Animation: The Star Wars Fan


With Disney taking over the Star Wars franchise you can be sure there will still be Star Wars fans in the future - still bitching about how the original trilogy is still the best and how everything else pales by comparison no doubt.

In a not too distant future, The Tourist and his travel companion, Mia, are standing on a subway platform with their R2D2 replica droid. They are approached by a Metro City Policeman, who just happens to be a Star Wars fan, and sees an opportunity to recreate a famous scene from the film.

The Star Wars Fan by etourist on GoAnimate

Animation Software - Powered by GoAnimate.

RoTV
Behind the scenes, this GoAnimation is the most spontaneous I've made in a long time. I happened to notice that fellow GoAnimator, RoTV, had made a character approximation of himself using GoAnimates Anime theme and wondered what I could come up with trying to create a version of me.

Thus I came up with blonde haired 'Tourist' that you see in my video.

I always depict myself wearing suits. I don't know why because I am the person least most likely to wear a suit, unless the occasion specifically says 'formal', then I'll wear the one suit I actually own. However, the final character gave off a bit of a Dr Who vibe to me (it was the suit). Since he is the Tourist, a travelling companion made sense. Mia is what I came up with.

GoAnimate's Anime character creator is very new. The characters you can create are largely based around teen, school age, characters. Mia was my best effort at creating a mature female character that wouldn't make the Tourist look like he had a thing under age girls.

My favorite period from Dr Who is Tom Baker's run at the character, specifically the period when his traveling companion was Romana (Romana II, Lalla Ward), a fellow Time Lord from his home planet, Gallifrey, and robot dog companion, K-9. Consequently the Tourist and Mia needed a robot companion along the same line. Solarbaby's wonderful character prop of R2-D2 was the obvious choice without any effort on my part.

Why anyone would be travelling with an R2 unit I don't know but it could happen. There are so many replica units around as we speak, maybe the Tourist made his own with future technology that enables it to do everything the original movie R2 unit can?

Now I had three characters that I needed to do something with. I put them in a subway scene - thinking, well he is a tourist so maybe he's doing some touring on the subway.

Having watched the remake of Total Recall recently,  I remembered the robotic UFB security soldiers from that film. GoAnimate's Space Citizens theme has a soldier style character that could take on a similar role, giving the impression that my characters were on a subway in the future rather than the present.

From there it was really a short leap to noticing the similarity to my scenario and that of the famous Landspeeder confrontation between Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi, C-3PO, R2-D2 and a Stormtrooper at Mos Eisley.

How could a die hard Star Wars fan pass that up?!

I pretty much started writing the dialogue to see how the conversation might pan out.

The resolution is supposed to suggest that the Tourist possibly has some similar Jedi mind control like ability but a comment by Pitch to the Rhino Productions on the video's GoAnimate page suggests that the Metro Cop picks up on the line "You don't need to see her papers" as a continuation of his attempt to recreate the scene. Hence he's not actually being mind controlled, he's just acting out his scene as planned, forgetting his suspicions about Mia. I like that interpretation better than mine as it does make the scene just a little funnier.

You might ask why a mix up in pop culture references would cause the cop to become suspicious. Aside from the fact that there is an obvious reminder of Star Wars in the R2 unit, I was thinking that perhaps such a mistake might indicate that a person is not a local on Earth. Who knows - maybe they have a problem with aliens disguising themselves as humans and a pop culture faux pas could be an indicator of deception.

You probably noticed I voiced all three characters. I really don't like asking people to voice my animations. Not the fun little projects like this. It causes delays and you end up with all different levels of recording quality and performance. I figure I'll just start practicing on developing my own voices that have enough difference to register as different people. It kind of works in this I think.

So that's the story. No technical magic in this one. Just characters and script. I hope you enjoyed it.

Featured Animator: Shishiden Studio - Goonies 'R' Good Enough (Music Video)

GoAnimator Shishiden Studio  is the March winner of my GoAnimate, Get Featured in TET's Blog contest. Shishiden has had an account with GoAnimate since January of 2013 and in that time has achieved a following of 93 fans and created 17 animations.

Shishiden Studio chose to feature a music video, Goonies 'R' Good Enough, saying about the choice:
I have selected this animation for a few reasons. This animation was actually for a contest to win a fan. It was out of my comfort zone because I have never done a music video much less messed with anything else other then the Anime style. After completion of the animation, I felt I have leveled up and improved as an animator. 
When I think about this animation, it reminds me this was the first step into becoming a serious animator.
There is no attempt here to recreate the original music video nor even recreate scenes from the film. Instead Shishiden animates an original story using GoAnimate's Chibi Peepz theme. Keep reading after the video form more of Shishiden's behind the scenes commentary.

Goonies 'R' Good Enough (Music Video) by Shishiden Studio

Animated Presentations - Powered by GoAnimate.

Inspiration

Goonies R Good Enough by Cyndi Lauper is a soundtrack for the classic movie The Goonies. I choose this song for a video because at the time I just recently finished watching the movie and wanted to do a video I doubt anyone else had done. I then took a look at the actual video for the movie and, although its pure nostalgia, the video did not make sense with the lyrics to me.

My inspiration was purely listening to Cyndi voice and the nostalgic beat along with it. That was all the fuel I needed for my imagination to take over.

Challenges, Problems, and Techniques

The biggest challenge was how to approach making this music video in general. I knew I would have to make this into a love story with a happy ending. Writing story's is second nature to me so that was not a problem. The challenge is fitting the story with the lyrics and stay on beat. This problem was solved quickly by just having the knowledge how to use the video maker in general.

As far as techniques go nothing was extravagant or complicated for this animation. I wanted to focus on simple yet effective camera work with no overly complicated backgrounds.I think in the end It gave a professional and efficient style that sets this animation apart from the rest out there.


If you've enjoyed Shishiden Studio's work then why not check out more of Shisheden's animations on GoAnimate.

Runner up Featured GoAnimators for the month of March included:

Papagayo - Free Lip Sync Tool for Animators

Papagayo is a free to download Lip Sync tool for animators. It's specifically designed for use with Smith Micro's Anime Studio but even on its own it makes for a useful planning tool for lip syncing your animations.

At first glance the interface looks rather technical and complicated but a quick run through of the short tutorial reveals a very simple to use program. You'll be lip syncing easily within minutes.

Unfortunately the current Windows version will only open .WAV files, which is a touch inconvenient for me as I usually record all my audio into MP3 files, but aside from that it works great.

What the software allows you to do is audibly and visually lip sync your audio by matching typed words and phonetic sounds to the audio wave form, which in turn tells the animated mouth which image should display on what frame at any given time.

Starting from the top, match the sentence, then the
words to the voice clip as you hear them.
Once you have your audio synced, if you have Anime Studio you can simply import the resulting DAT file into your project and control any character's mouth with it (you're not limited to the mouth styles in Papagayo).

If you don't have Anime Studio and your animation software doesn't support the DAT files produced, you can save your work as a Papagayo file. Then use it as a reference when animating your characters mouths in whatever software you are using. Papagayo gives you both the frame number and the mouth shape you'll need at any point within your audio file.

Multiple Voices

One thing Papagayo will let you do is lip sync multiple voices within the same sound file. For example if you want to lip sync a conversation between two of more actors all recorded in one audio file.

Once you've lip synced each actor, each voice can be exported separately to its own DAT file.

Papagayo is a neat little tool that takes out much of the thinking usually involved with lip syncing. Which is a good thing if the process of manual lip syncing baffles you or is something that you find is just plain tedious.

GoAnimate Staff Pick Submissions

Ever since the closure of The GoAnimate Complaints Department due to Happy Bunny's license expiring there's been something of a gap in social satire of GoAnimate Staff and member relationships.

I honestly don't think any of GoAnimate's existing characters could replace Jim Benton's Happy Bunny on the Complaints Desk. Rather than try to do that, I thought, why not look at another area of the site that could use a little help.

There's always been areas of customer service where GoAnimate staff could use a little help - usually because they're too busy making the site even more awesome behind the scenes.

At the time Staff picks and how to get one was a big talking point on the GoAnimate Forums (Staff picks are always a talking point). The biggest issue being how to get staff to actually view your animations. Thus I created the Staff Pick Submissions Department with Sid (Vicious?).

Staff Pick Submissions by etourist on GoAnimate

Animation Software - Powered by GoAnimate.

I can't believe I released this over a month ago and I'm just writing about it in this blog now. When I published it at the beginning of February it was very topical. The whole issue of how GoAnimate staff picks were made was again a major talking point in the GoAnimate Forums.

However you may be surprised to learn that I actually began work on this in October of 2012 - like I said, discussion of staff picks are always topical.

It didn't actually take four months to make. I made a start on the animation in October with Syd's list and my initial idea of a certain, familiar, staff pick record holder bringing cake then left it as I got busy completing commissioned animations for GoBiz clients.

Every so often I'd go back and tinker with it a bit more, until finally, in January, I made a concerted effort to gather more ideas and get it finished.

Initially it wasn't going to be all about cake. That was just one of joke that I thought up for the record holder. But then I thought, what if everybody known to have multiple staff picks came with cake, until finally I arrive with cake only to miss out due to cake overload.

Then I remembered a long running joke with fellow GoAnimator, gipsy, and his love of cake so I added that in too. With so many cake jokes it seemed natural to keep the theme going for most of the remaining jokes as well.

Technical Points of Note

This animation looks quite simple but there are a few things worth noting.

Firstly it contains two new camera angles never seen in the previous Complaints Series. One an over the shoulder view from behind the desk where you see Syd lift up and read the Check List (see image 1. on the right).

The second is a view directly above the desk where you see Syd stamp 'Approved' on the list (image 2).

There is a scene where GoAnimator, Smirks, carries a couple of drinks across the screen from left to right (image 3). Notable because Comedy World characters don't have the actions to carry anything like this. I had to set the character's body up in a 'fearful' pose to get his arms in position then 'slide' him across the screen, so you can't see his legs, because, in this position, they aren't actually moving (it's a stationary pose).

Finally you may have spotted that all the characters holding cakes have a prop arm - since Comedy World characters do not have this specific pose. The arms are made entirely from props (the hand is a prop too) using squares and circles to either construct a new arm or to mask out the characters original arm.

Oh, in case you're wondering about that ambiguous box of ammunition... me too. It just seemed appropriate.

I'm not too sure if Staff Pick Submissions will end up being a series like the Complaints Department but who knows... I never intended Complaints Department to be a series either. However, in the interim of my indecision you can probably get some tips from this guy...

Visit: gipsytips - bring cake.

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