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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Well I am pretty pleased to see it's OK if I come back... Strider, it seems remarkable that you managed from the small amount of info I gave you so have totally summed up the feelings of many when you describe our course as chaotic - and that, at best, the instructors are baby sitters, well.... for fear of being caught out (you never know) I shall say no more but suffice to say I go to the school of YouTube.

I have traced over my 3yo artist's work in vector, and can export them as high res JPEGS - can I ask what sort of size you would recommend for each JPEG?

Also  I have been careful to make each part of the bodies (there are 5 different characters in total) independently movable with separate paths for each limb and face part (I guess like a puppet or paper cut-out's limbs would be) so that I can effect changes in the body and facial expressions simply by moving the individual paths. If anyone is interested I could post the final here in a couple of weeks - kind of a guest appearance from digi-world!

For HD they need to be 1920 x 1080 pixels. But I'm not sure how the process you're describing works, since it sounds like you're using characters each drawn separately and then putting them together. 1920 x 1080 would be the size of each frame in the final film. So each character doesn't necessarily need to be that large - but probably best to start with them bigger than you need and then you can reduce them to whatever size you need for each shot. Actually I have no idea what I'm talking about, since I know nothing about the type of animation you're doing - this is all strictly guesswork, but I think I'd try to err on the side of making them too big - you can always reduce the size but can't enlarge without it going all jaggy I'd guess. (or is vector work non-jaggifying?)

Great - thanks. I have got them at that size so all is well.

Strider said:

For HD they need to be 1920 x 1080 pixels. But I'm not sure how the process you're describing works, since it sounds like you're using characters each drawn separately and then putting them together. 1920 x 1080 would be the size of each frame in the final film. So each character doesn't necessarily need to be that large - but probably best to start with them bigger than you need and then you can reduce them to whatever size you need for each shot. Actually I have no idea what I'm talking about, since I know nothing about the type of animation you're doing - this is all strictly guesswork, but I think I'd try to err on the side of making them too big - you can always reduce the size but can't enlarge without it going all jaggy I'd guess. 

alternatively- you can import your vectorized AI files directly into after effects- no need to rasterize them as jpegs first. then you can scale them infinitely etc at whatever resolution you want to be working at. if you go this route, your project is essentially a motion graphics project, you could finish and render directly from after effects.

It's ok Luckiest, just because we get fussy about definitions, it doesn't mean we don't appreciate other forms of animation.

Strider - yes, vector work is non-jaggifying.  I believe each line is defined by the mathematics of the curve, rather than being an image made up of dots.  The only time I have anything to do with vectors is when using text fonts.  In Photoshop text can be scaled up or down with no loss of resolution, until the moment you rasterise them and convert them to a bitmap image.  

There are probably many ways to do this sort of project - I would probably use a high resolution bitmap in TV Paint if I had to do something similar, since that is what I am familiar with.  It would be easy enough to move the drawings around from frame to frame, but if I wanted to change the shapes like you would for a talking mouth, I would probably have to re-draw that part each frame, like classical 2d animation.  (Although you can apply warping to an image in PS by dragging points of a mesh around.) The kind of drawing I like has the touch of the artist's hand, even if it's a bit wonky and wobbly, and can't easily be described by a mathematical formula.  And the photographed images of my puppets are already bitmaps, so I work in bitmaps (Tga, tif, jpeg, or whatever).   

Like Strider was suggesting, if I am compositing an image into a scene - like shots of a flying puppet - it is usually much bigger than the size it will appear in the frame.  My flying puppet image might be 1200 x 1200 pixels, but occupy a space more like 200 x 200 pixels when it is moving around the frame.  But that means that if I did want to have it fly close to camera so it fills half the screen, I would have enough resolution for it to hold up and not get jaggified.   

Cool. thanks for that info. I have just had a class and set the cat among the pigeons when I questioned the definition of stop motion animation as put to us in their brief. There was a group of instructors and they ended up agreeing that it was a loose term and that I shouldn't get caught up in the details... to be fair, it is a 1st year design paper that I'm doing and it's more about giving the end client something they can use to sell their event, so I guess they don't want to concern themselves too much with precise defintions. I, of course, now know much better and am now worried they are misinforming our whole year. What have you done to me?

Yes -  for the sake of clarity, it is much better to not to rasterise my images, but I wanted to turn them into JPEGS so that it fit more into their definition of what we should be doing. I know what you mean about the wonky lines though...

Anyway, there's a pretty good chance I am going add in a new dimension to my project which might be more your speed... I was thinking I might use actual cut-out forms of my characters with moving parts and have children's hands moving them around the board... so I could be doing SMA yet!

 

 

Heck Yeah!!! 

Be careful trying to inform the luddites though - we've often found people are pretty attached to their ignorance and misinformation and don't like to be deprived of it. Except for the few good souls like yourself who were misinformed through no fault of their own and actually want to know the real facts.  

I'm afraid though that the term stopmotion is in the process of being devalued and misunderstood to the point that it loses its original meaning. So depending on who you're talking to it might be best to just go with the flow - perhaps we should welcome our ignorant uninformed future overlords.. 

Wonderful that you might be including some actual honest-to-goodness stopmo! One thing that jumped out at me though - how would you be including the children's hands? If it's through the specialized form of stopmotion known technically as pixilation (having living actors hold their poses and move in tiny increments  as if they're puppets) then it might be best to heed the wisdom of W C Fields (I'm assuming you know this one - never work with children or animals?)

He might suggest that the hands would be much easier to animate when detached - but personally I'm only willing to sacrifice so much for my art, you know? Animals maybe, but children - no way! Ok, no animals either. But maybe you could animate cutout pictures of children's hands? Or something along those lines. But trust me - pixilation is hard enough for adults - kids just don't have the attention span or the ability to hold perfectly still for that long (I'm sure I don't need to tell you!)

If you're on a budget and want to work in HD (1920x1080 or 1280x720) on Windows you could take a look at Qik Photo Animator. Sounds like it should do most of what you're looking for.

Hi everyone,

Things went quiet for a while there... final hand-in pressure and a wild storm here in Wellington NZ were the main reasons. As promised here is the clip I handed in for my University assignment.I ended up using a piece of trail software called DSLRemote (which worked great) to shoot most of the 777 frames, then I used Adobe Photoshop to edit in the text etc and then Adobe Premiere Pro to make the final clip and add in the sound and credits. Oh and that's my voice speaking. And my 11 yr old step son's own composition and playing on guitar. I ended up using my own hand to draw the illustrations although the very first character is based on one of my 3 yr old's drawings. (Strider, I took your advice and avoided any amputation of small limbs!)

There's more info on my blog here: http://bonmardi.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/dsdn-101-project-3-caritas-c...

I hope you enjoy... the vimeo link is http://vimeo.com/69057277

Thanks again for everyone's wisdom and humour!

Congratulations!  A nice job in all areas with a good clear message, delivered on time, and amputation-free as well - an example to us all!  (No, seriously, on all counts - I speak as one who is working on a project with a rather muddled concept, which has dragged on for 2 1/2 years without a frame shot, and recovering from sticking thumb in circular saw!)   

Thanks Nick...I really appreciate your comments especially given your experience. It's very encouraging and makes me feel like I have found a new interest I could really get into. Oh and re the actual delivery...it seems like this degree has reminded me a lot about how getting the damn thing started is half the battle.

PS I have a morbid fear of circular saws - it seems I was not destined for a life of woodwork.

Hey! The video was quite good! Congratulations!

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