How to Animate a Character in Unity in a Few Easy Steps

Unity is a leading gaming engine in the modern era. While not as strong as the renowned Unreal Engine, Unity has served as a toolkit for hundreds of skilled game creators and is now the most popular third-party game production software.

Hollow Knight, Cuphead, Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality, Escape from Tarkov, and Outer Wilds are examples of games that have redefined what gaming is capable of.

So, how can you take advantage of everything Unity has to offer, namely Unity animations?

Characters are the heart and focus of any game, and effective animation is critical to the game’s success and level of enjoyment. Using the Unity Animator, you can ensure that your characters move fluidly and realistically.

Let’s look at exactly how to animate a character in Unity.


Animation in Unity is probably less difficult than you think. To get you started, let’s go through some of the key concepts behind Unity animation

Animation Clips

The majority of your Unity animation is made up of animation clips. These are files that are either internal or external to Unity that are used to produce animation.

These animation clips make it easier to link relevant animations together to form a cohesive whole. After we import or build clips within the engine, we move on to animation controllers, which provide better instructions to the engine about what characters should do next.

Animation Controllers

In order to direct your character’s actions, you’ll need animation controllers. To accomplish this, animation controllers help you organize your animation clips and link them to certain actions. You could have an animation cycle between crouching and standing up whenever you press the ‘X’ key.

Once you begin inputting animation data, making clips, and using state machines to make it all work, Unity will automatically generate animator controllers for you.

How to Animate a Character in Unity in a Few Easy Steps

State Machines

Animated objects and characters are said to be “state machines” since they are always carrying out a series of actions. Therefore, they exist in a variety of states. The characters can be in any kind of motion, be it a run, a walk, or even a swim.

The term “state machine” is used to provide a comprehensive definition of a state. A state machine is composed of the states between which operations are performed, the operations themselves, and many variables.

Your character, for instance, can’t sprint and jump from a paused posture. They can, however, jump like everyone else. A state machine is a kind of flowchart that demonstrates the possible transitions between states. Unity’s animation system relies heavily on state machines.

How to Animate A Character in Unity?

Now that we understand why Unity animation is so crucial, let’s have a look at the basics of animating characters.

Unity Animation

In 2D cartoons, the characters often walk diagonally across the screen, from left to right. The original Mario games are perfect examples of classic 2D platformers. You’ll need a few items before you can give life to a 2D model.

How to Animate a Character in Unity in a Few Easy Steps

With Unity 3D animation, characters move in three dimensions instead of two, so paying attention to your environment is more important than ever in-game.

What You Need to Start Unity Animation?

In addition to being familiar with Unity’s UI, you’ll want to have a basic understanding of animation principles. Learning the Unity animator’s user interface is one of the finest methods to become proficient with it.

You need to try new things and develop a personality of your own. We can go right into the animation process once you’ve settled on a character and have a basic understanding of animator mechanics.

Sample Animations

Remaining Idle

One of a character’s most fundamental animations is to just stand still. Despite their apparent inactivity, practically all other animations build on the idle state. They’ll have to switch to a more active condition like running if they want to make the necessary leap from the idling position.

Simply adjusting your character model’s rigging across a few frames can allow you to create a subtle and effective idle animation, similar to breathing. If your character’s idle animation is convincing, you’ll have succeeded in creating a living, breathing character.


If you want your animation to be convincing, you need to focus on animating your character’s primary motions well.

Your walk animation will require its own separate file, which you can easily make. The process is similar to stop-motion animation in that each pose of a character’s limbs must be captured on film.

To create the illusion of movement, animators set props in place, pause briefly, and snap photographs, which they then edit together. This animation is more complex but otherwise functionally equivalent.

Be sure your character’s walking movement looks realistic, as it’s easy to miss something and end up with your character’s feet floating in mid-air.


By now, you should have a firmer grasp of the animation potential of Unity. You can animate your character for your own creative endeavor with the help of some extremely helpful tutorials and documentation.

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