Category: Reflection



Anime Studio 9.5 has a new feature that almost made me cry with joy: nested layer control. With this, and the enhancements of smart bones, I can now create better head turns! The way I did it before was adequate, but it still required me to tweak things around to make the head turn look decent. Now I don’t have to worry about it because I can change everything in just one Smart Bone Action. I started to build my new character, Sam, using this new technique.

I created this sketch during the summer time, but I was too busy with the other part of Bo the Creature that I didn’t quite have time to build the character. Here’s the initial design:

Initial Design

Initial Design

But looking at it now, the design doesn’t quite match with the character in mind. Sam is supposed to be more of a tough chick, a bit edgy, and definitely cold-hearted. Here is my second try:Sam closeupsam new

I also decided to go with simpler clothing.

This is not final yet, I think I might stick with this.

I did not create any expression actions like before, instead I am just going to use smart bones. It might seem like a lot, but I had a lot more action expressions.

Smart Bones

Smart Bones

The bones pretty much what they say. I just turned the dial and made some expressions. Together they work perfectly! It’s quite unbelievable actually. I was expecting so much problems, but it’s a lot better than expected! Very seamless. I’ll post a video sometime. If it wasn’t for the nested feature, I couldn’t have everything on one layer. I am really pleased with Anime Studio this time. Here are more shots:

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I haven’t created the body yet, but I will soon. I think that with smart bones, I will be able to create walk cycles as well by making my characters sway as they walk, something I haven’t been able to do before. So far the file is only 5mb! That is such a big difference from before! I noticed that the bigger file sizes lag more.

So far, I am pleased with my character. I like the style I made, but I notice it is a little more stylized than my other characters. That means I am going to have to make some adjustments. Also, I might make all my characters with smart bones because I think it is just so much better! All the hard work I put in before though :/ Oh well! I am aiming for improvement! Always!


When animating a character, a lot of animators observe subjects from reality to create particular movement. It could be from a live-action video, or even watching themselves in the mirror. Whatever technique they use, is fine, as long as the outcome is a believable. A believable animation, does not have to be realistic. It is important to distinguish the difference. The animator’s goal is to convince the audience of the character’s existence. If the animator manged to do so while still creating illogical movement, then the animation remains believable. When watching a cartoon, we might not realize that what we are seeing is not quite realistic, but still accept it because the structural work is below our threshold of awareness.

The animator’s work is to create movement that is a result of a character’s thought process, or a reaction to a stimulus. As long as the character’s weight and volume in space is consistent, the animator can get away with doing a lot of things. The key word here is consistent. Consistency is important throughout the whole animation. If you have been animating quite a realistic animation and suddenly bring cartoon violence, it will confuse the audience and it will start to ask questions, that don’t relate to the plot. As I have mentioned before, the animator’s goal is to convince the audience of the character’s existence. Rules need to be set up from the beginning, and need to be followed till the end. You can’t be selfish, and not think of your audience.

 

 

Voiceovers


image

Unless I want to end up with a silent film, I need voices for my animation. Unfortunately, I can’t hire voice actors, so I just need to learn on my own for now. I purchased a microphone recently and started to practice yesterday. I believed it was going to be easy. Boy was I wrong. I found that reading children’s books helps with my little girl voice however. After reading the same passage several times, I improved. I will try to do different voices to continue progressing. Everything else is much tougher. Especially making a guy’s voice. Even after I change the pitch, the voice I hear still sounds off. Really strange actually.

At first I planned on using a voice changing software, but I find that the quality of all programs do not meet my standard. It’s too bad since I actually liked some of the voices I got from it.

I played around with audacity’ s options, but none really seem to do what I want. I don’t know if it’s because there are limitations, since it is a free software after all, or simply because I don’t know how to use it. I am after all not an expert in the audio department.

I will try to find some good books to read, since YouTube hasn’t been much help. I guess I can’t rely on software after all. I actually wish I started voice acting earlier because learning in the short amount of time I have is going to be tricky. Nevertheless, I will persevere.

Story Development


Before you can start animating, you got to have a story to base your animation on. Without it, there is not direction, no end. I started my movie on an idea. When I began, I did not know where it was going, I just animated. But I know see that I did the wrong thing. By knowing where I was going to end, I could have planned a better beginning. Alas, it is too late. Not to say that the beginning of my story is terrible, but I cannot do much about it now. There is so much that goes into a story that I did not think of before I started studying how to direct it. I had my story before, but as I look back I realize that it is not a very captivating story and it doesn’t have a lot of suspense, and beats, things that are vital in a story. Really, what I should have done first, after deciding on a basic plot, was to develop clearly the antagonist and protagonist.

Crafting a villain is much more complex than I thought. It takes a lot of planning, and it is very important to know your character, especially his/her background, since it can affect the choices they make strongly. The appearances they have can have a great effect on how we perceive them, since we as humans tend to, unwillingly, judge others based on looks. I am still working on my villain for the story, which will completely change the direction. It is exciting, yet nerve wrecking at the same time. I have come up with so much ideas, that at times don’t seem to be enough, but at others too much to deal with. This doesn’t only apply to working on the villain, but for the story overall.

Brainstorming is an important aspect of story telling. I wish I had done more of that before.  I recently have been doing that a lot which caused me to modify things in the story, add and subtract. This project will be my first substantial story, so I don’t have too high expectations of myself. Hopefully it will all turn out well.


Every time I draw, I always aim for improvement. As I read tips from books and articles, I found a great lot emphasized creating depth. One of the ways to “kill depth” is by drawing lines similar to the horizon. Making them go in other directions not only creates more depth, but makes a scene more interesting to watch. Lately I have been experimenting a lot with shadows and shades. It is something that I did not really include before in my drawings. Well shadows of course, but shades, not as much. As I look back at my previous work, I realize that the lack of shades and shadows diminishes realism and does not accentuate shapes to improve the overall quality of a scene. Even though my animations are cartoonish, I think having more depth cannot hurt it. My previous post exemplifies my point. Hopefully I will continue to learn more about the topic, and share more tips on this blog. 

Mini reflection


decemberI started on my series back in December or January of this year (2013). I had the characters made, so my task at that time was to start on the story line.

studying

It was difficult since I did not have a lot of time; I had to go to school and work, and studying took a lot of free time. I tried my best to squeeze in time to work on my project. It is a long process since I am working on it by myself mostly. I asked people around me for advice and suggestion, but that was about it. Having others insights, I now see, it is every important. I always had my little book of notes that I carried around, so I could write my ideas down anytime.

I organized my finalized ideas into a binder by category.notesbook I hope I will keep filling it up until it is full. It has been 3 years since I started on this project and 5 months since I started on the animation of my series. I was focused, yet super giddy, or frustrated at times.frustrated I spent long hours working to produce about 3 mins of work. This might seem little accomplishment for such a  long span of time, but I do not look at it that way. I have had a tendency of starting projects and abandoning them a while after. trashThis time, it did not happen. I have not finished the series, but I know I will keep going with this. When I was watching my creation for the first time, I was so elated. It was not the feeling of my usual happiness, it was so much more. I had a smile plastered on my face for the whole day. I play the video over and over, excited every time I watch.elated

I want to continue experiencing the feeling, so I will continue on my project. I can only get better from here, I surely hope I will be able to capture the attention of a larger audience. Compared to my earlier animations, I definitely put more effort into this project. I can see how I have improved over the years, and I hope my progress will stay at an upward trend. Animation is something I found and would like to keep doing for years to come.


thought

As you should know, I recently posted the first part of the pilot of my series, Bo the Creature. I started the show by creating the main character Bo, the little alien creature, about three years ago.

alien yeahAt the time, I had only a vague idea of what I was going to do as always.I knew that the alien had to be cute, but I did not have a concrete story line to accompany it.

abigail and farnham I soon decided to create a supporting character, Abigail. Still I had no concrete story line, but having another character narrowed my options. Even after I created the final main character, Farnham, I had not developed my story. I only figured out what I wanted to do after I created Abigail’s mother.

determined

I was hesitant to start a series since it is going to take more work then a movie, but I am now willing to try.

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