New from Animation 4 Business: Premium Explainer Videos

Animation 4 Business Premium is a new service I'm offering as part of my Business Explainer Video Service, Animation 4 Business. To launch the service I've created the short video below that explains why you might use my Premium service over solutions like GoAnimate and Powtoon. The video is also entered into Reallusion's Animation@Work contest too.

Essentially it's for those situations where you need characters to perform specific tasks unique to your business but you don't want to go to the full expense of creating a custom character from scratch. Visit my site or email me if  you'd like more information.



This blog however is more concerned with the behind the scenes stuff of how the above animation was created. So lets get into that.

From start to finish this animation took three days including writing the script, designing my new Animation 4 Business logo, animating the characters and scenes and adding sound effects and music. Note that I didn't storyboard this animation as it really was simple enough to skip that step.

All of the characters are either customized G2 Power Tools Pack characters or ones that came with CrazyTalk Animator 2.

The Goodies
"We do anything anytime."
Interestingly it was the ideas for this video ('any action any time') that prompted me to make three customized G2 characters based on U.K. Comedy trio, The Goodies that were popular in the nineteen seventies and eighties in England and Australia.

You'll notice from the image that the 'Graeme' character appears in the video.

By far, the most time consuming part of creating this video was the opening scene with Graeme performing all the different tasks. The entire scene had to be key framed from scratch. I spent a full day on that scene.

In particular you'll notice Graeme's right hand is fully animated and appears to type... well sort of. I realize his hand isn't really connecting with the keys. This is due to the desk and computer being layered in front of the character. With a bit of thought I could probably have made his hand connect but I felt it was animated enough to demonstrate the point.

Another highlight is the items balancing on Graeme's feet. A nice short cut with CTA2 is that you can link a prop to any body part of a character and then, when you move the body part around, the prop automatically follows. Thus these items look a little more precarious just by moving Graeme's feet side to side slightly.

Graeme's face is animated almost exactly like a puppet. All I did was click the record button then move the mouse around to make him look side to side and click the mouse to make him blink.

Unlike GoAnimate and Powtoon's studios, CTA2's camera works exactly like a real camera. When you see the scene transitions, where the camera pans right to the next scene, that is the camera moving and not the props being slid off to the left and new ones being slid on to the right. Makes changing scenes so much simpler.

My new Animation 4 Business logo was designed using DrawPlus X6. I pretty much had an idea for what I wanted, it was just a case of finding just the right fonts. I then saved the logo out as a flash object and imported it into CTA2 as a prop.

The next scene with the three characters performing actions was very simple to create. I just placed the characters and applied motion files that came with CTA2. Same with the logo scene with Graeme walking behind the logo. It's just a motion file called 'walk happy' applied to the character.

All the sound effects were sourced from freesound.org and the music came from freepd.com.

Overall I think I'm really starting to get to grips with CrazyTalk Animator 2. I had no major issues creating this animation. Everything worked pretty much as expected.

My next step will be to get back to my G2 Skate Monkey Custom character that stalled. Partly due to some issues that required me to contact Reallusion's tech support, and partly because these other animation projects came up. However I'm really looking forward to finishing the monkey off and creating another animation series that will feature my own character.

Life's Tough, Wear a Helmet

My latest CrazyTalk Animator 2 short is a variation on a video I created several years back called Where's Your Helmet? That video was inspired by the quote Life's Tough, Get a Helmet that I wrote an article about in my main blog.

This time instead of stick figures on a white background, my new animation is set in an office and uses Reallusion's G2 Power Tools characters and props. Watch the animation below and then read about the behind the scenes stuff afterward.



This animation was made over five days from writing the script to uploading it to YouTube. With it only being one scene I was able to make the entire thing inside CrazyTalk Animator's studio.

As with my previous CrazyTalk Animator productions the actual animation is still very unnatural in places. The result of trying to mash predefined character motions with my own adjustments to get something closer to the movement I actually want. I could probably create much better character animation if I created the movement from scratch but some of my goal is to get good at making animations quickly using the predefined motions.

That said, I still paid attention to details like blinking eyes and moving pupils around so the characters look at each other and appear more life like.

I will say that some of the pre-defined motions are a little too exaggerated. For example the final scene where the characters are talking face to face uses the same predefined talk motions with no changes on both characters. You'll notice their hands seem to move rather more than necessary as they speak.

Character Comparison.
Something else to note is that the characters in this animation are not standard G2 Power Tool characters. I took some time to modify them so that their heads, forearms and lower legs are all oversize. I was hoping the larger heads would make them easier to see when the characters are shown with no black outline.

An unexpected side effect of the bigger head and longer limbs is that the characters movement feels a lot more like that of marionettes. I'm not overly sure I like it but it was worth trying something different.

Aside from the script, I did all the voice work and I created the yellow helmet and wastepaper basket props (using DrawPlus X6).

All sounds came from freesound.org and the music came from freepd.com

I'm definitely getting more confident using CrazyTalk Animator. I still find I'm looking around for things every now and then but for the most part I'm getting to the point where I can really start trying to produce better quality work.




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