Skip to main content

Animate Your ComiPo! Comics with MotionArtist

MotionArtist is dedicated composition software for creating animated comics, otherwise known as Motion Comics. That is, rather than create fully animated cartoons, it allows you to take static cartoon panels and add movement and audio to create a more engaging experience.

The type of Motion Comic MotionArtist can produce falls somewhere between reading a comic and watching a cartoon but generally, feels more like reading a very cool comic than watching a severely limited animated cartoon.



MotionArtist has dedicated tools for creating comic book panels with their own self contained animations. It also makes it simple to animate across multiple panels and even animate the panels themselves.

Everything is done using key frames displayed on your comic's timeline with individual panels containing their own timelines to control the animation contained within it.

There are three modes which you switch between that does take some getting used to.

My First ComiPo! Comic.
Director mode lets you edit the entire production as a whole across multiple scenes (a scene could be defined as each page of your comic if you wanted to maintain a traditional comic format). Camera Mode is specifically for key framing how the 'camera' moves throughout your comic. Panel mode lets you edit the animation within each panel.

As my first project I thought, what better way to test MotionArtist than to see if I could turn my ComiPo! comic, that I created when I reviewed that software, into a motion comic.

As a reminder you can see a small version of my comic on the right. You'll need to click the image if you want to view the full size version. You'll notice it's ideal motion comic material as the majority of the comic is the main character falling.

Below is the motion comic version which I think probably goes a little too quick to read all the speech balloons easily but you get the idea (you may need to watch it full screen). It should also be noted that you can output animations as either a video file (as I have) or you can embed them into webpages in HTML5 format. This allows added interactivity such as buttons for the user to click to move to the next page or panel.



Behind the Scenes

Getting Images From ComiPo!


MotionArtist will accept a number of different image file formats. If you have photoshop then you can import native .PSD files and retain the layer order. Potentially saving a lot of time as you could create your pages in Photoshop then import them to MotionArtist to add all the animation elements.

ComiPo! isn't photoshop but fortunately it can export transparent .PNG files of any object. In order to do that I had to break down my comic into its individual components - excluding panel frames and text balloons - and import each one individually as a .PNG file. Yes it was a little time consuming but certainly worth the results.

Exporting Images from ComiPo!
Enlarge to see the settings I used.
For all my backgrounds I exported the full background image and not just the cropped area you could see in each panel.

Once you've exported all your components you just import them into either your panels or scenes in MotionArtist as needed.

How it Looks in MotionArtist


Below is a screen shot of my comic assembled in MotionArtist. You'll notice I've followed the same basic layout as the ComiPo! comic. As this is frame 264 of the animation, which focuses on the largest falling character image (indicated by the red box outline that represents the camera's view), some of the characters in the earlier panels are missing, having already played through their animations.

My ComiPo! comic as layed out in MotionArtist

You may also notice from the image that my motion comic only has one scene. If I were to add a second scene I would then have the option to add transitions between the scenes.

Working in MotionArtist


It's really hard to describe how you actually put together a motion comic in MotionArtist. The basics are that everything is divided into scenes and within scenes you have panels.

Movement is achieved by placing an object at its starting point, scrubbing the timeline forward however long  you want a movement to take, then placing the object at a new location and/or angle. As you do this you'll see a motion path is created with dots indicating a key frame (or stopping point).

You can key frame panels and objects to fade in or out. Objects can be attached to the camera so they move wherever you move the camera (as I did with my comic's background image).

Panels that you've already created animation inside can be literally split in two (or more) sections and the animation will still work across the sections. You can even make the panels themselves move.

There are also plenty of options for speech balloons and adding text. I used none of my original speech balloons from ComiPo!, instead creating these in MotionArtist.

I believe you can make the camera automatically follow your sequence of panels but I found you get more interesting results if you key frame the camera movement yourself.

There is also a great a parallax feature that automatically gives your panels a 3D like effect. I did use it my comic but you can see a better example in the Introductory video below.



MotionArtist can also import video and audio files, though in the current version this isn't obvious how to do. I didn't come across anything in the video tutorials demonstrating it. Everything is imported using the same import button, just above the timeline. There's nothing to ask you what kind of file you're planning to import and no list of supported formats to give you a clue as to what you can import in the resulting dialogue box.

This is one piece of software that it pays to look through the PDF manual to fill in the gaps of what the video tutorials don't cover.

In Summary


MotionArtist is desktop publishing software for MotionComics. You create all your individual components elsewhere including PhotoShop, Anime Studio, Manga Studio, and any other software that at least can create transparent .PNG files (such as ComiPo!), then bring it all together in MotionArtist.

With the current explosion in low cost animated video creation tools you could use any of them to similar effect. However, if all you want to do is produce motion comics, then MotionArtist has the features that will help you produce a motion comic quicker than anything else.

It's certainly a good companion piece for ComiPo! if you want to produce more dynamic content whilst still keeping your feet in comic creation rather than animated cartoons.

MotionArtist could also be used for creating more dynamic general presentations too. There's no reason to just stick to creating comics. This could well be an alternative to some of those business animation presentation tools that have been released lately.

All up it took me a couple of days to learn the basics and produce my first motion comic. That's not bad for such powerful software that could be a lot of fun in long run.

I like the idea of combining it with ComiPo! because personally I don't read comics but I will watch an animation. That's where MotionArtist can potentially give your work a new audience who are more accustomed to watching video.

Comments

  1. Really cool idea! I'm not sure what differentiates the software from other animators, though. But exporting the individual parts from Comipo isn't really something that I considered. The biggest issue right now is that the Comipo resources don't look very good. Really disappointed that more premium items haven't come out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MotionArtist is specialized for this kind of work. Sure you could use other animation tools but if motion comics is all you want to do then MotionArtist is worth looking at because it has tools specific to that style of presentation that will make the job much faster and easier.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

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 …

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…

Cartoon Animator 4 Tutorial - Secondary Animation - Jelly Bees and Elastic Motions

If you've bought Reallusion's Spongy Moves, Elastic Motions and Jelly Bees Emotion Props Combo Pack for CrazyTalk Animator 3/Cartoon Animator 4 you may be wondering how those little Jelly Bees are making their little bubble top knots bounce around like they do in the promo video?

Well grab your copy of CrazyTalk Animator 3 or Cartoon Animator 4 and follow along with my video tutorial below for how to make those bubble top knots bounce!



The secondary animation in my tutorial is should not be confused with the principle of animation known as 'Secondary Action' - which is a second action that supports the main action a character is performing.

The principle my tutorial demonstrates is actually known as 'Follow Through and Overlapping Action'. Actions that are caused by the main action dragging something else along with it, that then follows through and continues to move momentarily after the main action has stopped.

An obvious example is if a long haired characte…

The Ultimate Independent Animator's App and Resource List 2019 - Animation and Video Life

Being an independent animator is not like a studio animation job. There's so much more to do that is indirectly related to the actual task of animating. Over the years I've sought out many apps, tools, and services that can help me achieve that one single task, expressing myself through animation.

Below is my Ultimate Independent Animator's Resource List for 2019. It started out as a list of free or low cost apps that could help you in every stage of producing either 2D or 3D animation, and then just kind of grew from there.

You may not have been looking for a Time Management App as much as you needed something to get you started in 3D animation but when those commissioned projects start coming in you'll have a head start on maximizing your time.

All the apps and services on this list had to meet two main criteria:

They had to be useful and relevant to an Indy Animator/artist.The base app/service had to be US$200.00 or less.
(In the case of a subscription service that&…

Learn Moho Pro 12 Free Using SmithMicro's Own 104 Video Tutorials Sorted into a Logical Order of Progression

So you've bought Smith Micro's Moho Pro 12 along with the Moho, 10 hour, 104 Video Tutorials Add On pack so you can get learning right away... only you can't. For whatever reason, the video tutorials aren't sorted into any logical order of progression making them hard to follow.

Yeah, I've been there, only I've done what Smith Micro should have done and sorted all the video tutorials into a logical order of natural progression for you. That is, each tutorial builds upon what you learned in previous videos and you won't suddenly come up against some feature you've never used before, unless that feature is what the video tutorial is about.

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

Back in 1987 I saw English Actor/Comedian Kenneth Williams on television make a quote about medical specialists that has stuck with me ever since as an idea for comedy.
It's frightening to think with modern medicine and all the techniques available to them... they can't really help you. In the old days, you know, you were better off because nowadays, they are all specialists. Everyone's becoming better and better at less and less... Eventually someone's going to be superb... at nothing. - Kenneth Williams, Aspel & Co 1987
In consumer robotics it's a very relevant concept that appears to be working in reverse. We're seeing more and more consumer robots released that perform one task really well (robot vacuum cleaners for example) but we're kind of working towards the robot butler/maid/assistant, a single robot that can perform many different tasks.

An early example is the AI used in home speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home where you can automate a…