Hello World!

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Hello World!

Postby Jkoseattle » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:49 pm

Hi, I'm just here introducing myself.

I'm brand new to Moho. And for the most part, brand new to animation, though a few years ago I did an animated video using Adobe Premiere Elements to promote my album. http://www.jimofseattle.com/other-music. I also have a whole box of hand drawn flip movies using little pads of paper.

My second album was just released and I'm told it needs videos too, so I decided to animate one. I spent weeks building a box that I could use to create stop motion animation with shadow puppets, and while it worked pretty well, it was going to be way too inflexible and time-consuming, so I decided to pursue software instead. That led me to Moho. I installed the trial over the weekend and got through the tutorial. So far so good. I'm going to buy a Debut license in a day or so when I get round to it.

So, I'm a total newb and am enthusiastic to get started! I have two videos in mind for this album, and they're both going to be animated, probably with Moho. So I have signed up here because I'm going to have a lot of questions and issues, no doubt.

To start with, I have two questions and one offer:

QUESTION 1: The tutorials got me through the basics of the Moho tools, and I think I can figure out what I don't know, (or ask here), but I'd first like to know... How should I go about this? I know about storyboarding and planning things out on paper first, but I don't want to work that way. I want to have a basic idea, but then I plan to leave plenty or room for inspiration and improvisation as I go along. What I want to know is, should I build the characters in Moho and save them as separate files, or should I start with backgrounds, or what? A lot of both videos will be using imported images as I'll be using my daughter's artwork. How does that change my approach? I'm just looking for tips on organizing the work. I'll know from experience after having gone through it, but I'm wondering what gotchas there are that I'll be thinking "Oh man, I wish I had taken care of this first" or whatever.

QUESTION 2: What's the best technique for doing that common effect of a line drawing being drawn really fast that you see on some Ted Talks etc. Sometimes they have a hand holding a pencil moving really fast, but sometimes it's just the lines magically drawing themselves at superhuman speed. I want to do a bunch of stuff like that. I ASSUME they start with the finished drawing then erase it frame by frame and reverse the video, but I don't really know. This will be done with completed pen and ink drawings - I will not be creating drawings anew in Moho.

OFFER: I'm a pretty experienced composer/songwriter, with two published albums under my belt and 30 years of theatre, video game and film projects. I would be excited to write scores for anyone's short films in exchange for all the help I'm planning on asking for on this forum. My work can be found at http://www.jimofseattle.com. Not asking for money or anything, just sounds like fun.
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Here is my first and so far only Moho video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBEsOZF9Ogg
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Re: Hello World!

Postby dueyftw » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:26 am

Start out small. Shapes and simple characters. Use the group layers. The add point tool is the best way to draw in Moho. The freehand is better, but still so-so. Watch as many tutorial videos you can. Do what is covered.

This is a 2d animation program. The better you can draw the better your animation.

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Re: Hello World!

Postby hayasidist » Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:10 am

Hi Jim and welcome to the forum.

you said "pen and ink" drawings -- will you be scanning them in to use "flip book" style or animating the images?

that "fast drawing" - there are some ways to do this in Moho - Masking is one and there's "Stroke exposure" (Pro feature); and there are "Smart mesh" (that's Pro only) and Bones (Debut and Pro) which you can use to animate otherwise static images

IMO "room for creativity" and storyboarding are not inconsistent. Having a broad direction (storyboard) AND being prepared to vary that is, IMO, at the heart of this. With a storyboard you'll know the shots so you'll know what you want drawn and how to separate the bits that "need to move". Speaking personally where I have many views / variants of a character I find it easier and quicker to have different rigs for different purposes rather than one rig that will do everything. I do have "shared" assets in separate files that I incorporate as needed into an "animation" file - and I have many (usually very short) animation files that are assembled in a video editor.

but ask away... there's plenty of help here
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Re: Hello World!

Postby Jkoseattle » Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:15 pm

hayasidist wrote:Hi Jim and welcome to the forum.

you said "pen and ink" drawings -- will you be scanning them in to use "flip book" style or animating the images?


I will be animating the images. They are abstract curly doodles, all black pen on white.

hayasidist wrote:that "fast drawing" - there are some ways to do this in Moho - Masking is one and there's "Stroke exposure" (Pro feature); and there are "Smart mesh" (that's Pro only) and Bones (Debut and Pro) which you can use to animate otherwise static images


I won't be investing in Pro for a long time if ever. So by masking do you mean I should have a white shape that covers my drawing and then animate the removal of the mask bit by bit? I'm still not totally up on all the terminology. I think masking is the same thing it means in Photoshop, yes?


hayasidist wrote:IMO "room for creativity" and storyboarding are not inconsistent. Having a broad direction (storyboard) AND being prepared to vary that is, IMO, at the heart of this. With a storyboard you'll know the shots so you'll know what you want drawn and how to separate the bits that "need to move". Speaking personally where I have many views / variants of a character I find it easier and quicker to have different rigs for different purposes rather than one rig that will do everything. I do have "shared" assets in separate files that I incorporate as needed into an "animation" file - and I have many (usually very short) animation files that are assembled in a video editor.


Point taken, yeah, I can make a tentative story board that doesn't drill down to the tiniest detail. Terminology question: "rig"?

Also, I will want to be editing between shots, such as showing a person on a podium, then cutting to the audience reaction, then back again. It seems to make more sense to do all the podium shots in a single file, and all the audience shots in a different file, and then render them as separate movies, lastly handling the editing between shots in something like Camtasia or Adobe Premiere after the animations are finished. Does it make sense to do it that way?
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Here is my first and so far only Moho video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBEsOZF9Ogg
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Re: Hello World!

Postby hayasidist » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:30 am

Jkoseattle wrote:I will be animating the images. They are abstract curly doodles, all black pen on white.

You *might* (depends on exactly what the design is and what you intend to do with it) find it helpful to break the image into many elements. You seem to know photoshop: so (whether you draw on paper or digitally) use layers and export each as an image (I know you said you don't want Pro, but that has pretty good support for using PS files directly without needed to go via exported images) In some cases having separate layers for (say) arm and all the rest of the body if you just want to animate the arm works best; if you have a "stack" of "doodles" then, in much the same way as you'd build them up in PS in layers, have them in Moho layers...

Jkoseattle wrote: Terminology question: "rig"?
... and a rig is, in essence, how you've split up the image and added bones to it. So I might choose to design my character in PS in (say) 10 layers and for shot 1 I just want layer 3 to move, so I export layers 1+2; layer 3; and layers 4-10 as an images and do what I want with animation on layer 3. In shot 2 it's layers 5 and 6 that move independently so its 1-4, 5, 6, 7-10 as 4 images ... IMO often (not always) quicker and easier than trying to build and use the "universal rig" (which is why storyboard -- you know before you start animating what the actions are - design and rig for those!)

Jkoseattle wrote:So by masking do you mean I should have a white shape that covers my drawing and then animate the removal of the mask bit by bit? I'm still not totally up on all the terminology. I think masking is the same thing it means in Photoshop, yes?

Yes - more or less. But the "white shape" as you describe it can be used to conceal / reveal the "underlying" image without itself being visible - and, as with PS can be any shape; plus you can animate each and every control point. Check out the "masking" tutorials and then ask again -- many people find masking "challenging"!

Jkoseattle wrote:Also, I will want to be editing between shots, such as showing a person on a podium, then cutting to the audience reaction, then back again. It seems to make more sense to do all the podium shots in a single file, and all the audience shots in a different file, and then render them as separate movies, lastly handling the editing between shots in something like Camtasia or Adobe Premiere after the animations are finished. Does it make sense to do it that way?
There may be value in having more than one moho file for (say) the audience - again depends on what you want to animate in each - But basically - Yes! If (as?) you need to sync to music or other sound then I use a click track (or just a portion of the sound file) in each Moho file and export only the images (lossless - I use PNG sequence) and then assemble video and audio in the editor.
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Re: Hello World!

Postby Jkoseattle » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:48 pm

Super helpful, thank you! I know this is all very beginner stuff I can find elsewhere, but I'm still in the primordial ooze phase and along with learning the product, deciding what my video is going to look like, I'm also learning my ideal routes for assistance.

In case I need to reference it later in some other forum post, here is what I'm attempting to accomplish:

VIDEO 1: Originally was going to be analog shadow puppets animated from my iPhone, This was working, but was too inflexible and I realized I still needed other kinds of animation anyway, not to mention (VIDEO 2, below). This is a music video for one of my songs. It is a speech given by the leader of an alien planet to his adoring subjects. The song is an instrumental, because he is speaking a language that sounds like piano to human ears. As he speaks, curly doodles appear and he manipulates them, which means something to the audience as they react to his actions. It will consist mostly of shots of the leader manipulating curly doodles, some shots of the doodles alone, and audience reaction shots. This is the song:
https://soundcloud.com/greenmonkeyrecor ... attle-both

VIDEO 2: This is the one I'm hoping to do a lot of the "fast drawing" technique. It is a list song, and I need imagery for each item in the list. The chorus will be a big panorama with lots of small moving figures on a large landscape. The landscape and figures are all to be imported images which I will animate.This is the song:
https://soundcloud.com/greenmonkeyrecor ... attle-both
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Here is my first and so far only Moho video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBEsOZF9Ogg
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Re: Hello World!

Postby jahnocli » Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:29 pm

Hi, and welcome to the forum. To echo duey's words above, it would be wise to start with something much shorter than either of these songs, which are 3-4 minutes long (that's a lot of animation). Maybe you could use some song fragments, or try something else just a few seconds long first. My two cents...
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
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Re: Hello World!

Postby Jkoseattle » Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:40 pm

Oh man.... But yeah, I see that. Unfortunately I don't have an option. These videos are what I bought Moho for. Now that I bit all this off I having to start chewing I guess.
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Here is my first and so far only Moho video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBEsOZF9Ogg
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Re: Hello World!

Postby hayasidist » Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:55 pm

Jim, IMO jahnocli has the right idea. Rather than launching off trying to animate the whole thing, do your storyboard and then get a feel for animating what you want with a short (10 second??) burst picked from a "suitably easy but representative" shot. Even if (when!) you throw that away (because you'll suddenly feel you can do it a whole lot better!?!) you'll have gained a lot by doing this. It might sound like wasted effort, but it's as much of investment as bashing out scales on a piano for what feels like centuries before you can actually truly play a tune ...
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Re: Hello World!

Postby Jkoseattle » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:14 pm

That makes sense. From these comments I've already decided to keep with a shadow puppet-like look, which means that for much of it I only have to deal with black shapes on a static background. I will just be creating vectors (and using layer binding - see, I've already learned something!) instead of construction paper. I'll post something for feedback after I've finished as much as I already spent two weeks animating by hand.
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Here is my first and so far only Moho video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBEsOZF9Ogg
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Re: Hello World!

Postby hayasidist » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:22 pm

I'll look forward to seeing it! (BTW do you use a music notation program?)
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Re: Hello World!

Postby Jkoseattle » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:28 pm

I have used Sibelius in the past, but I haven't needed to notate anything in a long time. Why do you ask?
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Here is my first and so far only Moho video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBEsOZF9Ogg
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Re: Hello World!

Postby hayasidist » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:04 pm

Sibelius has very good video sync -- with a good set of simulated instruments and performance style additions you can get a more than usable track and you can make minor variations to tempo or add Breath marks / Fermata / Caesura to line up the played score with video hit points...
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Re: Hello World!

Postby Jkoseattle » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:30 pm

Well, I use Sonar for my audio workstation, which also has video sync, but the audio is long since completed and released, so I have to match the video to the locked audio track. That shouldn't be hard though.
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Here is my first and so far only Moho video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBEsOZF9Ogg
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