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 Can we anime?

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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: Can we anime?   Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:43 pm

**In regards to recent discussion in 'shadowcrunch says' anime thread.**

Okay, didn't get this done over the weekend as planned, but came close. Before I get into the technicals, I'm going to explain why this project sucked so bad. My goal was to try replicating the 2D 'fake 3D' capabilities in Anime Studio or Toon Boom by using Blender. So I told myself "Okay, I just want to do an establishing shot with a couple drawings." When I finally sat down and got ready, my brain just kept rolling over "yeah, but establishing WHAT?"

Did I want city? Mountains? A foot? I knew I would like to try doing some fake cartoony rain. Instead of just panning over one drawing, I wanted to have the ability to fly the camera over layered pics, giving the impression of forward movement, as seen in those above-mentioned pieces of software. Once I finally decided I didn't care what I established, or how the quality of the images was, I was finally able to make my scene 'parts'. This scene is made from 5 separate images. I went into GIMP, and went quick and sketchy with big damn brushes. About an hour.

This morning, into Blender. About an hour to make my planes (layered drawings), figure out lighting, animate the camera, and animate the rain layers. The rain layers were animated by moving them up and down each frame. 55 frames, rendered at 6 frames per second. The finished file was 28 megs, and just over 9 seconds. I took the animation into Camtasia Studio, to convert to FLV to shrink file size, and while there I ran the vid twice, with a simple transition between, so you can see it, then see it again right away...that way the first time you can analyze, the second time you can point and laugh. Laughing BUT, it got the job done, and if I had spent a little more time on the images, it obviously would have looked better. I did what I set out to do, but I gotta say, going into something like this without a "I'm going to animate exactly THIS and THAT" sucks the big one....need a plan. At least I've already set a goal for the next test. OH YEAH...should link the damn video!!! Here ya go...


I'm thinking start using this to discuss deeper technicals of how WE can do this stuff, and keep the discussion in 'shadowcrunch says' as more of a philosophy and theory section. That's where we think, and this can be where the magic happens.

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:05 pm

As stated, I'm planning on using this for discussing the technical aspects of actually trying to make some of this happen. Therefore I want to take a minute to discuss Blender. Anime Studio got popular because of its 2D skeletal animation ability. That it, you could apply a skeleton to a 2D image, or group of layered 2D images, the latter of which is needed (in that program) to have arms go front/back of the main figure...assuming we're talking about animating a human figure. Toon Boom had a more traditional animation setup, but the characters aren't drawn per frame...instead they are made in a separate character animator, wherein cycles af motion are made for walking, jumping, flying, ETC... and can then be directly applied to the scene. Want a character to walk across a lawn? Make the lawn, pan over it, and simply put your character on it and select the walk cycle. Dunbar. However, as of the latest 'home user' edition of Toon Boom, they have incorporated their own "superior" skeleton system for use with 2D images and layered groups. Both programs have the ability to pan across images, though in Toon Boom it's kindof a pain to set up. Both programs have the ability to set up a fake 3D scene and camera using 2D elements, much like I replicated with the previously posted vid.

THAT said...it occurred to me that Blender has the ability to project images on 2D planes, which can be put anywhere you want in 3D space. They can be moved in groups, or independently. They can be resized, rotated, flipped, and even change the colors or entire images from one frame to the next. Blender has more powerful lighting features! Blender already has a FULL assortment of animation features, including camera-along-a-path, depth-of-field, f-curves, and a slew of others. Blender has a full line of video composite tools, though I have barely scratched the surface of these so far.

Probably the three most important:
1. Blender has bones. Though I've never seen it done, I know they can be applied between 2 planes, simulating joints. That will be my next test.

2. Blender has shape keys, and pose libraries for skeletons. Shape keys can record and instantly call up any shape of any group of vertices...which is ideal for things like facial expressions. Pose libraries can record and instantly call up and pose you have a skeleton in (like poser)...if you use a skeleton on a 2D figure, you can make a pose in the library..."Draw" it once and save it for future use on any scene!

3. Between the two previous points, add in that Blender is a 3D package. How many anime have resorted to 3D for locations/vehicles/weapons? How many are being done completely in 3D? Again, make a 3D tank, save it, and reuse anytime you need a tank. Never need to redraw the same locations over and over... And as skills improve, the quality of the 3D can improve, until eventually even the characters are in 3D. Maybe not...maybe want to keep it semi-pure with "drawn" characters. That's fine too! Point is, we CAN.

Same subject, Blender IS a 3D package with all the features one would expect. My previous video? With one resized plane and about 5 mouse clicks, I could have made realistic rain, even going so far as to have it adjust for wind or solid objects. Puffs of smoke, fire, particles, and beams, can all be had easily without having to draw frame by frame.

Eventually. Right now, we just need to be fully aware that a half hour story can be told with 700 drawings. If we 3D some of that, we can cut that in half. Speed and quality. We need more technical specs also. We need more definitive descriptions on how anime is made. Soon, I will be attempting some skeleton based 2D in Blender...and THAT will tell us exactly what we're capable of....

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:12 pm

Okay, this is on a discussion level, and ties in to the previous post about using Blender. I had a phone conversation with Soothsayer about some of this. He made a point about how 3D will work when every attempt at a 3D anime he has seen looked like crap in his opinion. I asked if he had ever seen 'Appleseed: Ex Machina' or 'Vexille' before. Those are examples, and the rest of the conversation doesn't matter, just that you know these things up to that.

What I want to discuss is more examples. I used those, but when I really think about it, they were less anime than actual 3D CG movies. Now I also bring in 'Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children.' These movies were 3D, and heavily anime influenced, but many of the observations we've been making about anime are neglected. I noticed they make the human form as realistic as possible, yet they TRY to keep the teardrop shaped head with larger than life eyes. Even when the eyes are semi-normal size, the "good guys" tend to have them wide open, giving that wide-eyed anime vibe, while the "bad guys" are always squinty.

FF7 and Vexille (from what I remember) used top-quality shaders (3D term) and textures for a more realistic look...very NOT cartoony or anime. Appleseed: Ex Machina (henceforth AEM) used a LOT of toon shaders and thick outlines, making a very bright, colorful, and crisp visual...almost cartoony, but smooth and fluid as only 3D can do.

So, they are neo-pseudo-anime. They are anime stories and scenes, with a lean towards more realism. What I'm wondering now is: can we get some examples of some of this 'crap' 3D anime? I'm not attacking Soothsayer here, because anime forum posts also have this argument, but I have yet to see an example of which shows/movies are considered crap. Anybody? Ideas?

If we can get a decent view on 3D that sucks, and which is acceptable, we will be able to avoid that which sucks in any future attempts...know what I mean?

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:29 pm

You know... regarding 3D animation for anime, what kind of program was used for the first Appleseed movie? Not so much the computer generated stuff, but for the people? That certainly isn't hand drawn.

AND, on a similar note, couldn't the same process used for the movie A Scanner Darkly be utilized for an anime effect? Take video footage, add a filter so it gives a comic book feel to it? Or would it be simpler to just draw something as a model and use that for everything?

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:31 pm

As far as my crap comment... you pretty much already touched upon it. I enjoy the fully animated anime (is that redundant?). I am also amazed by the anime that involves fully rendered backdrops, locations / settings, vehicles, mechs while maintaining the traditional cartoon look of the characters even if done in a more realistic fashion as Appleseed. I also like the fully rendered stuff like Spirits Within and Vexille.

However, I wouldn't use those last two examples as being anime, although Vexille is borderline. If anything, it should fall within the same category as Appleseed.

What I wouldn't want to see are 3D renderings of the traditional anime look. That is what would look like crap. Ever see those pictures of "if anime were real"? It just wouldn't be right!

I don't know... maybe I just like "traditional" anime. Then again, I often forget that anime is just a Japanese slang term for anything that is animation. I suppose by using that general term, anime would indeed cover anything, rendered or not. It would just leave a bad taste in my mouth to call something fully rendered as being anime.

To me, anime needs to incorporate a cartoon appearance. Whether this is achieved by computer or by illustration, who cares... as long as it maintains that look. If it doesn't, then, to me (and addressed by shadowcrunch) then it should be called CG.

Now, I may be repeating a bit here, from my last post and even within this current one. Long day today, and even a longer at work night...

I agree that the use of CG would be a great time saver as far as locations and vehicles go. I support that 100%, and simply love how animation blends with CG in that respect. I do love the "realistic" approach of Appleseed and Vexille... as long as the setting matches the over all mood of what is being done. I say mood in a general sense, for genre, setting, time frame, etcetera. I don't think a CG setting would match a fantasy anime, but then again I could be wrong... I would have to see one, first, I guess.

...

I'm just going to stop here so I can get my thoughts together. Let me end by saying (again) if Blender or whatever can do the cartoon shading effect, cool. If it can take a 3D model and give it the look of a 2D image, great. I'm all in.

Oh, before I go-go, a comment about your video. I like it! The rain, although a bit slow, was spot on (except for the occassional rain drop that went from left to right, against the other drops). Everything else the video involved was, as you said, done to see if it could be done. Does it need work? Sure, but who am I to say to work on it? I'm lazy. But it does work, and as an attempt, it was worth it!
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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:49 pm

For starters, thanks for the praise on the half-ass video. I will not "work on it" further, as it was just the test that it was. That one damn raindrop...who knew when you used a ruler in a new program, it also worked going perpendicular to the ruler?! Noticed after I saved the image, and said screw it. Just a test...nothing more.

NOW...I come here to lay down an agree and a disagree! I agree that the traditional 2D anime (gonna start clarifying here...Japanimation...or JAnime...pronounced JAY-nummay Rolling Eyes) look and feel is NOT suited for proper 3D work as we know it. And yes, there are a LOT of your examples out there. BUT, I plan to demonstrate that 3D CAN produce some traditional looking results. Oh, don't google image '3D anime' with safesearch turned off unless you're ready for it! Another OH...one thing I want to point out before adding samples: to me, JAnime style isn't JUST the big eyes or the spiky hair or the teardrop face. It's a general vibe you get from looking at an image that makes you say "ah...anime style." You know what I mean. Not JUST because of the eyes, but the entire face just screams that style at you. Now...some samples...


NO. NO. NO. NO!!! This is a perfect example of NOT right, whether 3D or 2D. Actually 2D it would probably look okay, but in 3D, the textures and lighting give the eyes a lifeless feel...damn near scary! Coincidentally, this 3D model is being sold on some damn site for 75 euros. WTF...


A little less NO than the pic above, but still a bit scary. Like the eyes are TOO something...you know? This is a DAZ model, done by solid professionals, and for sale at DAZ for $14.95. There's potential here, but the eyes shaders would HAVE to be adjusted.


Yes. This is a pic. If this was taken from an animated movie, all that would be lacking is Japanese audio and English subtitles. The eyes are not as pronounced as they would be in traditional 2D JAnime, but again, the whole head and all its features are in the style. Hell, even minor touches like the bows on the pigtails help achieve the right JAnime feel.


Wow...grainy. Anyway, same as above, but I see this coming from a fighting game cutscene. If taken from an animated movie...yeah. 3D CAN do it (not saying I have the capability), I think as time goes on, as traditional JAnime studios start delving into 3D more, this will become a standard.

AND...as a side note, another perfect example of using 3D and computers for scene work, and compositing hand drawn character animation over it....and it came from the US of A?! Shocked Question Question Question Question
Titan A.E. On the dvd bonus features they showed how they made static and dynamic backgrounds on the computer, hand drew the characters, composited the layers, and added shading in after. NICE!!! Off topic, but still an example of what's possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:40 pm

Also just keep in mind that my tastes may differ from someone else. Some may rave about Eric Larsen, but just because I don't care for his art style doesn't mean I can't appreciate what he does.

Just because I do not like (or rather consider) 3D rendering as anime does not mean I cannot appreciate it, or see it as an artform or good movie or whatever.

But this has gotten so far off the subject!

Commenting of the pics before I sign off...

#1... ahh, the creme de la crap. That's what I was talking about.
#2... actually, I can see this being used for a rendered anime, as it does match hand drawn stuff. Take the model and render it as 2D? Hmm...
#3... I see this and I think Virtua Fighter. I know it isn't, but that's what I see. Nice image. Something like this could be used for more mature anime. Not real mature anime, just more mature, on level with stuff that would have a PG-13 and higher.
#4... Final Fantasy? They've always been cutting edge in animation (in my opinion). If they want to go with realism, fine; but do you notice between pics 3 and 4, something is lost?

This may sound rather silly, but it as if by making the picture more realistic, the picture itself has lost its innocence. I know, sounds silly.

What has greater impact? Someone real, someone who we could see every day, coming across a hardship to which they break down? Or someone more doe eyed?

But hey, like I said, different things for different people. Have I mentioned on any forum yet that I'd be more than happy to draw up some characters? Just tell me what you are looking for!

(and since I have a working printer / scanner now...)
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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:30 pm

Quote :
Have I mentioned on any forum yet that I'd be more than happy to draw up
some characters? Just tell me what you are looking for!

Your boss, anime version, futanari style! Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:10 am

So in continuation of much earlier posts...

So that was GIMP you used for the above video test?

And second, of all the masses that frequent this site, I need a bit of assistance. Or something. Out of everything I've seen, I still like the way flash based movies look... they look like what anime should (in my humble opinion). I will admit, though, that Flash is limited in that the characters don't exactly move as they should, they aren't as fluid.

So I want to do something. I want to download a program (full version, free) that can create Flash movies. Something that would be relatively easy to use, without a lot (actually, without any) scripting of any sort. Something where all I have to do is draw, adjust the frame, add layers. I will make an attempt to find somehting like this tonight / tomorrow, but was just curious with all the torrent people we have if they had anything along these lines.

I am going to attempt to participate in this anime endevour!

If anyone really needs to see an example of flash anime in action, then please enjoy this video taken from the online game MechQuest It is an excellent video, by the way, worth watching even if you aren't into anime.

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:36 pm

GIMP for the stills, Blender for the camera and frame motion.

AND...flash is kind of a problem all around. Adobe made sure the flash...um... software? Codec? I'm not sure...but they made sure it's very well protected, they have strict copyright policies on it, and they made it VERY difficult to reverse engineer (so I've read). Between all of these reasons, in all my years of looking for a cheaper, more feature rich FLash program, I haven't found anything yet. Basically, you will find a program that will program like flash, but export into HTML (cuz they couldn't get access to SWF exports)...or you will find a non-flash animator that has a built-in exporter plugin that will compress and convert to SWF.

THAT said, something occurred to me during your video example. It doesn't matter what medium is being applied. WHat matters is the artist, and his/her technique. I've thought about using my real world paints to do my still frames (since I apparently draw better with paint than pen/pencil), then using the standard animation techniques I've been learning. Would the end result LOOK like anime? Not quite. Would it FEEL like anime? Not quite. So many facets to examine and put in the correct order to make it all come together. Jesus... skipped a groove. Point is: doesn't matter if you use flash, or toon boom, or a laptop webcam stop-motion of smiley faces drawn on your fingers...YOU decide through your technique what the outcome will be!

Okay...now that I've gone through that, I present a link. The gallery page for Anime Studio. This program is not exactly like Flash animation, but has the 'tweening' and such....very user friendly, with LOTS of tutorials. Just takes a bit to get used to it. It WILL export to SWF, though mine would not work probably due to some codec problem or whatever. Anyway, before I drop the link, some of the most potent examples of this programs capabilities (IMO), all found on this gallery page: (these are NOT shown for being anime style, just to show what the program can do! As I said, anime style is in the hands of the artist!)

1. We Come Together. (first row) Animation made to look like the old 8-bit graphics...then turning into 3D, but still the same 8-bit. Very fluid!
2. Ballad. (second row) Like someone animated medieval tapestries!
3. An Underwater Tale (fourth row) Just awesome.
4. Lost in Longmeads (fifth row) animated stained glass...WOW...
5. Dark Prints (fifth row). This one can just disturb in it's own way...


Now the Link: http://anime.smithmicro.com/gallery.html

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:58 pm

Oh, should also point out that Anime Studio, unlike some other programs, can easily do the whole cel slide thing. If memory serves, they use the term layers in the program. Anyway, there are two easy ways to accomplish this, though one way requires doing several tutorials to learn how to create 'objects' inside the program.

The first way is truly simple, and I think would lend itself nicely to an anime style. You can create stills in another program, or by hand and scan them. Then you simple create an image layer, import the image onto the layer (easier than doing it in blender), and move the layer however you want in accordance with how many frames you set on the timeline editor. Panning, zooming, rotating, skewing... Some of the programs I have tried in the past make it quite a chore just to do something as simple as panning across an image! This one is quite simple.

The other way involves making all of your elements inside the program, and grouping them under a 'master layer'. NOT what they're really called...not sure if they have a name even, but it's just a layer, and when you drag other elements under the layer in the layer window, they automatically become sublayers. SO, you can tweak each item individually, or you can select the master layer and do your pan, rotate, zoom, ETC. Again, this will be more time consuming, as making objects is a little more intense than just making an image. There's steps like making a circle, deciding the thickness, style, and color of the outline... then the style and color(s) of the circle fill. Attaching to other objects, in front or behind. Whether it's a static attachment, or if they are joined by a bone for movement. With practice, maybe this can be done quickly, but for the sake of anime style I'm thinking the first method would be preferable.

IF you were interested in trying out this powerful, feature-rich application, I'm sure one or two of us could point you in the right direction...

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:11 am

Wow...ideas abound. So I'm trying to put together some of the 3D of my first scene...wait. Let me explain. After my rain test, I decided to try doing a little more testing with Blender, using 3D for the world and 2D hand-drawn (either traditional or digital) for the characters. The main reason for all this Blender stuff is the ability to reuse 3D objects for other scenes. Sure, a traditional animator can redraw the same thing every few scenes or episodes, but why? Make the scene once in 3D, and next time you need one aspect of the scene, just turn the camera and away you go. Second big reason(s) are the effects, lighting, and compositing... and motion blur, and depth of field, and reusing scenes. And of course, the eventual move into 3D characters to end the need for constant drawing (because, for the most part, I can't draw!).

So I was working on my establishing shot a few days ago, and ran into a brick wall (heh) when trying to get a decent brick wall texture in Blender. Won't go into details right now. I got frustrated, and decided it would be too damn easy, even with my LIMITED drawing abilities, to do these backgrounds in 2D, especially since I plan to target the Japanimation style of using as few actual moving frames as possible. Just as I was planning to mothball the whole 3D project, I remembered that this wasn't about officially trying to make something cool, but it was about proving that I could do some of this stuff using Blender. And by going even that far, I would have started a 3D world I could call up over and over without ever having to redraw any of it. So, this evening I believe I have completed my establishing scene for my mini animation... well... I think I finished the 3D aspects (for now!) and am now ready to start my 2D characters and animation of the first scene.

As I may have mentioned, I'm actually trying to do this "the right way," and have pencil-n-paper storyboarded almost the entire animation, and my 3D aspects almost perfectly match my storyboard. Damn, I forgot the bell. sigh... anyway, here's a taste!


A couple of points. First, as I learn more about material nodes in Blender, I will be better able to apply a cartoony outline to my projects. Second, while getting this ready, and noticing that behind the camera is a big empty, I realized another important facet of going 3D. Let's say 6 episodes into a series a person wants a plant in a big pot next to the door, or trees on the hills across the park...add them!!! No screwing around, just add them, save the 3D scene, and the changes will be there for each project after!

And as a last point I figured out... I've been digging my brain into this whole Japanimation idea. Researching the hows and whys of what makes their cartoons look so good (IMO). Then finding out the 'father of Japanese anime' got the idea from old American cartoons... then realizing I want to purposefully do my scene work in a 3D program with 3D elements, yet 3D has been a taboo thing in the anime business... then watching Appleseed: Ex Machina again... but that isn't anime because it's fully fluid and animated, but it's also 3D with crisp cartoon outlines... and it hits me: my goal shouldn't be copying the exact style of Japanese animation. My goal should be telling a story through animation in whatever way works for me and creates an end result that fits MY artistic style! And I think that is a worthy goal...not to drop a project because it doesn't have the same feel as Akira... but to keep going because it has my feel. So that is how I now proceed... bear with me...

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:34 am

Ever the learning stuff. I added my bell above the door. I added a crappy sky texture to a plane in the background so there was some blue sky and cloud. I hit render... 50% of HD size (1080), and watched as one frame took like 3 minutes. Not bad...until you calculate anywhere from 12 to 24 frames per second. Ouch. What could my problem be?

Per last post, my issue with a brick wall texture. Blender, unlike most 3D packages out there, doesn't come packed with sample textures. It's not a flaw or a cheap-skate way out, it's just the nature of the beast and the way the code handles packing all aspects of a scene into the blend file. So...unless you have a bunch of awesome textures in other scenes that you can import from one blend into another, you make new textures. For the metal around door and windows, the bell, and the pagoda, I stole textures from some of my other blends. I gave them the 'toon' shader (instead of blinn or phong), but left the reflections on! I also added reflections on my new tile floor texture. The pagoda has been grabbed from a free 3D model site, and HAD over 100,000 faces.

I noticed with the toon shaders on the metal and pagoda, the reflections weren't there anyway. I switched off reflections. I used a 'decimate' modifier on the pagoda, and dropped it to 13,000 faces. I hit render, and the single frame took about 30 seconds. MUCH better! Considering I plan to run at 640x480 (or the 16:9 equivalent), this time will drop also. NOT BAD!!!

That said, another observation about animation in general. Based on the last post and my comments about doing it my way, and Soothsayer's post about Flash animation (was that in here or in the anime discussion thread?), I got to thinking about other techniques I can pull ideas from. Guess what popped in my head! Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? Yeah... Samurai Jack! Did some watching, and it's been a while, but the style they used really does sort of have it all. It's got the background panning, the static images shaking to simulate movement, the bigger than normal eyes to show emotion... yet it has a distinct quality that makes it truly unique. I will be studying further, and recommend the show to anyone who enjoys a good cartoon!

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:20 am

ha ha HA!!! If you wanna anime, you gotta observe the 'rules'. You MUST accept the sakura! Not the cardcaptor, but the cherry blossoms. The white pink petals that seem to flow across the scene even when there's no trees around. Yes, they are called sakura. Which REALLY makes me wonder about the title 'Cardcaptor Sakura'...hmmmmm. Anyway, you would think it would be easy to find a good straight down shot of one of these petals in google images, but NOOOoooOOO. 3D model of just the petal? Nope. Like nobody does homebrew animation?! W...T....F.... I made one. Low poly. I used it as the output object in a particle system. I added my first (in Blender) wind simulation object. I added my first cyclone simulation object. I made sure the damn particles rotated individually, like being blown on the breeze. I added motion blur to give them a little OOMF...and the end result has less motion blur and more herkety-jerkety. When the petals seem to jump (ghost?) backwards, that's a bad motion blur render...bastards. But all in all, I'm ready to add sakura blowing across my scenes when you least expect them! WATCH THIS!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:38 am

Would you believe I was giggling while watching this? And not in a bad way, mind you.

Other than your noted jump, there was one thing that caught my eye. I don't know how obvious it is to others, and I don't know if it's due to my artistic nature or something, but... from watching the embedded video, there seems to be something running in the vertical just above the time counter. It looks as if the petals are coming in as the should from the right, but as soon as they hit this spot, they look as if they ...

Ahh, figured it out. Went to the youtube page and went full screen. There's a number, not a lot, but a number of petals that disappear at this point. There might be other areas, but its along this area that I noted it.

Could it be a rendering issue? Perhaps the leaf pattern isn't thick enough, causing it to disappear when viewed from the side?

Also, as a note for a future point, how hard would it be to have leaves in flight "curve"; you know, instead of moving straight, they move in a wavy pattern? This really isn't essential, as it does look good and matches with stuff done by "professionals", especially with the leaves in layers moving at different speeds.

But not bad at all! Damn near expected a soft song to be playing while watching this, even turned on my speakers. Leaves blowing across... camera pans down...

Excellent job! Enough of that. I will have to belittle you at work now just to keep you sane after all this praise.
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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:09 am

Oh...grrrrr.....sigh. Once again going through my thought process of 2D, 3D, or a mix. Maybe I'm having so many issues incorporating 2D cuz I can't actually draw, maybe such is not my lot in life...no idea. So I start looking for tutorials on the youtube for modeling an anime head. Granted this isn't blender, and it's kinda old...so I should only KINDA hate this guy for making this look so good even with 3D!


If THAT wasn't enough, I was in the process of emailing Vader the other day about some of this 2D or 3D crap I'm working through...and I forgot to make another point. Now with a vid, I'm sharing my point. The Japanese anime 'Kiss x Sis', nowhere near the best I've seen from any point, but it did blow my mind a little bit at the end of episode one. The entire show is what we have observed as 'traditional' Japanimation, but when the end credits roll, the two main female characters dance and "sing" the end theme. None of that single-image panning, no speed lines, just REALLY nicely choreographed (and fluid) animation!


CRAP!!! This just in...I found one version of the vid where a commenter states the end credit dance was done in 3DSmax. Another vid a commenter says the entire show was done in 3DSmax. Doubtful. Anyway, another one a commenter says he can't believe how cool it is that the dance scene was done in MMD. Wait...wtf is MMD?! Crap 2. MMD is MikuMikuDance. Japanese freeware. Wait...English site coming up...:
MMD. Scroll down, skim the video on the left...yes, the dance MIGHT have been made with this. Yes, it's 3D. It's a friggin multi-model dance routine maker thing with anime characters...and it uses special vocalization so you type lyrics and it sings realistically?! Anyway, it's an awesome job at animating. If it was done in 3D, that just proves more that any of this is possible in 3D. What to do...what to do....

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:21 am

And while it's fresh in my head...I got an email from a complete unknown. Some woman emails me from youtube, says she watched my channel, and I might be interested in a vid. First off, every video I've posted has been restricted to people who have the link (like when I stick the link in a post). Second, I never made any kinda channels. If she's talking (I'm assuming she because of the profile avatar) my most viewed vids, then I'm still confused cuz I haven't done that much anime searching on youtube. People sometimes....sheesh.

Anyway, it was a minute ish. Two ninjas duking it out in very anime fashion. Yay...nicely done. Video ends. Credits: Made with Flash and Adobe After Effects. Yay! Yes, I know Flash can make some awesome stuff. Yay! I know After Effects can make production quality videos. I also know I don't have $1,000 to get both entry level programs! Maybe be exaggerating by a hundred or so, but still...point is I'm trying to do everything, whether 2D or 3D, in open source software. I have just added Inkscape (vector art software) to my pipeline, and so far I'm okay with the changes I have to make. I know Flash has been discussed before, and it IS a great program for animating, we've seen that! But even if it was cheaper, the fact that you basically can't do anything Flash related in other programs seems really ridiculous. Blender can use files from about 30 different 3D programs and engines, Inkscape can use SVG files which are the main form of vector based graphics files, and GIMP can import/export pretty much any file type ever! None of them can use flash. So...I can use software compatible with everything else...or I can use Flash and subject myself to being stuck with Adobe products...not much of a choice.

I realize this should have gone somewhere more opinion-ey, but the subject 'Can We Anime' includes what we can or can't do. I'm here to say I can't sell my soul to Adobe just to make animations.

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:43 pm

Blender material nodes are pissing me off!!! I finally found a really super duper entry-level tutorial, and sure enough one of the most interesting steps no longer works since Blender released 2.6. So now I wait for a new tutorial, or at least until I come down from my savage red rage enough to attack this problem fresh. So in the interim, I went back...back...back.....

Quote :
Would you believe I was giggling while watching this? And not in a bad way, mind you.
Aside from simply asking you to explain the why's of this comment, I should also point out that you giggling in ANY way is a bad thing. Tee Hee!

Quote :
Other than your noted jump, there was one thing that caught my eye. I
don't know how obvious it is to others, and I don't know if it's due to
my artistic nature or something, but... from watching the embedded
video, there seems to be something running in the vertical just
above the time counter. It looks as if the petals are coming in as the
should from the right, but as soon as they hit this spot, they look as
if they ...

Ahh, figured it out. Went to the youtube page and
went full screen. There's a number, not a lot, but a number of petals
that disappear at this point. There might be other areas, but its along
this area that I noted it.

Could it be a rendering issue?
Perhaps the leaf pattern isn't thick enough, causing it to disappear
when viewed from the side?
The 'jump' was NOT a blender thing, it happened when going from the blender output file to the software I'm using to convert to a smaller webbier video file.
The disappearing petals came from the particle lifetime in frames. It was set fine IF the petals went directly right to left, but I failed to take into account the petals getting slowed down by my cyclone atmospheric effect. My bad.

Quote :
Also, as a note for a future point, how hard would it be to have leaves
in flight "curve"; you know, instead of moving straight, they move in a
wavy pattern?
Um...yes. Er...not too? Wavy... oooh. I beat my head on the wall with this one for a while. Only thing I could come up with was using bones and making some of the petals do a static bend. But that would SUCK. So instead I all-va-sudden asked my self if the 'parent' object (the main object the stream of particles is made from...the first sakura...oooh working title?) was assigned the physical simulation properties of cloth, THEN the particles were made and automatically applied physics to, would each child-particle-petal have the same cloth properties?

I have the new video...slightly choppy cuz of the conversion to web. I used a MUCH higher resolution sky image, and added the cloth to the petals. So, the vid is...um....that long. Then I have a time-lapsed video of getting it tweaked in Blender, and then I replay the sakura video either 75% faster or 75% slower, I can't remember.

Quote :
especially with the leaves in layers moving at different speeds.
The purpose for the middle portion of the video? I don't have anything going at different speeds on multiple layers. One of the reasons I was hoping to go 3D. I have a parent sakura petal (offscreen), a camera, a light, a plane with a sky texture, a plane to emit my sakura particles, 2 wind effectors, 1 turbulence effector, and 1 vortex effector. That's 9 objects, 2 of which are scene equipment, and 4 of which are what Blender calls 'empties' with physics effects applied. I didn't actually manually move anything! YAY!!! It's all atmospheric physical simulation!

Now before I get too puffed up and start yelling at George Lucas...the new vid...

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:47 pm

Why was I giggling? Because it was good, you nit! Sheesh.

Okay, before I go and review the video, let me jump right in and make my comments. Ready? Is your head healed yet from bashing it against the wall? Here goes...

Quote :
Um...yes. Er...not too? Wavy... oooh. I beat my head on the wall with this one for a while. Only thing I could come up with was using bones and making some of the petals do a static bend. But that would SUCK. So instead I all-va-sudden asked my self if the 'parent' object (the main object the stream of particles is made from...the first sakura...oooh working title?) was assigned the physical simulation properties of cloth, THEN the particles were made and automatically applied physics to, would each child-particle-petal have the same cloth properties?

Wasn't talking about the petalas themselves going all wavy. That'd be silly. I meant the paths they were taking. You know, make wavy paths, because unlike the first video, nature doesn't blow in a straight line. But you know what? IT DOESN'T MATTER ANYMORE! It seems your vortex cannons and turbo fans and atmospheric condensors have achieved what I was trying to get at... your petals have more of a random flow, and move about more realistically. All in all, a vast improvement!

Thumbs Up

You have done yourself good in this project! Take a bow, take in my applaus, you deserve it!

...

With what is being presented, I can hear a little / young kid saying "Mommy, will things be alright now?" in the beginning... at the word "now", the petals start to flow, and credits move up. Amazing what a simple change in background will do. It's the same colors, the same scene (in essence), but the background, although similar to the original, is different enough to convey a different feeling.

{i]That's[/i] an interesting thought, isn't it? I must investigate that, see if there is any truth to this, or if it just my own misguided mind.
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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:56 pm

Wow...that IS a damn interesting thing to note! Though it was only like a week ago I watched the 'behind-the-scenes' of Samurai Jack, and watched the guy hand-painting the backgrounds that they would zoom and pan across, and noticing how his color choices made me feel about a scene, it didn't click till you mentioned that. Like the samples in the Samurai Jack thing...I noticed the blues and grays made the area seem dead, while the huge pits in the ground ringed with a red glow from work fires screamed 'BAD!' and it just made the entire pan across hopeless (for the characters).

We definitely need to look into this further! I mean, yeah... if I did the same scene but used the interior of a library as the background, it would instantly change the entire feel....all I wanted here was less pixelization, so I upped the resolution, which meant a different image. Didn't even occur to me that it would change the vibe. Great! Now when I'm watching my anime I'll be paying more attention to the backgrounds! Like studying the animation AND trying to read subtitles isn't enough of a pain in the ass! Yep...gotta look into this...more focus on backgrounds could change the entire planned emotion for a scene...yikes!

**Oh, and you gotta admit, regardless of the flow, the new bending petals adds a spooky ton of realism! I noticed it even helped the atmosphere effectors have a more realistic push on the petals! Now to bed, and hopefully something more profound will leap out of my 3D tomorrow!

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:59 pm

Ah-ha! (take me on)

I just went back and forth between video one and two, and I think I saw why each gave me a different impression as to the scene.

Video one, the leaves are moving faster, and the background (other than having more clouds) is darker. Between the two, this would suggest a storm. It isn't presented in the video, but subconsciously, it is there.

Video two has a lighter color, the leaves move more slowly, and the cloud appears more softer... thus, a more peaceful tone.

Go back and watch them again. Can you see what I mean?
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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:26 am

Quote :
Wow...that IS a damn interesting thing to note!

I am more than just a pretty face, you know.
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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:28 pm

Just went back an reread these 3 pages of animatorical mumbo. I'm hitting head to wall again and hoped a little "where have i been" would help the "where am i going." Basically, same project, different media...still needing anime/manga styles characters in multiple poses and clotheses. Since I'm shooting for stills this time around, I've been looking at DAZ for my character depictions, and here's what I've learned: DAZ was made to be limiting for making what YOU want to make.

DAZ got its start making 3D models as addons for the popular 'Poser' program. Poser was expensive, and with the limited amount of models (i.e. clothing, props, animals, backgrounds...) it was extremely limiting in the final creation. A million people have the same female model, the same 3 dresses, the same 5 hairstyles....only so far you can go. Enter: DAZ. They were the first to understand the need for extras, and they provided, for a relatively low fee. I mean, if one could pay the several hundred smackers for Poser, $9.95 for a pair of shorts seemed pretty damn good. However, when DAZ realized they had a market in 40 polygon sunglasses, as long as the sunglasses fit Poser models....well that was the end of any attempts at making the program more user-friendly. Add another X amount of years, DAZ realizes they are reaching a limited audience, since a lot of people simply can't afford Poser. DAZ releases 'DAZ Studio' for free, which is basically exactly like Poser, but comes stocked with a much more limited selection. Kicker here is there's a link right in the program to access the DAZ online store. So you have Poser for free, and you reach a point in your project where you HAVE to have a sycamore tree, well just click the link, fill in your credit card info, and away you go!! YAY!!!!! BOO! Evil or Very Mad

Yes, there's now tutorials abounding for making models to be used in DAZ or Poser. Both programs have built in content editors (only the premium versions which cost a LOT more). I've been looking at the tools for getting a model into DAZ, and without going into the technical details, what a pain in the ass!!!! It's actually quicker and easier to take a model, animate it, and get it into a game engine, than to import a model into DAZ and go through the whole rigamaroll of making it conform to your model. Not only that, I have a bunch of hairstyles from a previous version of DAZ that will NOT conform to the newer models because they just HAD to change the basic skeletal structure. That's such a wonderful business practice to perform on customers....miserable rotten ass-lickin mother ffffffffff fuh fuh fuh...... okay, rather they won't conform when I follow the instructions to conform older stuff to newer stuff. And they won't conform for most people I've read in the DAZ forums. Back to square 1, and a BIG middle finger up to the kind folks at DAZ... thanks for making money off of peoples' creativity by ensuring their future creativity HAS to go through you first...you suck.

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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:46 am

@Shadowcrunch wrote:
...still needing anime/manga styles characters in multiple poses and clotheses.

Tell me what you want. What you are looking for. I'll draw up some things for you.
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PostSubject: Re: Can we anime?   Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:12 pm

Your offer will be kept in mind, and perhaps called upon when I have some idea what I'm shooting for. That's kind of the problem with this software thing... was planning on using modeling as a character sketch designer... try out costumes or poses to determine what I want. The purpose of the previous rant wasn't so much to whine at the lack of art, as there will always be art available for hire/rent/favor. It was more a shot specifically at the jackass market DAZ helped create. There are now many many sites (online stores) selling 3D models in niche categories, all similarly priced. Most of them will offer free samples, but you have to register, which means weekly emails about new products...always showing you how you can improve your artistic base with just a few more 20 dollars bills every week. Hell, I'm still getting emails from Renderosity and Renderotica from 4 or 5 years ago when I signed up for free stuff, and to this day I cannot even begin to fathom what I might have needed to download from a place called Renderotica...must have been one hell of a project!!! If these stores aren't enough, there's also turbosquid, where guys like you and me (but decent with 3D modeling and texturing) can sell their own stuff for their own set price. A lot more freebies, BUT a lot more CRAP going for high prices because 'half-ass-artist' put a bunch of time into a CRAP model but you can't find one anywhere else. DAZ has made 3D a frickin offshoot of the ebay and APP society (if my last rant about APP was in an email to someone not present in this conversation, it refers to my noting how every search for a downloadable application for this or that will now ONLY give hits for mobile APPS....the PC desktop application is dead because society is retarded...but you still can't find what you're looking for because software and program were not brought in to take over for the loss of application....there's no keywords left for non-game software....wow... side rant!!!!).

ANYWAY....skipped a groove. Whole point of the over complexity of DAZ is grounded in the frustration of making the human form for the sake of animating or making CG stills. Throughout time, mankind has been trying to properly capture the human form, and that holds true in the 3D CG world, be it for art or game or animation. So if this is something that's been worked on for so long, why aren't there more programs, applications, um....graphics packages out there to create the human form in an easy way for the budding artist? Why haven't they found a more natural, user-friendly way to model, pose, and dress these figures? Just think, here's your rotatable 3D human body...now draw an outline how you want a dress to look on the woman....now choose textures for the dress parts....now click 'build' and the dress becomes an animatable 3D object that fits on the model any way you want based on several selectable basic options. It's the 21st century, and 3D has been around for quite a while, and they can't give us a SIMPLE way to make 3D easier to learn and use? Horseshit! That's what the rant is about...my anger at my own lack of abilities due to ignorance and learning difficulties with something that SHOULD be simple BY NOW. And not all 3D....I'm focusing on the human form with this rant. There HAS to be a way to make it easier for the amateur to play too!

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