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.

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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 196: Animation Test 3

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday break! My holiday break was much needed. It offered me a nice chance to unplug for a bit and get away from the computer. I spent some time over the break doing some reading and playing some new board and card games which I always enjoy. After several attempts, my family and I were able to complete Oregon Trail and we even got in a good game of Walking Dead Risk, which saw so many zombies take over that we had to use colored trucks that come with the game to make up all of the zombies because we ran out of game pieces.

I scored some goodies for Christmas, some new anime and manga. On the anime front I got some new movies and series like Death Parade, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Coppellion. I got two more volumes of Bakuman, which I need to complete the series. I have a few more volumes I need to get as well. I even got the Archer art book too, which offers a lot of information on the history and process of the show. But enough about the holidays, let’s dive into the first production update of 2017!

I wrapped up my final animation test this past week. I spent some time experimenting around with a new plug in for After Effects called Paint and Stick. It offers the artist the ability to draw frame by frame within After Effects. I loved the idea of that, since I work with the program daily but I didn’t like the brush set within it. On the surface, it doesn’t appear that ┬áhave full control over the brush like I would have with Photoshop. I can do a lot of the other things in Paint and Stick as I can do within Photoshop, such as creating various layers, coloring and more. However, part of my hesitation to fully commit to Paint and Stick, is the unknown of future updates and workflows. So with this in mind, I am going to do my in depth animation tests using the Anim Dessn extension for Photoshop. I will post these up when I get them done. I am going to start tonight on my first test, and working with some lip syncing tools to get more mouth movements for the characters.

On a similar note, as much as I love my Wacom Intros tablet, it was time for me to upgrade. I ordered up a Cintiq this past week so I have more control over my drawings in the second episode and also for frame-by-frame drawing. I am very excited to get started with this new tool. I will use this on one of the other animation tests I will be working on in January.

Finally, I also have been doing a bit of reading this past week too. I recently ordered a book called Independent Animation by Ben Mitchell. It covers a wide range of elements in independent animation, ranging from music videos, collaboration, funding and more. I am about 25% done with the book. I have really been enjoying it so far and it’s quite nice to hear another perspective on the independent animation scene. I will be offering up a full review once I get it completely read.

Thank you for your continued support!

Production Update 184: Preparations for AnimeFest

AnimeFest is quickly approaching, so this week I will be putting the final preparations on my travel plans before hitting the road to Dallas, Texas! I have two panels scheduled for the convention, one is the History of CGI in Anime and the other is of course, a screening of Cosmic Rage. This will also be my first time at AnimeFest so I am very excited to check out a new convention and see what it has to offer as well as meeting so many new people too. I will have a follow up to AnimeFest next week when I get back from the event.

As for production news, the e-book is mostly done. I am sending it to an editor this week for one final pass before I get it submitted into the iBooks store so that should be coming soon. I got my final pages designed for it and just need to do one final run through on my end, probably tomorrow, before it goes to the editor. I got a little sidetracked this weekend with some life stuff, this house hunting business is not for the feint of heart. Quick sidetone though, school is all done and I am good to go on that front, I just need to file for graduation.

I am looking at another freelance project this summer yet too. The funds for this project would go to get me a new tablet for my setup. I am looking at getting a Cintiq so I can get back to more frame by frame animation in the second episode. Lots of good stuff going on. Stay tuned for more!

Don’t forget, you can support the project on Patreon!