Chroma Keying Go Animate Characters to Video

I was laying in bed one night and I had this brainwave of chroma keying GoAnimate characters with live action video. I was sure it could be done but how effective would it be? Obviously there are many limitations with this idea but for the moment have a look at my very rough experimental video below and I'll get onto explanation after.



Firstly if you are not familiar with what Chroma Keying is then you may be more familiar with the concept of green screening in relation to movie special effects. The terms are almost interchangeable. Both record their subject against a single background colour, usually green, which is then keyed out and replaced with another video image.

In the case of my video above I created a GoAnimate Animation which animated GoAnimate's character, Kate, on a green background. See the animation below.

GoAnimate.com: Chroma key test by etourist

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

I then used CamStudio to screen capture the animation to an AVI video file (which I later had to convert to an MPG file due to compatibility problems with my editing software. Somewhere in this conversion the colours of the animation were corrupted hence the greenish tinge on Kate in the final video).

Finally I used video editing software that supports Chroma keying to combine my animation with the video footage of myself and the frog van I shot earlier.

I'm not pretending this animation is fantastic. It's just a very rough test that I put together in a couple of hours. Call it a proof of concept. This can be done.

It's nowhere near as good as Roger Rabbit and never will be since there's no scope for adding shadows and shading to GoAnimate's pre designed characters. However as an idea it opens up another possibility for GoAnimate's platform and those of us who like to go beyond the boundaries and not settle for just what we're given when we tell our stories.

I'm not sure if I'll expand on this idea into a fully finished animation. When I first thought of it, the idea of doing a Willie Nelson Music video with myself and GoAnimate's Willie Nelson theme had a lot of appeal (The Extraordinary Tourist staring in a Video of Willie Nelson's song On the Road Again perhaps?).

If you are a GoAnimate Animator and you can see the potential in using this technique then give it your all. I'd love to see someone try this who can do it much better than me. Please let me know if you do.

6 comments:

  1. Nicely done...even for a rough test. I worked in production for many years and have done lots of chromakeying in the past...primarily for weather reports. It does open up a lot of possibilities. Excellent test.

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  2. Very cool! I had tried long time ago to upload a short movie clip as swf on GoAnimate and do the same thing directly on our platform. Did not quite work and file size / loading was a big issue... Could be fun if one day we can do that kind of stuff directly on GoAnimate!!

    ha ha... say no to greenish bikini girls!

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  3. Would be great to do this directly on GoAnimate Nicolas. Mainly for maintaining the animation quality.

    What would really be better is... and you've heard this before... is the ability to export GoAnimate animations as true video files (either mpg or mov would be nice). That way exporting an animation for chroma keying over a video in a dedicated video editing studio would be a snap.

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  4. Hey David,

    We are discussing right now how we could allow users to upload flv videos (better as they can stream instead of fully load before they play) as props or backgrounds in GoAnimate to enable that. Would be a bit of a pain to finetune the timing, but would be much more handy that using many different pieces of software to create your movie.

    Exporting GoAnimate animations as videos is something we have on our plate for a long time. It is quite complex and requires quite a bit of enhancements on our server side. So we're not sure when we can offer this. We totally hear you though...

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  5. I agree Nicolas, that it would be great being able to import FLV videos directly into the studio - probably the ideal in fact.

    However to make it work you'd need a 'Individual Frame' mode in the studio in order to fine tune animations to video (Which is how the animators worked on 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' - frame by frame on live action film).

    The way the studio currently works it can be very hit and miss on timing critical animated sequences (such as one character hitting another for example). An individual frame mode would be useful not just for timing animation to video but also timing interactions between animated characters.

    Maybe you could have an FLV video as a background on a scene and then have a 'view individual frames' mode for just that scene (so as not to have to convert the entire animation storyboard into individual frames)?

    It all sounds too hard and server intensive for a web based application. Awesome though if you guys somehow made this work.

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