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Bitmap pictures animation

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Rémi Bayard
Bitmap pictures animation
on May 15, 2018 at 10:04:53 am

Hello ! Sorry for this title, I can't find something more accurate.

My goal is to animate bitmap pictures which are absolutely not intended to be animated.

I think, especially, to medieval miniatures like this, for example :



I know that I will have to "recreate" parts of the picture in photoshop or gimp (the body behind the arm...), but my question is about the best tools to animate these kind of pics : I would like to use Duik. Will it be enough ? The previous miniature is simple, but I have more complex pictures, with more complex gestures, which will require to "flip" arms, to deform bodies, etc. to achieve a "natural" result (even if i'm not looking for perfectly smooth anims, something a bit mechanical would be enough).

I hope I'm clear, I can be more specific if necessary...

Thank you ! 😊


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Bitmap pictures animation
on May 15, 2018 at 1:25:46 pm

How do you want this to look? Like Terry Gilliam's cutout animations for Monty Python, perhaps?

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


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Rémi Bayard
Re: Bitmap pictures animation
on May 15, 2018 at 2:15:03 pm

Would be fun ! 😄

But no, I was thinking to something a bit more "realistic" : like two limbs moving, but that's not a problem if the rest of the body doesn't follow (like the shoulders and the chest when arms are moving). I have difficulties with that kind of movements :



The knight, on the right : If I want him to strike, I will have to flip the arm, while not deforming the armor.... You see ? I think I have a lot more of "constraints" than if I was drawing my own characters. Then I don't know if Duik will be enough for this kind of animations : I don't want to start learning it, and finally discover that it's impossible to achieve my goal with this tool...


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Bitmap pictures animation
on May 15, 2018 at 2:49:34 pm

Not saying you can't achieve what you want with DUIK, but talk a look at CrazyTalk Animator 3 (you can download a free demo to try it out), and you'll find some capabilities which would quicken the workflow, and stuff you would spend weeks on in AE that can be achieved in hours using CT3. I have no affiliation with CrazyTalk, I'm just a user who has been very impressed with its' capabilities:

https://www.reallusion.com/crazytalk-animator/

Click the "Watch Video" button.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Rémi Bayard
Re: Bitmap pictures animation
on May 15, 2018 at 8:53:55 pm

Thanks, it could be very interesting ! I will give the demo a shot, and see if there is enough possibilities and if the learning curve is smaller than with Duik :)


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Steve Bentley
Re: Bitmap pictures animation
on May 15, 2018 at 8:54:44 pm

Joe's right. CT3 is pretty impressive. Its more like a traditional animator's dope sheet set up and animation package:
But we also love Duik.
You could get where you need to go with either. We use both. So here's the pros and cons.

Duik - Its not so much software as a bunch of expressions tied to a script which gives you some really powerful IK solutions inside of AE. But in the end it's just expressions with the puppet tool in tow. AE is doing the heavy lifting.
Pros:
You get to use it inside AE. So if you have complicated layering to be done, you're home free.
All of AE's power is at your fingertips and everything is in one package.
Its free!
Its easy to use and quick to learn
If you are already used to the puppet tool its easy to get great results
Its elegant.


Cons:
You have to divide up the content (arms legs etc) inside AE (which can be cumbersome) or in pshop (better) but to make changes you often have to go back to the source art (outside of AE)
If you want to update the character after the animation has been done it can cause issues with the puppet mesh deformations.
More planning with character art is required before the animation stage.
Duik can't do anything you couldn't do yourself with expressions so its not really a new way of doing anything. A limitation of AE will limit Duik.

CT3 - this is a complete stand alone animator software. Once you have created your animations they can be exported to After effects and you can do your composites there.
Pros:
CT3 uses bones instead of pins to warp the mesh. This might be better for 3D animators to get the hang of. It should technically give you better results than puppet pins but if you are a veteran of puppet pins you can achieve identical results to bones. But the bones in CT3 mean you have fewer nodes to animate to get those results.
Changing the art after the animation is done tends to be less problematic than Duik
Tons and tons and tons of presets - like walk cycles and 4 legged movements
Tons and tons if preset motions - like squashes and stretches
Massive library of characters and art available
Art is "live" while you are animating so you aren't stuck with a pshop file and you can make/change the art inside of CT3 (if it was made there).
Vectors tend to be less problematic than with Duik (its not really a duik issue - any duik issue is usually an AE limitation)
You won't be pooched when adobe changes something to make the plugin obsolete or unuseable.

Cons:
It costs a bit more ($50 to 200) depending on your usage.
You can't do a complex comp within the software like you can with AE. You don't have all the effects and plug ins that AE has (yet). But you can make elements and bring them into AE.
To my knowledge you can't "paint" weights yet. Instead you use anchor points like one would use in the puppet tool. Coming from a 3D animation background I miss this feature

One place we have a better pipeline with Duik/AE is when we have precomped animated characters, then in the outer comps we're adding things like smoke or light effects that track with the character, and time remapping on the animation etc; we can use the adobe expression system to link things inside the precomps to track particle effects (or other things) in the outer comps. You would have to make additional elements and do some tracking to get the same effect in a CT3/AE pipeline.
Why would we want to?
Lets say you have character with a torch in a precomp. You can speed up and slow down and bounce around the animation timeline to get the performance you want AFTER the animation has been done. If you attached a particle smoke system to the torch in the precomp of the character animation the smoke would change speed (or reverse) or scale or just not work right as the animations timeline is remapped. But if you do the smoke in the outer comp and link its position to the torch in the inner comp with expressions, speed ramps are no longer an issue and the smoke just keeps chugging at the correct speed even though the animation might be jumping all over its timeline.



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Rémi Bayard
Re: Bitmap pictures animation
on May 16, 2018 at 9:43:02 pm

Wow, that's the answer of the century 😲

Thank you veeery much ! It's pretty clear, now, and it seems that it would be preferable for me to seriously give a try to CT3 : I have already did some pupetting in AE, so i know it a little, but the pins system never looked intuitive to me. However your answer made me think that I really have to test the "pipeline" between CT3 and AE before taking any decision. My anims will be in 3d compo with lights and some effects, so I want to be sure it will not be a kludge !

If somebody was reading this topic with the idea of animate bitmap still images, I found this very useful tutorial which quickly and clearly explain the process with CT3 :





The mask system and the possibility to edit "on the fly" the layers you create are really nice.

Thank you again everyone, I will come back to let you know as soon as possible 👍


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Bitmap pictures animation
on May 17, 2018 at 6:19:45 pm

Rémi -

One thing to bear in mind if you should decide to purchase CT3, is deciding which version you need:

https://www.reallusion.com/crazytalk-animator/download.html#comparison

I initially purchased the Pro version, then discovered that I really needed the Pipeline Version, because of my need to import custom characters from Photoshop. Support at Reallusion was great, and they allowed me to "crossgrade" to the version I needed without losing anything on the deal. They are helpful, and the software does stuff that no other package can do. Have fun with it!

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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