Thursday, 20 October 2011

Balls, balls, balls...

I've been hard at work animating my first task- The Bouncing Ball

I used 3 softwares to create the same animation and noted down the process in which i did them as well as pros and cons. I will show all the screenshots i took in the programmes and then compare the final animations at the end of the post.


Flash
The first software i used was Flash, this being because i'm familiar with the programme and so it was a pretty standard process of creating all the shapes on the stage, and animating using a Classic Tween.


The blue line acted as my guide (the same as in my other animations) and the lines acted as the guides for inbetweens and the extremes. I was happy that all programmes had the essential onion skinning functions, as this mini project would have been near impossible to create a convincing bouncing ball without it. Using the classic tween technique meant that the inbetweens were automatically assumed and added in, and it was also just as easy to adjust them as necessary, resulting in a nice clean movement.

Toon Boom
This programme has really been a pleasure to get used to. Once i got round to how the functions and general display worked, it was quite straight-forward. I was even slapping my forehead in awe of some of the functions that were available on this programme that isn't on Flash. It really saves a lot of time and makes life a lot easier. I read an AMAZING blog that really well explained how Toon Boom works to an absolute beginner, which i owe a lot of credit to:


It has all the elements (or layers) along the bottom of the screen, and i've rearranged the workspace so that the cells for animating are highlighted on the bottom right. It was really easy to draw into this programme and animate it without redrawing. The useful table light function means that you don't have to turn a the other layers visibilities off to just view one layer, you can just select the layer and turn the table light off. Brilliant!

The camera view function also means you can animate your drawings without manipulating them or changing them accidently, and can scale the whole animation as if moving frames closer or further away from a camera in real life. 

Keyframing also automatically puts in "tweens" so you don't have to select a type of tween like in Flash, they are also easy to alter. I also noticed near finishing animating that the ball wasn't quite round enough, so i just went back to drawing view, made it rounder, and to my pleasure, found that it changed all the other frames to follow suit. Thank god i didn't have to change each frame individually!!

Pencil
This programme caused me so much grief. You cannot lock down layers on this so you can so easily accidently move keyframes!! Grr... I also find it seriously irritating that you MUST make the keyframe BEFORE you animate anything, otherwise it just doesnt do anything, and because i was so used to the other programmes where you just move something and it automatically creates the keyframe, it was annoying to move something and then realise you have to do it again, because you didnt make the keyframe yourself >:(


AND ANOTHER THING!! When i saved this file, it did the opposite of saving. Basically, i saved this file, then did something wrong, so i went to the file to reopen it to! start again, and instead, i got NotePad with a load of gobbledy-gook written in it. Useful! (Not!). So i opened it from the programme itself, to find that all my layers were still named but with NO KEYFRAMES and NO IMAGES. Again, VERY USEFUL. It erased all my frames (as you can see the keyframes at the bottom are grey, meaning they're empty and yellow when they contain something) so i couldnt edit it later. So this screenshot is actually ANOTHER one i did, because i had to do it again, and then i saved it, and the keyframes turned grey ("Oh crap, not again!" says me) so i took a picture before i lost it forever and exported it.

On this programme, you cannot make an image and then play around with it further in the timeline to animate, you can only copy and paste it over and over and keep manipulating which is:

1) very time consuming 
and,
2) annoying because you have to remember to keyframe everytime before you press command+v to paste.
AND
3) you can't delete frames or keyframes in groups, you can only do them individually.
OH!
4) and you can't rotate anything.
NUMBER FIVE
5) you can't preview your animation
AND FURTHER MORE
6) you can only view onion skin in the frame directly before or after the frame you're on.

i really think this programme is for kids or serious beginners as there are hardly any tutorials and one i found was from a 9 year old, who said in his tutorial "... and here, you have a vector layer. I can't explain what a vector layer does, but all i know is that you do not want it. so get rid of it."

if you'd like evidence of this, here it is (at 00:56):


THANK GOD THIS PROGRAMME IS FREE. OHMYGODIHATEYOUSOMUCH.

So anyway here are the final animations of the bouncing balls (complete with hopefully, good timing and squash and stretch), here for comparing:

Flash
video

Toon Boom
video

Pencil
video

I think the Flash video looks too smooth and a bit too perfect. I prefer the Toon Boom one for this task, it has more character and was just a really easy programme to use :)

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