|The Cast of New Look.|
Watch the short video below then I'll go through some of the behind the scenes stuff to give you some idea of how it was made. Note that all of the artwork comes from CTA2 G2 Power Tools Volume 1 and that my goal was not to make a perfectly animated short. I know there's plenty of room to improve. This was entirely about learning the basics of the software.
The ScriptAs mentioned it was written by me in 1996 and is inspired by real life events where I actually did start a new job as a layout artist for a very big Supermarket Group. On several occasions different people did come up to me and say "You look a little lost!"
I wasn't but I must have paused long enough to appear less productive than everyone else or something. I only wished I had gone in one day and actually tried looking 'alarmed' just to see what reaction I'd get.
StoryboardMost of the time I don't fully storyboard my own animation projects, since I don't usually need to show them to anyone, but this year I've decided to make more of an effort drawing proper storyboards I can actually understand. In the past my personal storyboards have been so bad I don't know what the squiggles mean even 5-10 minutes after I've drawn them.
Below is my storyboard for New Look minus all the scene description to save space. If you compare it to the finished animation you'll see all the shots are pretty much there as shown, with exception to an extra shot I created that appears between scene 3 and 4. It's a wide shot of the main character walking down a hallway that I added in because I didn't make scene 4 long enough to fill out the narration.
|Storyboard for New Look.|
Crazy Talk Animator 2 to MoviePlusX6All of the scenes were animated as individual project files in CTA2. Although you could do an entire animation within the software it's really designed to be a scene editor. Once I completed each scene I exported it as an MP4 file and then brought it into Serif's MoviePlusX6.
Bringing the files into your video editing software gives you more options for adding titles, transitions and other effects as well as giving you more audio tracks to work with.
Prop AnimationScene 1: I only wanted to highlight this scene because it's the only scene that is entirely prop and camera animation. It's not obvious but the building and trees at its base do slide slowly to the right just to give the scene a little more feeling of depth. If it weren't for characters, CTA2 would be a breeze to learn!
To make the camera slowly pan and zoom in is a simple case of putting a key frame for where you want the camera to begin and then putting another for where you want it to finish.
|Perspective View for scene depth.|
If however you don't want that effect, you can change the camera to 'orthographic' and the entire scene will be flat without having to adjust anything else.
Character Animation: Predefined and Custom MovementYou may notice that as the story unfolds the characters get more and more animated. That's why I felt this script was perfect for learning the basics. It starts with basic prop animation then the character animation gets progressively more complex.
The first scene that was a challenge was Scene 3. I thought having the character sitting at the desk, then turning to face the man who walks in, was going to be the hard part but I actually created that movement after about an hour of trial and error. It's a combination of predefined animation modified with my own enhancements to suit the situation.
The man who walks into the scene is also a combination of predefined animation (walking) and custom movements (when he extends his arm as he talks). Also I wanted him to carry something so it looked like he had purpose (to fetch a book) rather than just randomly walking into the scene empty handed.
Learning how to link the book to the character and then change his hand sprite so it looked like he was holding the book contributed to the complexity of his movement.
SpeechCTA2 has automatic lip syncing. It's not perfect but it's pretty good. Easy enough to refine the lip movement key frames too if anything is particularly not right. With CTA2 you can record your voice directly into the program, import audio or use Text To Speech (TTS).
Wherever a character actually speaks in my animation that sound was imported directly in CTA2. All the male characters use my own voice, the female is a TTS voice. The narration was imported into MoviePlus X6 and edited there.