Video Newbie - Animation Qs?

Roboburger wrote on 11/8/2006, 6:57 PM
I've been using Vegas as an Audio App for years. I've recorded and mixed a few albums for local bands here in the ATL.

And thanks to a crazy amount of SonyPoints on my credit card, (Buying Airline tix and the like for world-traversing musicians stacks up those points) I upgraded my car stereo, my wife's car stereo, scored a lot of DVDs, and still had points left over.

So I got a digital Camcorder which firewires over to my laptop super simple.

But I don't have interest in video projects as much as I have a recent kink for low-fi animation.

A) Does anyone here have animation experience on a 'puter platform? what software?

b) Here's what I'd like to see in a platform- I'd like to set up my camcorder on a tripod about four feet rom a wall where I can mount Gilliam-esqe landscapes and use cut-out items. I'd like to fire the shutter from the computer so that the camera/camcorder doesn't move.

Capture (via firewire)single frames of animation that could be then rendered as tidbits a second, or a few seconds long, that would then be dropped into Vegas for syncing with audio. You can imagine that a close up of a talking face .3 sec rendering could be looped for sentences of a second or two. Basically, what I want is a visual version of what ACID does for audio... ACID has been a great compostiton tool for me, because I can make a project as simple, or as complex as I want to. I've used the same platform to quickly author a short music tidbit as a skecth for another musician, and I've used it to create grand funky soundscapes.

Ohh, the idea of Blue-screening would be Hott-with-two-T's also. The more I think about what I could use the more my mind reels. I imagine in this Youtube world, a simple animation platform would be a hot seller...

Comments, anyone? Is there an animation platform as simple to use as the Sonic Foundry platforms.


farss wrote on 11/8/2006, 7:31 PM
There was a piece of stoftware around (free too) that'd do just what you want I think, better still it did onion skinning (let you see a sequence of previously shot frames for alignment). I'd have a dig around some of the stop frame animation sites to see what you can find.

Once you've shot the thing then you can think about using Vegas, plus there's also Mirage for traditional cell animation available (or it was) at a good price for vegas users.

From my experience decades ago doing stop frame animation the hardest part by far is the tedious work in front of the camera.
goshep wrote on 11/8/2006, 9:13 PM
If all your animations are stop-motion of cutouts, etc. (physical items) you really don't need another application. You'd be better off using a digital still camera and importing into Vegas as an image sequence. Incorporating blue screen (chroma keying) is easy as well. Shoot a still of your background, then manipulate your characters in front of a blue screen. Key out the blue in Vegas and your characters will appear to be moving about in the background you've created (and placed beneath your character track on the timeline). Here's where it gets REALLY cool...shoot another foreground layer with it's background as blue. Now place that layer on the timeline above your background and character tracks and key it as well. VOILA! You know have a foreground that your characters will move behind while remaining in front of the background.

If you want to try your hand at digital animation, there are a number of 2D animation applications available. As farss said, Mirage is one. Another economical package is Moho. Toon Boom is another but is a little more spendy. In a pinch, you can create characters and backgrounds in Paint (which comes with Windows) and accomplish the same effect (I've played with this approach quite a bit). Paint does not offer onion skinning or layers but creating your characters over a blue background and keying them in Vegas produces a similar, low-tech result. Commercial apps offer many time-saving features like keyframing, etc.. If you aren't up against a deadline and you're just having some fun, try the cheap route first. You'll be amazed at the cool things Vegas can do with very little third-party assistance.
farss wrote on 11/9/2006, 1:57 AM
I Found IT!

That took a lot of Googling, I was starting to loose faith in the web but it needed a search under Claymation!

Program is called Anasazi.
It lets you take images and builds onion skins of the previous frames. This way you can avoid one of the horrors of stop frame animation, moving a bit you didn't want to and not seeing it until you run the animation. Also this onion skinning lets you see if you've made even movements. And it's been updated to work with DV camcorders.

And the site that's hosting this bit of freeware also has lots of animation goodies.
farss wrote on 11/9/2006, 2:13 AM
And if you want something more like the pros use Stop Motion Pro will work all the way upto HD, even supports video assist.
Roboburger wrote on 11/9/2006, 11:12 PM
Aww, you guys are spesh. Thanks for doin' the google footwork. I really shoulda googled it myself before posting, but to hear what you guys had to say made it worthwhile. I just got excited about the prospect of animation, and just started typing.

I knew I could count on the boards.
Roboburger wrote on 11/9/2006, 11:40 PM
Actually, I just googled and found "Stop Motion Pro" software, and it looks to be about what I am looking for, and combined with Vegas, I imagine I can do some pretty crazy stuff... I'm gonna start saving my nickels... and keep googling.