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First Animated Short


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#1 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 10:39 AM

Hey,

A group of fellow graphic design/animation students and I have been planning to produce a 15 minute animated short for some time now. We've got a solid script, voice actors, characters and backgrounds.

The 'look' we're after is Bluth (Secret of Nymh) and Disney (Pinocchio, Peter Pan), respectively -- classical animation, hand drawn and painted.

However, being the poor, starving students that we are, our biggest roadblocks are time and money.

Here's my question:

If we're going to go all out on this, will we be better doing this the old school way (using our hands, multiplane cameras, cels and ink, 100,000+ drawings) or is there animation software out there that can make this project somewhat less tedious but still yield the results we're after?

Cheers,
Jonathan
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 01:05 AM

Being the poor, starving students do you really think you can film 100,000 hand made drawings without paying people to draw and put on very expensive film 100,000 hand made drawings? Dude, do yourself a favor and use the technology thousands of people worked their asses off to create in order to make life easier for the poor lowly annimator.

No, it's not going to look like Pinocchio or Peter Pan, but what makes you think it will even if you do go to all the unimaginable trouble of spending months and months , working late into the night creating intricate backgrounds and charatures then sketching, refining, coloring, and filming thousands upon thousands of tediously hand drawn cells ? The guys who did those Disney films were incredable artists who worked, sometimes for years to create these masterpieces and maybe ONE guy in the history of your school could have been talented enough to join their ranks so I siriously doubt you and your friends will be able to pull it off in any way close to what your imagining it will look like. Furthermore , even Disney started to use animation software which is how Pixar came into being. It was a division of Disney before it was sold and became Pixar.

If you don't think I'm right, try animating a simple 30 second short and see how much trouble it is and what kind of results you come up with, then multiply it by 100,000 and you'll start to get an idea of what I'm talking about. If God had meant people to animate by hand he wouldn't have made human beings so suseptable to writer's cramp.
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#3 jdtranetzki

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 04:20 AM

what access, if any, do you have through your school regarding animation software programs? It would be beneficial to look into a marriage of the two forms; to which degree is totally up to you as the artists.

If no software program is available to use, it will be very costly to finance it independently.

Many of my peers have done many small animations drawn by hand and worked their way up, utilitzing the learning curve of the process. For them, however, the bigger projects used software provided by the school.

Edited by JDT, 30 April 2006 - 04:23 AM.

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#4 dd3stp233

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 04:44 AM

I wouldn't say its as hard as captvideo says but traditional animation is very time consuming. There is no reason you couldn't do it as long as you have the time, money and technical/artistic talents. I have done some limited traditional animations with a home made multi-plane stand but nothing like early Disney. Even to this day, there are many Asian companies that still do most of their animation the traditional way. I think generally computers are a less expensive way to go, unless labor is cheap and computers would be less time consuming. Computer software would make things easier and cheaper but I have yet to see anything done on a computer that would equal the quality of the classic Disney features. I am not sure if this has more to do with the people involved or the technology.

Pixar was actually started as part of Lucasfilm (for special effects) long before its connection to Disney. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixar

Edited by dd3stp233, 30 April 2006 - 04:46 AM.

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#5 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 06:10 AM

not to be a downer, but 15 minutes of 'classic disney'/'bluth in his prime' quality animation would take a team of about 50 similar-experienced animators (meaning some of the best traditional animators that ever lived) about 6 months.

when people speak of how challenging and time consuming good animation is (especially traditional hand drawn), there is no exagerration.

you'll wanna ditch hand-painting the cels. there are several software packages available that can handle that very nicely, and give you great control over editing your palettes as things progress. you'll also be finishing digitally, which is hugely advantageous over shooting layers on a camera stand. you can finish at 4k res and just get a filmout if necessary.

also, get a simple & quick digital/video pencil tester. that will make a huge difference in time.

if you all are doing this to get jobs in the animation industry, i would highly suggest that you make a 1 or 2 minute animated film, and concentrate on making that film as high quality as possible. an exquisitely animated b/w line drawing animation of 20 seconds will do tenfold for your career compared to a 5 minute full color, multi-layered mediocre quality animation.

However, being the poor, starving students that we are, our biggest roadblocks are time and money.

are you familiar with the old film biz proverb: "fast, cheap, good. you can only have two of those"? well with traditional animation it's more like "months rather than years, more than two minutes in running time, good. pick two". seriously, i have seen dozens of ultra ambitious student animated films that end up being 60% non-cleanedup keyframes because they ran out of time or because they went insane and abandoned it. again, i would highly suggest something around 2 minutes, crammed with as much quality that you all can fill it with.

hope this helps,
jaan
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#6 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 11:43 AM

Thank you all for the replies and advice. The idea of making a 1-2 short instead, at least for starters, is an excellent idea.

As far as digital animation .. any recommended software?
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 08:34 PM

2d orn 3d? If your going for 3d, I would recomment Lightwave 5.6 or higher, the latest is lightwave 9 i believe. TYhis ia a fantastic program with a LOT of history in film production for major features. It is capable of extremely convincing photorealistic work and also 3d cartoon charatures. I love and have worked with this program, in fact we are currntly using it to create FX for my film "The Black Sky". You will not go wrong with Lightwave although there is a learning curve but also a prethera of books and online tutorials available. Another fanttastic program is Maya. It is probably the best program out there for creating photorealistic water. The learning curve is higher for it than lightwave and there are other problems in that you only lease the software not buy it, but overall it is terrific. Then there is 3d Studio Max. I has been used in many features but I an not as famillure with it's pros and cons.

Now as for background anamation Bryce is terrific for landscapes and works very well. Poser is a great charature anamation program that has prebuilt objects, Men women, children props, clothing ect. and can save a LOT of time.

Compositing software, Adobi After Effects and Dicreet Combustion. Combustion has the advantage of being able to use a render farm where as After Effects is limited to 1 machine. As for editing software, I would go with Premere simple because it's designed for PC and is the most common one in use so there lots of support out there.

If you are poor, starving students however, your probably going to want FREE software, well again your friendly El Capitain comes to the rescue. For anamation there is Blender (www.blender3d.org). This is a wonderful free 3d program. The learning curve is probably the highest of all the programs listed but it will do virtually everything a high priced program will do and for free. For landscapes there's Terragen (www.planetside.co.uk/terragen). It is also capable of creating photorealistic 3d landscapes and again is free. As for compositing there used to be a couple of programs Icarus and Axigon, however I could never find them. Maybe some one on this board has a web address. They were both free ut you'll have to do some extensive surching to find them.

For 2d the onlly ones I know of are Illustraitor and Coral Draw, both of with will cost you something. I'm sure there are free 2d programs out there so I would Google 2d anamation programs free and see what comes up. I never used 2d all that much so I never messed with it. As for free editing software abc roll. It's single track ofvideo and 2 tracks of audio but again it's free.

P.S I would also check 3DCafe.com. It's a great place for anamators to hang out as has lots of free plugins and galleries along with tons of links

Edited by Capt.Video, 30 April 2006 - 08:39 PM.

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#8 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 07:45 AM

Thank you so much for the info Capt. Video!!!!!!

:D

2D, 3D.. good question. I know my friend's got CS2 and one of the earlier Lightwaves, so I'll run it by the rest of the guys and see what they think.

Thanks again!

-Jonathan
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#9 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 10:24 PM

Te Nada, Amego ;)
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#10 Mike Kaminski

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 08:26 PM

Okay first of all traditional hand-drawn animation IS NOT THAT HARD. This guy is making a short film, not a Disney-quality feature. Film students make hand drawn short films all the time. But it IS time consuming, and will consume hundreds of hours of work. But if you have four or five people working on it it is EASILY doable.

What you have to consider is that 2d computer programs will not give you the same look as a handrawn animation. Thats why people still do handdrawn animation--its like digital versus film. You can get something that gets the jist of it but only handdrawn looks like handdrawn.

If you have a few months to spare and a few friends helping you doing frame-by-frame classical animation is far, far worth it, it just looks so much better. That is, if you can do it. Like i said, it is very time consuming but nothing near impossible. If you are going for Bluth or Disney or anything like that you can only get that quality with hand-drawn animation--theres a reason why peope still use those methods. Using the computer is fine, and I'm sure the quality tradeoff is worth the time savings--but this is really for people who want things done efficiently, in other words as quickly and cheaply as possible. If you have the means, desire, support, equipment, money and time to do it classically, then i would say do it classically.
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#11 Robert Hughes

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 03:39 PM

What's the closest modern parallel to classic Disney /etc? Do hand drawn animation, and capture with a digital camera on a copy stand for transfer into your computer. Touch up and color on the computer. Output to the format of your choice; film / video / digital.
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#12 dd3stp233

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 02:24 AM

Most of Hayao Miyazaki's and Studio Ghibli's films were done traditionally with no computers at all with only a few expections. His films have set box office records in Japan so he must be doing something right. Miyazaki once commented on the subject, "Why do we need computers to do what human hands can do?"
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#13 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 08:15 AM

Okay first of all traditional hand-drawn animation IS NOT THAT HARD. This guy is making a short film, not a Disney-quality feature. Film students make hand drawn short films all the time. But it IS time consuming, and will consume hundreds of hours of work. But if you have four or five people working on it it is EASILY doable.

What you have to consider is that 2d computer programs will not give you the same look as a handrawn animation. Thats why people still do handdrawn animation--its like digital versus film. You can get something that gets the jist of it but only handdrawn looks like handdrawn.

If you have a few months to spare and a few friends helping you doing frame-by-frame classical animation is far, far worth it, it just looks so much better. That is, if you can do it. Like i said, it is very time consuming but nothing near impossible. If you are going for Bluth or Disney or anything like that you can only get that quality with hand-drawn animation--theres a reason why peope still use those methods. Using the computer is fine, and I'm sure the quality tradeoff is worth the time savings--but this is really for people who want things done efficiently, in other words as quickly and cheaply as possible. If you have the means, desire, support, equipment, money and time to do it classically, then i would say do it classically.



you animate by hand, then scan the b/w line drawings into computer. hand-painting your fill colors is INSANE if you are not extremely experienced at it and if you have the option of doing it digitally. try mixing enough acrylic paint to get a custom green, for 10,000 frames...

Edited by jaan, 25 June 2006 - 08:16 AM.

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