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Animating Warwick Hays Skateboarder Ed Character for Cartoon Animator - Can Ed Kickflip?

Warwick Hays has built quite a sizeable collection of characters, props, and backgrounds for Cartoon Animator that I've yet to really explore, however, being the tragic skateboarder that I am, it was surely fate that I would buy his Skateboarder Ed G3 character as my first purchase.

Now I don't know a lot about Warwick but, based on the design of the skateboard prop that comes with Skateboarder Ed I'm fairly certain Warwick doesn't know much about skateboarding, and/or probably didn't use a good reference when designing his skateboard.

To be fair, Warwick's holding up a tradition of animators who clearly haven't seen a skateboard or noticed how skaters actually ride them. Just check out Bart Simpson's flat plank of wood with wheels from the opening intro of The Simpsons. Skateboards didn't even look like that in 1989 when the show first aired.

Bart also has a very unique riding style and is somehow able to get a lot of air time without popping the …

Water Valet 2 - Funny, Animated Short About Robots, AI, and the Failure of Office Automation.

I never particularly planned a sequel to my animated short, Water Valet, but after purchasing some of Garry Pye's all new All Star G3 Characters for Cartoon Animator 4, I needed something to test them out.

As with Garry's Bendies Characters, the first thing I did was customize an All Star to look like my TET avatar. Once that happened I thought, why not do a second Water Valet animation? People seemed to like the first, and it's a great, short project, I can do in a weekend (you think I would've learned that it would take longer than a weekend from the first time).

It helps if you've seen part 1 but it's not essential. All you need to know is this office has a robot water cooler valet whose primary role is to push the one button on the water cooler that fills your cup with water. Watch part 2 below and then read the behind the scenes of how it was made.



Behind the Scenes Everything started with me creating my All Stars TET avatar, which is a mashup of All Star…

The Evolution of Bat Storm - Muvizu to iClone (Part 2)

Three days before writing this post I had a light bulb moment for how to create my Batman parody character, Bat Storm, in iClone so that he would look almost exactly as I imagined him. There he is right in the main image of this post, in all his 3D toon character style glory.

Along the way I learned a few things about using Reallusion's Character Creator 3 for iClone 7.

Before I get into that I wanted to take a quick recap of the evolution of this character and how long it has taken to get here.

Note: If you're interested, Part 1 to this post is here. It's not required reading and the same article is linked to again later.

In the Beginning
Bat Storm started life in 2010 as a Batman parody on the then named GoAnimate (now Vyond). His design was based purely on what was available in GoAnimate's Comedy World Theme Character Designer.

In their designer there were male and female superhero outfits all featuring the double lightning bolt crest (which I believe represents '…

Draw to Animate - Cartoon Animator 4.1 Integrates Leading Graphics Apps and Becomes More Intuitive for Artists

Reallusion released its first major update to Cartoon Animator 4 since its launch, adding improved integration with several leading graphics applications. Likely a direct response to criticisms that CA4 isn't as functional as some of its competitors due to a lack of drawing tools.

While you could already make your favorite graphics app with .PSD support the default editor that would launch whenever you exported an image from CA4 for editing, the 4.1 update takes this idea much further.

Once you've set up your preferred graphics app (Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Affinity Designer, Krita, or PhotoPea) it will have an icon tool on the main CA UI Toolbar (technically it's the 'Add-On toolbar' but you can position this on the main toolbar if you wish).

Now you can click on this directly whenever you want to just start drawing a new prop, scene or bone character from scratch. Once launched a link will be maintained between CA4 and your app, with whatever you're dra…

Voicemod - Free and Easy to Use Voice Changer/Modulator Application

A common problem for hobbyist animators is finding people to voice characters. Friends are often called in to our no budget productions because they're friends and they're usually happy to help.

However friends aren't always available and/or willing, and hiring voice actors can be expensive if you're making a lot of short animations just for fun. In desperation you start voicing all your own characters but quickly realize your vocal range extends to only about three different voices.

This is where Voicemod may help.

Voicemod is a free dedicated, real time voice modifying app for Windows (other OS's are in the works). It has a very simple interface that makes it easy to alter the sound of your voice to any saved voice profile with a single click. It also makes it very easy to modify any profile or even create your own voice modifications from scratch.

Before I go further, while Voicemod is free you are limited to only a few voice profiles that randomly change daily…

Rise - Demo Animated Short Inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Teaser Trailer #1

My animated short, Rise, came about because I wanted to showcase my newly redesigned, Desert Scavenger for Cartoon Animator 4. Rather than do some lame demo like I did for the original version of the character I wanted to do something that would actually demonstrate the character's potential.

After seeing teaser trailer #1 for Star Wars, The Rise of Skywalker, I thought it would be really cool to try and recreate the opening scene with Rey, in the desert, facing off against Kylo Ren's Tie Fighter.

My version was never intended to be an exact copy of the trailer. What I set out to do was use the backgrounds I'd already made (which feature the crashed Star Destroyer on Jakku) to create pretty much a shot for shot similar scenario as best I could, within the limitations of my character. Watch my short below then read about how it was created.



Redesigning the Character
The original character has been available in my Reallusion Marketplace store for quite some time and has not…

Creating a Complex G3, 360 Character Head in Cartoon Animator 4 - Tips and Recommendations

Creating G3, 360 character heads in Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 4 is something of a daunting task if you are working with a more detailed character head design. Your first attempt is bound to be a lot of trial and error. Mine certainly was and, in this article, I'm going to share with you what I learned.

That said, this is not a tutorial. It's a run down of my experience creating a head for my own character. I've linked to Reallusion's video tutorials below.

I chose to use a redesigned version of my G3 Desert Scavenger, Rey, Star Wars, parody character. Since the biggest part of her redesign was a completely new look head I thought now was a good time to try a more complex 360 head than my previous Color Monkey heads.

The process of setting up a 360 head is not hard but there is a lot to take in. To prepare myself I went through Reallusions first eight video tutorials which cover almost every aspect of the 360 head creator (which you'll find in the character…

Blender 2.8 Amazes with 2D Animation Features. Might Be the All-in-One Animation Studio for You

There are a number of animation apps that like to promote themselves as the one tool for all your animation needs and, while many are certainly very powerful, I think Blender 2.8, released earlier this year, may be the closest yet.

If you're not familiar with Blender it's been almost the go to tool, since at least 2002, for anyone wanting to learn 3D animation on a budget - and nothing is easier on the budget than completely free.

With the release of 2.8 not only is Blender a complete 3D animation tool, it's now also a complete 2D animation tool. That's right you can use it to create 2D, hand drawn animation, motion graphics, and bone rigged 2D characters. As well, it has plugins that can give 3D animation that 2D look.

Hence my suggestion that Blender 2.8 is truly the one tool for all your animation needs (because Blender is also very capable at VFX - think of any 'live action' movie that uses CGI to create almost anything in a scene that wasn't there dur…

My First attempt at 360 Character Heads in Cartoon Animator 4 Featuring The Great Greensbury!

One of the biggest selling points of Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 4 was the new 360 Character Head feature for G3 characters. Personally I haven't really explored the process of creating a 360 character head in depth but for my first attempt, the obvious character choice was my original G3 color monkey characters.

What I like about the process of creating a 360 head is that much of the effect is achieved simply through masking and distorting the character sprites you've already created.

I know if you really take a deep dive into the process you can replace entire sprites during the head turn for even smoother results and a wider turn but you can still do a lot with what's already there.

The 360 head turn I created for my color monkeys (which is actually more of 145 degree turn from side to side) is achieved entirely with the character's existing front facing sprites. It took me about 30-45 minutes of tinkering to get it to this point and I think it looks relative…

Animation at Work - Enter Reallusion's 2019 Cartoon Animator 4, 2D Animation Contest

Nothing gets the word out like a contest which is why I suspect Reallusion is running it's Animation at Work contest only a year after the last one (previously there's been at least a 2 year gap). Nothing wrong with that.

Cartoon Animator 4, released earlier this year, is a great application for creating 2D animation quickly and easily, with a first prize of US$2000.00 up for grabs in each category, that should attract plenty of new users.

Entrants have until October 31, 2019 to submit a 2D animated short into one of four categories, Business, Comic, YouTuber, and Education, for a chance to win. Each category has specific entry requirements so be sure to read the rules for details.

Prizes are the same in each category with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes of US$2000, $1000, and $500 respectively. As well there are additional early bird prizes (and probably more eyes on your entry) if you're within the first 150 entrants.

If you don't own a copy of Cartoon Animator 4 you'r…

Tutorial: Lip Syncing Hands with Cartoon Animator 4

Most people accentuate almost everything they say with their hands, if they aren't consciously making an effort to keep their hands still, such as TV presenters often do.

Generally the more excited we are the more expressive our hands become. If we're really excited we might wave our hands in the air for example.

At other times our hands may reinforce a mood with actions that support our feelings, maybe if you're really sad you might rest your head in your hands, or wipe away tears.

In animation your characters can really seem more alive if you pay attention to what their hands are doing as they speak, creating gestures that support their dialogue. In other words, lip syncing your character's hands with what they are saying.

Unfortunately there's no auto hand syncing function in Cartoon Animator 4 but getting your characters hands talking doesn't have to be painstakingly laborious. You don't need to key frame every action if you take advantage of predefine…

Review: Renderforest Whiteboard Animation Toolkit - Fast Cloud Animated Video

For a while Whiteboard Animation became a thing, particularly when the YouTube meme Draw My Life started to circulate.

Though, technically drawing on a whiteboard isn't animation any online video employing that style of technique is usually referred to as Whiteboard Animation.

The popularity of Whiteboard Animation saw the process of creating them become automated with simulated whiteboard animation. In a simulation a still, photographic image of a hand holding a marker, is moved around an image as it is 'drawn' on a usually white background.

Generally, if the image being drawn looks hand drawn, and the hand actually follows the lines as they are being drawn it looks almost as interesting as an actual real hand drawing on a whiteboard. However the illusion can be ruined if the hand is speed drawing perfectly formed lettering in a non hand drawn font, or worse is speed drawing photographs.

Renderforest's Whiteboard Animation Toolkit is one such simulator that I thought…
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