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 195: Animation Test Part 2

Another week, another animation test. I love testing out new workflows and seeing if there are areas that I can improve and make more efficient. I’m really excited to test out the potential winning workflow and give it a more in depth look. Last week I explored Adobe Animate or the equivalent of Flash.

This week I dove into Adobe Photoshop to do some testing. There is a tool available online called AnimDessin, which gives the artist more of a traditional timeline and tools set, similar to Flash/Animate. Things such as onion skinning, inserting blank frames with the click of a button and more. The appeal of this workflow versus last weeks is the fact that I can use a variety of brushes to help get a more traditional look, some nice line qualities and importing these files into After Effects is going to be much easier. So far I am leaning towards this workflow but I still have one more to test out.

The remaining workflow is a unique one, using a tool called Paint and Stick in After Effects. ┬áThis tool let’s you draw frame by frame right in After Effects. My initial concerns center around brushes and file sizes. On the plus side, if I have any issues, I can hopefully resolve them right in After Effects.

It was a pretty good weekend to do some animation tests, we had some very frigid weather and snow that needed to be removed when things warmed up ever-so slightly. I went to see an animated documentary called Tower, which I am going to be reviewing this week yet before the holidays. Check out the trailer below, and come back mid-week for a review of the film!

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.