Hey - so I have to make a 40-60 sec SMA for my media degree. I have average (a bit further along than a novice but not an expert) capabilities with Adobe Ps, Ai and Fl. (For what it's worth... I have access to the full Adobe Creative Suite) The brief is to use SONY VEGAS, WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER, IMOVIE, NERO [or any other suitable video editing software]. I have started using my 3yo daughter's drawings to animate my story. I have vectorised her drawings and am manipulating them in Ai to create many Ai files for my SMA. I am then exporting each Ai file as a jpeg. I have been doing short test runs using the animation tools in Ps CS6 but have been told NOT to submit using this as the resulting files are not high enough res. To get the best result, should I be using Flash or Premiere or After Effects - or a combination? Oh and my tutor who marks my work ;) has made it clear that she won't be very happy if I use Windows MM. And I don't have access to Sony Vegas, IMovie or Nero.... Anyone got any useful advice? Oh and you can look at a short 2 second test here if it helps: http://vimeo.com/67200111
Thx.

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I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but it isn't a stop motion project. You're using a computer to animate drawings - stopmotion is manipulating physical objects by hand in front of a camera a frame at a time. It's usually done with puppets that have armatures inside to allow them to hold poses and to be moved in small increments by the animator, but it also includes cut-out animation, where photographs or drawings can be cut into pieces and jointed together and moved a frame at a time - by the animators hands - under a camera pointing downward. This is how the 1st season of South Park was done, but since then Matt and Trey opted for computer animation, which is easier and faster and has a different feel to it. 

So unless I fail to understand some part of your process, there's no stopmotion involved. Unless you failed to mention that you're cutting the drawings into pieces and hinging them together and hand-animating  them under a down-shooter camera? 

I also have no idea what software would do what you're looking for or how to use it. If I did I'd be glad to help you out - I'm not a total stopmotion snob, but I just wanted to point out to you why nobody has responded yet and why your best bet would probably be to seek sites where people do in-computer animation. 

Or did I misunderstand? Maybe the files you're making now, with the drawings, are just a pre-visualization, and you're going to use that to plan out a film done in stopmotion? You did say at the beginning of your post you're supposed to do a film in stopmotion, so now I'm curious. Hey, maybe I'm saving you from turning in the wrong kind of film? 

Also, can you elaborate on the programs you listed? I have no idea what Ai is, or Fl. Ps would be photoshop of course - are the rest also Adobe products? And I'm having a hard time understanding why your teacher would say you have to use programs that you don't have? I'd think they'd accept similar programs that you already have or have access to? 

Does the Adobe Creative Suite include Premiere Pro? That is a popular video editing program that would be well,suited to,assembling your shots, adding titles and some effects, and laying up the sound tracks to produce the finished film.
It doesn't sound like stop motion to me either- sometimes people use the term Stop Motion as another word for Animation, which it is not. It is one type of animation, where you move real physical objects around with your hands and photograph them a frame at a time, like Strider said. The first software you need for that is a frame grabber, so you can see what is in front of the camera, compare it to the last few frames, and save the images to your computer hard drive. It does not sound like this would apply to the computer animation you are intending to do. I never work with vector graphics so I don't know what software you would use for that. Adobe Illustrator is vector based I believe, is that what you meant by Ai?

^ Bingo! I'll bet that's it - unless it's Artificial Intelligence?  

Hi Strider and StopMoNick, and thanks for answering... how funny... stop-motion animation snobbery... who even knew! Um, yeah it seems like our course coordinator's definition of stop-animation is a bit loose... I guess if you do a search on YouTube of 'hand-drawn stop motion' you'll see what it is I am looking to make. Lots of other silly misguided fools out here I guess. It seems as though the more correct term for what I am doing is rotoscope. My tutor is aware of the method I am using and hasn't told me it's not kosher yet so I am proceeding as planned. 

Nick - Yes Adobe Creative Suite does include Premiere Pro. Your suggestion was what I was looking for so a big thanks, I am very grateful. I just needed some guidance with what software to use for assembling my 620+ jpegs. So it's clear, I am essentially drawing (in vector form) each individual frame then exporting each frame/drawing as an individual jpeg. I understand you guys have a multitude of jpegs too once you've shot all your images. This is why I was directing the question to this forum. Oh and Ai is Adobe Illustrator.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer. Will know who to ask when we are doing anything truly SMA.

AI,PS,FL:
Adobe illustrator, Photoshop, and Flash

I understand that you are using Adobe Illustrator to create vector drawings. What I don't understand, like others here, is whether you intend to use those as a base for using puppets and making a stop motion animation?

To make a video from your vector drawings, you can export them as SWF and use Adobe Flash to make a video. This would seem to be the easiest method. Or, you can export them as JPG and use Adobe Premiere or After Effects to make a video. So, you really have several options. I think your instructor is wanting a High Definition video. If you want to use JPG files, they should  be 1920x1080. You can set this resolution by clicking on CUSTOM when you export from AI. I don't use After Effects or Premiere. There may be some other people here that can explain how to use those programs. Does you instructor specify the codec? MP4? MOV?

I use a FREE video editor called Avidemux that can be downloaded into Windows here: http://avidemux-mswin.sourceforge.net/
This editor makes it real easy to import JPG files into a video. You just click on the first JPG and it loads all of them and you can export the video in a wide range of formats. But, since you have access to the Adobe Suite, then I recommend either Flash, Premiere, or After Effects with Flash probably being the easiest for you.

Hi Keith  - thanks for that. No puppets this time I'm afraid. The test video I linked to in my original question (above) is made up of 24 frames - so 24 jpegs - and is pretty much as I will make the final clip. I am all good with Flash animation (see here: https://vimeo.com/65878876) ...that was my last assignment. I think they just want us to demonstrate a broader knowledge of animation/editing software and techniques so I am not going to use Flash this time (even though I know of at least one other student out of about 250 in our year who is). So Premiere or After Effects are the ones my tutor has been pushing for but I was starting to wonder which one was best for what I am doing and for that matter if there was something better out there... that's when I wandered into this forum...

I might take a quick look at avidemux cos you never know and cos it's free . Cheers.

I would create a folder with all my JPEGS in (these have to be numbered or named in perfect order, otherwise you will get a missing frame screen in After Effects) Then i would simply drag and drop the folder into the AE project which should be set to the frame rate you intend to use e.g. 24 fps. This folder will then be turned into a sequence when placed into the AE timeline allowing you to view all your JPEGS as a 24fps video. From here you can export a high res video from AE or I believe you can send the whole project over to Premiere from a menu in AE (send to Premiere?)  also apologies for not using a stop motion project for the demonstration! I could be lynched for bringing CGI on this site!

This awesome. So from what you are saying, I can use After Effects as a way to prepare my 620 JPEGs (split up into scenes of course) for the final edit in Premiere.That's pretty straight forward.

Look I think we all know I have come to wrong place now but I just want to thank you guys who've helped me out. I am in this for the long haul and am pretty pumped to be finally learning all this stuff. I'm dying to get stuck into a project with my kids later this year that will be pure unadulterated stop motion. I will no doubt be back then with more, *ahem*, relevant chat.

Glad we could help. I had a look at the 20 fps test on your vimeo and that is more like stop motion, you are replacing each drawing with the next frame captured by your camera, its almost half traditional drawn animation half stop motion and it looks good. It is imperative to keep the camera and tripod as still as possible when shooting, if you want to jerk the frames around to give it a jitter i would do this in after effects, that way you can choose whether to have a perfectly still sequence or add a bit of motion in after. Hope your project goes well

Hahaha wow - that's a new one on me! I knew a lot of people have ideas that they're doing stopmotion when they shoot videos of themselves and their friends walking around and then reduce the framerate to make it  look jerky, but I had never heard of people calling drawn animation stopmotion. It sucks that the general public seems to have literally no idea what it means anymore (not sure they ever did really though) but it is excellent that animation itself is breaking all the boundaries and various forms of it are merging thanks to the digital revolution. I do have to facepalm though about your teacher promoting such ignorance - I'd think a teacher would know better. I'm also a bit flabbergasted at the teaching methods - apparently he (?) is just telling the students to demonstrate their knowledge of various programs - shouldn't it be his job to actually teach them that knowledge? Or is it more of a freeform workshop where he's just there as a sort of babysitter and everyone is responsible for teaching themselves? Sounds pretty chaotic whatever the case may be, but then I don't really know enough about it to be able to judge. 

Well ok, it sounds like you've got it sorted now anyway. And thank you for being a great sport! Feel free to drop by if we can help in any other way, or of course if/when you're doing some puppet pushing! 

Oh, one question - how big are the original image files you're working with? Are your daughter's drawings done in something large enough to produce HD images from (which would be 1920 x 1080)? If not you might need to enlarge them somehow or start fresh with larger drawings. Are you scanning the drawings, or did she do them on some kind of tablet? If you're scanning then you could just set it to a larger resolution and re-scan them. 

Oops - just went back to your first post and I see it's not really an animation class but a media course, so I guess it's unfair to expect the teacher to know the specifics abut something as obscure as stopmotion! And I assume the focus isn't on animation techniques really, but more on just creating a presentation or production in some form of media of your own choosing. So that does explain a few of the things I was fuming about in my last post - sorry about that! 

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