Quick Tips to Get You Started

Guido Rosso
Sep 9, 2016 · 4 min read

Getting started in Nima is simple. Let’s first get you familiar with the names of each panel in the UI, so you know what we’re referring to when we use names like Hierarchy Panel, Selection Panel, and Toolbar.

Importing Assets

The fastest way to get a character going is to drag and drop your PSD file onto Nima (make sure you flatten any layer effects in Photoshop first). The PSD will now be in the Assets folder. Drag it onto the stage or directly on the Hierarchy to automatically center it. For more information on Assets and supported types, check out the Manual.

Create Bones

Now hit B to activate the Create Bone tool in the Toolbar and start drawing some bones. Note that selecting another bone during this process allows you to create different branches from the same joint. Whatever you have selected when you start adding a bone will be the parent of the new bone you are adding. The parent doesn’t necessarily need to be a bone; it could be anything in your hierarchy. Nima doesn’t impose restrictions on this.

Use the Contrast Bone toggle to help differentiate parts of your skeleton.

Connect Images to Bones

In the Hierarchy Panel, drag and drop your images on the bones you want to parent them to (you can also use Change Parent in the Selection Panel). Check out our Pick Children feature to make this process even faster.


Use the toggle button on the top of the Hierarchy panel to switch to Animate mode. This brings up a timeline at the bottom, which we call the Animation Panel. You’ll notice that values in the Selection Panel now have a keyframe icon next to them. This allows you to save the current value as a keyframe. If you have Autokey enabled, keyframes will be automatically set when you change a property. Properties that have keyframes appear in the Animation Panel.

Inverse Kinematics

In general, you want to animate your character by rotating bones. A simple way to do this is with the IK tool (press W). Multi-selecting bones determines how far up the chain the IK tool will go. Note that you can hit Spacebar at any time to pan the stage (this also works in the Timeline).

Press F at any time to fit your character (or your selection) to the available stage. This works also after resizing panels.

Visibility Options

Hovering your mouse over hierarchy items reveals a visibility icon. Click on this icon to hide it and all of its children. If you want to keep the children visible, hold CMD on Mac or Ctrl on Windows when you click the visibility icon.

You can also control global Visibility and Selection Options from the Toolbar.


When you’re ready to share a shot of your work with the 2D community, click on the Share icon at the bottom of the Toolbar. Note that panning (Spacebar) and fit to stage (F) work here as well. You can also hold control while using the scroll wheel to get a more precise zoom level.

That’s all for now! Let us know if you have any questions.

Originally published at 2Dimensions.com on September 9, 2016.


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