From the time of our very first game, Soma has used the Unity game engine for our 2D animations. Though Unity has a great animation component built in, there was a wall we were hitting when it came to creating unique animations for our upcoming titles.

It all started when we hired Joel Carlson, a talented artist and animator, onto our Soma team for a new project. Joel was to lead our art team in character/set design and animation for The Lost Legends of Redwall app, a new Redwall adventure fueled by the player’s choices that featured over 60 new characters. He did an amazing job creating each character; giving them each a unique personality and a range of expressions.

Through his time with us, Joel shared his knowledge and expertise to open up Soma to a brand new animation software we had not used before: Spine 2D. We at Soma believe in building up our employees with the best mentorship and knowledge we can provide to each other, and Joel really leaned into this aspect of our company culture. And we are forever grateful he did! The software Spine is known for its dedication to 2D skeletal animation, and it provides an efficient workflow both for creating amazing animation and for integrating that animation into games. It helps users create skeletal or cutout animations, and its unique style can have numerous benefits over traditional, frame-by-frame animation depending on the use case.

The software’s main strengths are its easy to understand interface, its compaction of our files in a way that it is preformant for games heavy with animations, its very thorough rig and weight settings feature, and the quality and smoothness that is produced by the software for each animation. Spine is not only a time-saver for our animators, but also for our programming team thanks to its “mixing” feature in which one animation blends into the next using the information that was created for each skeletal rig.

One feature we were excited to work with in Spine was its reskinning feature. This feature allows for us to reuse a single animation for a multitude of characters, no matter the size or shape. An aspect of this feature is that we can also adjust any pre-existing animation to fit the needs of any individual character thrown our way, such as a new character that is giant, or that has more than two legs. It is thanks to this reskinning feature that we are able to pump out multiple characters with complex animations in a relatively short amount of time!

Once our artists had mastered the Spine learning curve we saw ourselves saving hours in setting up rigs, on top of saving time in the animating itself. The interface for the tool was simple and extremely adjustable so our team at Soma could now bust out high quality animations faster than ever. Since the release of The Lost Legends of Redwall app, we have used this software to mock up and pitch a number of concepts for games, on top of it being our main animation software in some of our upcoming titles.

One feature the team has enjoyed using the most is Spine’s face constraint feature, also known as its “3D like” tracking feature. Setting up artwork to be compatible with this overall look is simple and effective. Spine does a great job at balancing the vertex depth when weight painting, so animating 3D movements are as simple as moving a controller left or right!

We at Soma are so grateful to Joel for introducing the rest of our team to the wonders of Spine. Now that our artists have been using this software for over a year, we have upgraded the overall quality of our animations in the software and we look forward to using it for our future projects and for more opportunities to come.

If you would like to check out the software, you can do so here:

If you are interested in the games we mentioned above, feel free to explore them here:


The Lost Legends of Redwall app:


Our upcoming game, The Reluctant Redemption of Verity Lux:

-Animations created by Anna Alsager
-Art created by Erin Marentette and Joel Carlson

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