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Hot to Make an Animated Choo Choo Train?

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Ernie MunickHot to Make an Animated Choo Choo Train?
by on Aug 15, 2010 at 5:17:40 pm

I have no idea where to start. Can anyone post a link or three?


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Mark SuszkoRe: Hot to Make an Animated Choo Choo Train?
by on Aug 16, 2010 at 2:07:39 pm

You need to be more specific.

Flat, 2-dimensional train? Cel animation or replacement/pixelation/ Stop-motion animation? 3-D CGI animation? Photo-realistic or fanciful/abstract? How long does it need to be, what kind of cars and engine, what kind of track? Day or night? Any terrrain or environment to be shown, or just the train and track in limbo? Or to be composited into another shot, and what kind of shot is that to be? What do you need it to do, how will it be used? How detailed? What kind if resolution? How much articulation and charaqcter does it have to convey?

Also, wheh is your deadline, and approximately what is your budget?

You have come to the restaurant and asked the waiter for eggs. Are you going to make them come back five times with scrambled, over-easy, over-hard, sunny side up, omlet, huevos rancheros, french toast... turning it down and sending him back to try again... or will you just tell them up front, the first time, that you want 2 hard boiled eggs and some toast and coffee?

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Ernie MunickRe: Hot to Make an Animated Choo Choo Train?
by on Aug 16, 2010 at 2:13:16 pm

Now THAT is a spectacular answer. WOW.

Just a 10-second (max) intro that looks kinda like the Soul Train choo choo. Real quick. For my video log. 2d or 3d, whatever's easier. Budget: I dunno, I'd go $50 or a $100 if it gave me EXACTLY what I need. But rather do it in Motion if I can learn how

THANKS for your time

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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Hot to Make an Animated Choo Choo Train?
by on Aug 16, 2010 at 2:57:47 pm

Ernie -

If I remeber correctly the Soul Train animation was hand drawn 2D cel animation, more like 50 to 100 THOUSAND dollars range. I would angle toward the 3D side of things (if you own and know any 3D package), since you'd have more control over the animated distortion of the cars and engine, and the camera FOV and angles that I remember from the Soul Train open.

It sounds to me that you know EXACTLY what you need - how about writing it down here for some more accurate input?

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia

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Mark SuszkoRe: Hot to Make an Animated Choo Choo Train?
by on Aug 16, 2010 at 6:43:31 pm

"We'll be right back, after these important communications..."
(/Don Cornelius/)

Yes, you can do a Soul train 2-d animation in Apple Motion. It would be 2-d images moving in a3-d space, is how I would approach it, though it can also be entirely 2-d as well. It would be a multi-step process.

First I would suggest building the layered image files in photoshop. You'll want a .psd file with the layers preserved, and transparency (alpha channel). Draw out and fill in the train's main structures, and make the wheels on a separate layer, (each wheel a separate layer) positioned where they need to be. Make a separate layer for the piston arm that drives the wheels. Heck, you can make a section of the track as well, with the ties and everything.

Import the photoshop file into Motion with the layers all preserved as separate. The pointer tool needs to be turned into the tool that specifies rotational axes, and you use that to mark the rotational centers of the wheels and the piston rod. Then you can get those to turn easily with just two keyframes. By grouping the layers, you can also apply some warping to get that thrusting, pouncing action as in the original example you cited from Soul Train. You can keyframe the track in a looping action to create an infinite track, and smoke and steam can be done with the pre-canned particle generators in Motion. Add a little camera move from the 3-d camera, could look very cool.

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Chris WrightRe: Hot to Make an Animated Choo Choo Train?
by on Aug 16, 2010 at 6:52:56 pm

here's 48 pages of 3-d trains in your budget range.

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