Big really hard project looming - planning?

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Jkoseattle
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Jkoseattle » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:42 am

Yes, extremely helpful, I'm going to be doing this method, and I've also looked into mesh layers which will make things a lot easier.

Music is my main thing, actually, and I'd much rather score to the action that animate to the score, regardless of how well planned it is. I want to see how it looks and feels before I decide on a music style.

Thanks again!
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Thing I did for work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgFYGqifLYw
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Greenlaw
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Greenlaw » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:45 am

Oh, remember my description of the 'scratch' track earlier? This can apply to music too, not just dialog.

It's not unusual for an animatic to have a temporary score that is musically similar to what you intend to use in the final edit. The track serves not only as a guide for timing but it can help set the tone for the animation style.
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Greenlaw » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:54 am

One more tip: If you decide to go the other way and add the music score after you've animated the film, you may want to include handles around your scenes. This gives you a little flexibility when cutting the scenes to the music, and it may save you from going back to re-animate/re-render the footage to make it 'fit' better.

I like to give myself at least six frames, head and tail. I tend to edit my animatics pretty tightly but I'm still glad to have those extra frames to play with. When I'm less sure about the animatic, I'll give myself at least 12 frames, head and tail.

Adding handles has been typical practice at most studios I've worked but where I am now, the animatics are very precise and it's rare for me to have to add frames to my animation. So, it's not something you have to do...but it may be useful if your animatic isn't meant to be frame accurate.
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synthsin75
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by synthsin75 » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:22 am

If you know the time signature of the score you plan to write, you could even just animatic/animate to a click-track.
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Greenlaw
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Greenlaw » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:27 am

Regarding the spreadsheet described earlier. I like to use Google Sheets. It's easy to access from almost anywhere, plus it's free. I used to use a Libre Office document on my Dropbox, which works great with a desktop and laptop, but it's harder to read and edit the file on an iPad or iPhone. Google Sheets makes it easier to work with across different devices.

When my daughter was working on her latest animated short, I helped her set up a Google Sheet to track her work, and it really helped her stay focused to meet the deadline. (This was for a 6th grade school project, so it's never too early to start!) :)
Last edited by Greenlaw on Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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cgrotke
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Animate to the music if possible

Post by cgrotke » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:22 pm

I know you want to score to the animation, but I'll make one more argument for doing it the other way.

Animating to the music track gives you the precision and "snap" to hit beats and pauses perfectly. You know exactly how long an action needs to be, too, visually by looking at the waveform. With Moho, you can even get in there and make notes about the audio.

I've done both ways. I've also done experiments playing any old music along with animation, and it is amazing how much our brain will work to make it sync up for us. I've done draw-on-film projects with kids and we'd always add music after. Viewers were amazed at how much it was "in sync" - when it wasn't at all. : )
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by uncle808us » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:30 am

Greenlaw wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:54 am
One more tip: If you decide to go the other way and add the music score after you've animated the film, you may want to include handles around your scenes. This gives you a little flexibility when cutting the scenes to the music, and it may save you from going back to re-animate/re-render the footage to make it 'fit' better.

I like to give myself at least six frames, head and tail. I tend to edit my animatics pretty tightly but I'm still glad to have those extra frames to play with. When I'm less sure about the animatic, I'll give myself at least 12 frames, head and tail.

Adding handles has been typical practice at most studios I've worked but where I am now, the animatics are very precise and it's rare for me to have to add frames to my animation. So, it's not something you have to do...but it may be useful if your animatic isn't meant to be frame accurate.
Great tip thank you.
I use a MacBook Pro, and Anime Studio Pro 11.2
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by uncle808us » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:39 am

Greenlaw wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:27 am
Regarding the spreadsheet described earlier. I like to use Google Sheets. It's easy to access from almost anywhere, plus it's free. I used to use a Libre Office document on my Dropbox, which works great with a desktop and laptop, but it's harder to read and edit the file on an iPad or iPhone. Google Sheets makes it easier to work with across different devices.

When my daughter was working on her latest animated short, I helped her set up a Google Sheet to track her work, and it really helped her stay focused to meet the deadline. (This was for a 6th grade school project, so it's never too early to start!) :)
Would you be so kind as to show an image of what one of these google sheets looks like? If you'd rather not spend the time I would understand. Not trying to give you extra work.
I use a MacBook Pro, and Anime Studio Pro 11.2
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Greenlaw
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Greenlaw » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:08 am

Sure! I'll post an example after I get home tonight.
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by uncle808us » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:21 am

Greenlaw wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:08 am
Sure! I'll post an example after I get home tonight.
Thanks
I use a MacBook Pro, and Anime Studio Pro 11.2
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Re: Animate to the music if possible

Post by hayasidist » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:05 am

Jkoseattle wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:42 am
Music is my main thing, actually, and I'd much rather score to the action that animate to the score, regardless of how well planned it is. I want to see how it looks and feels before I decide on a music style.
cgrotke wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:22 pm
I know you want to score to the animation, but... Animating to the music track gives you the precision and "snap" to hit beats and pauses perfectly.
The animatic should give you the overall look and feel of the whole piece as well as the individual scenes and critical hit points. With a good animatic I'm sure you can score the "structure". If there are then tweaks to apply when the actual animation has been done -- e.g. a gesture that is more of a flourish than foreseen in the animatic, this could be accompanied by an arpeggio or mordent or appoggiatura or other decoration rather than the initially scored chord / note(s); an event that is "darker" than imagined - maybe a key change over a bar or two; and getting the precise "snap" could be an almost unnoticeable tempo change... And I'm sure you'll be able to imagine and implement such a whole lot better than I can even start to throw suggestions out there. (I use Sibelius to tweak usually classical / traditional pieces in this way - I pick the piece(s) that reflect the concept and then iteratively fit sections to an animatic. If I feel the need to make "small" adjustments to the score once the actual animation is finished then I do.)

So, IMHO, have the best of both: score to the animatic; tweak to the animation.
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Jkoseattle
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Jkoseattle » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:40 pm

All right you guys. Everyone seems to want me to do it score first. I'm considering it, but the artist wants the score to be very sparse, more just accents I suspect, so there won't be a beat, and lots of space with no music. I'll send a link to the storyboard so you can get the idea of the feeling of this thing, and then see if you still think I should go music first. Honestly though, I think I need to see at least some it first.

Greenlaw, also looking forward to seeing the spreadsheet. And I'm patting myself on the back that I've already been adding handles to everything I've done, without knowing that's what they're called.

The storyboard is now finished, so it's GO TIME! (gulp) This is going to be a real stretch for me in my meager animation skills. Nervous AF. The animation style I ultimately go with will be dictated in large part by what I'm liable to be able to pull off given I'm not a pro at this.

I will post a link to the storyboard when she adds the missing pages :-)
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Thing I did for work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgFYGqifLYw
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Greenlaw » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:15 pm

Good luck! It sounds like the project is coming together for you, and I hope you can share it here someday. :)

Sorry for dropping the ball on posting that spreadsheet example. It's been a very hectic two weeks for me and when I get home, I just want to crash immediately. I'll try post an example with comments this weekend. (Adding it to my to-do list now.)
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Jkoseattle » Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:10 pm

Hi again, for those of you interested, here is the storyboard I'm working from. Per @Greenlaw's suggestion, I've put together an asset spreadsheet for her to work off. i'm starting with just the set pieces. My plan is to build the set (there's only one) which will be 3D and then set up each shot on the same built set.

My assets include separate drawings for things like:
  • Bus Stop wall, inside
    Bus Stop wall, outside
    Bus stop ceiling
    Bench, top
    Bench, underside
Like that. (There are also a few wide shots that I'm having her draw as single images.) Then I'm going to arrange all those surfaces appropriately to build the 3D set.

Once that's done, I'm going to do the same thing for the characters, which I know will be much more complex.

Here is the storyboard:
https://www.madelineowenstudio.com/port ... storyboard

I don't have any specific questions, just posting progress, and if someone sees something that makes them go "Oh man, don't do that, or don't forget this", please speak up!
Most of the time I'm doing music stuff. Check me out at http://www.jimofseattle.com/music.

Thing I did for work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgFYGqifLYw
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Re: Big really hard project looming - planning?

Post by Greenlaw » Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:49 pm

Pretty neat!

Building a set in 3D could be an efficient way to work. There's a lot of work to do upfront (based on the location depicted in the boards) but you gain a lot of flexibility for camera angles during production. It can be effective even if you render only still images from the set and use them as backdrops.

Which reminds me of an old Disney show my wife worked on called Tubedwellers. In that production, all the sets were constructed as table top miniatures constructed from 'junk' parts and the animators simply took photographs from the angles they needed, and then they animated their (cg) characters on top of the images. It was a cool look for the time and it saved them from painting a lot of backgrounds or building out super detailed cg sets. It also made the weekly production manageable by a very small team.

If I was planning to use a 3D set in a Moho production, I would create the set in a dedicated 3D program though. Unless the set design is going to be super simple, I think could be real headache to build out in Moho. It's much faster and easier to model, texture and light 3D scenes in a real 3D animation program. Also, some 3D animation programs have excellent cel shading options to make their renders look similar to Moho's vector drawings. With good planning, you can easily merge the elements rendered from Moho and the 3D program in a compositing program like AE or Fusion. Sometimes, I'll render Moho characters and map the image sequences to polygonal 'cards' and insert them into the 3D program. In certain situations, this makes interaction between 2D characters and 3D environments a bit easier to work with. It's common to do this in live action productions with cg environments too.

And, of course, you can do the reverse: render the 3D environment as frames and import them as backdrops in Moho. You can see some of that going on in 'Scareplane'. (Actually, I would import fast streaming jpeg sequences for reference to animate against, and then do the actual composite in a compositing program. It's just much faster to render a full-screen composite in a compositing program plus, I have so many more options available there. I guess the theme is, if you want it done well and quickly, you want to use the right tool for the job.)

Many productions I work on don't rely on just one technique. General rule: do whatever is easiest to get the work done quickly and still look good.
D.R. Greenlaw
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