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Tutorial Number: 322
Made with: Anime Studio Pro 11.1
Level: Intermediate

Learn how to create an animated mandala in Anime Studio Pro 11.

Using the new reference layer feature, it is now possible to create repeating kaleidoscope patterns that can be animated.

1. Grid Settings

Anime Studio has a handy polar grid that we can use to create our mandala.
To turn the grid on:
  1. View > Enable Grid
  2. View > Grid Settings > Select Polar, with a spacing of 20
Polar Grid
FIGURE 1-1 Polar Grid

2. Create the first shape

Now we can create our master shape that will hold our design. This shape will be repeated around the mandala so we need to make it as accurate as possible.
  1. Click the Add Point Add Point tool
  2. Make sure all the options apart from Auto-stroke are ticked (point 2 in FIGURE 2-1)
  3. Left-click on the white in the colour palette to set the shape colour (point 3 in FIGURE 2-1)
  4. Click in the centre of the scene and drag the line up to outside the frame following the grid (point 5 in FIGURE 2-1)
  5. Click the last point you just created and drag the line down again following the grid (point 6 in FIGURE 2-1)
  6. Finally, click your last created point, and drag the line back to the first point to close the shape.
Draw the first shape
FIGURE 2-1 Draw the first shape

3. Import Image

Now that we have our shape, we can import an image to move around inside it. The image should contain detail and be as large as possible. (1920x1080 is a good size.)
  1. Click the new layer icon
  2. Select 'Image' and browse for an image to use.
Import an image to use
FIGURE 3-1 Import an image to use

  1. Once you have the image in Anime Studio, hold Shift and click on the first layer so both layers are selected.
  2. Click on the new layer icon
  3. Select "Group with Selection"
  4. Hit 'Enter' to keep the default name.
Group the two layers
FIGURE 3-2 Group the two layers

4. Masking

In Anime Studio, masking can be applied to a group. The bottom layer will be the mask. The layers above this layer will only be seen inside the shapes on this bottom layer.
  1. Double click on the new group layer to show the properties panel
  2. Click on the Masking tab and select 'Hide all' to activate the masking
  3. Click 'OK' to apply
Select 'Hide all' masking
FIGURE 4-1 Select 'Hide all' masking

The following is required to stop nasty lines on the outsides of our shapes appearing when we render our final mandala:
  1. Double-click on the bottom vector layer to show the layer settings, then select the masking tab
  2. Check the 'Expand mask by a pixel' option
  3. Click 'OK' to apply
Expand mask by 1 pixel
FIGURE 4-2 Expand mask by 1 pixel

5. Create Reference Layers

Now we can start duplicating our mandala parts.
  1. Select the top group layer in the layers menu, then click the 'Reference Layer' icon.
  2. Select the Transform Layer Transform Layer tool.
  3. Enter 30 into the angle box, then press your 'Enter' key to apply (point 3 in FIGURE 5-1).
Create a reference layer and rotate 30 degrees
FIGURE 5-1 Create a reference layer and rotate 30 degrees

Now we've create our first copy, we just to need repeat this process...
With the last group selected, click on the 'Reference Layer' icon again and enter 60 into the angle then press 'Enter', keep doing this for 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 300 and 330.

6. Create other half of the mandala

The other parts of the mandala are just mirrored versions, which we can create by flipping the layer.
  1. Select your first layer (Layer 3)
  2. Click the 'Reference layer' icon.
  3. Click the 'Flip Layer Horizontally' (point 3 in FIGURE 6-1).
  4. With this new layer still selected, click the 'Reference layer' icon again
  5. Set its angle to 30. (Remember to press the 'Enter' key or it won't apply the angle.)
  6. Continue creating new referenced layers for 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 300 and 330.
Create a mirror version of the first layer
FIGURE 6-1 Create a mirror version of the first layer

7. Animate

Moving the image in the first layer will now move all the images in all the other layers!
Experiment with moving the image to see what you create. Remember the image is only visible through your mask, so you need to make sure you don't move your image beyond the mask. If your image is too small, you can re-size on frame 0, but your image quality will be low.

Just to recap, the imported image is being masked by our first shape, so will only be visible through this shape - think of it as a window.
Recap: Mask and imported image
FIGURE 7-1 Recap: Mask and imported image

  1. Move to frame 1 on the timeline (press the right arrow key)
  2. Select the first image, in the first layer (point 2 in FIGURE 7-2).
  3. Select the Transform Layer Transform Layer tool
  4. Move the image to your first position, in this example, I moved the image to the right and up to to align the bottom right of the image with the bottom left of my mask.
  5. Move to another frame in the timeline (for example frame 72), and move your image layer to a new position.
  6. Play your animation (press the spacebar) and watch your mandala move!
Move the first image to animate
FIGURE 7-2 Move the first image to animate

8. Change the image

Now you know the basics, you should be able to create your own mandalas in Anime Studio. But if you want to, you can open our example file and just change the image.
Change the image
FIGURE 8-1 Change the image

  • Rendering will be slow when you use very large images, or when you make the animation long.
  • You can rotate, resize and move the image layer to create interesting effects.
  • Experiment with different images to see what happens.
  • Change the number of repeating parts for more variations.

9. Bonus

Instead of an image, you could use a vector layer
Shapes on a vector layer can be moved and even have their colours changed during the animation.
You will need to update all the referenced layers if you add or remove any points from the first vector layer though. To do this, select all the folders above the first main folder (left-click on the folders one at a time with the Shift key), then right-click on the folders and select 'Update Layer Reference...' and check the 'Replace mismatched vectors' option.
Select replace mismatched vectors
FIGURE 9-1 Select replace mismatched vectors

Please leave a link to your own mandala videos in the comments section below

You may use the supporting Anime Studio files for personal or commercial use as long as you include a link back to - thanks, and good luck making your mandala!

Supporting Content

Download Details
Zip File Size: 155KB
Last updated: 12 Dec 2015 05:40:55
Made with: Anime Studio Pro 11.1
File Name:

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