoons, and even stop-motion animations. In this article, we will give you an overview of the basics of animation on iPad and the best apps you can use to achieve amazing results.

Before we dive into the apps, it’s important to understand the principles of animation. Animation involves creating the illusion of motion through a series of still images that are displayed in quick succession. There are 12 principles of animation that you should familiarize yourself with to create smooth and realistic animations. These principles include timing, staging, squash and stretch, and anticipation. Take some time to learn about them before you start animating on your iPad.

Once you understand the principles of animation, the next step is to download an animation app. There are several options available, but here are some of the best ones:

Procreate Animation Assist

Procreate Animation Assist

Procreate Animation Assist is a new feature introduced in Procreate 5. It allows you to create frame-based animations using the same tools and interface as the popular Procreate illustration app. You can create up to 60 frames per second, and you have access to Procreate’s extensive brush library, which gives you complete control over your animation. Procreate Animation Assist also includes features such as onion skinning, which allows you to see how your current frame relates to the previous and next frames, and instant playback, which lets you view your animation as you create it.

Animation Desk

Animation Desk app iPad

Animation Desk is a popular app for creating traditional-style animations. It features an easy-to-use interface, and it offers plenty of powerful tools to help you create professional-grade animations. You can create frame-based animations or use the app’s stop-motion feature to create animations from photos or videos. Animation Desk also offers features such as customizable brush sizes, onion skinning, and the ability to export your animations in multiple formats.

Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio iPad

Stop Motion Studio is an excellent app for creating stop-motion animations. The app offers a simple interface, and it includes tools such as onion skinning, which makes it easier to see the previous frame as you create each new frame. Stop Motion Studio also includes features such as audio recording, which allows you to add sound effects or voiceovers to your animation, and the ability to export your animations in multiple formats.


Looom iPad

Looom is a unique animation app that offers a fun and intuitive interface. It features a loop-based workflow that allows you to create short animations quickly. You can use the app’s drawing tools to create new frames, or you can use the app’s built-in loops to create sequences. Looom also includes features such as onion skinning, layer export, and the ability to share your creations on social media.

These are just a few of the many animation apps available for iPad. As you explore these apps, don’t be afraid to experiment and play around with different tools and techniques. With a little practice and patience, you can create stunning animations that will captivate and inspire your audience.

Choosing the right app for your animation needs

Good animation apps for ipad

When it comes to animation, finding the right app can make all the difference. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose just one. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional animator, here are some things to keep in mind when selecting an app for your iPad.

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1. Skill level

When selecting an animation app, it’s important to consider your skill level. Some apps are geared towards beginners and offer simpler interfaces, while others are more advanced and can be daunting for those just starting out. If you’re new to animation, consider trying out a few different apps to see which one feels the most comfortable.

2. Features

ipad animation app features

The features offered by an animation app will vary widely from app to app, so it’s important to consider your specific needs. Some apps offer advanced features like rigging and camera controls, while others are more basic and focus solely on frame-by-frame animation. Think about the type of animation you want to create and ensure that the app you choose has the necessary features to achieve your vision.

It’s also worth noting that some apps offer additional tools and features as in-app purchases. While these can be convenient, they can also add up quickly, so be mindful of the costs before committing.

3. Price

ipad animation app price

Animation apps can range from free to quite expensive. If you’re just starting out, it may be wise to begin with a free or inexpensive app. As you become more experienced and develop your skills, you can invest in a more advanced app that offers additional features. It’s also worth considering any additional costs, such as in-app purchases or subscriptions, before committing to a particular app.

4. Community

ipad animation app community

Finally, it can be helpful to consider the app’s community. Some apps have large and active communities that offer support and inspiration, while others may have a smaller following. Consider looking up reviews and other online resources to get a sense of the app’s community and whether it’s a good fit for you.

Ultimately, the key to choosing the right animation app for your iPad is to consider your specific needs and goals. By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to select an app that will help you unleash your creativity and bring your animations to life.

Mastering basic animation techniques on iPad

Drawing on iPad

Many artists and animators have turned to using an iPad for creating their animated masterpieces. The iPad offers a portable and affordable option for animators to create beautiful 2D and 3D animations. In this article, we will explore some of the basic animation techniques on iPad that every animator should know to get started with animation on this device.

1. Choosing the right animation app

Best animation apps on iPad

The first step in mastering basic animation techniques on iPad is choosing the right animation app. There are several good animation apps available on the App Store, each with different capabilities and tools. Some of the popular ones include Procreate, Animation Desk, and Rough Animator. Choose an app that suits your skill level and animation needs.

2. Familiarizing with the app tools

Familiarizing with the app tools

Once you have picked the app of your choice, familiarize yourself with its tools. Take time to learn the basic features such as the brushes, color palette, frames, and layers. Most animation apps on iPad have simple and intuitive interfaces that are easy to navigate. Spend some time experimenting with the tools to get a better understanding of how they work.

3. Creating Keyframes and in-between frames

Creating keyframes and in-between frames

The key to creating smooth and realistic animations is learning how to create keyframes and in-between frames. Keyframes are the most important frames in your animation, as they define the position, size, rotation, and other attributes of your objects. The in-between frames are then created to define the movement of the objects between the keyframes.

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To create keyframes and in-between frames, start by sketching the basic movements in your animation. Draw the beginning and ending poses as keyframes, and then sketch out the in-between poses to fill the gaps. Use fewer keyframes for slower movements and more keyframes for faster movements. This will give your animation a smooth and natural flow. Experiment with different timings and poses to achieve the desired effect.

4. Using Layers to create depth

Using layers to create depth

Layers are a useful feature in most animation apps, as they allow you to separate different elements in your animation and add depth to your artwork. You can use layers to add shadows, highlights, or background elements to your animations. To use layers, create a new layer and draw your element on it. Then, move the layer to the desired position in the layer stack. Experiment with different layer combinations to achieve the desired effect.

5. Using Sound to enhance your animation

Using sound to enhance your animation

Adding sound to your animation can enhance the viewer’s experience and make your animation more engaging and entertaining. Most animation apps on iPad have a sound feature, allowing you to add audio tracks or sound effects to your animation. To add sound, import your audio file into the app and then synchronize it with your animation. Experiment with different sound effects and colors to create a unique and engaging animation.


Animating on an iPad is a fun and rewarding experience. With the right animation app and basic skills, you can create beautiful and professional-looking animations. Remember to take your time to learn the app tools, create keyframes and in-between frames, use layers to create depth, and add sound to enhance your animation’s impact. With these basic skills mastered, you’ll be on your way to creating your own animated masterpiece on your iPad in no time.

Add depth and dimension to your animations with layering

Layering Animations

Adding depth and dimension to your animations can enhance their visual appeal, making them more engaging to your audience. Layering is a popular technique that you can use to accomplish this. It involves stacking multiple elements on top of each other to create a 3D effect, even if your animation is only 2D.

Layering works by placing individual components of the animation on separate layers, like stacking transparent sheets on top of each other. Each layer can contain a different part of the animation, such as background, characters, and objects. By controlling the order of the layers, you can make objects appear closer or further away from the viewer, just like in real life.

The layering feature is available in most animation apps for iPad, including Procreate, Animation Desk, and FlipaClip. Here’s how you can use layering to add depth and dimension to your animations.

1. Create a Background Layer

Creating a Background Layer in Animation

The first step is to create a layer for your background. Determine the scene’s setting and the objects in it, and then choose a color or a background image that best represents it. For example, if your animation takes place in outer space, you might consider a dark blue or black background with stars or galaxies for texture. Use your app’s layer tools to add this layer, placing it at the bottom of the list.

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2. Create Character Layers

Creating Character Layers in Animation

The next step is to create a layer for each character in your animation. This lets you animate each character separately, making it easier to manage the movements of your characters as your animation progresses. With each new character layer, stack it on top of the previous layers.

3. Add Object Layers

Adding Object Layers in Animation

If your animation includes objects or props, you might want to create a separate layer for each object. This lets you control the visibility, size, and placement of each one independently, making it easier to animate and create the desired 3D effect.

4. Use Layer Effects

Using Layer Effects in Animation

One of the benefits of layering your animation is that it allows you to apply special effects to individual layers. For instance, you can adjust the opacity of a layer to create transparency or use the blur tool to create a soft focus effect. Adjusting the layer effects can bring your animation to life in new ways and add more depth and dimension to each layer.

By using these layering techniques, you can add depth and dimension to your animation, making it more visually appealing to your audience. Plus, with an iPad, you have access to a wide variety of animation apps that make it easy to create great-looking animations with layering features.

Choosing the Right Animation App

Choosing the Right Animation App

If you’re new to animation on iPad, you’ll quickly discover that there are a lot of animation apps to choose from! But not all of them are created equal. Some apps offer more advanced features, while others are more beginner-friendly. It’s important to choose an app that meets your needs, both in terms of your skill level and the kind of animation you want to create.

If you’re just starting out, you might want to begin with a more basic app, such as Animation Desk or FlipaClip. Both of these apps are easy to use and offer a range of features, making them perfect for beginners. If you’re already a more experienced animator, you might want to consider a more advanced app, such as Procreate or RoughAnimator. These apps offer a range of advanced features, including support for multiple layers, more advanced brush settings, and more.

Ultimately, the app you choose will depend on your specific needs and preferences, so take some time to explore different options and find the one that works best for you.

Another thing to consider when choosing an animation app is whether it’s compatible with the tools you already have. For example, if you have an Apple Pencil, you might want to choose an app that supports Apple Pencil input. Similarly, if you prefer to use a specific stylus or keyboard, make sure the app you choose is compatible with those tools. Compatibility is key to ensuring your workflow is as smooth and seamless as possible.

So take some time to explore your options and choose an app that not only meets your needs but also complements the tools you already have.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different apps! Most apps offer a trial period or a free version, so take advantage of that and try out different options until you find the one that works best for you. Ultimately, the app you choose will be an essential part of your animation process, so make sure you choose wisely!