Wizard Character Modeling is Done: Anime Studio

Wizard Character is Done

Here is a Wizard Character I put together in Anime Studio.  I really like making characters in Anime Studio.   The wizard is a secondary character, however he is in quite a few scenes.  In the original story this character was a witch, however we wanted to tone him down as this is a kid’s story.  So we changed him into a wizard.  Actually we changed him into a magician, however saying magician was hard for our voice actors as they kept stumbling on the word.   So he kind of changed into a wizard as it was easier to say ; )

Stock photo companies are a great source of inspiration for characters.  Just purchase the rights, and then you can make derivative works inspired off of the design.  It is much easier then trying to design from scratch.  Some people that is their strength, however some do not have that talent or do not want to take the time.  It is kind of like changing your oil.  Most people can do the job, however they have others do it as that is what they specialize in.   There is a lot of talent out there just waiting to be tapped into your project.  Many talented artists would love that you use their artwork in your work.   There is a large number of outlets online where you can purchase the rights to use photos, sketches, vector drawings, 3d artwork, backgrounds and the list goes on.  

Wizard Character

Our character is kind of a folksy, hillbilly type of a wizard.  He tries to get things right, but he messes up most of the time.  I am not sure if he does it on purpose, or by accident.  You will need to follow the story to figure that out : )   His robe is purple as that seems to be the standard color for this character.

 

 

Wizard afathersdream.com

Wizard Character afathersdream.com


The complete professional animation solution

 

On another note, I was sad to hear that one of the last remaining munchkins from the Wizard of OZ has past on.

Karl Slover, one of the last surviving actors who played Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz,” died on Tuesday in a central Georgia hospital.   Only 3 of the 124 actors playing Munchkins remain.    Slover made 50 dollars a week playing this part.  He was fond of saying ToTo the dog made more money then he did on the show.

Short Test Animation

 

Short Test Animation

Below is a very short test animation with the dog and frog.   It kind of gives you a feel for the opening scene.   There is so much to learn in a new program, however I am on my way.  I did not try to do much animation here, I was basically just trying to get a feel of the scene.   I have a few of the other characters made and will post them shortly.

 

 

Frog Character done

Well I completed the frog character.  I put him in the header with the dog since they are the main characters of the story.   The dog talks, however the frog just kind of sits there and looks cute.   The story is about a dog who had a friend frog.  The dog wants to have another dog like him.  So he visits a wizard to have his frog turned into a dog.  The story has many turns.  Will the dog get his wish?  How will it all turn out.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

 

afathersdream.com frog (1)

afathersdream.com frog

 

Here is a short animation

I am working on the other characters for the story.  Generally this kind of thing is already done before the animator begins.  However, since this is a one man show, I must get everything together myself.  I have several people I run things by and seek their creative input, however when it is all said and done it boils down to what I am able to accomplish.  That is a little intimidating.  I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, however there is a difference between shying away and just not having what it takes to do something.  I am reminded of the time I was going to shear my sheep.   Being a farmer, I always look for ways to cut costs as it is so difficult farming these days.  I decided that I would shear my sheep.  I got all the tools together and then I watched every shearing video I could find on YouTube.  They made it look so easy.  In less than a minute they would be done.  I rehearsed it over and over in my mind thousands of times.  I could do it in my sleep.   Then the day came.  Looking back I feel sorry for the chosen sheep that would be my sacrificial lamb.   Well to make a long story short, It took more than 2 hours to shear this one sheep.  I was exhausted, the sheep was exhausted and my sheep shearing experiment was forever put to rest.   The sheep recovered in a few minutes and was back grazing probably wondering what just happened.  I recovered in several days.  My pride took a little longer.   I now have the greatest respect for sheep shearers.  They make it look so easy, but like any skilled trade it takes training to get good at it.   My advice to beginning sheep farmers?   Either get a hair breed that does not need shearing, or find yourself a good shearer.  Once you find your shearer, treat them with the greatest respect.  Give them coffee, donuts, breakfast and anything else you can give them to keep them coming back.  As they are sure worth it : )  You could not pay me enough to do that again.

So there is a difference in putting your mind to something, and just not having the training to do something no matter how hard you try.   As I am making this animation, this is forever in the back of my mind.   Will the animation pass muster when I am finished?   Will the artwork be good enough?  Will the music?  I am reminded of a Bible verse in Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily…   That has been my motto for most of my life, and I think it applies here.  If you do your best, others will appreciate it.   So I will do the best I can do.  : )

Crazy Talk Software

Below is a little experiment I did with Crazy Talk.

I made this model of a head, I was going to use it in a stop motion sequence, however the armature was kind of flimsy, so it did not hold together very well. 

The head had no moving parts, the animation was all done with Crazy talk.   As you can see it turned out pretty well.   This may be something I look info more in the future.

Dog Modeling is Finished in Anime Studio

 Dog Modeling is Done

Dog modeling is pretty well finished now.  Below is him sitting and standing.  I am still learning and it will take a while.  It feels good to finally get a face to the story.  I think I will add him to my picture theme.   Doing an animation will be a long process, especially as you are learning the tools of the trade.  Computers certainly help make it a process that I think is doable.  Without them I do not think realistically one person could animate a story as it would just take too long.

© aFathersdream.com

Cartoon Dog

Cartoon Dog

A cartoon dog and a frog is what this story is about.   I started on the dog first as it seems to be the main character.
Below is the beginning of my dog. I think it will be a beagle type dog. Beagles are one of the most loved dog breeds as they seem to make very good pets. So many pet owners will be able to relate to our little beagle.

aFathersdream.com cartoon beagle dog (6)

Aftathersdream.com cartoon beagle

I started with a basic shape on the head of what I think a beagle looks like.   Drawing with anime studio is easy once you get the hang of it.   I only had to draw one ear and then copy it to the other side.

aFathersdream.com cartoon beagle dog (5)

Aftathersdream.com cartoon beagle

Here I added the pupils of the eyes. I wanted the eyes to be big and round to give the lovable puppy dog look :)

aFathersdream.com cartoon beagle dog (4)

Aftathersdream.com cartoon beagle

Now the whites of the eyes.  I figured out if you make one eye first, then you can copy and scale the other eye to the right size .

aFathersdream.com cartoon beagle dog (3)

Aftathersdream.com cartoon dog

Now the eyebrows, hopefully they will help me to give the dog more expressions.

aFathersdream.com cartoon beagle

aFathersdream.com cartoon beagle

Now a cute little nose. Our beagle will have a short snout.

Afathersdream.com cartoon dog

afathersdream.com cartoon dog

Here is my completed head. I think it turned out pretty good. I don’t really like the sour look on the face, but I can correct that later with the mouth shapes I will using for lip sync.   Anime studio allows you to set shading for each element which helps to give it that 3d look.  I like both the flat look [without shading] and this look, but I think I will leave the shading in for now. I can always take it out later.   Anime studio allows you to define a style, so you can make changes to colors easier.   You can also define shading, so changing that will not be too difficult later if I decide to.

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First Animation

 My First Animation

First animation is below.  It is not Disney or anything like that.  However, I think it turned out pretty good for my first animation.   The background was a stock background included with Anime Studio Pro 6
  I used Papagayo for the lip sync.   I really like the drawing tools in Anime Studio.  You can just grab points and pull them around as you draw.  Which makes the drawing much easier than free hand stuff.  You then create a shape and fill it with a color.

  

I used scaling to make the flea appear like it is getting closer.   The sound effect was from a wav CD I had.  It took me several days to make all the faces for the different sounds and probably a day to do the animation.  I am still learning the program , so hopefully it will speed up a little.  However, I expected it would take a long time to do the animation.   So that was not unexpected.   Making the different faces took longer than expected. 

2d vs 3d

Having to make different views in 2d is not something I had really thought of.  In 3d, you model the character.  If you want to see the back side of the character , you just turn it around.   With 2d there is no side view as it is flat.  You can reverse it and get the opposite view.    But if you want to turn it around like in a head turn, each of the views have to be made.   So in some ways 3d would be easier.    I am not regretting choosing 2d as the medium, the different views is just something I had not thought of.


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Animation Video Editing Software

Video Editing is really not much different with animation than it is with live action.   The tools are pretty much the same.  Rendering can be a little different.   However, there is not really an animation only editing program that I am aware of.   Anime Studio does have the capability to edit to some extent.  However, it seems to work better to render short segments or “takes” then put them together in a video editing program.  Otherwise rendering can take a very long time.  One sample render I did took a day and half.  Yikes.   It is very important to always save before rendering.  This can prevent you losing all your work if your computer happens to crash while you are rendering.

The Programs

I have worked with a few different video software programs before, like

Movie Edit Pro 17 and  Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements 9 (Win/Mac)

However I settled on the combo Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 10

I had problems with Magix crashing.  Adobe elements 9 had some weird pixelation issues on the display panel.  Where ever I moved the cursor, it pixelated.  It only did it in the timeline view.   I suspect it was because elements 9 was a 32 bit program.   Once I received the Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 10  it worked very well.  I think because it is a 64 bit program, it was able to use all the memory I have installed.   Which solved a lot of the memory problems I was having.

I went ahead and purchased the combo pack of Photoshop and Premiere Elements.  My thinking was adding Photoshop was only 40.00 more than buying the separate video editing program.  It may be nice to have Photoshop so I can do some touch up work on the animation if needed.

This should work well for editing the animation.