Thursday, 10 March 2011

Stop motion image stabilization in After Effects

You can not fully appreciate the animation if the image is shake. The light could be great and the animation brilliant, but our brain still tells us... the animation is cute but its not quite great, "don't get mi wrong its nice..." we don't wont that kind of comments do we...also it is very difficult to apply masks and other effects on randomly moving images. Movement of one of the elements in the animation doesn't matter if its the original footage or the mask expose the line of the mask, setting the mask in the right place by hand on hundred of images can not be the only solution... I refuse to do it by hand... lets get read of those shake images... I was guessing that Premiere should have tool suitable for doing this, but 5 hours of researching tough me that the best software for this is After Effects, Premiere haven't got such option. There is a few other progtams but I was rather difficult to get them online. Previously I had few attempts of learning AF but never really got the hang of it. It looks that now I haveng got much choice. So I've imported the whole Premiere saved project to AF. I tried to work on the whole project from there and not going back to Premiere any more, but I felt that the program is not for putting the animation together. I bet that there is an option of deciding on the duration of imported images in AF but the time line is designed to add layers to individual object like videos or lingle images. Premiere is the software for sticking the images together...I think...that's my individual preference, but I find it comfortable. For now. So I decided on rendering and editing everything in Premiere and than importing the video to AF to stabilize the image. 

I imported the finished video to AF. Tryed few things with images stabilizer. Watched some youtube tutorials made by some tenagers... and seriously what is the point of doing a tutorial on something that is alredy on youtube... I looked through few of them as I was looking for some more datail info... but there are all the same... silly.
Anyhow, I managed to apply the stabilizations to the video, and the result turned out to be great. the diffrence was biger than I expected. But it created new problems. As the image was still now the frame surrounding the video started to jump... cutting it a bit down would be a solution, but I did not wont to change the composition previously established. I had to come back to Premiere and re-render the video without the frames... I also decided no to compress the image so that I would have the option of working on the peace without any limitations, and this way I'm avoiding problems with frame sizes. Also would be nice to have an original in full size on the hard drive... So I rendered the peace, and from an animation not even 2 minutes long I received 18 gig file (WMV uncompressed). A bit to big for my liking. My computer also seams to unappreciated that size and does not wont to open the animation in any software. In other words... my 5 years old computer is letting me down jet once again.
It seams that Ill have to compress the video into the best quality that I can, and that apply the stabilizer, get it back to Premiere again add the sound and maybe then export it without compression.... and as it goes for the 18gig file, Ill have to wait for a better computer to be dealt with. for now, it'll just hang there.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

1500 Pictures uploded in Photoshop

Lets say that the "Not Growing Up" first cut have few small glitches... but the truth is that it will take me another few week to fix it all... well, yes maybe YOU don't notice the obvious animating mistakes, but it's not all about you this time... you know.
In my defence now I'll explain why did I allow those mistakes to take place and how will I avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
- The light was changing cause of my assistant waking up - (solution) Give him more alcohol so he wouldn't wake up in the middle of the shoot. Or give him less alcohol so he wouldn't fall asleep in the first place.
- Camera moving - (solution) Rent a place that will not have old wooden flour.
- Stenography moving - (serious solution) During the planning stage I should consider building the set more solid. Animating a puppet is sometimes quite complicated because of limited access or difficult movements. In this situations it is very hard to focus on being gentle on the set. Cause of that, the set needs to be solid at all times, so that at the stage of animating nobody needs to focus on in.
- Mistakes in animation - (solution) HEY nobody's perfect... I was tired... If I only had a bit more time...
Those are the mistakes in the animation. I can see them, not sure if any one else can... but now comes the difficult bit. Fixing it. Photoshop here I come... I'll see you in a week time.

Shoot from the top.

The up from the tree shot is one of my favourite in the animation. I decided to take that shot so that the animation would be a bit more vibrant. So that there would be a bit more interesting shots.
The audience is looking down through branches at the bunny rabbit standing under the three. The bunny is looking up at the apple.
The truth is that the branches are laying on the ground just next to the bunny. That's because all the branches had to be composed into the right shape. To do this the tree had to be destroyed and put back together.
To make the shot a bit more understanding, I decided to lift the fruit a bit higher so that the lens optics would blur the apple a bit.
I love this shot.

"Not Growing Up" First Cut

"Not Growing Up" my new favourite animation. An animated illustration for Szymon's music.

Music by "Hemofilia" Szymon Szwarc

With help of my good friends Zuza Bukala, Ola Hryniewicz, Panayiotis Melodias... and Tomas Petronis?

Animating The Bunny

The "A.R.T." was the first project in which I used the screw based armature. I can't say that the first skeleton was a huge success. I was a rather difficult task to animate Arty (the robot).
Before I started to construct the armature for "Not Growing Up" boy in a rabbit costume I created a document in with I specified all boys movement. Decided on all gestures and smallest reactions, so that while constructing the skeleton I knew exactly what kind of movements I need the puppet to perform. Then I gathered all my notes on pros and cons of Artys armature design. I completely changed the solution for the shoulders and waists.
- Yeah did you, and how did it work?
- I'm glad that I asked...
It turned out to be brilliant. When I took the bunny for a ride it turned out that it's absolutely intuitive, it reacts exactly the way I expected it to react. I started to animate straight away. Took me two days to animate the whole thing. The eyes were great. Not difficult to animate at all, they escaped me one or twice, but I'll fix it in post editing.
I really enjoyed animating the car toy. The rope from the toy had a wire inside of it. It was a pure stop frame exercise to animate it to look like a loose rope... lovely.
In overall I'm pleased with the quality of animation in the clip. Can't wait to my next movie to make the animation even better... I have some ball joints now... that's right babe... I'm going PRO.

Building The Background

Did you noticed the background? You didn't?... good. That was the whole idea. The whole purpose of the background was the fill up the gaps in the shoots while adding a bit of tonally balanced perspective.

The colours of the animation were chosen on early stages of the project. They were a painters decision (as there is no other point why the sky would be orange). They were compose and balanced in a way which would emphasize the specific mood of the animation. The warm colour of the sky together with cold greens is mixing with rabbit grey costume exactly as planned.

Back to the background. The idea was to create a number of small hills in the distance. To create the effect of distance between two sets I had to pull out the colour from the further sat, because the colours in the distance are always less intense, that's cause of air perspective. I used clothes with desaturated colours, a bit green and white spray on brown clothes, a bit of white on green clothes... and almost done.

Now, what have I used to build the background?
- Old shirts.
- Jacket - that my Mom gave me but I never like it.
- Gradfathers coat.
- Blanket

Thursday, 11 November 2010

"Not Growing Up" from the kitche

In this post Ill try to show how did I managed to do some thing in the animation. I find most of this stuff funny and dont get me wrong quite clever as well.

Picture from the set. Panayiotis (art Director and second Photographer) and me checking the composition of the shoot.

This is the middle of the summer in my room. The light is firmly blocked with the use of cheep paper and sleeping mats... usually they did the trick.

The shoot where the apple fly in the air and falls back down... How did you do that, people ask... Nothing easier, you take a needle and tape it to the ceiling, take a thread with is the same colour of the background and simply pull the string.
If that did not work (because the apple pulled up on a string doesn't twist) you do it digitally... and that's what I did.

This is a shoot of the whole set. So if you thought that the animations is made by a professional... you could not be more wrong.
The background is made with the use of window blind pinned to the wall. The 2 set is build with two planks of wood taped to my drawers and cause of that I did not have access to my fresh socks for ... for some time.

Oh yea, and if there is light changing in my movie, that's because of my Lithuanian friend Tomas (catering Master in the project).
Tomas tend to woke up drunk during the shoots. Stud up walk around the room in his white T-shirt changing completely the light in the room. Yeap thats the people I have to work with. But to be fair to Tomas I need to say that thanks to him the movie looks the way it looks... and I have much more post edit work to do...