Learning Moho Pro 12 (Anime Studio Pro) - Part 4

In my last entry I was part way through the second batch of Moho and Anime Studio (Both) video tutorials. Twenty six videos in total, of which, I completed the first ten.

This post I work my way through the remaining sixteen and discover some pretty sweet, time saving effects in the process.

First, though, if you have these tutorials and, like me, have no idea what is the best order to watch them in, here is my recommended viewing order. Following this order will step you through a little bit more information each time, building on what you've already learned, without any major jumps into the complete unknown. Videos are listed by filename.

Pro and Debut Video 
Tutorial Title Page
  1. Both - Help
  2. Both_AS11_Both_Preferences
  3. Both - Tabs
  4. AS11_Both_Save_All_Tabs
  5. Both - Creating Shortcuts
  6. Both - Frame 0 Sequencer
  7. Both - Integrated Audio
  8. Both - Switch Layer
  9. Both - Lip Syncing
  10. Both - Character Wizard
  11. Both - Freehand Update
  12. Both - Tool Updates
  13. Both - Brush Styles
  14. Both - Updated Brushes
  15. Both - Variable Width Curve
  16. Both - Multi-Shape Selection
  17. Both - Multi - Layer Editing
  18. Both - Combined Point Tools
  19. Both - Combined Bone Tools
  20. Both - Hide Bones and Points
  21. Both - Layer Outline Effect
  22. Both - Fractional Blur
  23. Both - Threshold
  24. Both - Masking
  25. Both - Follow Path
  26. Both - New Text
My last post covers my progress over the first ten videos so I'll continue on from video 11 through 20.

This block of videos mainly covers updates to various tools and shows you how they all work. Quite a few of the tools have already been used in earlier tutorials so it's not a big strain to take in all the information (and this post would get quite boring if I started describing everything covered in each).

The Blob tool lets you create complex shapes
simply by drawing and adding to your shape.

Freehand Drawing Fun


Video 12 is worth mentioning as it is the longest, at 15 minutes, but the most fun, demonstrating the new (well new for Anime Studio 10) blob, eraser and point reduction tools.

The blob tool lets you draw and add to shapes freehand and works particularly well with a drawing tablet (in fact many of the drawing tools do as Moho supports pressure sensitivity).

I've heard people say Moho is hard to draw in freehand but so far I haven't found that to be the case. The blob tool works a bit like pushing paint around on a canvas. Wherever your drawing overlaps a shape on the same layer, what you've drawn becomes part of that shape.

The Eraser tool is pretty much the reverse blob tool. Want to remove something from a shape? Erase it, just like you would on a real pencil and paper drawing.

If you know anything about freehand vector drawing you'll know complex shapes usually are made up from way more points than they actually need. If you find this to be the case, use the point reduction tool to freehand reduce points from any section of a shape.

The Outline Layer Effect.

Incredibly Useful Effects


Videos 21 through 24 cover three incredibly useful effects that can really change your animation's look quite dramatically with very little effort.

Starting with Video 21's Outline effect. Use this setting to give all the objects on any layer an outline of any width.

In the image on the right I've added a yellow outline to Alvin the Owl's eyes and a red outline around his entire body.

This image is supposed
to be blurry.
Video 22 covers the Blur effect which can now be adjusted fractionally rather than with whole numbers for greater control. Like the outline effect it works on layers so you can blur just specific layers (for a nice depth of field effect on your scene perhaps) or your entire animation.

There's also blur shading which allows you to give your flat 2D characters a more 3D look in seconds (no need to add shading to their original character design models). All the blur effects are animated and change organically with the movement of your animation.

Video 23's Threshold effect is hard to describe in detail exactly how it works. It's a setting for the blur effect that removes the blurriness and sharpens the gradient and lines created by the blur. If that's hard to imagine, just know that you can really create some interesting effects with it

In the GIF animation below, that blobby, yellow, red and black, liquid background was created by applying the threshold effect to a few yellow circles with red outlines and moving them around. It took me less than two minutes to set up and is some what mesmerizing to see animated.

Alvin with a number of effects applied including:
Shadow, Blur Shading, Masking and Threshold.

Other effects you can see in the above GIF animation include, layer shadow (the shadow behind Alvin), layer shading (the actual shadow on Alvin's body giving him a more 3D look) and masking (the lighter area on his torso is just a big light brown oval masked by his body shape so you only see the part that overlaps his body).

How the above animation looks
in Moho Studio. None of the effects
can be seen until rendered.
Note that none of these effects (except masking) can be seen until you actually render the animation out. Which I imagine stops the studio from slowing to a crawl every time you want to preview your animation in real time. Fortunately you can check how scenes look at any point with a still of the current frame fully rendered.

Paths and Text


The final two videos, Paths (25) and New Text (26), are fairly self explanatory.

If you want a character or prop to follow a complex movement pattern (say you're demonstrating the solution to a maze) instead of key framing the movements create a path, by literally drawing a line, and have your character or prop follow it. It's much easier to edit a path than to edit key frames if you want to make adjustments.

Text is not a new addition to Moho but in version 10 they made it possible to edit your text after adding it to your animation. So now you have two options for adding text. You can add it as a shape, where once you commit, the text is no longer editable except as a shape like any other shape. Or you can add it as editable text, which is more useful for captions and speech balloon text where spelling errors have a higher chance of creeping in.

Speech balloons are a snap with
the dedicated tool.
Text can be added in any available font on your system that Moho can recognize. There's also a nice speech bubble tool that makes it easy to add almost any shape and style of speech balloon you might need.

At this point I'm pretty confident I've got a good grasp of the basics, along with a few more advanced features. If I only had the debut version of the software I'd have everything I need to know to start making animations.

 However I still have another batch of forty five videos just on Pro features to work through. I'll make a start on them next post.

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