Our graphic designer created a character for an iOS game built with Swift and SpriteKit.

While she has created animated GIFs before, she has never created animations for an iOS game.

1) What sites/resources should she use to learn about producing frames for iOS animations (e.g., texture atlas)?

2) She uses Sketch today. Should she use a different program to produce the artwork?

Googling did not help, and several related questions here, here and here also do not help.

  • What have you researched? Nov 15, 2016 at 2:57
  • @ZachSaucier looked through these site at related questions (will update question), but found no helpful answers. Also tried Google. Any suggestions?
    – Crashalot
    Nov 15, 2016 at 2:58
  • If you included some detail about that research in addition to what tooling you're using to create the actual game it'd be greatly helpful Nov 15, 2016 at 2:59
  • @ZachSaucier thanks! Just updated the question. The question mentions Sketch as the application she's using to create the character. Are you referring to something else?
    – Crashalot
    Nov 15, 2016 at 3:01
  • What technology are the developers using to create the game? Nov 15, 2016 at 3:01

1 Answer 1


SpriteKit is slightly unusual in 2D game engines in that it does all its own texture packing.

SpriteKit desires a .png sequence.

What this means, when creating sequenced image animations, is that you're best off exporting each frame of your .gif animation as a unique image, with a sequenced naming convention from 0, through to the frame count.

So your frames should look like this:


Then drag these files into Xcode's project panel, at the top level, and create a group once they're dragged in, to contain them.

Xcode/SpriteKit will then package these as a texture, and optimise the storage and loading.

  • btw, I've recently had some bugs with dragging in folders, which are supposedly how this can also be done... ie drag in the folder, or drag in the images as a selection. So I've been using the latter technique, of dragging in the images, and then grouping them in Xcode. Similarly, you can/should be able to rename their folder in Finder to myImageSequence.atlas, and drag this folder in, and have Xcode automatically batch the texture images. But, again, I've had some problems with this in the last 8.x betas. This will probably work properly if you're not using the betas.
    – Confused
    Nov 15, 2016 at 4:45
  • one more thing... .png can use 8 bit pixels and 16 bit pixels, and alpha, which is the best way to do this, 16bits, with alpha. This is a far higher quality than .gif, which is restricted to 256 colors and a brutal alpha edge. There's (seemingly) no performance cost for the higher quality, so use that 16bit per pixel, colouring with alpha for best results, straight out of Sketch.
    – Confused
    Nov 15, 2016 at 4:51
  • wow, you help everyone with both scenekit AND spritekit! thanks for the suggestion. the atlas approach is what's suggested elsewhere online so will try that option. thanks again! upvoted. :)
    – Crashalot
    Nov 15, 2016 at 6:35
  • .atlas is the ideal... but it's been buggy for me, lately, and was throughout the life of Xcode 7. Was good in the GM and official Xcode 8 versions. But I'm a bleeding edge kind of designer type guy, which is why I have an overview of both SceneKit and SpriteKit. I don't know them deeply, and I REALLY struggle with code. I'm about a one line a day guy. Slightly less than my cocaine habit.
    – Confused
    Nov 15, 2016 at 6:51
  • hahaha you're hilarious!
    – Crashalot
    Nov 15, 2016 at 6:56

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