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Animating a Plush Toy

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Miguel Zamora
Animating a Plush Toy
on Oct 24, 2017 at 6:38:46 pm

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the correct forum, but I figured AE would have a hand in this.

I have an idea that involves creating a miniature set, and using a plush toy heart with a person's eyes and mouth edited onto it (think Annoying Orange). The heart will be talking. Now, what I'd like to do is have the heart walk, turn, etc (I'll be designing some limbs on). Can anyone point me in the right direction of the approach that'll help me accomplish this?

Thank you.


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Animating a Plush Toy
on Oct 24, 2017 at 8:30:16 pm

You should look into Character Animator. It is a program you can install as part of your CC subscription (assuming you have an all apps subscription) and it is super-fun to use!

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animating a Plush Toy
on Oct 25, 2017 at 2:30:20 pm

It's the "plush" and the real person that concern me.

Unless you are a master of shooting, timing & planning, you won't be able to maintain credible-looking 3D as the animated character turns, moves... whatever -- you would have to move the real-life camera shooting the actor's face with computer precision to get the rotation, scale and parallax changes that would occur. Not to mention real-life 3D moves imply shooting on a very large, curved green screen to make life easier when compositing the actor's face onto the 3D character.

"Plush" implies fibers -- a characteristic that is extremely render-intensive in a 3D application to make it look realistic.

It's a nice idea, but probably not for the faint of heart nor the technologically-challenged.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Miguel Zamora
Re: Animating a Plush Toy
on Oct 26, 2017 at 9:06:13 pm

Thank you, Dave, you make a great point. Perhaps I'll have to put this idea in the back burner until I can assemble a team to help me do this.


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Richard Garabedain
Re: Animating a Plush Toy
on Oct 27, 2017 at 8:55:30 pm

if the heart can stay still it will work much easier


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Mark Suszko
Re: Animating a Plush Toy
on Nov 1, 2017 at 6:57:45 pm

How I would approach this is to shoot the sequence in multiple takes, one take from the front, one from a slight right turn, left, turn, etc. and do morph cuts to make the heart/face combo turn in a realistically 3-d manner. Character animator, as I understand it, works in 2-d flat space. You *could* first record the 3-d item on set and then apply Character Nimator to it, but it will only look 3-d from the front, as soon as the thing turns, the illusion breaks.

So that's why I say shoot it in a more "old fashioned" way. Multiple takes with the face and the heart locked off and the camera moved. Light it very flat, and introduce shadows later in post to sell it.


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