Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:20 pm

Mike:

Precisely.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:33 pm

Greg, rigging in 3d applications is a bit of a specialist job, but anyone can learn how it is done. A good quality (open source!) Blender rigging course can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... BkykXVUntv

The author worked on rigging jobs for the Blender open movies, and he explains all the concepts in a very clear manner, often illustrating terminology and concepts with simple to understand drawings.

He starts explaining how to rig a really simple bouncy ball rigging, and proceeds up to fully rigged 3d characters with advanced IK and FK rigging. It is not only useful for Blender rigging, but also helps understand general (and specific) rigging principles and issues, and the knowledge is universally applicable in any 2d or 3d animation package that supports rigging with IK bones.

As a matter of fact, the theory explained in these tutorials helped me figure out character setups in OpenTOonz and Moho as well.

It's a long ride, though: 35 episodes!
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:24 am

Herbert:

Thanks for the links. However, I won't be going down the Blender Rigging road. I'm convinced that for the individual artist, who wants to have the ultimate form of animated expression - 2D is the way to go. It's the practical route that allows one person to finish what he starts - in the most flexible way.

And, I never aspired to become a TD or any form of Technical Industrialist - which is the direction that kind of training that you have linked tends to lead. I only want and need the technical skills which help me to finish the kind of animation I'm interested in.

Nobody needs complication, tedium and frustration in large measures - it's not good for you.

Since starting down the CG path when in my youth, I have learned through the decades to limit my aspirations and narrow my focus, as well. Time is our most valuable earthly commodity, as it turns out.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:05 am

Interesting article about the use of GP tools for story-boarding:

https://cloud.blender.org/p/agent-327/b ... ase-pencil
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby herbert123 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:04 am

Grease Pencil 2d animation mini tutorials are now available!
https://vimeo.com/channels/greasepenciltuts
More to come.











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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:32 am

Herbert:

I just downloaded the latest Blender 2.78 release candidate and all of the Grease Pencil "interpolate" commands are absent. Without interpolation, all Grease Pencil animation must be done in a Frame-by-Frame fashion.

I was under the impression that all the Version 2 stuff relating to Grease Pencil was rolled into this build.

What gives?


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Mon Sep 12, 2016 1:27 am

Herbert:

I'll tell ya what gives . . . Like a fool, I was using the Mac version of the 2.78 "Official" release candidate - where, as you might expect - the "Interpolate" and the "Sequence" commands are missing.

Everything works nicely in the Windows 2.78 release candidate.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:25 pm

Steve and Herbert and Others:

Over the last few weeks I've had the opportunity to delve deeply into version 2 of Blender's Grease Pencil 2D animation suite (or "sweet"). It is very complete and very stable - combining all of the attributes and functions that a computer animator needs - and beyond. This 2D animation Suite is now included in the soon to be released Blender 2.78. (I've been using the second release candidate - which is now complete and stable).

Its focus is on drawings and frames - with Keyframe tweening added through the use of parented Bones (that squash and stretch). Its frame-based workflow includes a very good "Auto-Inbetweener" to fill in the gaps between Extremes and Breakdowns - quite unique in its ability to preview all possible in-betweens before establishing at what frame they occur and which one you want inserted at that frame. Once the Extremes and Breakdown Frames have been established - the application will automatically in-between the gaps - completing an entire animation "Sequence".

It also has a very good Brush Engine with adjustable parameters and customization - optimized for Tablets.

Couple all of this with Blender's "Texture Painting" - and you have also a first rate Painting application for creating Backgrounds and background, middle ground and foreground parallax-capable "Planes" in the Disney style.

The strongest points in favor of Blender's 2D Suite of Tools (I hate the branding name of "Grease Pencil" - since it is totally non-descriptive - as programmers insist it must be - or even worse, another acronym - "GP"):

1) Powerful assortment of Painting and Drawing "Brushes" which have a vast number of customizable parameters.
2) Extremely accurate and variable set of "Sculpting Brushes" for quickly and entirely altering all Shapes - very good Smoothing of rough shapes.
3) Wonderfully executed Frame and Keyframe oriented "Dope Sheet" - the fastest and most thorough I've seen.
4) All-In-One artist's environment for Starting, Commencing and Finishing a Production of any Length. One application for Painting, Drawing, Sculpting, Rigging and Animating (with the most important "Cheats") - maybe the best assortment found anywhere and at the Price Point of:
5) Totally Free
6) Open Source with a dedicated Team
7) Interface "Styles" (Colors) and Layouts are totally customizable - without the need to write these in code. (Though interface coding is supplied for those who must have it).

If there are weak points - they may be these:

1) It is most efficiently used by means of Keyboard Shortcuts and Pie Menus.
2) Parenting Grease Pencil shapes to Bones is limited to one Shape per one Bone - other deformations are produced through tweenable "Stroke Sculpting".
3) It lacks anything like Moho's "Smart Meshes" or OpenToonz' Plastic Tools.
4) The existing interface still exposes too many "Options" to the user. This is Blender's weakest point of all.

I hope, this week, to produce 2 video sessions covering the idealization of the Blender 2D interface - as well as an overview of Drawing, Painting and Animating with Blender 2D.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby exile » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:17 pm

Greg, You're making my life difficult! I've got my hands full trying to get a grip on Open Toonz, which also has all sorts of possibilities, and now you hit me with this. But since you've become one of my main gurus, I'll have to check this out. Better than getting into any more arguments about SM and their prices.
Was it Herbert who convinced you about Blender? I've been reluctant to dig into it because the interface looks bewildering. But maybe the time has come to try out new possibilities after the healthy shock we've had recently. If people as knowledgeable as you and Herbert are excited about this development, it's definitely worth checking out. Thanks for your kind words. I'm trying to change to something akin to point animation in Anime Studio based on roughs of the key poses. It takes longer than bone-based animation of virtual puppets, but I think it could offer more freedom. That's exactly what you describe - key frames with tweening. You poor man, you'll probably be hearing from me soon about one problem or the other.
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:06 pm

Steve and Others:

I'm sorry about introducing so many new things. They ARE hard to keep track of and master.

I like what can be done with Moho 12 Pro - and I have liked it since its introduction.

However, for those of us without large budgets for what may be, for us, a hobby - a pastime and a diversion - Blender Grease Pencil offers the most - in terms of stability, availability on all major platforms, dedication and relative abundance of programmers, expressed genius in tool design - and deep functionality and usability - at that most wonderful Price Point.

Yes, Herbert was a strong influence in getting me to look at Blender Grease Pencil in more depth - with a more objective eye.

Yes, Blender's interface exposes too much information. Yes, Blender's Grease Pencil needs a few more tools and functions to make it "ideal". But, even as it stands in this pre-official release of version 2.78 - it has plenty - yeah, more than enough to equip any category of animator with everything he or she needs - all in one spot.

If there is any kind of steep learning curve with "Grease Pencil" (I hate that name) - it involves memorizing about 12 keyboard and mouse shortcuts - those which make Blender the fastest application out there for both 2D and 3D animation production.

It's worth the brain rattling to equip yourself for a fast, efficient and deep experience.

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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:52 am

Here's how to setup and optimize Blender's Grease Pencil Interface. It's a breeze !



Next - and very soon - "How to Draw, Paint and Animate with Grease Pencil"

Though it very likely will never change - I hereby state I hate the name of these Blender 2D animation tools.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:41 am

One other major "plus" for using Blender's Grease Pencil is the speed and efficiency of Blender's code. Along with the fact that Grease Pencil's art and animation operates under realtime rendering implementations.

Ultimately, this means playback of your animation - as you work - is in real time - the "look" being exactly as it will appear when rendered into a sequence of images or as a movie file.

In Grease Pencil a Preview of your animation is no longer a Preview - in many instances.

Of course - in an extremely "busy" scene with lots of Grease Pencil strokes - playback will most likely skip frames on low to medium end hardware.


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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby jahnocli » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:40 pm

Greg, thank you so much for all the work you are doing on this. I haven't done it myself yet, but I must say that it's good that the GUI optimisation only has to be done once. It might be a breeze, but I wouldn't want to do that every time I launched the software!
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:26 pm

Jahnocli:

Me neither.

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Re: Blender New Innovative 2d Animation "GP Tools"

Postby Psmith » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:35 pm

In the Grease Pencil "Optimization" video, above - I only remembered, at the last minute, that to keep all of the interface optimization changes that have been made - the final and most important step is to go to the file menu and select "Save Startup File".

Without doing this, the U.I. Layout changes will be lost.

Since we already clicked "Save User Preferences" when we made those kinds of changes, this doesn't need to be done again.

After saving both the User Preferences and the Startup File - we never have to do either of these again.

Having once setup these things, you will be amazed at how fast Blender Grease Pencil starts up - and once you have memorized the necessary keyboard shortcuts and the Mouse shortcuts - Drawing and Animating with Grease Pencil can be done at lightening speeds.

I think you will like it.


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