Production Update 201: Back to Work!

Lot’s of things have been going on so I haven’t been on the blog as much as I would have liked to for the month of February. However, things have calmed back down and we’ve got some catching up to do. So much, it required a video update. Take a look!

Production Update 197: New Tools, New Workflow

This week I started working on some animation tests for Cosmic Rage. The first issue I wanted to tackle was mouth movements for the characters. The workflow adjustments I am making here, involves using a tool called lipsyncr. This tool allows for After Effects to analyze the voice over file and make adjustments to cue up certain frames for mouth shapes called phononyms. That way, I can get around using just lip flaps and also drawing each frame individually. This tool allows for you to use various levels of detail in this regard. In this test, I used only 4 mouth shapes, testing out the low end of the spectrum. The high level of detail allows for 12 mouth shapes. My next test is going to involve the in between setting that uses 7 mouth shapes.

Keeping up with the theme of “New”. I ordered my first new tablet since my very first one I ordered in college. For the second episode, I want to do more frame by frame drawing and a traditional tablet, just wasn’t working the way I want it to. Some lines were jittery, and it may take several strokes to get a line the way that you want it to. I felt that in order to really make this an effective workflow, I needed to upgrade my tablet situation. So say hello to my new Wacom Cintiq.


I spent the later half of the week exploring the tablet a bit and working on setting up some various settings for hot keys to really make working with it efficient. I am planning on using the Cintiq for my next animation test using lip syncr. I will break down these various forms in depth upon completion.

This week I am starting a new session of teaching assisting online as well to kick of 2017. So when I am not at work or critiquing work, I will be working on the new animation tests.

I am so ready for 2017!

Production Update 194: Animation Tests

I spent most of last week getting caught up on some work and other random things that have been piling up. So my plan this week is to execute some animation tests and explore a couple different workflows. The purpose of these types of tests is not only determine the best software to use but also the most efficient way to layer artwork, composite and the overall look and mood of each scene. In terms of animation, I will still use the same aesthetic or look as the first episode, characters done in 2D and the environments will be done in 3D. However, I want to push the character animation farther and that requires a bit of planning ahead so I don’t come across any limitations in production.

I will release some videos for each of the workflow tests I have been doing as well. Hopefully by sharing these I can shed some insight into other to the animation process for other animators but also if I am overlooking something, then someone can also help me out.

The first animation test I did was a combination between Adobe Animate (used to be Flash) and After Effects. I used to use Flash when I was in college so I have some familiarity with it. Some of my initial thoughts are, while I enjoy the timeline and being able to see the keyframes, I am not entirely sold on the brush or pencil tool in that program. That might be the deciding factor, but we’ll see. Like I said before, I will do a video soon about my exploration.

The next workflow I am going to explore is going to be a new plug in for After Effects, called Paint and Stick. This allows for frame by frame animation inside of After Effects with a visible timeline for each frame. My initial thought is that it also supports brushes from photoshop, so I can have more of that hand drawn feeling as opposed to the clean vector look of Animate. My concern however, with this workflow, is that file size could get out of control. All of the Paint and Stick data is saved outside of After Effects. If my initial testing looks like this is going to be the route to go, I will do a little bit more of an in depth animation test to see if I can gauge how large files could get.