Very Basic question about shapes

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Very Basic question about shapes

Postby NealF » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:44 pm

Hi,

I'm trying to find an answer to my question about shapes which is so basic I'm having trouble finding it.

If I draw a line, for instance, I can also turn it into a shape. Why would I want to do this? What's the advantage of creating shapes?

Thanks.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby slowtiger » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:08 pm

The "line" you're drawing is just a construction line which will be invisible in the final render. Only by creating a shape (+ outline) from it you get visible elements.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby Greenlaw » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:17 pm

That's a hard one to explain quickly but I'll try.

Drawing in Moho is done in two parts: Curves and Shapes.

Curves are used to define the edges of a Shape and they can also be used as emitters or paths for Shapes to follow using the Follow Path tool. Curves, by themselves, cannot be rendered. Think of them as guidelines or the 'skeleton' for Moho shapes and drawings.

Shapes are created from one or more Curves using some or all of the points in the Curves. Shapes have renderable properties like Strokes and Fills. You cannot create Shapes without Curves.

When you draw in Moho, you're usually just creating Curves. Some options can automatically create Shapes from the Curves after you draw them. As mentioned, Curves don't render by themselves, so you need to make part or all of Curve into renderable Shapes.

There are many technical reasons for this, and in more advanced applications, it offers a lot of advantages. For example, a Curve may be used to create many separate Shapes, and those Shapes can have their own stacking order, so it is possible to have a drawing creating in Moho fold or wrap over itself. If you want to take that a step farther, you can animate the stacking order of the Shapes in the Curve, allowing to fold or wrap the drawing in a different direction. Combined in an action, you can create convincing 3D-like qualities to your animations.

If this sounds confusing, don't feel bad: it almost always is to new users. Just keep the rules above in mind and, over time, you'll understand the benefits and uses of this two-part process. (Hmm...not sure I explained that very well. Hopefully, someone will come along and do a better job.) :)
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby NealF » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:43 pm

Thank you both for replying.

Yes, it's a bit complicated still. But you gave me some things to think about and look into further.
For example, I use the freehand tool a lot. It creates a line with a brush stroke that I apply to it. Is that already a shape automatically? If not, is there any reason to make it a shape?

Thanks.

OK. This might make my confusion a bit clearer:

Let's say I draw a blob with the Blob brush. I can change its shape, color, stroke. No problem.
Is there any reason to turn it into a Shape? What advantage would that give me?
Last edited by NealF on Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby synthsin75 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:48 pm

Yes, auto-fill and auto-stroke options, like in the freehand tool, automatically create shapes.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby NealF » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:42 pm

So if it's already a shape, what purpose does the Create Shape tool have? Seems redundant.

I noticed also that you can name the shape but I don't see a reason for this yet.

Thanks.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby synthsin75 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:01 pm

NealF wrote:So if it's already a shape, what purpose does the Create Shape tool have? Seems redundant.

I noticed also that you can name the shape but I don't see a reason for this yet.

Thanks.


Because you can draw curves without shapes, and then add the shapes later. Just depends on your workflow.
Named shapes make them easier to select.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby NealF » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:13 am

Ah! Got it. Thanks.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby Greenlaw » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:27 pm

Yeah, creating Shapes can be automated with Freehand. Freehand is a quick way to draw but not the best way to draw art you intend to deform using bones. For that, it's better to plot your points using the Add Points tool. But with the Add Points tool, you may need to manually create your shapes.

Fills and Strokes can be automated for shapes created with Add Points tool, but if you create open paths (i.e., a 'line') then you'll need to create the Stroke manually using Create Shape.

(Sorry, I just realized I'm using Curves and Paths interchangeably. If that's confusing, I think they're the same thing...at least, that's how I'm the terms here.)

There's wrong with drawing art using the Freehand tool but because Freehand drops points abritrarily, and these shapes may not deform very nicely with bones. If you want shapes that deform well, you want to use Add Points so you can plot your points optimally. Alternatveiy, I guess you can you can draw with Freehand then then use Add Points and Delete Edge (to remove points), and push and pull points and adjust curvatures to create a optimal shape for deforming...but, seriously, it would be much easier to just draw exactly what you want with Add Points. :)

Where I like to use Freehand is mainly for items I won't be deforming with bones, like props, background details, FBF drawings, and certain Switch layer drawings.

But certainly you should experiment with all the tools and see what works best for you. Through exploration many users here have discovered all sorts of interesting ways to use the tools that the developers may not have intended. Good luck, and be sure to post any neat tricks you find.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby NealF » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:35 pm

Very useful information.

The more I use Moho, the more I like it. I'm fairly new to animation but been drawing all my life. So I gravitated to the Freehand tool because it just felt more like drawing. But you made some good points.

Thanks.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby Greenlaw » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:53 pm

Yeah, I understand the inclination. When I first started using Moho, I resisted Add Points for a while, and tried to use only Freehand or other drawing programs with Moho Pro. But by the time I was ready to work on my first 'Moho' short (Scareplane,) I found that Add Points was the way to go for what I needed the characters to do.

But there are so many ways to design and animate in Moho, I don't want to suggest that you limit yourself to certain tools. At my workplace, for example, depending on what I'm asked to do I might use any of the tools in Moho, Photoshop, Illustrator, Harmony, LightWave and After Effects on a single assignment, so it's good to be familiar with all of the tools at your disposal and understand how they work together.

Good luck!
Last edited by Greenlaw on Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby NealF » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:17 pm

I agree.

I'm using Moho, Clip Studio EX, Painter, Motion 5, etc. But Moho is the new baby.
Thanks for the tips.
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Re: Very Basic question about shapes

Postby uncle808us » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:39 pm

Excellent post. Thanks to the OP and all involved. Very enlightening.
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