10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in 2D Animation Studio Workflows

2D Animation, like any craft, requires skill and artistry. But how can you make sure you’re on the right track? In this guide, we’ll discuss the common mistakes often encountered in corporate video production and offer practical solutions to enhance your animation studio workflow. 

1. Lack of Planning and Storyboarding

When you’re creating 2D animations, it might be tempting to jump right into drawing and making things move. But here’s the thing: without a good plan, you’re like a ship without a map. Planning and storyboarding are your maps in the world of animation, and skipping them is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

So, what to do?

Before you start drawing and animating, take some time to plan things out. Think of it like writing a script for a movie. What’s the story you want to tell? Who are the characters? What happens in each scene? Planning these things in advance helps you avoid confusion later on. Additionally, create storyboards. This will help you visualize the flow and timing of your animation. 

If you skip planning and storyboarding, you might end up lost in your own animation. You could spend a lot of time redoing things or trying to figure out what should happen next. It’s like trying to build a house without a blueprint — it’s bound to be a mess.

So, remember, take the time to plan and storyboard your 2D animations. It’s the first step in creating a smooth and successful project.

2. Inadequate Asset Organization

Assets are the building blocks of your animation. They can be characters, backgrounds, props, and more. When these assets are organized neatly, you can easily find what you need when you need it. It’s like having your ingredients neatly labeled and stored in the kitchen — it makes cooking (or animating) much smoother.

However, when assets are disorganized, it can slow down your work. You might waste time hunting for files or accidentally use the wrong ones. Plus, if you’re working with a team, a lack of organization can cause confusion and errors in your animation. It’s like trying to cook a meal with ingredients scattered all over the kitchen — a disaster.

To avoid this mistake, Here are some tips for creating a structured asset library for your animation studio workflow:

  • Use consistent and clear names for your files (e.g., “Character_A_idle”).
  • Sort assets into folders based on categories like characters, backgrounds, or props.
  • Regularly backup your assets to prevent data loss.
  • Consider using version control software for collaborative projects.
  • Maintain notes on asset usage and special details.
  • Periodically tidy up your library to remove unnecessary files.

So, remember to organize your animation assets properly. It will save you time, reduce stress, and make the overall animation studio workflow much smoother.

3. Ignoring Keyframes and Timing

Animation is all about movement and timing. Skipping over the keyframes and getting the timing wrong can lead to animations that look unnatural or confusing.

Common Mistakes in Setting Keyframes and Timing 

  • Sparse Keyframes: Using too few keyframes can make animations appear choppy and lacking detail.
  • Excessive Keyframes: Overloading with keyframes can clutter your animation and make it hard to work with.
  • Inconsistent Timing: Failing to maintain consistent timing can result in uneven and confusing motion.
  • Ignoring Easing: Neglecting to use easing functions can lead to abrupt starts and stops in movement.
  • Unnatural Timing: Not considering the laws of physics or how objects naturally move can make animations look unrealistic.

To avoid these mistakes, make sure you understand keyframes and timing. They are the heartbeats of your animation, making it come to life with smooth and convincing motion.

4. Overlooking the Principles of Animation

In animation, there are some tried-and-true principles that make characters and objects come to life. These principles are like the rules of the game. They guide you in creating animations that feel natural and engaging. Ignoring these principles can make your animation appear stiff and unconvincing.

Animation Principles Examples:

  • Squash and Stretch: This principle adds flexibility to objects, making them appear more lifelike. Think of a bouncing ball that squashes when it hits the ground and stretches when it bounces back up.
  • Anticipation: Just like in real life, objects don’t suddenly start moving. Anticipation is the small movement or preparation that happens before a bigger action, like a character bending their knees before jumping.
  • Follow Through: After a character makes a big movement, follow through is what happens next. It’s like a character’s hair or clothing continuing to move even after they’ve stopped.
  • Overlap: This principle involves different parts of an object moving at slightly different times. For instance, when a character runs, their limbs and clothing will move with a bit of overlap, creating a more natural and dynamic look.

If you overlook these principles, your animations may lack fluidity and realism. Characters could move robotically, and actions might appear unnatural. It’s like trying to dance without knowing the rhythm and steps — the result can be awkward and unappealing.

5. Inefficient Rigging and Puppet Setup

Imagine trying to play with a puppet that has strings tangled everywhere — it would be frustrating and challenging to control. In animation, inefficient rigging and puppet setup can lead to similar frustrations and limitations in bringing characters to life.

Rigging is like giving life to your characters. It involves creating a system of bones or controls that allow you to move and manipulate the character easily. A well-rigged character can perform a wide range of actions smoothly.

Common Rigging Mistakes and Consequences

  • Limited Range of Motion: If the rig is poorly designed, your character might be unable to perform certain movements, which can limit your storytelling capabilities.
  • Rigging Errors: Mistakes in rigging can lead to strange deformations or unexpected behavior when animating, resulting in characters that don’t look or move as intended.
  • Complexity: Overly complex rigs can be challenging to work with and slow down your animation process. It’s like trying to control a marionette with too many strings.

To avoid these issues, focus on creating efficient and effective rigs:

Tips for efficient rigging and puppet setup

  • Keep rigs simple and straightforward, only including necessary controls.
  • Test your rig thoroughly to ensure it functions as intended.
  • Seek feedback from other animators or peers to identify and fix any issues.
  • Invest time in learning rigging techniques or tools that can streamline the process.

Efficient rigging and puppet setup are essential for smooth and expressive character animation. By avoiding common rigging mistakes, you can make your characters more dynamic and engaging in your 2D animations.

6. Not Iterating and Refining

One common mistake is skipping the iteration and refinement process, which can result in animations that fall short of their potential. Sticking with your initial draft means missing out on opportunities to enhance its quality. Always view your animation as a work in progress

Techniques for Refining Animation Over Time

  • Share your work with peers or mentors and ask for their input. Fresh perspectives can reveal areas for improvement.
  • Make small, focused adjustments rather than trying to fix everything at once. This makes the refinement process manageable.
  • Return to your storyboards and consider whether your animation aligns with your initial vision. Adjust as needed.
  • Analyze real-life movements or other animations to gain inspiration and insights for refining your work.

Remember, animation is a journey of continual improvement. Embrace the process of iteration and refinement, and you’ll see your animations evolve into something truly remarkable.

7. Disregarding Performance and Weight

Animation isn’t just about making things move; it’s about conveying emotions and making characters feel real. Disregarding the performance and weight of your characters is a significant mistake that can leave your animations feeling flat and unengaging.

A character’s expressions, body language, and reactions convey emotions, thoughts, and motivations, driving the story forward is what makes your characters relatable and memorable.

Mistakes in Conveying Character Emotions and Weight

  • Static Characters: Characters that lack dynamic movements or expressions can appear lifeless and uninteresting.
  • Inconsistent Weight: Failing to convey the appropriate weight of objects or characters can break the illusion of reality in your animation.
  • Overlooking Facial Expressions: Neglecting to animate facial expressions can result in characters that seem emotionless, missing opportunities to connect with the audience.

Strategies for Enhancing Performance in Animation

  • Study real-life performances and expressions to capture the nuances of human behavior.
  • Act out scenes yourself to understand how a character might move and react in different situations.
  • Use reference videos or images to guide your animations, especially for complex movements or expressions.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of character performance to make your animations more engaging.

By paying attention to character performance and weight in your animations, you can create more immersive and emotionally resonant stories.

8. Neglecting Sound Design

In animation, sight and sound go hand in hand. Neglecting sound design is like watching a movie with the sound turned off — it leaves your animations feeling incomplete and less immersive.

Common Sound Design Mistakes

  • Silent Animations: Failing to include any sound leaves your animations feeling empty and disconnected from the viewer’s experience.
  • Mismatched Audio: Using sound effects or music that don’t fit the mood or action in your animation can be jarring and distracting.
  • Inconsistent Audio Quality: Uneven audio levels or poor-quality recordings can detract from the overall viewing experience.

Integrating Sound Effectively Into the Workflow

  • Consider sound design during the pre-production phase and create a list of necessary sounds and music.
  • Use high-quality audio recordings and ensure they are properly mixed and balanced.
  • Ensure that sound effects, dialogue, and music synchronize seamlessly with the on-screen action.
  • Review your animation with sound multiple times and make adjustments as needed to achieve the desired impact.

Sound is a powerful storytelling tool. It adds depth, emotion, and atmosphere to your animations. By giving due attention to sound design, you can elevate your animations.

9. Failing to Collaborate Effectively

2D animation is often a team effort, and working together seamlessly is crucial for a successful project. Failing to collaborate effectively within the studio is a big mistake that can lead to misunderstandings, missed deadlines, and a disjointed final product.

Common Collaboration Mistakes

  • Lack of Clear Communication

Poor communication can result in misunderstandings about project goals, deadlines, or responsibilities.

  • Ignoring Feedback

Dismissing feedback from team members can hold back creativity and hinder project improvement.

  • Inefficient Workflow

Not having a streamlined workflow for sharing files and feedback can lead to confusion and wasted time.

Strategies for Improving Collaboration

  • Regular Meetings: 

Schedule regular team meetings to discuss progress, share ideas, and address concerns.

  • Use Collaboration Tools

Employ project management and communication tools to facilitate file sharing, feedback, and task tracking.

  • Embrace Feedback

Encourage a culture of open feedback where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.

  • Clearly Defined Roles

Ensure that everyone understands their role in the project and how their work contributes to the overall animation.

By fostering effective collaboration and communication, you can enhance creativity, meet project deadlines, and create a final product that reflects the collective efforts of the team.

10. Not Adapting to New Tools and Techniques

In the 2D animation landscape, things are always changing. There are fresh tools and techniques that continuously emerge that have the potential to elevate your animations. However, there are those who overlook this aspect — a missed opportunity. Not exploring these new innovations is a mistake because:

  • If you stick to outdated tools and methods, you risk missing out on more effective, modern approaches. 
  • If you repeat the same processes, your animations may become dull and outdated
  • Other animators might learn new things and become better than you if you don’t keep up.

What Should You Do?

  • Take the time to familiarize yourself with these novel tools and techniques, such as trying different software or experimenting with new drawing methods.
  • Don’t hesitate to experiment and discover if these fresh tools and techniques can improve your animations.
  • Engage with fellow animators to learn about what new things they are trying, and reciprocate by sharing your own discoveries.
  • Read news about animation to stay in the loop about the latest tools and techniques.

By actively adapting to new tools and techniques, you can make your animations more exciting, streamline the creation process, and remain in step with fellow animators who are also embracing innovation.


In conclusion, while imperfection is a part of the creative journey, acknowledging and learning from our mistakes is the path to growth. The 10 common mistakes we’ve explored are not roadblocks but rather stepping stones to progress in your 2D animation studio workflows. By avoiding these pitfalls and focusing on solutions, you can elevate your animation game with smoother and more refined work.

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