Skip to main content

Random Testing Unit - Work In Progress Animated Short

Screen Shot from 'Random Testing Unit'.
Towards the end of last week, inspiration hit with an animation idea I could create relatively quickly in Muvizu (so I thought). Over three days I wrote a script with the working title of 'Random Testing Unit'.

I can't go into great detail about the script as it would spoil some of the initial humour. I can tell you, the basic premise is a comedy sketch featuring a Police, Random Testing Unit, road stop and a driver who is stopped to be tested. The finished animation will run for around 3 minutes.


By the way, if you're looking for script writing software the free, online version of  Celtx is great. I swear by it as the easiest and fastest way to write a script. The paid version has many useful tools but for me, the script writing tool is enough.

About two days into writing my script I felt confident enough that it was going to come together so I began designing my set in Muvizu. What I've come to realize with 3D software is that, you can save a lot of time if you just design the parts of your set that will actually appear on camera, instead of creating whole environments and then planning your camera shots.

Overview of my Muvizu set.
Inset are my four key camera shots.

You can see in the image above that my set is very sparse but you can't tell this based on my key camera shots that are also shown.

Note to Muvizu's creators: You really need controls in your studio that let you precisely position props using X, Y, Z co-ordinates. Or at least have X, Y, Z widgets that can be controlled with the mouse (like most 3D software does). Currently trying to precisely position objects is next to impossible, even with snapping on. Plus it's so easy to bump already positioned objects out of place.

I wasn't going to storyboard my animation but Muvizu kind of demands that you do. For storyboarding I use Springboard Storyboarding software from Six Mile Creek Systems. Below you can see my entire storyboard in Springboard - minus all the descriptions etc. because a) that would spoil the animation and b) You have to print or export your storyboards to get all the descriptions along side the frames.

Storyboard frames in Springboard for the entire animation.
Includes animatic player window.

If you look closely at my storyboard you'll notice there are a few more camera shots than the initial four I set up. For each frame I just inserted the camera view for that piece of dialogue. I made no attempt to pose the characters (other than to make them face the right way for the scene) or to get their facial expressions correct.

I also recorded a version of all the dialogue myself, which I loaded into Springboard, enabling me to create a nice animatic of the storyboard, giving me a sense of what the finished animation may be like.

Presently I have started animating. What I thought was going to be a quick two day job hasn't quite panned out. Whilst the tutorials for Muvizu make animating through directing the characters seem easy, It isn't. Took me a couple of hours to animate the first three frames of my storyboard.

Using a mouse to puppet characters is not a precise process - but for some reason the same technique is easier and more responsive in Reallusion's CrazyTalk 8, CrazyTalk Animator 2 and iClone 6. Not being able to key frame characters in Muvizu (even if you buy the key frame plugin) is a real shame.

Anyhow, I got a bit discouraged by that point. This was supposed to be a short, fun project with software that claims to be the 'easiest and fastest' way to tell stories with animation. Granted I've only spent five days on this so far but I'd just like one project to not present me with unexpected road blocks.

That aside, I do plan to fire up the Muvizu studio again and get back to work on it. Despite the problems it's still a fun program to use. I'm pretty sure once I get some experience with it under my belt it will be a much easier and quicker process.

I'll look forward to showing you the finished animation soon.

Comments

  1. David, it is great to see this. I have been using Muvizu, too. The community is awesome on the forums, and I have learned a whole lot. It will be great to follow what you are doing there. I have been combining Muvizu with Hit Film Express until I opted for the Pro version. Watch for sales. I save everything as Image Sequence shots and then compost, edit, and add the audio in Hit Film. I do make sound tracks in Muvizu to get the lip syncing better. I hope to keep in contact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would be interested to see your Muvizu work. Particularly how you're using Hit Film with it. I'm aware of Hit Film but haven't tried it since, so far, Serif's Movie Plus has been more than enough for my video editing needs.

      I've not had time to get into the Muvizu forums but I am aware there are some really talented Muvizu creators within that community. Might be something I get into more once I get past this first project that's gone from a quick little side project to a mini epic of headache-y proportions (Seriously - I'd rather be doing the Muvizu Bat Storm animations I had planned than this project but I think the script on this one is worth effort so far).

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing your experience of Animation. Really helpful information.

    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

Creating a G3-360 Head From a Single Photo in Reallusion's Cartoon Animator

Source Photo from Generated Photos . Ever since Reallusion introduced the G3-360 Character Head into Cartoon Animator 4 I've wanted to see if their 360 Head Creator tool could be used to create an animated head using a photo. Part of the reason I've never given this a shot, until now, is that I just assumed it would be difficult, and require a lot of photo editing to blend out the sprite edges. It turns out, creating a photographic G3-360 head is not that much more difficult than creating a cartoon head, and can be done using a single photographic image using my own G3-360 head rigging system . While this article isn't intended to be a full tutorial, I'll run through the basic steps of how I achieved my photographic G3-360 head, shown in the comparison below, of a Cartoon Animator Morph-based head on the left, and my G3-360 head on the right. Pros and Cons Cartoon Animator's morph-based head system is ideal for animating photographic faces. It uses a semi 3D wire me