Skip to main content

Cool Froyd the Cat and Crazy Talk Animator Pro

Original Cool Froyd Painting.
Acrylic on Canvas 2009
Cool Froyd is an original character painting (image right) that I created in 2009 based on a sketch I drew back in 1999. Since buying Crazy Talk Animator Pro I've thought Cool Froyd would be a good candidate for turning into an animated web series.

Nothing too complex. I picture him as a kind of animated cat vlogger giving his views on any subject you can imagine in short 1 or 2 minute episodes.

The following blog post documents my journey so far of turning a painting into an animation. I'm not going to go through every step in detail. This is just an overview of the process.

Fitting the character skeleton.
One thing I have become very familiar with is the character creation process of Crazy Talk Animator Pro (from here on in to be known as CTA). The easiest way to start is with a photo image imported into the Actor Creator to get your basic character skeleton (or bones in most other software terminology). Note that this process doesn't allow you to add bones for the tail.

I didn't have to be too careful with this first pass of creating the character because the entire image of Froyd will be replaced later due Froyd not being a standard humanoid style character. As I said this was just to define the skeleton.

Dissected body parts.
Next I fired up Serif DrawPlus X6 where I cut out all the different body sections (image right). At this stage I could have refined each body part so that limbs had rounded edges at the joints and to redraw parts of the body not visible in the original painting.

However CTA has some pretty reasonable pixel editing/paint tools of its own so I decided to do that kind of work back in the CTA's Actor Composer.

I did create the shadow in Serif Draw. All of the body parts were re-imported back into CTA individually as PNG files.

All characters in CTA are made up of sprites, whether they be PNG images or SWF vector images. The character trees are identical too. You just add in the body parts you need or take out those you don't. For example most human characters don't have a tail but there's room in their character trees for a tail with up to nine segments (See image below - click to enlarge).

Although Froyd only has one tail sprite notice
the character tree lower right has room for
a more flexible tail.
The sprite system also allows you to store multiple images for any body part to be swapped in and out depending on what the scene requires. This allows you to create multiple views of a hand, for example, which you can swap on any key frame of your animation (ideal if your character needs to flip someone the bird!).

Froyd's semi 3D
'morph based' head.
Currently Froyd's head is what CTA terms as a 'morph based' head. Originally I was going to give him a Sprite based head but this would require me to actually animate his eyes and mouth in various positions e.g. eyes closed, angry, sad etc. Each image is swapped out as needed based on what your character is doing.

A morph based head gives your character's head a semi three dimensional quality that enables it to turn the head partially in every direction. It also adds in pre-made eyeballs and mouth interiors and allows the eyes and mouth to be animated without needing to draw anything.

It does this through the placement of points of a wire frame mask which you can manually fit to the character's face. You then go through and select different style of eyes and mouth interiors from very human looking to complete cartoon style.

Morph based heads can only be created from bitmap images and not flash, vector based images.

Face Fitting a morph based head.
Once I had Cool Froyd's character complete I imported his shadow image and linked that to his character. Then I created a background image based on the background in Froyd's painting using GIMP.

You can see the final scene set up in CTA below in 3D view. This view is used mainly to show the depth relationship between objects and isn't a view that you can record as part of a completed animation.

Completed Cool Froyd Character and set.
Finally how the scene looks when viewed through CTA's 'camera'...

Final Scene.
That's as much as I've completed so far. I have still to write a script for Froyd's first episode and hope to get this done really soon. Next time I write about Cool Froyd I'll look at the process of animating him using CTA's time line and various animation methods.

Comments

  1. Hi, I am an animator. I feel like I'm the manager of a animation cinema factory. I am not an executive. I'm rather like a foreman, like the boss of a team of craftsmen. That is the spirit of how I work.thanks @ Helen Hardin

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't wait to see him come alive! and hear his voice. He is gonna be a smash hit! I have a thousand questions after reading this, and it's too late in the evening to start asking all of them. Great post! Cool Froyd is going to be way cool.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

Eric W. Schwartz: Cartoonist, Animator and Amiga Die Hard

American Cartoonist, Eric W. Schwartz, (whose unofficial Amiga Icon, Amy the Squirrel, is pictured on the July 92 edition of CU Amiga cover on the right) is my only real animation hero. Sure there are the big names like Disney, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and even Preston Blair whose influences can all be seen in my own cartoons but Eric did what none of the others could. He showed that really great 2D computer animation was within my reach with little more than an Amiga Computer, a copy of Deluxe Paint and Moviesetter.

This was at a time when computer based animation was in its infancy (outside of computer game animation) and Flash was something that lights did.

There were many great Amiga artists but Eric was really the only one consistently making very funny, traditional style animations. His humor and drawing style is heavily influenced by classic Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons but he managed to build on this, creating something that was recognizably Eric's own style.

I've…

Review: CrazyTalk Animator 3 vs Moho Studio Pro 12

Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator 3 or Smith Micro's Moho Studio Pro 12. Which of these 2D animation applications is right for you?

Regular readers of this blog will know I'm a strong supporter, and fairly proficient user of CrazyTalk Animator since version 1. It's a great piece of software for producing 2D animations from purchased content quickly and, with version 3, is easier than ever to create animations from your own art.

Lesser known is that I first purchased Moho Studio Pro 12 (then known as Anime Studio Pro 9) back in October of 2012 and have been upgrading it to the latest version ever since because I believed in it as an application for creating great 2D animation to TV quality standard. As such, it's a much more complex application than CTA3 that I only got around to learning properly late last year. I'm still in the process of blogging my progress.

Despite this I feel I've learned enough of Moho to compare it to CTA3 to help you determine which …

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc.

I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations.
I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity.
Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply change you default microphone to the installed AV…

Cartoon Animator 4 Tutorial - Secondary Animation - Jelly Bees and Elastic Motions

If you've bought Reallusion's Spongy Moves, Elastic Motions and Jelly Bees Emotion Props Combo Pack for CrazyTalk Animator 3/Cartoon Animator 4 you may be wondering how those little Jelly Bees are making their little bubble top knots bounce around like they do in the promo video?

Well grab your copy of CrazyTalk Animator 3 or Cartoon Animator 4 and follow along with my video tutorial below for how to make those bubble top knots bounce!



The secondary animation in my tutorial is should not be confused with the principle of animation known as 'Secondary Action' - which is a second action that supports the main action a character is performing.

The principle my tutorial demonstrates is actually known as 'Follow Through and Overlapping Action'. Actions that are caused by the main action dragging something else along with it, that then follows through and continues to move momentarily after the main action has stopped.

An obvious example is if a long haired characte…

Learn Moho Pro 12 Free Using SmithMicro's Own 104 Video Tutorials Sorted into a Logical Order of Progression

So you've bought Smith Micro's Moho Pro 12 along with the Moho, 10 hour, 104 Video Tutorials Add On pack so you can get learning right away... only you can't. For whatever reason, the video tutorials aren't sorted into any logical order of progression making them hard to follow.

Yeah, I've been there, only I've done what Smith Micro should have done and sorted all the video tutorials into a logical order of natural progression for you. That is, each tutorial builds upon what you learned in previous videos and you won't suddenly come up against some feature you've never used before, unless that feature is what the video tutorial is about.

Water Valet - Funny, Animated Short About Robots, AI, and the Future of Office Automation.

Back in 1987 I saw English Actor/Comedian Kenneth Williams on television make a quote about medical specialists that has stuck with me ever since as an idea for comedy.
It's frightening to think with modern medicine and all the techniques available to them... they can't really help you. In the old days, you know, you were better off because nowadays, they are all specialists. Everyone's becoming better and better at less and less... Eventually someone's going to be superb... at nothing. - Kenneth Williams, Aspel & Co 1987
In consumer robotics it's a very relevant concept that appears to be working in reverse. We're seeing more and more consumer robots released that perform one task really well (robot vacuum cleaners for example) but we're kind of working towards the robot butler/maid/assistant, a single robot that can perform many different tasks.

An early example is the AI used in home speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home where you can automate a…

The Ultimate Independent Animator's App and Resource List 2019 - Animation and Video Life

Being an independent animator is not like a studio animation job. There's so much more to do that is indirectly related to the actual task of animating. Over the years I've sought out many apps, tools, and services that can help me achieve that one single task, expressing myself through animation.

Below is my Ultimate Independent Animator's Resource List for 2019. It started out as a list of free or low cost apps that could help you in every stage of producing either 2D or 3D animation, and then just kind of grew from there.

You may not have been looking for a Time Management App as much as you needed something to get you started in 3D animation but when those commissioned projects start coming in you'll have a head start on maximizing your time.

All the apps and services on this list had to meet two main criteria:

They had to be useful and relevant to an Indy Animator/artist.The base app/service had to be US$200.00 or less.
(In the case of a subscription service that&…