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Showing posts from 2014

Explaindio Video Creator - DIY Marketing Video Creator

Explaindio Video Creator is an easy to use presentation video creator that is geared towards marketing and sales videos but could be used to create any kind of presentation video.

I was convinced by the sales pitch that it would be very easy to use and I was particularly impressed by the white board features. It also looked to be an improvement over both  VideoMakerFX and EasySketchPro two other programs that I bought and reviewed.

Having now used Explaindio it is, in many ways, similar to VideoMakerFX and feels very much like an upgraded version of the same product with enhanced white board and other video features.

Animate Your ComiPo! Comics with MotionArtist

MotionArtist is dedicated composition software for creating animated comics, otherwise known as Motion Comics. That is, rather than create fully animated cartoons, it allows you to take static cartoon panels and add movement and audio to create a more engaging experience.

The type of Motion Comic MotionArtist can produce falls somewhere between reading a comic and watching a cartoon but generally, feels more like reading a very cool comic than watching a severely limited animated cartoon.

Dan the Business Man - New Animation by TET

Dan the Business man is a creation of Reallusion's Animation@Work competition winner and Australian cartoonist, Gary Pye. Gary's been flat out creating CrazyTalk Animator 2 content featuring his own cartoon art, which you can purchase from his Reallusion Content Market place store.

I love Gary's art so much I've pretty much purchased probably a third or more of everything he's created for CTA2 thus far. Whilst I can't take credit for his Dan character I can say it was from my suggestion that Gary created Dan the Business Man and the related office content packs (including the lucky gonk/troll prop).

Learning Reallusion's iClone 5: Part 6 - Post FX and Toon Shader

If you're interested in iClone and was wondering how hard it is to learn then that's what this series is about, my experience of learning iClone 5 using Reallusion's Quick Fix Video Tutorials. Click the following links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. If you're just looking to learn iClone then skip this and try the tutorials for yourself as this series is not a how to guide for iClone 5.

This will be the final post in the series as the last two Quick Fix Video Tutorials are very short and essentially involve mostly adjusting settings on specific effects.

The first tutorial is Quick Fix Tutorial - Post FX which focuses on different keyable filter effects that can be applied to your finished scenes. Effects include; blur, color adjust, color filter, lens blur and NPR (Non Photo-realistic  Rendering).

To add each effect it's a simple case of double clicking the one you wish to apply then adjusting the settings. If you want it to apply to the whole scene…

Learning Reallusion's iClone 5: Part 5 - Soft Body Physics

If you're interested in iClone and was wondering how hard it is to learn then that's what this series is about, my experience of learning iClone 5 using Reallusion's Quick Fix Video Tutorials. Click the following links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. If you're just looking to learn iClone then skip this and try the tutorials for yourself as this series is not a how to guide for iClone 5.

The subject of this post is Reallusion's Soft Body Physics Video Tutorial. At just over 3 minutes it's very fast to run through and very easy to follow the steps. In fact there's very little to do other than play around with the physics settings to see how they affect your soft body prop - which in the case of this tutorial is the Canadian Flag.


Hoot gives Cool Froyd a Sun Sign

Fellow GoAnimator, TheseStars is a big supporter of Cool Froyd putting aside quite a great deal of time to create a new GoAnimation analyzing Froyd's star charts to determine what his Sun sign might be.

As well as Froyd the video features TheseStars (as a whiteboard character), Stick Figure and Hoot the owl - a character that I animated for TheseStars using Koolmoves.

Bored Monkey - New Cartoon Art by TET

Long time readers may remember the Skate Monkey character I started creating for CrazyTalk Animator 2 towards the beginning of 2014. That project still remains unfinished because... Life/Business.

However, I've been trying to get back into drawing again (like with an actual pencil and paper) just to remind myself (and a few of my detractors for using GoAnimate) that I can actually draw. Also to further teach myself how to finish off my pencil drawings in Manga Studio. I really don't use that software enough to get what I learn to stick!

Do It Yourself Animated Business Explainer Videos for Marketers

Animated Business Explainer Videos are going from strength to strength as THE marketing tool for just about anything. Anyone who has done the research knows that hiring a studio to create animated videos is expensive. Whilst there are cheaper options, like my own Animation 4 Business service the promise of being able to make an animated video yourself isn't one to be ignored.

You can try online services such as GoAnimate, PowToon, Moovly, Wideo and others but most have ongoing fees and won't turn you into an accomplished video director without some serious time spent learning their studio.

Two software products that I came across recently and purchased are being promoted to marketers as the ultimate tools for creating animated business explainer videos, Video Maker FX and Easy Sketch Pro.

Beyond GoAnimate: Comparing CrazyTalk Animator 2

Introduction If you're like me and have been using GoAnimate to create low cost explainer videos or other animated cartoons then you'll certainly have discovered many of GoAnimate's limitations. You may even be looking for an alternative? CrazyTalk Animator 2 by Reallusion is a professional animation studio that, like GoAnimate, requires no drawing skills at all but can give you more flexibility to animate your ideas exactly as you visualise them. It may be the animation solution you've really be looking for.

Help Fund Animation Paper (formerly Plastic Animation Paper - PAP)

I've written about Animation Paper previously when I heard the original (and free) Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) was finally going to get a major overhaul with a new modern user interface and more features. Now you can help make that happen by donating to the developers Indiegogo funding campaign.

If you're not familiar with Animation Paper or PAP go read my two previous articles. In a nutshell, despite the terrible User Interface, Plastic Animation Paper is still one of the best tools available for creating hand drawn animation using tablet input such as a WACOM tablet.

Learning Reallusion's iClone 5: Part 4 - Rigid Body Physics

Sorry to my regular readers for not posting for some time. Unfortunately when Animation 4 Business is good I don't get all the time I need to post regularly here. I've also been struggling with the latest iClone 5 Quick Fix Tutorial, Rigid Body Physics, which should have been simple but ended up with me seeking help on  Reallusion's Forums.

If you're interested in iClone and was wondering how hard it is to learn then that's what this series is about, my experience of learning iClone 5 using Reallusion's Quick Fix Video Tutorials. Click the following links for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. If you're just looking to learn iClone then skip this and try the tutorials for yourself as this series is not a how to guide for iClone 5.

The Rigid Body Physics tutorial demonstrates how to construct a simple car crash into a stack of barrels. Everything is set to the default settings so it's mostly a case of just dragging the relevant barrel props onto the stage and th…

Learning Reallusion's iClone 5: Part 3 - Customizing Motion and Instant Animation

I've been blogging my progress at learning Reallusion's iClone 5. This post I'll be looking at the next 3 tutorials in Reallusion's iClone, Quick Fix Tutorial series. If you haven't read my previous posts, click these links for Part 1 and Part 2.

Remember these blogs are simply my progress at learning the software and are not tutorials in themselves. I would recommend you watch the actual tutorial series if learning iClone 5 is what you really want to do.

Customizing Motion Parts 1 and 2 The next Tutorial is titled Layering Animation Part 1 and looks at using the Body Puppet panel from which you can directly control your actors using your mouse (just like an actual puppet) or create customized motions by adjusting sliders for different settings.

There's not much to say about this tutorial. It's really just a case of bringing up the panel and messing around with the settings to see how they affect your avatar. CrazyTalk Animator 2 has this exact same Body Pu…

The Winner of Reallusion's Animation@Work Contest is...

Reallusion announced the winners of their Animation@Work contest this week. I was fortunate enough to take away one of the three Best Video prizes up for grabs with my promotional video for my new Animation 4 Business Premium Service. I'm now the proud owner of a copy of Magix Movie Edit 2014 Premium Edition software.

Whilst I was obviously hoping for the major prize, there are indeed a lot of talented CrazyTalk Animator users out there. Watch the Competition, winner announcement video for a good cross section and preview of all the winning entries. I did pretty well considering I only started learning CTA2 properly last December.



Whilst there were many great entries I was very happy to see the winner, Garry Pye, won with a very funny video about Superhero Training. Regular readers and viewers of my work will know that Superheroes is a recurring theme.

Gary is also a fellow Aussie and creates content packs for CTA that you can purchase for use in your own animations. He was featu…

Learning Reallusion's iClone 5: Part 2 - Avatar Creation and Facial Puppet Motion

Today I decided to run through the next two of Reallusion's iClone 5, Quick Fix Tutorials, How to create my own character and How to create a talking character. Both tutorial videos are very short so click the links if you'd like to watch them.

BTW: If you haven't read Part 1 in this series, it's not critical but you will see my first iClone scene and will be able to read how it was constructed.

As mentioned previously this series is my experiences of learning iClone and is not intended as a tutorial. If that's what you're looking for then I'd recommend you watch the tutorial videos I'm using as a basis for these blog posts.

Creating My Own Character As someone who casts myself into a lot of my own videos it's always useful having an avatar character that represents me. So that's what I decided to create.

Initially I started with a photo of me that was well lit but my face was not directly facing the camera. Although you can still get reasonabl…

Learning Reallusion's iClone 5: Part 1 - Creating a Scene

With iClone 6 (check out the embeded video at the bottom of this post) currently in development and me having bought iClone 5.51 in December of last year I thought it was time to start learning the software. Especially now that my confidence with Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator 2 is much higher and in a more stable place.

Note that if you've found this post expecting tutorials, I'm sorry, you won't find them here. This is my journey and experience of learning iClone 5.5 for anyone who may be interested in buying the software but aren't sure if it's going to be too hard to learn. This will probably turn into a series of articles as I'm writing it during my process of learning and not after the fact. I can only write about what I've learned.

If you do have iClone 5.51 and want to follow along I'll be working my way through iClone 5's series of Quick Fix starter videos.

From Reallusion's website: iClone 5.51 is a real-time 3D animation tool wi…

State Plus - The Interim Legacy of Xtranormal

Remember Xtranormal? The site that said "If you can type, you can make movies." Although its online studio was very limited it was still pretty good for making short, dialogue driven videos with visually interesting 3D characters and backgrounds.

Here's a reminder with one of my best Xtranormal videos using some of their Star Trek based characters.



I enjoyed Xtranormal quite a bit but its pay as you publish business model and the need to purchase themes made it expensive. Particularly if you graduated to the downloadable desktop version, State, which gave you more functionality, increased possibilities and an even lighter bank account.

Last year, around mid 2013, Xtranormal closed down its website with a promise to rethink its business model and maybe make a come back. As it turns out Xtranormal is no more. Its intellectual properties were liquidated and, early this year, sold to a new company called Nawmal. Presently Nawmal is still in the process of assessing how best…

Plotagon - Story Telling for Everyone... not really.

I've briefly reviewed Plotagon's Animation Tool before as part of my Six DIY Animation tools post and wasn't very impressed. At the time I hadn't really looked very deep into what Plotagon could do. Now that I have had further chance to really explore the software I can safely say that Plotagon will likely be frustrating for anyone with any film training at all.

I say that because, even if you'd had the most basic training in the art of film making, Plotagon is going to frustrate you with it's rigid placement of actors locked camera choices and step by step interpretation of your script.

But let's back up a bit and look at what Plotagon is attempting to do. Plotagon simplifies the film making process by linking what happens in your movie directly to the act of writing your script.

Scripts are set out pretty much in the standard screen writing format. Choose a scene, place up to two characters at any of the predefined locations within the scene and start wr…

New from Animation 4 Business: Premium Explainer Videos

Animation 4 Business Premium is a new service I'm offering as part of my Business Explainer Video Service, Animation 4 Business. To launch the service I've created the short video below that explains why you might use my Premium service over solutions like GoAnimate and Powtoon. The video is also entered into Reallusion's Animation@Work contest too.

Essentially it's for those situations where you need characters to perform specific tasks unique to your business but you don't want to go to the full expense of creating a custom character from scratch. Visit my site or email me if  you'd like more information.



This blog however is more concerned with the behind the scenes stuff of how the above animation was created. So lets get into that.

From start to finish this animation took three days including writing the script, designing my new Animation 4 Business logo, animating the characters and scenes and adding sound effects and music. Note that I didn't storyb…

Life's Tough, Wear a Helmet

My latest CrazyTalk Animator 2 short is a variation on a video I created several years back called Where's Your Helmet? That video was inspired by the quote Life's Tough, Get a Helmet that I wrote an article about in my main blog.

This time instead of stick figures on a white background, my new animation is set in an office and uses Reallusion's G2 Power Tools characters and props. Watch the animation below and then read about the behind the scenes stuff afterward.



This animation was made over five days from writing the script to uploading it to YouTube. With it only being one scene I was able to make the entire thing inside CrazyTalk Animator's studio.

As with my previous CrazyTalk Animator productions the actual animation is still very unnatural in places. The result of trying to mash predefined character motions with my own adjustments to get something closer to the movement I actually want. I could probably create much better character animation if I created the m…

Reallusion Animation @ Work Crazy Talk Competition

Reallusion, the creators of Crazy Talk Animator, are holding a competition titled Animation @ Work with cash prizes of up to US$1000.00 for the top three best videos as chosen by the judges. Other prizes include software, gift cards and magazine subscriptions. There are four main categories; Business & Training, Infographics, Comedy/Parody, Animated Comic. Entries must be submitted via the competition website before May 5th 2014.

The competition had five early bird prizes for entries submitted before March 31st which I attempted to try and score with my entry to the Business & Training category below.



Unfortunately it was not to be and I missed out on a free copy of Reallusion's soon to be released content pack, G2 Power Tools, Volume 2.

Although I really did want to win the content pack this particular entry was more an exercise in seeing if I could create a business explainer video within my usual 14 day turnaround time for an explainer video created with GoAnimate.

For…

ComiPo! - Manga Comic Creation Made Easy

ComiPo is the Bitstrips of Manga Comic Creation. Whilst this software doesn't have a lot to do with video or animation it could be used as a storyboarding tool for your personal projects just because it's so easy to use and requires no drawing skills at all.

I've always liked Manga and Anime style animation but I have no desire to actually learn how to draw these styles myself (much like my love of Marvel and DC comic book art which I have no interest in learning to emulate). But I would like to make Manga comics, just for fun.

So when the opportunity to purchase ComiPo came about, at a seriously discounted price of US$29.95 instead of the already affordable $49.99, it only took one look at the software's demo video to convince me it was a great buy. Take a look yourself at the video below.



What's most impressive about ComiPo is not just how versatile it is but also how easy it is to learn. You can pretty much be up and creating in less than 15 minutes and be compl…

Froyd Still Wants Coffee - New Froyd the Cat

Cool Froyd, now simply known as Froyd because I think perhaps he hasn't quite earned his 'cool' yet, makes his second appearance in a brand new CrazyTalk Animator 2 cartoon. This time he's gone a little bit Roger Rabbit and crossed over into the world of live action footage.

Watch the video below then I'll tell you a bit more about the behind the scenes stuff. All you need to know is that Froyd is still interested in getting his daily dose of coffee.



Inspiration It's no secret I've found it difficult to decide how to use Froyd in a regular series animation. He doesn't have a lot of movement range because the character is essentially an animated painting. Originally I wanted to have him talking to camera sitting in front of his blue background based upon his actual painting as per my first Froyd animation.

However that background felt very limiting and I began thinking about creating other backgrounds for Froyd. Quite by chance I was answering a question…

Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) is coming back!

I've written about the free Plastic Animation Paper Software designed for creators of digital hand drawn animation before. Whilst the software technically never went away its creators did stop developing the software and eventually decided to give it away for free with no technical support.

Now, almost two decades after they first developed PAP, the developers have decided to give the software an overhaul with a new name, user interface, and first up - a native Mac version (to be followed by Windows and iOS versions later). The new software will be called 'Animation Paper' and will retain most of the features that made old-PAP so good but with a much better, redesigned UI. No doubt it'll get some new features too but the goal is to retain the simplicity of the software that made it easy and fun to use.

You can read more about the new look Animation Paper currently in development and the all new website - as well as discover some of the history of the software and its …

Skate Monkey (Part 3) - My first Crazy Talk Animator Multi-Dimensional Character

Work on my Skate Monkey character for Crazy Talk Animator 2 continues and I'm happy to say it's nearly done. If you haven't read my previous posts follow these links, Part 1, Part 2.

Below is a very short video demonstration of the character so far pulling a few dance moves. There's a few minor issues that you may or may not notice but otherwise I'm quite happy with the character's general look and how the body is working.



Obviously I've still to add a tail to my monkey. I'm not quite sure how best to do this yet. CTA2 characters do have provisions for a tail with multiple sections but it seems like a hold over from CTA1's G1 characters and don't work so well with CTA2's G2 mutlti-dimensional characters.

Other things still to do is all the facial expression graphics and hand graphics (for different hand positions and motions).

I've also developed the monkey as a character capable of utilizing the new character styles feature of CTA2 tha…

Skate Monkey (Part 2) - My first Crazy Talk Animator Multi-Dimensional Character

Last post I started creating my Skate Monkey, Multi-dimensional character for Crazy Talk Animator 2. This post I thought I'd give you an update on where I'm at. It's been a slow process and there is still much to be done.

Below you can see my DrawPlus character template now has all ten views of my skate monkey completed. Well almost.


If you click on the above image to see the larger view you'll notice all the character views appear to have random purple dots spread all over them. These are the pivot points (or joins) for where each body part will attach to the next. So far I've only positioned them for the very first view.

I mentioned in my last post that I didn't really like drawing in DrawPlus, which is part of the reason this character has developed so slowly. I've been completing 1-2 views per day, on the days I have sat down to work on the character. After that I've usually felt so tired working on it that I literally start to nod off in front of …

Skate Monkey (Part 1) - My first Crazy Talk Animator Multi-Dimensional Character

Continuing on with my progress of learning Crazy Talk Animator 2 I've begun work on creating my first Multi-Dimensional character. As you may have guessed it's my Skate Monkey character that I briefly attempted to turn into a CTA1 character quite some time back (See this post for the video).

A CTA2 'Multi-Dimensional' character is simply a character that consists of 10 different view angles that form a 360 degree view. This character is attached to a bone skeleton that exists in three dimensional space. The software then calculates which images from your 10 different view angles are needed to execute whatever motion you add.

In the image below you can see my skate monkey character drawn at angle zero in the Serif DrawPlus template provided by Reallusion. The other nine view angles are the CTA2 dummy character which I will progressively replace with my monkey as I draw more views.

In the short video below that I put together especially for this post you can see the mon…