Skip to main content

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 in the Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator forums about importing video into CrazyTalk Animator 2 and it struck me. I could combine Froyd with video footage, Roger Rabbit style.

Then I thought, if that worked well, I could literally make videos where Froyd appears as my pet cat talking to me in that weird way Garfield talks to Jon but not really.

The thing about Froyd is that, if I sit around waiting for inspiration to hit, it never does. I want him to be really witty and insightful but in order to test the idea out I decided to ad-lib something after I put everything together.

The first video was about coffee so I figured why not continue the theme. We have a fairly spacious and well lit kitchen so I thought, why not film myself making my morning cup of tea and have Froyd sitting on the bench next to me.

Creating the Video

In filming the video I made no effort to interact with Froyd other than making sure I never blocked out the area of the frame where Froyd would be sitting (and thus spoiling the illusion). I filmed the video using my little HD camera set up on a tripod - a MUST if you're going to overlay a character into a live action scene convincingly.

Once I had the video I had to edit it down to two minutes from about ten minutes that I filmed. Which is why you see sudden light changes in the final video. In hind sight I should have blended the light changes more so the cuts aren't so obvious but I felt it was okay for the test video.

I then imported the video directly into CrazyTalk Animator 2.

Adding Froyd

Putting Froyd into the scene is relatively simple. I have him set up as a character and I literally just drag'n'drop him into the scene and size him to fit. He also has an 'idle' animated action that cycles to look like he's breathing and moving his tail mindlessly.

I then recorded my voice track using Voice Changer teamed with Audacity. To do this I watched the video footage and ad-libbed the lines based on what was happening. It's not genius comedy but it serves the purpose of giving Froyd something a little interesting to say.

CTA2 auto lip syncs the voice file but I did make a few changes to the mouth shapes to try and get more natural looking movement compared to the first episode.

Next I used CTA2's puppeteering functions to animate Froyd (just like controlling a real puppet) making several passes, blending each movement in real time to match the video as it played through. It does take a bit of skill but I think I did a much better job this time around of making Froyd move a little more naturally and in tune with the words he is speaking and his environment.

Does it Work?

Generally I'd say the video looks quite good. Froyd looks like he is in the scene. Sure he's clearly a cartoon character but it works well enough thanks to the way I painted him, with reflected light in his shadows - just as light reflects into the shadow areas of real world objects.

Although the concept is a little similar to Garfield I think it's worth pursuing. It's not exactly the same and I'm sure my own sense of humor will eventually help me differentiate the character into his own thing. I think the real world locations will help too.

The live action is easy to create, as is animating Froyd. It could well be a character I visit every time I need a break from other more difficult or tedious animation projects (like Skate Monkeys).

Comments

  1. Froyd is selling me very quickly on this software---this was fantastic. He looks great. The dialog was fun, and it was lots of fun watching his subtle movements. Not sure I notice the lightening your talking about and I watched it 5 times. It worked. It was believable and it was funny. Your voice was perfect this time around for his personality too. Can't wait to hear, and see, more of Froyd.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you mean 'lighting' not 'lightening'. If you focus on the video background and not Froyd at various points you may notice a dramatic change in light as a result of varying light coming through our kitchen window. It's not a big problem for a test video but it's something to remember for next time.

      Delete
  2. Very nicely done. Froyd's facial animation is very convincing and his sleepy attitude works incredibly well. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET
20% off holiday gifts yule (and they’ll) love. Use code ROAR

Popular posts from this blog

Eric W. Schwartz: Cartoonist, Animator and Amiga Die Hard

American Cartoonist, Eric W. Schwartz, (whose unofficial Amiga Icon, Amy the Squirrel, is pictured on the July 92 edition of CU Amiga cover on the right) is my only real animation hero. Sure there are the big names like Disney, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and even Preston Blair whose influences can all be seen in my own cartoons but Eric did what none of the others could. He showed that really great 2D computer animation was within my reach with little more than an Amiga Computer, a copy of Deluxe Paint and Moviesetter.

This was at a time when computer based animation was in its infancy (outside of computer game animation) and Flash was something that lights did.

There were many great Amiga artists but Eric was really the only one consistently making very funny, traditional style animations. His humor and drawing style is heavily influenced by classic Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons but he managed to build on this, creating something that was recognizably Eric's own style.

I've…

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 determine which …

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

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.

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc.

I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations.
I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity.
Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply change you default microphone to the installed AV…

Plastic Animation Paper - Free 2D Animation Software

I discovered Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) Pro 4.0 for Windows quite some time ago and even had it installed on my computer for well over a year - unused. The full pro version of the software has been given away for free, no strings attached but with no tech support, since July of 2010. Not to be sneezed at since prior to that date this version sold for 695 Euro (roughly US$900.00).

When I discovered it I was still finding my way back into my love for animation and the bug to animate my characters more traditionally via classical, hand drawn 2D animation techniques had yet to take hold. I didn't really understand what PAP did or why you couldn't make complete, finished animations with it.

After finding some really great, very affordable, digital storyboarding software, PAP is the next tool in your digital production workflow for those of you on a budget creating traditional 2D animation.

Depending upon how finished your storyboard panels are you could even import key panels i…

Quickly Create a CrazyTalk Animator G3 Character From Original Art

Creating a character rig from original art can seem like a daunting task in CrazyTalk Animator 3. Especially if, all you really want to do is put together a quick animation with characters you may never even use again.

Here's how to rig a CrazyTalk Animator 3, G3 human character, with the fewest components, whilst still being compatible with G3 character motions, and having a face capable of lip syncing and character expressions.

You should be able to do this in under an hour - assuming you have your artwork ready to go.

WeVideo - Professional, Collaborative, Online Video Editor for Free

WeVideo is a professional online, cloud, video editing and project sharing application that works right in your browser. It attempts to compete with equivalent licensed software that you can buy for your computer, such as (in my case) MAGIX Movie Edit Pro.

WeVideo is free for personal use and comes with a range of paid plans that give you more features and benefits depending on your needs and how much you want to spend. Check out their video below which gives a great overview of WeVideo's service.



In this review I'm going to see if I can use WeVideo to create a typical video for my main YouTube channel, etourist2, where I mostly upload art and animation demonstration/tutorial videos. Before we start, here's a run down of what a free account offers:

1 GB storage360p resolution15 export minutes per monthExport to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Twitter5 invites per project390 licensed music titles
With only 1GB of storage this account is clearly targeted at short form video and …