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

Popular posts from this blog

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&…

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 …

Should You Buy or Upgrade to MOHO 13? *Spoiler* Yes. Yes You Should!

Smith Micro released MOHO 13, their all in one, 2D animation studio, this week. The question is should you buy or upgrade to the latest version? Obviously I've already spoiled this in the title, so the actual question is why do I think you should buy or upgrade?

To be clear, I'm only talking about MOHO 13 Pro. If you're considering MOHO 13 Debut be aware that you're missing out on some of the new features, and a lot of existing features that are only available in the Pro version. Debut is fine if the budget doesn't stretch to Pro, but, if you never want to be disappointed about not having a feature, it's Pro or nothing!

The other thing I need to be transparent about is I'm not, by any stretch, a frequent MOHO user/animator. However I took the time to learn MOHO 12 Pro fairly extensively, blogging about my process and sorting out 104 free MOHO training videos into a logical viewing order in the process. I think I have more than enough insight to let you kno…

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…

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.

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…

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996.

It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it.

But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs.

Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures, and Toon Hair, designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker.



The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that works as both a male or female pre teen), eleven hair style bases, with thirteen hair additions for further variation.

T…