Word balloon recommendation

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Word balloon recommendation

Postby Jkoseattle » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:35 pm

My project is low on animation, but consists mostly of a few dozen jpeg images. It's several minutes long, and by the end, Moho gets pretty sluggish. After all the visuals were done, I was told it needed word balloons. I tried adding a few in, but the text layers are so finicky and slow that it's too time-consuming and fraught with frustrations to be practical. The project will need maybe 50 such word balloons. If the best solution here would be to create images for the word balloons in an external application and import them, that means they can't be animated themselves, disappointing. Is there some trick to using text layers that makes them easier to use? Or is it the size of the project and the number of images in it that is causing the sluggishness, and I'm better off splitting it up into smaller projects? Suggestions?

Related question: How do I change the name of a text layer so that it is different (and much shorter) than the text it contains?

Related question 2: The manual talks of two check boxes that are missing on my dialog "Create one shape" and "Create text layer". Where'd they go?
Last edited by Jkoseattle on Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby Greenlaw » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:04 pm

Are you creating all the scenes in a single Moho project file? 'Several minutes' sounds like you have many scenes in the project. If so, sluggishness is to be expected.

Common practice in animation production is to create each scene as a separate Moho project, and then assemble the full edit in a video editing program. Vegas and Premiere come to mind, but if you're on a budget, I think Blender has a video editor mode.

If you only wish to use Moho, you can render the individual scenes out as image sequences or lossless video clips, and then assemble the edit in a new Moho project. (But I recommend an actual video editor. Even with a free editor, it will be easier and you'll have a lot more options.)

As for text balloons, yes, Moho's Text tool is kinda slow and awful, and I generally avoid using it.

I would set up the text in another program at an appropriate resolution and import it. Use a consistent point size and set the alignment to centered, and you should be fine. The word balloon themselves can be created in Moho using vectors. I would make a couple of variations and place them in a project for import or in the Library. As vectors, they will be easier to modify in Moho.

Suggestion: Make your word balloon's bubble and tail as two separate filled shapes with no stroke, place them in a group, and then enable outline for the group. This way, the group will outline both shapes with a single continuous outline, and you have the freedom to move the tail around as needed. For example:

Image

Note that you will see the outline when you render.
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby Greenlaw » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:21 pm

Oh, almost forgot: You'll want to disable Scale Compensation for the word balloon layers. This should maintain a consistent line weight for the balloons no matter the scaling and camera positioning.
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby slowtiger » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:40 pm

I wouldn't recommend to animate text if it's that much text. You can do still a lot with fading in/out, and animating the speech bubble itself. Readability is priority.
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby Jkoseattle » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:58 pm

Thanks. I normally do as you suggest, keeping scenes short and splicing them with a video editor (Camtasia). This project is actually a series of images in slide show fashion, many with word balloons. So there are no "scenes" per se. I could split each project up arbitrarily to keep them shorter.

I was actually doing the word balloons the way you describe, until I discovered the text object includes all those word balloon options. You'd recommend making my own instead of that then?
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby Greenlaw » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Jkoseattle wrote:I was actually doing the word balloons the way you describe, until I discovered the text object includes all those word balloon options. You'd recommend making my own instead of that then?

Oh...I'm actually looking at that feature now. Never mind. If this is working for you, definitely go with it.

I think I dismissed this feature in the past because at the time I needed a fairly specific style of word balloon but, TBH, this part of the UI is actually kinda cool for achieving that 'standard' comic balloon look. (That said, I'll probably still prefer editing the shapes directly rather than dragging a bunch of sliders...but that's just me, and I admit I'm weird about that stuff.) :P

Playing around with text editing now and I still dislike this editor though. IMO, the UI is a bit clunky for editing a lot of callouts and blocks of text. I wish text could be edited more directly in Moho and...

Jkoseattle wrote:...but the text layers are so finicky and slow that it's too time-consuming and fraught with frustrations to be practical. The project will need maybe 50 such word balloons.

Exactly. I usually create my text elements in Illustrator or Photoshop and import them. I find editing text easier there. And the imported text doesn't add the same performance hit the native text does.

If the best solution here would be to create images for the word balloons in an external application and import them, that means they can't be animated themselves, disappointing.

In what manner are you planning to animate the text? Write on? Flashing? You can do that with masks or animating transparency or visibility. If you wish to animate the shapes of the text, you need to convert it to vectors. Which brings us to...

Related question 2: The manual talks of two check boxes that are missing on my dialog "Create one shape" and "Create text layer". Where'd they go?

Maybe these were replaced by the Convert to Vectors command? Just right-click over the text layer and select Convert to Vectors. But I don't know...maybe those buttons did something else?

How do I change the name of a text layer so that it is different (and much shorter) than the text it contains?

That's another annoyance. I don't think you can. If it helps, you can place it inside a group and name the group whatever you wish.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby synthsin75 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:50 am

Jkoseattle wrote:Related question: How do I change the name of a text layer so that it is different (and much shorter) than the text it contains?

You can't. You can put them in their own group layers that you can name as you wish.
Related question 2: The manual talks of two check boxes that are missing on my dialog "Create one shape" and "Create text layer". Where'd they go?

Those options only show if you use the Insert Text tool on a vector layer, so you have the option to make them vectors on that layer. But then you trade off being able to easily edit the text.
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby hayasidist » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:38 am

Jkoseattle wrote:My project is low on animation, but consists mostly of a few dozen jpeg images. It's several minutes long, and by the end, Moho gets pretty sluggish. After all the visuals were done, I was told it needed word balloons. … Suggestions?

Related question: How do I change the name of a text layer so that it is different (and much shorter) than the text it contains?

Related question 2: The manual talks of two check boxes that are missing on my dialog "Create one shape" and "Create text layer". Where'd they go?


have you seen Motion Artist (from SM)? It sounds as though your application is a good fit for it. Warnings: I found the learning curve steep; and it's old software with limited real support. This thread talks about it and some options: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=22635&p=185594#p185722

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You do have the option to right-click a text layer and convert it to vector. Not sure if that's helpful for you though
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby Jkoseattle » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:16 am

hayasidist wrote:
have you seen Motion Artist (from SM)? It sounds as though your application is a good fit for it. Warnings: I found the learning curve steep; and it's old software with limited real support. This thread talks about it and some options: http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtop ... 94#p185722


Thanks. I'm committed to getting better at Moho. One steep learning curve at a time!

Thanks all for the fantastic advice everyone. I've decided to make it like subtitles instead of word balloons, which eliminates the need for vector layers for the balloons, and which implies less expectation for the text animating. I found a site called calligraphr.com that makes it really REALLY easy to make a font out of your own handwriting, so these subtitles look handwritten. It's a beautiful thing.

Oh, and I'm splitting the scenes up into smaller chunks. I'll show it off here in a day or so.
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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby Jkoseattle » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:41 pm

There's no question here, I just wanted to share a minor victory that I thought might be helpful to someone else:

I'm doing the text like subtitles. At first I was scrolling to the proper frame and setting visibility for each subtitle's on and off, which was tedious and time-consuming. Then I came up with a much better way! I added each text layer in at frame 0, moved them where they needed to be, then put all of them into a switch layer. (I also added another layer to the switch called BLANK.) Now when I get to the right frame I only have to change the active layer in the switch, or turn it off by selecting the blank layer. SO much easier! Woo hoo!!!
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

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Re: Word balloon recommendation

Postby dondo » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:39 am

Super idea, JKOSeattle. Per another thread, gave me a solution to a problem I've been beating my head against for over a week. Thanks!
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=32704
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