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cartoonification - how to make smoother?

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picxseecartoonification - how to make smoother?
by on Dec 15, 2006 at 1:58:09 am

hi all!

Just been playing around with the cartoonification technique, creating some new styles etc - just wondering if anyone has figured out how to get rid of the flicker factor.

Waking life for eg is really flowing rather than flickery. Ive tried upping the blur, but you just end up with much less detail - anyone got any ideas on how to get each coloured section to morph from one shape to another without jumping??



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kyle11268oRe: cartoonification - how to make smoother?
by on Dec 15, 2006 at 3:15:26 am

Well, if you want it to look like Waking Life... They use special software to do it, but it's basically frame-by-frame rotoscoping. Sorry. =)

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picxseeRe: cartoonification - how to make smoother?
by on Dec 15, 2006 at 3:33:42 am

yeh ta i know they use custom software, but just wondering if anyone has come up with a way of getting a similar flowy feel just using the adobe suite... im thinking maybe by putting it through some photoshop processes before tracing it in illustrator or something...? gunna keep experiementing anyhoo :)

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Tyler PaulRe: cartoonification - how to make smoother?
by on Dec 15, 2006 at 2:07:57 pm

I'll be releasing V3.2 of the toonificator within the next couple days. It's got some great improvements over the link in my sig so look out for that. Until then if you wanna experiment I'll give a ya rundown of the concepts I used to create the cartoon and it does a great job of getting rid of the flicker. It doesn't look like Waking Life so much but rather more like a hand drawn cartoon.

The over all concept is that you have a paint layer which is a solid color matte of your video and combine it with a pen layer which adds the detail drawing and the color grades that the Posterize filter usually creates.

Be warned there is far too many plugins used to include each one but I'll cover the bases and you should be able to fill in the gaps.

Okay, here we go

First you need to prepare your footage. Drag your video into a comp named footage. Add a noise reduction filter, leave all the settings as is, you want it to wash out your video a little bit. Then do any color correction you think you need. This comp will be used to every step after this.

The paint layer is simple. Drag 2 copies of your footage (comp) in a new comp called paint. Apply a set matte and a brightness contrast to each of them. In the top layer set the matte to key out the darker parts of your footage and turn the brightness down to -60. In the second layer set the matte to key out the brighter parts and set the brightness up to 60. Now add a grey solid below them. The color will look very dull but we'll pull it out later by increasing the saturation

Now the pen layer. It consists of three parts. The shading (replaces posterize), the detailed drawing (replaces find edges), and the dark fill which adds to the shading. Each of these parts contain a seperate precomposed matte.

For the shading you start by placing your footage in a comp labled shading matte. Reduce the opacity down to 2% and add a white solid below it. Place your shading matte into a new comp and add another white solid. Use a difference matte with a tolerance of 0 and a matching softness of .15. This will create an inverted posterize look with a great reduction in flicker. You do not want the gradient here to cover the entire the radient from black to white. It should appear darker until you invert it. Then it covers all the lighter shades.The next step will add be used to add all the darker shading.

For the Dark Fill layer you take your footage and put in a comp I called the Dark Draw. Add a brightness/contrast filter and set both settings to about 65. This wipes out all the lighter shads and only leaves the darkest part of the video. A fun trick used often in the next steps is placing CC glass onto the pen steps and should be used here. This will distort the details of the cartoon to make it look more hand drawn and imperfect. Make sure you turn the specular shading parameter all the way down and adjust the amount of distortion so that it's subtle but noticable.

Finally the drawing layer. Instead of the find edges filter, you can create much finer lines with emboss. Drag your footage into a new comp called draw matte. Add a brightness/contrast filter and set them both to about 45. Also add CC glass with your previous settings. Drag two copies of the Draw Matte into a new comp labeled Draw. Add an emboss to the top layer. Set the direction to -45 degrees and the relief to .1 and you may need to turn of the contrast a bit. Copy the emboss paste it onto the second layer and change the angle to 45 degrees. Now make a solid grey layer (128,128,128) and used a difference matte to pull out erase everything but the lines and use alpha levels to clean up the results. You can strengthen the lines as well erase any garbage.

Now you put these three parts together to create the pen details. Start by dragging your shading matte into a new comp labeled pen. Invert it. Add a white solid below it. As I said, it'll should look pretty light and that's what you want. Then drag your Dark Draw above the shading. Change the blend mode to color burn. Now add the draw layer at the top. Add a tint effect and set white to black as well. And add another CC Glass.

You pen is done and we're almost finished.

Drag your paint into a new comp labeled combine. Place a black solid below it. Add your pen layer with the visibility turned off. On the Paint layer add a set matte and set the matte to the pen layer. You should now see a very dull looking cartoon. Drag your Combine layer into a new layer labeled post. Turn the saturation up to 30 using Hue/Saturation. Add color curves and make your darks a little darker and your lights a lot lighter. Last add an Unsharp Mask to make everything look crisp and clean.

Through out these steps I used a variety of plugins to clean up each part if they needed it. CC vector blur with the smoothness and the map softness turned all the way down and it's amount turned up turns any flickering edges into more of soft diffusion. Alpha levels are great for controlling certain layers for making the pen. And there may be a few more but I don't recall where I used what. this'll get ya started if you feel like experimenting. Or maybe just reading this will give ya some ideas to create your way of doing it.

This is what a photograph of my siblings and I looked like when I ran it through. Go ahead and click the sample vid in my sig to get an idea of what the video sorta looks like. (It's missing some of the steps that I layed out for you here)

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Tyler PaulRe: cartoonification - how to make smoother?
by on Dec 15, 2006 at 2:21:50 pm

All that typing and I still missed a couple things. Put an unsharp mask on your draw matte with a radius of 2 and an amount of 100 so to really pull out those nice lines. Also, no matter what size your video is you want to enlarge it to 640 by 480 to get the better detail. Make sure all of your comps are set at 12 FPS. And finally when you render down, prerender your footage, then the combine comp and then render down the post comp to speed up the overall render time. It should be about an hour per minute of footage.

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picxseeRe: cartoonification - how to make smoother?
by on Dec 17, 2006 at 11:09:49 pm

Thanks for that dude! Will have a go :) Interested in this toonificator ure making... how much will it be going for?

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picxseeRe: cartoonification - how to make smoother?
by on Dec 18, 2006 at 12:45:00 am

Ahh i get - can just download the project file - thats awesome Thanks!! I guess the thing is just to tweak colour/ contrast/ saturation etc for each piece of video - and shifts in lighting require slightly diff settings - nice one on figuring out a way of doing it all in ae!

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