Skip to main content

Random Testing Unit - Can you believe what Police are testing for now?

Police forces in many places around the world perform roadside, random breath tests to catch out drink drivers.

More recently, in some parts of Australia at least, Police conduct random drug tests in response to growing concerns of people driving under the influences of other illicit substances.

In a spark of silliness, I got to thinking what else could Police forces start randomly testing for on the roadside? That's how my short animation, Random Testing Unit, began to form.


Before reading any further you should watch my animation below as the humour is generated through the initial premise. Once you know it, you can't un-know it. When you've seen it, read on to find out my process of creating the animation.



Should Take About a Week with Muvizu...


After I had my initial idea, it only took me about three days to write my full script. At the time I was learning Muvizu, the low cost, 3D animation software that claims it's the easiest and fastest way to tell stories with animation. By that point I'd completed all the beginner tutorials and thought my new script would be an ideal first project. Should take about a week. In the end it took closer to two months.

Muvizu Characters and Set.
When I started I had a week to spare and could almost work on this full time but, as it turned out, it took me a few days to put together my characters and set in Muvizu, and then another couple of days to create my storyboards in Springboard.

I Have to Storyboard This?


In the past I typically haven't had to storyboard my own animation projects because it's just me working on the entire production. However, as I fall deeper down the hole of becoming a professional animator/filmmaker, I'm finding storyboards more and more important and useful.

The Storyboard created with Springboard.
For one thing, a complete storyboard gives you an end goal. You know exactly what you're working towards.

When I used to make my projects in GoAnimate, I'd start with open ended script ideas and made things up as I animated, until I felt I had a complete story. It was a fun way to work but I've never been able to replicate that in any other software. Everything you do has to count because there's just so much more effort in creating each scene on most other animation platforms.

Getting Better at Voices


Once I had my storyboard I recorded all my voices. Yes that is me voicing every character with a little electronic pitch adjustment in Audacity. I know I'm not that great at character voices and lack variation in trying to make each character sound different but, I figure, if I keep trying I'll get better.

With the voices done I was able to create an animatic of my storyboard. If you're not familiar an animatic is basically a slide show of each panel in the storyboard timed to the voices. It gives you a very good feel for how the final animation will play.

Animating Out of Sequence


When I began animating my storyboard, initially I was creating each shot in order. It was very slow going until it dawned on me (and this is no great revelation as film productions have done this for years) I had many scenes that used the exact same camera angle. It would be quicker to simply create a shot list of all the scenes using the same camera angle and create those in a single project file.

For example, if you look at my storyboard (in the image above) you can see that panels 1, 5, 8 and 12 all are the same camera shot with the same characters in the same positions. I created all of these shots in one Muvizu project.

This is the first time I've created an animation out of shot order and I can fully appreciate how much more efficient it is. Even though you're working on the same number of shots it feels much quicker animating a few shots at a time within one project file than animating one at a time over 28 project files.

Everything was animated in Muvizu (obviously) however the only audio I used in Muvizu was the character voices so the auto lip sync would work. As I finished each group of scenes I exported them to MP4 video files.

That One Shot, Where the Camera Moved...


One particular scene of note is Scene 27 (the scene right near the end where the driver notices his newly expanded chest). It's the only scene where the camera actually pans down slightly when the driver sits down. In every other shot the camera is stationary.

I'm pointing it out here because, to do this, I used the Muvizu Key frame plug-in which is an optional extra you can purchase that allows key framing of camera and prop animation but, unfortunately, not character animation.

Editing in MoviePlus X6


Storyboard mode in MoviePlus X6.
I use Serif's MoviePlus X6 as my go to video editor, beginning by using Storyboard mode to literally place all my video files in order, so the sequence looked exactly like my actual storyboard.

Doing this makes editing really quick. Once all the clips are in place you just click on each one and trim it for just the section you need. Much quicker than doing the same thing in Timeline mode.

Did that Guy just Punch Through a Door?


Yes, he just put his arm
through the door!
One problem Muvizu has is not being able to fine tune character actions like arm movements. You're kind of stuck with the pre-animated movements. On several occasions my driver character waves his arms around and you see his arm literally emerge through the door panels of the car like he's some kind of ghost that can walk through walls.

Car door mask overlay.
It didn't look right to move him over, so this wouldn't happen, as he'd be sitting on the car's central console.

To fix the issue I created several PNG image file masks of the car's door and window frame, adding them as overlays onto the scenes in MoviePlus to hide the problem.

This solution was fairly simple because of my stationary camera shots. Would have been much harder to hide if the problem occurred in any scene where the camera was panning or zooming.

The Final Touches... Get a Mouse!


From there I added end titles, music, city noise background audio and scene transitions, then exported my finished animation.

One final note about Muvizu... I came very close to giving up on this animation because Muvizu's interface can be frustrating. If you plan on trying Muvizu yourself make sure you have a wired mouse or a very accurate and responsive wireless mouse. Muvizu relies on mouse input very heavily. A laptop track pad just won't do - particularly if your buttons are like mine and can't be pushed down at the same time.

Overall I'm happy with the finished animation. Despite taking much longer than anticipated, I feel I really have a handle on animating with Muvizu and genuinely learned a lot from the process. It has definitely been worth the effort for a script that I feel is one of my better pieces of writing.

From here I'm looking forward to animating again with Muvizu. Now I know what's involved it should be a much easier and fun process.

Comments

  1. Reading about the process of the production is the part of your work that I really do enjoy and glad that you take the time to tell of it. Brilliant idea for a script. I was wondering the whole time where it could possibly go---the ending was totally unpredictable. It was lots of fun to watch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually don't remember what caused me to link Pregnancy Tests with Random Police tests but when I did, I knew it was an idea with plenty of potential. Particularly in this day and age where we have people who identify as gender neutral...and lots of discussion over discrimination, whether it be race, gender or something else. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  2. The whole planning process and animation is really fascinating for me. It's good to know that you are spending time doing useful things such as this. Something that students from writing college papers can learn from.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brilliant Story! I liked it a lot. How do you rate Muvizu versa GoAnimate when it comes to learning curve, efficiency and what can be achieved with it. I'm cuurently searching for what to start with for explainer videos and I'm a bit confused...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GoAnimate is easier to use and better suited to explainer videos. Whilst you could use Muvizu it doesn't have anywhere near as many dedicated props, backgrounds and characters designed specifically for explainer videos. Plus GoAnimate allows you to make the entire video within one project file where as with Muvizu you'll need to create each scene separately and then combine all the scenes together using video editing software.

      Delete

Post a Comment

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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular posts from this blog

Real Human AI Text to Speech Voice App by Replica Studios - AI voice actors for games + films

Replica Studios TTS App. Image: Replica Studios It really pays to attend Reallusion's free animation demonstration Webinars. At a recent webinar, host, Kai DeNeve, featured Replica Studio's A.I. Voice Actor system . Replica uses Artificial Intelligence to learn a real voice actor's speech patterns, tone, and inflection, which can then be used with their Text To Speech (TTS) system to produce the most realistic computer generated voices yet (or at least that I've come across). You can even fine tune how individual words are said and more. Their TTS system works through a downloadable desktop app for Mac and Windows. There are also bridging apps if you want to use their system for voices in UnReal and Unity Gaming systems. Sign up for a free account and get 30 minutes of free voice downloads (that's 30 minutes of recorded audio - not 30 minutes to download audio - that you can download a line at a time). After that you can purchase 4 hour blocks for just USD$24.00.

Animating Warwick Hays Skateboarder Ed Character for Cartoon Animator - Can Ed Kickflip?

Skateboarder Ed. Character by Warwick Hays. Warwick Hays has built quite a sizeable collection of characters, props, and backgrounds for Cartoon Animator that I've yet to really explore, however, being the tragic skateboarder that I am, it was surely fate that I would buy his Skateboarder Ed G3 character as my first purchase. Now I don't know a lot about Warwick but, based on the design of the skateboard prop that comes with Skateboarder Ed I'm fairly certain Warwick doesn't know much about skateboarding, and/or probably didn't use a good reference when designing his skateboard. Bart's skateboard has changed over the years, though curiously, even later versions, barely get closer to what an actual skateboard looks like. To be fair, Warwick's holding up a tradition of animators who clearly haven't seen a skateboard or noticed how skaters actually ride them. Just check out Bart Simpson's flat plank of wood with wheels from the opening int

My First Anthropomorphic Character with Reallusion's Character Creator 3 (Pipeline) & Reviving My TETAnimations YouTube Channel

Skateboarding Cage Monster - Heelflip. Reallusion's Character Creator 3  is a pretty incredible application for creating any kind of human digital 3D character quickly. Its power comes from the way it can totally deform a standard human base template character into a seemingly infinite number of body types and shapes. While I wouldn't recommended it as a your only 3D character sculpting tool, it is very powerful with just how much you can edit a character's form at the vertex/mesh level. I've experimented a little with CC3's Edit mesh functions, mostly using it to hide areas of an object I don't want seen. Bat Storm's cape is a good example where I used the ability to hide vertices to completely remove the assassin's hood from the neckline up. Just on a whim I wondered if I could create my Cage Monster character entirely in CC3 (with exception to his skin textures which I edited in Krita). The character is basically a stylised human body with a monster

Your First Look at Bat Storm Animated and Launching My Patreon

Bat Storm. Traditionally my Bat Storm character has always been a parody of whichever movie Batman is in the limelight. Back in the GoAnimate days that was Christian Bale, but now we have a new, upcoming Batman with Robert Pattinson. What better way to greet the new guy than with Bat Storm's own 'camera test' teaser just like Robert Pattinson's suit camera test. This is actually the very first public release of my new Bat Storm character model animated. Prior to this it's only been 'leaked' still images (does it count as leaking when it's the show creator deliberately posting images publically?). Anyhow Bat Storm pays homage to two Batmen ahead of their time (Val Kilmer and George Clooney) who had the balls to wear nipples on the Batsuit. Clearly a diversionary measure designed to disarm unsuspecting bad guys with laughter.  If no one is taking you seriously that's clearly an advantage! Visit my Patreon Page for more information. L

#XPPenanimationchallenge - How I Created My Entry for XP-Pen's First Animation Competition

XP-Pen's Mascot, Fenix, in A Change of Art by TET. XP-Pen , the makers of a range of pretty sweet pen display monitors, and Reallusion , the makers of some pretty sweet animation apps, teamed up for XP-Pen's very first Animation Challenge with the theme of 'Change'. Any form of animation was acceptable with entries needing to be a minimum of ten seconds in length. Entries closed on June 16th, 2020 (sorry, this blog isn't really a breaking news site, I probably should've mentioned it back in March when entries submissions opened) so it's too late to enter, but I wanted to tell you the tale of how I ended up creating my entry in a really late evening, the day before the deadline. Watch my entry below. Remember the theme is 'Change' and XP-Pen suggested in the rules that including their mascot, Fenix, somewhere in the animation would be looked upon favorably.   The Ideas Scenes from Skater - My First XP-Pen Competition Idea. This was not my first idea

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 . AV Voice Changer Interface. Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply

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