Featured GoAnimator: Enjoyinglifeinseoul (ELIS) - Witches of Misery!

EnjoyingLifeInSeoul
GoAnimator enjoyinglifeinseoul is the December 2013 winner of my GoAnimate, Get Featured in TET's Blog contest. Enjoyinglifeinseoul has had his account with GoAnimate since March of 2011 and in that time has amassed 3346 followers and published 49 animations. This is his second win of the contest. Read his first winning post here.

Enjoyinglifeinseoul chose to feature his animation , saying...
Well, it took me some time to decide which of my animations to have featured. I considered some of my older ones like “Prince of Persia” or “Turtle Shell! Turtle Shell!” and the latest ones like “Demon Fire!” and “Witches of Misery!” In the end I went with “Witches of Misery” because most of the challenges and special techniques I had used in the others were covered the last time I was featured here.  
Some fresh problems popped up this time and I thought that the solutions I came up with might help some of your readers. The other reason I choose this one, is because, I had so much fun making it from all aspects: The poem that the animation is based on, the characters themselves, the backgrounds and the flash props as well. I am also trying to get it published as a children’s book. Who knows maybe it will be seen here by a publisher.
Watch Enjoyinglifeinseoul's animation below and then read about his inspiration and challenges in creating the video.

Witches of Misery by enjoyinglifeinseoul on GoAnimate



Inspiration


The inspiration behind this animation came from many places. The first is probably some images of witches I came upon over a year ago, that resulted in me thinking that it would be great to see an animation about them. But I was busy at the time, so I put the thoughts away.

The second inspiration came from a habit of my childhood; if I didn’t know the lyrics to a song I just made up my own to go along with the tune. I continue to do this till this day, but now make up my own tunes as well. I can’t recall when I started it, but one day while waiting for the bus or while walking home from it. I started to think about the witches I mentioned above. 

I wasn’t planning on making a “Halloween Animation,” since Commedus, Miramanee, and myself were already running a contest for the holiday. However, some lines for the poem started to form in my head. One line became a pair of lines. Those lead to another and then another. Inspiration had struck, and the project was born; or at least the idea behind it. I still was not sure if I was going to make it or not, it was just lyrics and a few images in my head. Then inspiration struck again. 

This time it came from one of the witches herself “The Beautiful One.” I had originally made that character to be a troll being held in the dungeon of “Demon Fire!” but as I continued to work on the poem, I came to realize that she would make a great witch, so I pulled her from that animation. This got me thinking about making even more witches so into the character creator I went. 

I just dabbled the first time and didn’t save anything, but I knew that I would. I still thought I might save the project for the following year, but as the poem developed and ideas popped into my head, I got more excited about it. I also decided that while it fit the holiday, it wasn’t necessarily a Halloween Animation. That was what finally made me decide to bring life to the witches and their tale right away. All other projects were put on the back burner or fire as the witches would say.

Main Challenges


The main challenge I encountered came from how I wanted to present each witches story. As theirs is a realm of magic I wanted each tale to reflect that visually. I didn’t just want the stories to be told with a regular scene. So I came up with the idea of each story being told/shown through one of their magical items; the mirror, crystal ball and cauldron. 

At first I went with the traditional way of making custom backgrounds to cover things you don’t want seen, in this case parts of the character bodies, by using the square shape and matching the color to the rest of the background. 

However, do to the angles and curves of the mirror and crystal ball it was taking a lot of shapes and it started to grow tedious. Straight lined and curved objects don’t like to play nice together. The old square peg round hole conundrum had arisen. The solution I came up with was to make my own custom flash props. 

I took screen shots of the mirror and crystal ball, uploaded them to my flash program “Koolmoves” and then made large backgrounds to frame them. This way I could have only part of the characters bodies shown within the object. 

The cauldron presented a different problem. Unfortunately, I accidently overwrote the master file, before I had made a copy of it without the bottom. This meant that the solution I mentioned above wound not work. My fix to this problem was to do the opposite of what I had done before. 

Again, I took a screen shoot of my flash prop, but this time I made small backgrounds or props that had curved edges so I could place them within the cauldron to cover/hide things I didn’t want seen. 

The other problem I had was with movement, cause and effect and audio over scenes that have different lengths. This was when the witches were adding the various ingredients to the cauldron. I had them throwing things in and then splashes coming out. With the heart and bat wing it was only one prop to move but with the newt eyes and baby’s fat it was multiple. 

The objects were also different sizes and sometimes moving different distances. However, I wanted the speed at which they moved to be the same or as close as could I get them. I also needed all this action/movement/timing to match the audio. Anyone who has worked on this in the Goanimate studio, who isn’t a math wiz knows this can be trying. 

I must be honest I didn’t come up with any revolutionary way to address this issue, but I did come up with something that can ease the pain. After, adjusting the slide movement for the ingredients and resulting splash over the multiple scenes without satisfactory results, this is what I did: I made copies of each scene sequence and then pasted them after the original. I then made a blank/white scene between them to help my mind keep them seperate during the review process. After this, I would set the pixel movement for the sequences at different distances. It still took some trial and error, but was a lot easier. 

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it was. But for those of you who know me, you know that I love it. For those of you that don’t. This all started as a hobby, but has become my art. And artists do what it takes for their passion. 

If anyone has questions about anything please feel free to message me on goanimate. Thank you TET and to all of you who have taken the time to take in what I had to say and share.

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

Runner up Featured GoAnimators for the month of December included:

Blabberize - Get your images talking

One of the best applications for making your face images talk is Reallusion's CrazyTalk. However if you don't want to buy such an advanced piece of software and just want to throw down a quick talking head to make someone smile then the online application, Blabberize, might be just what you're looking for.

Blabberize will get your images talking in more of an old style, ventriloquists dummy, kind of way by adding a lip-synced lower lip and chin to your face images. Not great for realism but perfect if you're going for comedic effect.

You can trial the service but won't be able to save your work until you create an account. It's free so you may as well. From there it's a simple five step process:
  1. Upload an image (front on images work best).
  2. Crop the area of the image you wish to use.
  3. Define one or more mouth areas.
  4. Record or Upload up to 30 seconds of audio.
  5. Preview and save.
 Once you have your video you can share the link or embed the animation anywhere that accepts HTML embed codes. You can also download your animation as an MPG video file which you can upload anywhere or import into video editing software as part of a bigger production.

You can see a sample Blabberize below that I created as I wrote this blog post.

video

The above is the MP3 version of my clip but, as mentioned, you can embed the animation directly from Blabberize's site for better image quality that looks exactly as you made it.

As you can see it's pretty basic. If that's all you need, it's a great way to animate faces without much effort.

Animation: The Star Trek Fan (TSWF 2)


The Star Trek Fan is the second installment of an earlier animation I created back in March of 2013 called The Star Wars Fan. If you haven't seen it I would recommend you view it first as The Star Trek Fan is a kind of continuation of the dialogue but in a new subway location.

Once again the Tourist, his travel companion Mia and their R2D2 unit are minding their own business when they are approached by a metro cop who inquires about their droid.

The Star Trek Fan (TSWF II) by etourist on GoAnimate


With it being such a long time since the first installment I don't think I managed to get Mia's voice sounding the same or get any real difference between all of the character voices. Also the voices aren't consistent because I just wanted to get the animation finished, since it had been sitting in my GoAnimate account for months as I tinkered away on it between business animation clients.

However I think it still works and the script is strong enough for people to overlook my poor voice work effort.

The opening line where Mia says "What do you mean I sound like a man?" is a direct reference to the comments I got on the previous installment, despite my efforts to make Mia sound more female.

The rest of the dialogue just grew organically from the premise of what if the same thing happened again but with a different metro cop?

I knew at some point I'd have a red shirt guy de-materialize on the platform. Which may seem a little out of left field but (in my head at least) the Tourist is a dimensional traveler, modeled on Doctor Who. The implication suggested by the cop is that the Tourist, Mia and the R2 unit also arrived in the same fashion.

For those of you that know the Star Trek in-joke about red shirts (mostly from the original series) you'll know that they tended to be the first - and only - crew members to die in any alien confrontation.

Finally, if you know movies you may have recognized the Wilhelm Scream at the end. A very fitting sound effect for the demise of my Red Shirt guy when you consider that the use of the scream was revived and went on to be used in hundreds of movies after it was used in the original Star Wars film.


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