Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DUIK rigging tools in After Effects - Quick introduction

Here is a quick introduction to the DUIK tools for after effects that we have used on a few shows recently.

There are a lot more tutorials online for these tools google them and check them out.

Jacob used these tools on this show: This is where you can get the tools:

HR animation pre lighting work

These two have to be done in the animation file because it's being referenced to the lighting file.

1. Open the animation file for the shot. Go to Reference Editor and replace the main characters with the ones that have their extra hair removed. They can be found in the same reference folder, eg. Britney_del_hair.mb.

2. Remove key for their clothing options and change it to the one the shot is asking for.

Now you can create a lighting file.
1. Create a new scene and go to FILE>Create Reference. Select the animation file that is in the Final folder in your shot.

2. Look through the shot camera. Remove or hide anything that won't be seen.

3. Select the characters and create a new render layer from them. Select the background objects and create another render layer from them. Go to Layer Editor>Render layer>Layers>Create layer from selected.

4. Create Environment light for the shot. Go to Render Globals and change the render engine to mental ray. Go to Indirect Lighting and

After Effects - Advanced Paper Cut-out

This link includes tutorials and an example video show the possibilities for animating in a paper-cut out style, together with 3D elements. This was super helpful in getting a basic knowledge of the process and knowing where to go next.


Friday, May 30, 2014

After Effects: Paper Cut Out + Animation Basics

The guy uses illustrator + after effects in 8 quick tutorials to build 2.5d scenes, animate using only expressions, and rig up a character (with mouth shapes) in minutes.

The link below is for part 1, click the links above for more parts:

Monday, October 14, 2013

White board animation keying in after effects and some flash drawing tips.

Here is a link to the great documentation that Paige created for the keying process that we use in after effects for the whiteboard animations.


There are also some great tips for drawing cartoon style in Flash.

Friday, July 19, 2013

How we film a "Whiteboard Animation" in CTL meeting room

This is the process that we go through when we have a whiteboard filming session.

  1. Schedule the meeting room in Outlook or with the CTL receptionist.
  2. Swap out the battery in the camera with a fully charged one. Place the used battery on the charger.
  3. Format the memory card in the camera. Menu button, first brown tool.
  4.  Set the camera mode knob to P (for priority mode)
  5. Press the Q button on the camera and set exposure to 0. Set the ISO to 1600. Set the white balance to AWD (auto white balance)
  6. Mount the tripod plate to camera and tighten with screwdriver.
  7. Mount the 24-70mm lens on the camera body and set to MF (manual focus)
  8.  Insert tripod plate onto tripod head and tighten the clamping knob.
  9.  In the CTL meeting room with the door closed, lights on, wall monitor off and reflectors in place, take one still photo of the clean whiteboard from a couple of feet away.
  10. Change the white balance of the camera to custom        
  11. Press the Menu button and go to the 2nd red camera settings menu. Under Custom WB, load the last photo as the data image for the custom white balance.
  12. Set up the tripod at the back of the table. One leg extension should be enough.
  13. Switch the camera to video mode.
  14. Place the magnets in a rectangle as high as the artist can comfortably reach.
  15. Adjust the zoom and position of the camera to frame the magnets as close as possible then move the magnets barely out of the frame of the video.
  16. Push the blue plus magnification button to enlarge the view and manually focus the lens.
  17. Have the artist hold their arm in front of the board and set the camera exposure as high as possible without blowing out any of the skin tones. Usually 2 1/3 stops above zero works best.
  18. Change the screen resolution setting of the room computer to the second lowest setting.  
  19.  Disconnect the VGA monitor cable from the adapter on the back of the computer. Connect the projector cable to the adapter.
  20. When finished, make sure and reconnect the monitor and reset the resolution and put the room back to the way that you found it.
This image shows the setup for the filming and some of the things that we have discovered to help us get good footage.

We have also found that it speeds up production quite a bit if we use some drawings done in photoshop for the storyboard in the final animation. We try to mix up what is drawn by the "hand" and what is predrawn so it doesn't become predictable.

Here are a couple of clips from recent examples.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us work on these and figure out this process.

Friday, January 11, 2013

How to Parent Puppet Pin Tool to a Null in After Effects

I have here at the end of this post a great little tutorial on basic animation in After Effects starting with a brief description on parenting and the Puppet Pin tool. The second video is where he really starts to do the null parenting, so if you're good with the basics skip on ahead.

But for those of you who don't need a full tutorial here's a brief set of instructions:

In a nutshell:
1. Pin your subject and Name your pin(s).
2. Create a null object (Layer/New/Null Object) and Rename the null to match the pin. 
3. Position the node to the same values as the puppet pin's position.
4. Shrink the null's scale.
5. Hold Alt (Option on Mac) and click the stopwatch for the puppet pin position. (This will open new options.)
6. Drag the new Pickwick (the swirly icon) over the Null that you're parenting to. Release.
7. In the new box (over the timeline) add this command to the end:
     It should now say something like:
    This makes the pins not go crazy.
8. Rinse and repeat.

Ta da! Now the null controls the puppet pin. You can now also parent layers to the nulls so that when you move the null the pin and the parented layer will respond. (Example: Head layer parented to a neck pin from another layer.) You can also create a chain of parented pins. (IE: Shoulder rotates causing elbow, wrist and hand to follow.)

And now the videos:

A Very Useful Page by Adobe
Puppet Pinning 101 Video Tutorial covers the types of pins and how to use them.