How to make a person in 2D photo move

I want to create a person standing still in a photo, move their arms and legs


  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,980 Ambassador

    My thoughts... OH BOY thats going to be very tricky!!!

    First question : Do you have a clean plate (a copy of the image without the person in it?) If so, it will be much easier.

    Ideas: Mask out your person, export to a program or tool where you can animate the movements, save it as a movie and then layer over the top in Hitfilm.


    Shoot a copy of the same person on green screen and overlay them onto the orginal image.


    Use an animated warp effect to only effect a mask around the legs and arms but not the body.

    Ok that's it I'm out of ideas.

  • rufina
    rufina Website User Posts: 3

    ok let me see if I can ask this a different way, say I have a person that looks like they are walking in a photo, mask them out in let's say photoshop, save as a png, can I bring them into hitfilm and use an effect that can make their arms and legs move as if they are walking.

  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,247 Staff

    For that, you would want to create a separate layer for each of the main components of the character (head, body, upper arm, lower arm, etc.), basically splitting them at the major joints. Then you can move each component separately, to create the movement. Use parenting to link the lower arm to the upper arm, and the upper arm to the shoulder, to create a sort of IK rig. And adjust the anchor point positions so that they sit in the joints, and each segment rotates from the correct location.

  • Farscape
    Farscape Website User Posts: 90

    If you want to get fancy it sounds like a job for a 2d animation program like Spriter, Crazy Talk Animator or Anime Studio Pro.

  • Farscape
    Farscape Website User Posts: 90

    Sorry, I'm not yet sure of the rules regarding mentioning other programs and I'm certainly not sure whether Hitfilm can do it on its own. I'm just mentioning things that I have a mental connection to for this situation.

  • Farscape
    Farscape Website User Posts: 90

    Unless it's cartoonish or impossible (as in the actor is dead) I'd fall back to Andy001z's suggestion of filming the person moving.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,005 Ambassador

    @Farscraper mentioning other software is totally fine. Hitfilm can do a lot but there's no harm in mentioning other options. In this case, what Axel said above works, but something like Toon Boom specializes in paper-doll animation and will do this task more efficiently than Hitfilm. 

  • rufina
    rufina Website User Posts: 3

    Thanks everyone, I will look into all your suggestions, I appreciate the help.

  • dagaffer
    dagaffer Website User Posts: 58

    it would be easier to film someone walking and track their head and mask over. though if you have poser and a good front and side shot of the persons head you could use the face  room and make a 3dversion of your subject to do as you wish

  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Website User Posts: 632 Just Starting Out

    Chroma Key the  arm and leg movement and then place in the static photo?


  • GodofThunder
    GodofThunder Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out

    Hitfilm did this in after effects 

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