Skip to main content

Water Valet 2 - Funny, Animated Short About Robots, AI, and the Failure of Office Automation.

Water Valet 2.
I never particularly planned a sequel to my animated short, Water Valet, but after purchasing some of Garry Pye's all new All Star G3 Characters for Cartoon Animator 4, I needed something to test them out.

As with Garry's Bendies Characters, the first thing I did was customize an All Star to look like my TET avatar. Once that happened I thought, why not do a second Water Valet animation? People seemed to like the first, and it's a great, short project, I can do in a weekend (you think I would've learned that it would take longer than a weekend from the first time).

It helps if you've seen part 1 but it's not essential. All you need to know is this office has a robot water cooler valet whose primary role is to push the one button on the water cooler that fills your cup with water. Watch part 2 below and then read the behind the scenes of how it was made.



Behind the Scenes

1. TET's All Star Avatar Sources.
Everything started with me creating my All Stars TET avatar, which is a mashup of All Star Andy (Office), All Star Amy (Office), my TET Bendie Avatar, and a little custom detailing of my own.

If you look at image 1, showing my TET Avatar's sources, you'll see he's wearing All Star Amy's shirt, jacket, and glasses. His hair is lifted directly from my TET Bendie avatar and resized to fit. Additional customizations include recoloring, and adding a little bit more to the top of Andy's tie (also a discrete breast reduction).

The Script

Coming up with the idea for this second episode wasn't difficult at all. It seemed obvious to me that the robot valet has such a simple job, what would happen if it could no longer actually do it?

Then I thought about who else pushes buttons for a living? While it's a bit of a stretch for an office building to have an elevator attendant, it's not impossible. I imagined a young guy who maybe had a little more ambition than to be an elevator attendant for the rest of his life.

From there the script pretty much was a breeze. I think I wrote it in a couple of hours at most.

The Scene and Andy the Elevator Attendant

All Star Andy the Elevator Attendant
and aspiring Water Valet.
Content creator, Frank's Pencil, released a pack called Toon Buddies that I purchased a while back. The Office backgrounds included in the pack I felt are ideally suited to Garry Pye's All Stars. There was never any question about using anything else for the background scene in this short.

Andy the Elevator Attendant, is simply All Star Andy (Office) with different hair that I got from some other G3 Character (not sure now which?), and a hat that I added from an accessory pack for G3 Elastic Folks called Hat & Belt Systems.

Creating the Animation

Since this animation, just like the first, is mostly characters talking it was animated pretty much in the same way as the first animation, so I won't go into that in detail again here. The basic process was:

  1. Record the Audio.
  2. Place all the characters in my scene.
  3. Add the voices to each character and refine the auto lip syncing.
  4. Add predefined motions to each character that most closely represents how I want them to move. Also adding facial expression templates.
  5. Go through and customize all the motions so that hands and arms, specifically, move to accentuate more what the character is saying, and look a little less random.
  6. Because these are All Star characters I had to go through and realign all the necks (or more accurately, face sprites, because the characters don't have a neck sprite - which is why this step is needed) so the heads didn't remain weirdly disjointed.
  7. Add in eye blinks and other small details.
  8. Export as an MP4 to send to my video editor app for titles, sound design etc.

Hiring a Voice Actor

Usually I try to voice all my characters myself. However half way through animating this I decided I needed a voice actor for Andy's voice.

Initially I recorded his voice through Voicemod, an app that can change your voice in real time to sound very different, but I wasn't happy with it. The voice wasn't clear, and had 'metallic' feel to it. Andy had some good lines and I wanted to make sure they were clear.

So I hopped over to fiverr.com and found DrywVoiceOver after a bit of searching (unfortunately Dryw is no longer on fiverr - maybe I should have tipped him more?). His gig was exceptional value, delivering 200 words of audio within 24 hours for just US$5.00. I only needed him to record 68 words. Which he did and delivered them in less than three hours!

As a side note, while fiverr still offers exceptional value, fewer voice artists are offering their service for just US$5.00 these days. While I'm not opposed to upsells I do think it should be mandatory that everyone offers at least a basic service for $5.00 since that is the draw of the site.

Once I had Dryw's audio as an MP3 file, I cut it up in Audacity and replaced my audio in Cartoon Animator with Dryw's performance.

Final Words

Nothing worse than a Water Valet
coming up empty... unless you're Andy.
There's not really much more to say. I once again imported the Cartoon Animator MP4 exports into my video editing software and did virtually the same sound design as the first animation of adding the same office ambient noise and other small sound effects.

I can boast that, despite being a few seconds longer than the first animation, I finished it in a week, instead of two weeks.

There is every possibility you'll see more in this series as I have had a few ideas on where things might go next for my dysfunctional Water Valet A.I. robot. However it's likely to be an occasional series that I work on when I need the lighter distraction of a shorter project.

Next up I really want to get back into developing Bat Storm now that I finally have a redesigned version of that character that I'm excited to animate.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Inochi2D - Free Open Source 2D VTuber Avatar Rigging and Puppeteering Software (Part 1)

Inochi2D Creator - Free Open Source VTuber Software. If you've been looking for a way to live perform as a 2D cartoon avatar on camera, whether it be for a live stream or for pre-recorded content like educational videos, then VTuber software is a low cost (or even no cost) option worth looking into. In my previous post, How to Become a VTuber - 2D and 3D Software for Creating and Controlling Your Avatar , I took a brief look at the relatively new but completely free and open source Inochi2D  which I thought showed great potential for my own needs of creating a live performance character rig for my own TET Avatar that I use for all my promotional materials. While it is possible to live perform my character using Cartoon Animator itself, Reallusion's MotionLive2D capture system isn't great - with lip sync in particular. More importantly though, I can't exactly teach people how to use Cartoon Animator if I'm using Cartoon Animator to control my Avatar. What is Inochi2D

Moho 14 Released - Still the Best 2D Animation Software for Indy Animators on a Budget

Moho 14 Released. Regular readers know I am a Reallusion, Cartoon Animator advocate through and through. Hands down I would recommend Cartoon Animator 5 first over Lost Marble's Moho 14 to anyone who is just starting in 2D animation, is a team of one, or just needs to animate as quickly as possible. However, feature for feature, Moho is, arguably, the best 2D animation software for the rest of us who can't justify a Toon Boom Harmony , or Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (and even with their applications Moho is very competitive on features). You can get started with Moho Debut for just USD$59.99 which is a cut down version of Moho Pro but it still has the most essential features needed for 2D animation. While Moho Pro is a whopping USD$399.99 (Cartoon Animator, which only has one version, is just USD$149.00) upgrades to new version numbers come down to a quarter of the price at USD$99.00. Even though Reallusion just released features like Motion Pilot Puppet Animation and

Start Your 2D Animation Side Hustle - Sell Your Cartoon Animator Characters, Props, Scenes, and Motion Files in the Reallusion 2D/3D Marketplace

Have you thought about starting a side hustle selling your original Cartoon Animator assets in the Reallusion 2D/3D Marketplace ? In this article, the first in a series on selling in the marketplace, I'll give you an overview of what's involved, why you should give it some thought, and whether you can earn enough to quit your day job (or at least have a worthwhile side hustle). If you're an artist with any kind of drawing skills, and you're creating your own original characters, props, scenes, and even motion files for your Cartoon Animator projects, then setting up your own store in the Reallusion Marketplace should be a no brainer. You're making content already, it doesn't cost you anything to set up, and Reallusion only takes a 30% commission from each item sold. (If you think that's a lot, I'll address that further down). Don't be put off if you think your art skills aren't up to professional standards. There are plenty of artists with naïve

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

Can You Learn Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 5 for Free Using Their 137 Official YouTube Video Tutorials Sorted Into a Logical Learning Order?

Or you could just buy The Lazy Animator Beginner's Guide to Cartoon Animator . While Reallusion's Cartoon Animator is one of the easiest 2D animation studios to get up and running with quickly, learning it from all of the official, free, video tutorials can be more overwhelming than helpful. With more than 137 videos totaling more than 28 and a half hours of tutorials, spread across three generations of the software (Cartoon Animator 3 through 5) it's hard to know if what you're learning is a current or legacy feature that you either need to know or can be skipped. Many of the official tutorials only teach specific features of the software and don't relate at all to previous or later tutorials. As a result there are many features either not mentioned or are hard to find. To make your learning easier, on this page, I've collected together all of the essential, official, free video tutorials and sorted them into a learning order that makes sense. Simply start at

2D Animation Side Hustle - How to Find a Niche Market Selling Digital Characters, Props, and Background Art in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace

C ontinuing my series on your 2D Animation Side Hustle, Selling in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace , in this article I'm going to take a look at niches and why they're important to becoming a successful seller. I'll also look at some indicators, specific to the Reallusion Marketplace, that can help point you in the right direction of finding niches that are in demand. What is a Niche and Why Are They Important? In marketing terms a niche is kind of like a sub category or a section of a subject that you want to focus on. It's not the big idea with wide appeal that everybody loves, it's a smaller, more specific section of the idea that fewer people really connect with. For example, in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace, Characters are the biggest sellers. Everybody loves and wants to buy characters. They're great! That's all you need to know, characters sell the best, go make some! There are currently 4413 characters for sale in the marketplace. How will people find

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