Skip to main content

Cool Froyd the Cat and Crazy Talk Animator 2 (Pipeline)

I started trying to animate my original cat character, Cool Froyd (taken from one of my paintings), back in April of 2013 using Crazy Talk Animator Pro.

The character was all ready to animate but the project stalled due to a lack of inspiration script-wise on my part and a need to spend more time learning to use CTA Pro.

Fast Forward to December 2013 and my purchase of Crazy Talk Animator 2 (Pipeline edition). After spending a few weeks over Christmas and New Years learning CTA2 I decided to revisit Cool Froyd and discovered that enough of what I had learned was transferable to CTA Pro. What's more learning CTA2 made Pro look almost like child's play.

In the space of an evening I had ad-libbed a short animation, created with CTA Pro, featuring Cool Froyd, for my previous blog post about AVSoft's Voice Changer Software. I was really happy with the result but not the script and I also knew CTA Pro characters can be imported into CTA2.

So, back story over, let's finally continue animating Froyd, this time in CTA 2. I won't go through the process of importing CTA Pro character because there really isn't much to it. Once I had Cool Froyd set up in a new project with his blue backdrop it was time to start animating.

Quick side note about my script... I decided it was time to stop waiting for inspiration and just choose a topic for Froyd and write a short two minute piece. It's not the funniest script you'll ever hear but it beats shelving the project entirely while waiting for genius to hit.

The first thing to notice about Froyd is that he's not a standard humanoid character. Which means all of the predefined motions for human characters available in CTA 2 are virtually useless. However CTA 2 allows you to operate your character just like a puppet, in real time. Not only that but you can isolate different parts of the character and just operate those. This allows you to build up complex movements in sections at a time.

Crazy Talk Animator 2's Facial Puppet Editor.

My process for animating Froyd was to add the voice track on the first pass. CTA 2 has automatic lip syncing so importing the voice file was as complex as this gets. You can fine tune the lip syncing if the auto sync doesn't quite get the match right but I didn't for this project.

Next I did a pass of random eye blinks using the facial puppet editor. I could have done these at any time whilst puppeting the face but doing them now means one less thing to think about.

Most of Froyd's head was animated using the body puppet editor. This simply involves choosing a setting, say side to side head tilts, doing a test run and practicing with the mouse (or track pad in my case) the movements you want to make simply by moving the mouse around in real time.

Once you've rehearsed the movement you simply hit the record button and repeat your movements. If you don't like the result you can always hit undo. The upside is that puppeteering the character is so much quicker and more intuitive than creating key frames.

The only parts of Froyd not animated with the puppet editors in real time is his tail - which is a looped setting that sways the tail from side to side. The pom-pom on his hat - which I key framed entirely on the timeline and his praying hand gesture - which was also key framed on the timeline.

Camera control is handled by creating key frames on the timeline. I used two basic shots, a wide shot and a head shot with a slow pan in at the beginning and a slow pan out at the end.

Adding Camera key frames on the timeline.
Usually you would create titles and end credits in your video editing software but since Cool Froyd is a one scene animation I decided to create the opening title and closing credits using the effects features available. That black title screen is just a black rectangle prop in front of the camera that becomes transparent or opaque as needed using the Opacity function.

Finally I added a bit of music for the intro and decided that was it.

Below is the final two and half minute short created entirely with CTA 2. There's plenty I could do to improve it but I didn't want to get bogged down with striving for perfection. This film's main purpose was to help me learn the software. I think it's done that rather well.



Overall I'm happy with the result. I've still got to learn how to get more facial expression into the character. I also had some trouble with stretch and squash puppeteering being wiped by the tilt head from side to side puppeteering. Hence there's no stretch and squash of the head like there was in my voice changer animation.

My next step will be to create a G2 character in CTA 2 - which is a character that can be viewed through 360 degrees of angles. Froyd is a G1 character and only has the one front view. It would be quite hard to make multiple views of Froyd since his original source image was a painting.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about Froyd. I may make more episodes once I've acquired a little more proficiency with the software. For now, it's just been great to see a painting come to life.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

The Extraordinary Tourist Classic Coat outfit created using Reallusion's Toon Designer for CC3. I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996. It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it. But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm ). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs . Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures , and Toon Hair , designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker. The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that w

Create 2D Animated Characters with 3D Character Creator Tools and Artistic Filters

3D CC3 TET Character, based on my Oppa Doll Avatar, used as the base for a 2D CA4 character. One of my favorite things to do is to create characters with any type of Avatar/Character creator app. In fact the first test I usually try with these tools is, can I make an avatar of me (or at least my The Extraordinary Tourist persona). Previously I've used 2D character creators like Oppa Doll as a source of artwork for some characters I've made for Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 4 animation studio but 2D character creators are limited to... well 2D. 3D Character Creators While you may think 3D character creators have no place in creating characters for 2D animation there are quite a number of advantages including: No drawing skills required. Render characters in any style. Use an art filter or even hand trace into line art. Need to animate the character in a specific pose or angle? Render out an image of the character in the required angle and animate it in 2D. Quicker to crea

Artbreeder - Using AI created Character and Background Content in your Animations

A selection of User/AI generated images from Artbreeder. If you're looking for an endless supply of 2D character and background images for your animations then Artbreeder , an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) that generates image mash-ups you can tweak as much as you like, could be the ultimate content library. What is Artbreeder? Artbreeder is free to use though there are various paid plans, that give you additional features, such as higher resolution download images or more settings to play with. All images created on the site are Public Domain (CC0 License) and can be used in commercial projects. Using Artbreeder's online app you can generate head shot portraits, full body characters, landscapes, and other scenes simply by choosing two or more existing images to mash together then, using a series of sliders, to select which traits from each image you wish to lean toward in the final image. Photo Comparison - Top is my original uploaded photo. Bottom is Artbreeder's ap

Review: CrazyTalk Animator 3 vs Moho Studio Pro 12

Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator 3 or Smith Micro's Moho Studio Pro 12. Which of these 2D animation applications is right for you? Regular readers of this blog will know I'm a strong supporter, and fairly proficient user of CrazyTalk Animator since version 1. It's a great piece of software for producing 2D animations from purchased content quickly and, with version 3, is easier than ever to create animations from your own art. Lesser known is that I first purchased Moho Studio Pro 12 (then known as Anime Studio Pro 9) back in October of 2012 and have been upgrading it to the latest version ever since because I believed in it as an application for creating great 2D animation to TV quality standard. As such, it's a much more complex application than CTA3 that I only got around to learning properly late last year. I'm still in the process of blogging my progress . Despite this I feel I've learned enough of Moho to compare it to CTA3 to help you determ

Review: Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator 3 - Taking a Step Back to Move Forward

GRRR Dog by TET. Can I animate  this guy in CrazyTalk Animator 3? CrazyTalk Animator 3 's bold claim is 'The One-for-all 2D Animation'. Does it deliver? Could it be your 'go to' 2D animation tool of choice? Before I explore those questions I feel a bit of backstory is necessary. I've been using Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator since its original incarnation that promised quick and easy, 2D animation creation. An idea that was relative depending on what kind of animation you wanted to do. Since my focus has largely been on original character animation my experience with CTA is relative to that. If you wanted to create animated characters from your original artwork, quick and easy didn't really describe the time and effort involved. There was a lot of preparation and considerable time spent rigging its G1 characters.

Three Image Overlay Apps. Do More with Your Reference Images While You Work

PureRef's image overlay in action with Cartoon Animator 4. One thing Cartoon Animator 4 still does not have in stage mode is the ability to onion skin previous and next frames.  For those complete animation newbies among you, onion skinning is the ability to see through the current frame to your previous and/or next keyframes so you can see the progression of your character or object's movement as you create and adjust each keyframe. Usually the previous and next frames appear lighter so your current frame remains the key focus. This prompted me to look for a tool that could overlay an image over my work to use as a reference while still allowing me to work on the app underneath the overlay. I had seen, and even used such apps in the past but it had been some time so I decided to see what was out there, preferably free and/or open source, with versions for Mac and Windows. Overlay 2 There are actually a number of apps that do nothing more than overlay an image but the only one

Stylish Stick Figures for Cartoon Animator 4.2 - New Characters by TET

Stylish Stick Figures by TET. Animating stick figures is almost a right of passage for any animator who has ever made an old fashioned flipbook or discovered the free stickman animator app, Pivot Animator . There's also the hugely popular viral stick figure animation, Animator Versus Animation  and its sequels by Alan Becker that continue to inspire variations more than 12 years later. Back when Vyond was GoAnimate they had a stick figure theme that was popular site wide despite having many other themes with much more refined Saturday morning cartoon style characters. I even had my own stick figure series, Harry Chalk , on GoAnimate. Long story short, I was looking through the Reallusion Cartoon Animator Marketplace and discovered there really weren't any well designed, traditional looking stick figure characters. That's not to say there weren't any at all but I wanted something similar to GoAnimate's stick figures which included full facial features and male and