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

* Thanks to constant spam comments by a Casino Marketing Moron who won't get the message that spam comments WILL be deleted ALL comments will be moderated and only cool, on topic comments will be approved.

I welcome, read, and respond to genuine comments relating to each post. If your comment isn't that save me some time by not posting it.

Popular posts from this blog

Featured Animator: Christian Haynes - 'Zack In Time' An Original, Independent, Animated Series on the Rise

Christian Haynes - Zack In Time.  If you've ever wanted to create an animated TV series staring your own original characters and stories then Los Angeles based writer, director, and animator, Christian Haynes is taking those next steps of putting together a team, developing a pitch/trailer for their series, Zack In Time. Featuring professional studio quality animation, they hope the show will get picked up by an animation studio for an official series. The path he and his team are taking is one you could easily follow as they deal with real life commitments, and building a following on Instagram and Tik-Tok showcasing their work behind the scenes. TET: Tell me a little about yourself. Who you are, and why you started animating? My name is Christian Haynes and I've loved animation ever since I was a kid. I would constantly be drawing cartoon characters from TV shows and movies and making my own little homemade comic strips.  As I got older, I became a lot more interested in st

Wonder Unit Storyboarder - Free Storyboarding Software for People Who Can (or Can't) Draw

Wonder Unit Storyboarder.  As an independent and solo animator I'm always tempted to try and skip storyboarding my animated shorts because they're usually only single scene sketch comedy type jokes. As a result I have many unfinished projects that kind of petered out due to having no clear finishing line. Storyboarding your productions, no matter how small, gives you a step by step guide of every shot that needs to be completed (no planning shots as you animate). It also allows you to create an animatic that gives you a rough preview of the finished production. In short, you shouldn't skip storyboards as they, generally, increase the chance of the project being completed. Disclaimer - I'm Not a Fan of Storyboarder Upfront, Wonder Unit's Storyboarder  is not my preferred storyboarding software. However it's completely free, has a number of very compelling featu

Shotcut - Free Open Source Video Editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Shotcut Open Source Video Editor. I've been on the hunt for a while now for the best, free, open source, video editing application out there. In Shotcut , by Meltytech , which has versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux, I think I may have found a real front runner. This won't be a feature filled review, rather it will be my first impressions after having used Shotcut on a few of my YouTube videos so far. One of my key criteria for a video editor is the ability to import any video format directly into the project. This may seem like an odd focus initially but having convert video to something your video editor can use is annoyingly time consuming, and it creates a new generation of footage, potentially with a loss in quality if you don't really know much about video format specs (that's this guy right here!). Shotcut will happily work with my OBS recordings (.FLV), and .MOV, .MP4 files that I get from two different cameras. Not only that but Shotcut doesn't hold me up

How to Use Plask and Reallusion's 3DXchange to Create Full Body 3D Motion Capture Animation for Cartoon Animator

Last month I reviewed Plask , a free, browser based app that allows you to create 3D motion capture files for animation from a webcam or prerecorded video footage. At the time my hope was that Plask could be used to create 3D motion capture files for Cartoon Animator 4. Unfortunately my knowledge of how to export 3D animation motion files between applications is fairly basic and I wasn't able to figure it out. However, thanks to 3D animation enthusiast and game developer, Freedom (of the YouTube Channel Freedom Arts ), who published a tutorial on how to use Plask with iClone7 characters (in my review I wasn't able to work that out either) there is now a workflow from Plask, via Reallusion's  3DXchange , to Cartoon Animator that is relatively easy to follow and works well. Note: If you want to try this out, 3DXchange is available as a free 30 day trial download if you don't have it. Creating Your 3D Motion Capture File in Plask I'm not going to do a detailed run

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

KIT Scenarist - Free, Open Source, Screenwriting Software that Helps Research Your Ideas Too

KIT Scenarist Script Writing Software's Mascot, Alexander Cat. While you can write a script in any word processing app, if you're writing stories (screenplays) that feature characters and dialogue, a dedicated script writing app can save a lot of time formatting, letting you focus more on the actual story. Script writing apps are also very useful if you plan to send your screenplays out to production companies, or if you're collaborating with actors and other production people, who are used to scripts being in a particular standard format.  [Note: In case you're wondering there are reasons scripts follow a standard format and are always written in Courier (typewriter) font, including but not limited to; being easy to read by actors, plenty of space for notes, and the general rule that one page of a script (in this format) equals approximately one minute of screen time.] KIT Scenarist , in my opinion, is one of the best script writing apps out there for ease of use, simp

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