make animation look more "framey"

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AlanPS
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make animation look more "framey"

Post by AlanPS » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:14 pm

Aside from copying/pasting two of each frame, is there a way to achieve a more "framey" look like hand-drawn cartoons?

I like the flowing style for somethings but I also want to look like a good ol' 12 frames per second cartoon without the super flowing smoothness.

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myles
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Post by myles » Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:45 am

Just a thought:

You might want to experiment with setting your keyframes to step rather than the default smooth, at least in some circumstances.

You can set the default interpolation before creating keyframes by using the Settings button on the keyframe.

You can select all the existing keyframes in a channel and set them all at once, or you can use macton's "Splat Layer Keyframe Interpolation Settings" script from the Scripting section of the forum to reset existing keyframes in multiple channels and layers.

If you do this you might need to create more intermediate keyframes.

Regards, Myles.
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AlanPS
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cool!

Post by AlanPS » Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:47 pm

thanks myles,

that is really cool! This opens up all kinds of possibilities for animating. I am only just getting started in this whole thing but it's looking more and more posssible.
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7feet
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Post by 7feet » Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:27 am

Or, as an alternative, you could try manipulating it in a video editor. If you can adjust the length of the video, cut it in half, effectively throwing away every other frame. Then size it back up to it's original size, and it should be on 2's. Or, if you are on a PC, you might try to whip up a AVIsynth script (I usually pair it with VirtualDub - both free) to drop the alternate frames and double (or triple, or quadruple if you want to get real anime on it) the ones you are keeping in realtime. Actually, I might just do that myself, as it's ask for so much, and even though most AVIsynth scripts are fairly simple, most people are probably not going to want to go that far.

Actually, on the initial technique, you might be able to save a step in the video editor by using the "render at half framerate" option in Moho, and then just doubling the length and frames per second in the video editor to get you back to your target framerate.
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Post by jeff » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:56 am

I must confess it has long been a minor source of irritation for me that you can't easily do animation on "doubles" (twos) in Moho to better mimic traditional hand-drawn animation. Ideally, you should be able to highlight a bunch of keys and turn them into twos with a right-button click option. Even better, it should be possible to put "vector noise" on to twos at the same time to add a very small amount of random line wobble - this would do a good job of emulating old style hand-animation.

The quick and dirty workround is, as you indicate Brian, to simply re-time your project and set its frame rate to half (12.5 frames per second here in the UK). I am lucky in that I have a video card that outputs broadcast video and can run at half speed.

The big drawback with this approach is that you have then effectively lost the ability to add occasional single frames which are needed when something animates fast.

I've never bothered to add the above to the requested features list as I suspected that only a few Moho users would be interested or even understand the point of it. Maybe, if others do care, we can ask LM to consider this as a future option.

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ingie01
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Post by ingie01 » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:56 pm

I would second, or third that idea. I'm just getting to understand this program and how animation in general works.
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:40 pm

I think that Moho isn't very good at hand drawn animation (or a simulation of it) and will never be. Moho is, in essence, a cut-out animation (and electronic claymation) program. You can do frame-by-frame animation (using switch layers), but that is a hack and certainly not the best solution.

You can, of course, create hand drawn animation in another program and import that into Moho, to combine with cut-out animation. However, in that case, the overall animation style will probably not be that of hand drawn animation.

If you like hand drawn animation so much, like that of the Dutch animator Paul Driessen, who never drew a straight line, you probably should do just that, draw your animation by hand (computer-aided, of course), in a cel animation program.

There have been posters who wanted to use Moho as a 3D animation program and posters who wanted Moho to be able to give its animations a hand drawn look. Both are possible, but only with some limitations. If you can work around those limitations, then that's fine.

I'm deeply under the impression, that animators and would-be animators are attracted to Moho primarily by its price (I admit, I was too). Similar 3D and cel animation programs cost at least ten times as much and have a steeper learning curve.

Also have a read at what Myles wrote recently in another thread, which explains crystal clear what Moho is all about:
http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtop ... 9410#19410
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:04 am

Okay... Devil's advocate here...

This concept of animating on 2's... this came from where originally? Hanna-Barbara?

Isn't it actuallly "dumbing down" the ability of the computer to match some old style of animation that was used ONLY because it saved time and money? (Hanna-Barbara was slammed originally as the death of quality animation... now they are considered cultural icons and heroes.)

Here's my problem... I don't watch a ton of cartoons anymore. Not since I was a kid. I have gotten "use to" the smooth animation of the computer... the "non-framey" look.

When Disney started out... they weren't animating on 2's.

This is similar to motion blur. Motion blur is a failing in the camera shutter and film speed... yet we must have it to look realistic because we have been seeing it like that for 50 years. You don't "see" motion blur through your eyes... only on film.

24fps video equipement... film grain... <sigh> It cracks me up sometimes... we need features and add ons to make computer animation "look bad" like the stuff done by hand. (look bad is in quotes. You should know what I mean.)

How long must we emulate this style before we can ditch it and move on?

I am in the same position. The project I am working on will probably need to be "animated on 2's"... modified in post... or whatever... to look like similar programing already on television. This could add hours... days... to the work involved.

Not complaining... just trying to understand why the computer needs to be "crippled" when the technology has moved on... Hi-def television anyone?

----------------------

I was in an "argument" with an Anime fan... a wonderful project done on the computer was being called crap just because they had "too much movement".

They said it was awful and hard to watch and can't be called "Anime" at all. They called it "floaty" because the characters had secondary motion while other characters were the primary action. (apparently If a character isn't using kung-fu or talking they should be perfectly still.)

It took a while before I understood why everyone was slamming this project.

I thought it looked fantastic... but that's just me. Even as a kid I thought some of that early Anime was a bit... "odd" (speed racer to be specific). I had just gotten use to Scooby Do after watching classic Bugs and T&J.

Anyway... I suppose my complaint is having to do a lot of uneccessary work just to "look like everyone else."

p.s. I can "see" the style of this animation "technique"... I just don't see why everything must be done that way. It is not a law.

-Vern
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:46 am

I agree with you totally. If a style becomes a habit, it works against you. Everything in animation should be there with a reason, preferably an artistic reason. Creating a hand drawn look just to emulate the Golden Age of animation is as uncreative as playing the music of dead composers over and over again.

In my view, animation should tell a story in a compelling way. Animating on 2s is more than often old fashioned. It was used to save money, to cut corners, sometimes with noticable registration errors. Watch some of the Disney cartoons of Mickey Mouse released on DVD frame-by-frame. See how in some scenes the background moves on 1s, while the character moves on 2s. From a modern perspective, the animation looks "odd", even at normal speed. It distracts from the entertainment value of the scene.

Don Bluth, who made the transition from traditional to computer-aided cel animation, prefered animation on 1s, just because it offers more possiblities, more bang for your buck. Animating on 2s in this computer age is for lazy animators. I don't know if these were his words, but I could imagines they were.

Of course, in some circumstances, animating on 2s, or even 6s or 12s, has a dramatic effect, almost like you're watching a still cartoon strip.
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slowtiger
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Post by slowtiger » Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:10 pm

I like to disagree on different points.

Hannah-Barbera didn't invent "on twos". The fact is that animation begins to look like continuous movement at about 15 frames per second - depending on the speed of the movement itself and the increments in position between one frame and the next. Doing 12 drawings per seconds was a very useful compromise between "it's nearly perfect" and "not too much drawing", besides, it was easy to calculate and worked great with popular music paces. The Disney average is somewhere at 18 drawings per second.

My animation teacher, Tahsin Özgür, who worked at Disney's and Don Bluth's, pointed out that Bluth tends to overanimate everything. Each and every scene must be a highlight of traditional lavish and costly animation - and that ruins any dynamic of successive shots, which needs a healthy balance of high-speed, action-packed shots against calm, slow scenes.

What works on twos, on ones or even on sixths (like lots of japanese anime) hase been elaborated through experience over decades of animation work. Nobody ever cared to experiment with these settings with a scientific approach. At least it's common knowledge now that the impression of continuous movement is determined culturally. Japanese viewers don't miss the inbetweens wetsern viewers are used to, and each new generation of children seems to deal better with fast cuts than we older folks.

There is no single "this is the best way to do it" in animation. On ones is not better than on twos. The decision for one or the other should be a mostly artistic one. As Rasheed says:
Everything in animation should be there with a reason, preferably an artistic reason.
But I disagree with his following statement:
Creating a hand drawn look just to emulate the Golden Age of animation is as uncreative as playing the music of dead composers over and over again.
It is not, as well as the decision for black and white film or choosing any stylistic element from earlier works is not a prove of artistic bancrupcy, but as valuable an artistic decision as any other.

The "odd" feeling while watching some animation comes, in my experience, from combining elements that don't match. Some examples: walks on twos on panning background on ones; ever-so-smooth inbetweens out of the software instead of holds; lens flare effects on drawn characters; sliding feet on fixed ground; etc. Unfortunately many of these combinations are established sets in today's productions. If there were more experimentation in the visuals, maybe we could see more fitting combinations.

Let's face it: the overall style of commercial animation is pretty limited. It concentrates on an easily to produce look and characters who mostly just hang around and deliver clever dialogue. If you watch this stuff carefully, you will notice that 90 % of it is much more like cutout animation than like anything else. If I can produce this portion of my work with Moho, I'll do it. But I am not forced to do my whole film in one single program!

The decision for a certain tool is still an economical one in the first place. After that choice, one has to deal with its restrictions. Very often working within given technical boundaries leads to results which are artistically interesting, if not totally satisfying. The choice of tools was always also a choice of a certain style. But I think that today we are in a very comfortable position because we can choose very freely which tools we use. It is not a matter of dealing with restrictions any more. I can choose whatever style I like and utilize the tools I have in order to help me getting the desired result.

There's nothing wrong in mimicking old techniques within new media. If I like to work on twos, I will do it. If I like to draw with custom brushes which mimick pencils or crayons, I will do it, and I haven't ever heard of someone complaining that using algorythmic drawing tools on a computer was old-fashioned!
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Post by jeff » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:52 pm

Well said, slowtiger. I completely agree with you.

I can't understand why anyone would argue that an animation program should leave out functions just because they don't want to work that way.
For those who think like Rasheed, that it's stupid and old-fashioned to animate on twos - fine, don't. No one says you have to. But for some of us, it's fun to experiment and the more tools there are to play with, the more fun. I happen to think that the use of twos gives a subtly different feeling to animation; however, no big deal if it isn't implemented - there are always workrounds.

Moho has an option to add animated noise to lines and I feel sure this was put in to give users the chance, if they wanted it, of adding a "human" touch to the sometimes rather "too perfect" look that all computer animation software by default produces. Does Rasheed think this should have been left out because it's dragging animation back to the bad old days?

By the way, Rasheed, when we animate on 1s, we are effectively animating 24 frames for every second (cinema). There is nothing magical about that frame rate. Silent film, for the most part, was shot at 16 frames per second. 24 was only used when sound was introduced because the early sound technology was so poor, not because the Don Bluths of the time thought that 24 looked better.


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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:44 pm

Well, I like cave paintings as well. They are full of life and probably very spiritual, at least, very inspiring. However, (almost) no-one does frameless drawing anymore, because we are used to having a frame around a picture, like it is a window on the world. The idea that the painting IS the world, is very alien to most of us.

In a somewhat similar manner, people are getting used to flowing animation. Animation on 2s looks ackward, like something from a different century (which, in fact, it is). Luckily, there are still people watching old cartoons, through the internet or from DVDs, but the majority of people isn't. Why should you put a barrier between you and your audience by clinging to animating on 2s?

Nevertheless, I agree, that there are circumstances where a "choppier" animation style is appropriate, but I don't think it should be used anymore as an "animation style" during an entire movie. Most people would experience that as tiresome, IMHO.

I could be wrong and I am always willing to learn new ideas. Only, I don't buy the argument that animating on 2s enlarges the "human touch" of an animation. Any character animation, past or present, is conceived and produced by humans, not by machines. It is computer-aided animation, not computer animation. AFAIK humans are still in control.
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Post by rylleman » Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:36 pm

Rasheed wrote:...but I don't think it should be used anymore as an "animation style" during an entire movie...
...I don't buy the argument that animating on 2s enlarges the "human touch" of an animation. Any character animation, past or present, is conceived and produced by humans, not by machines. It is computer-aided animation, not computer animation...
I disagree.
If you choose to do your animation yourself and not let the computers do your inbetweens, animating on two's is still a great time saving trick.
Used cleverly, using ones where necessary, you hardly notice it at all.
To artificially forge "animation on twos" may not enlarge the human touch as you say but animating on twos as opposed to software inbetweening definitely does.
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:48 pm

Well, I'm totally outgunned here. I have no commercial animation experience, and only limited practical experience as an animator. I guess you're right and I'm wrong.

My point was that animating on 2s is a hack from cel animation and my idea was that we could do without such a hack. But I guess in the 2D animation business time is still money and with Disney and other studios leaving the 2D arena, budgets are at an all-time low. People nowadays appreciate how much work goes into creating an animated movie, but they are not prepared to pay for it, at least, not enough.

It's "Cut corners where you can and invest in quality where it matters". The only thing that matters is that the client or paying customer is satisfied. Nothing new under the sun, it seems.
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slowtiger
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Post by slowtiger » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:21 am

Of course one important reason to produce as few drawings as possible is to cut costs. But if one looks at anime, one wonders why they save costs at one corner by doing only 4 drawings per second while they still stick to their detailed drawing style and overwhelming effects (which are, as opposite to the characters, very often animated on twos or even ones).

One explanation is that accepting a certain frame rate / rate of drawings in animation as "smooth" is culturally learned. It is very similar to a stage magician who does everything to convince the audience - but only this and not a single additional gesture. So if you can get away with a moving hold and a sound efect - do it. (If you turn off the sound, most anime fall apart into a bunch of single drawings.) The audience expects to be fooled and is very willing to follow you into the most extremes in terms of realism (not an important point in animation, isn't it?), movement, style, or story.

As a side note, I should mention that some of animation's finest gags don't work if done on ones or have too much tweening (Daffy Duck comes to mind).

The issue of motion blur was mentioned. It is, in fact, not just an artifact caused by 19th century camera technique. Instead, it is an important part of the "movement illusion" process, insofar the blurred, distorted frames increase the overlap area of the representations of moving objects in succesive frames. On another level, motion blur works as a sign, depicting the meaning of high speed even in a still picture. So it's origin of course comes from technical restriction, but it now has a defined function in perception as well as in storytelling.

Rasheed: you can prove yourself wrong in a very easy way. Try to watch as much animation as possible on one day and make notes how many shows or how much of a show really is animated on ones. I bet my second best pair of pants that you'll find not much "on ones" animation besides Jimmy Neutron (which is a very fine show) and other CGI shows, and even less if you concentrate on 2D only.
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