Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Exposing Extremes In After Effects

Say you're crazy enough to make a film using drawn -on paper -animation.

The standard process is to do layout drawings which lead to "extreme" drawings.  These extremes can be anywhere from 1 to 6 or more drawings apart (3 "in betweens" is typical) and they're the most important drawings for animating character.  If the extremes work, the inbetweens will (generally) work.

If you're going to test the animation, this is the best time to do it -before doing dozens of inbetweens.

After you scan, your folder will look like this:

This is based on this pencil test post last week.

These drawings will be timed out an exposure sheet which dictates what drawings are used on what frame.

You'll want to retain your After Effects project for use as the animation progresses and not have to re-expose the artwork.  This is time consuming and can be prone to mistakes.

Here's the dumb way to deal with that:

Simply duplicate the missing drawings.

Now you have a numbered sequence which will be identical to the numbered sequence of final drawings.

Import this folder as a sequence into After Effects.  Be sure to interpret the footage correctly -we tend to do drawn animation at 24fps (fewer drawings/easier to time), so the footage should import at 24.

Drag it into your timeline and "Time Remap".

Set the key frames to hold and then expose the drawing to the frame.  The number in blue to the left will be the same number as your drawing -provided you've got a sequence of consecutive whole numbers starting from 1.  The timeline frame count can be set to match your dial number.

Got through and expose the keyframes.

This will give you a properly timed out test. 

Once the inbetweens are complete, just replace the files and your exposure will remain.

This is the simplest way of keeping the process streamlined.


Ray K. said...

A smart, simple solution. Great post, Richard--thanks!

Michael Sporn said...

Unless there's a later version of AfterEffects that's corrected the problem, I find difficulty when I go to pull in the "inbetweened" version. It doesn't open the new drawings, just those I introduced at the first go-round. You then have to add the new inbetweens one at a time and put them into the folder.

roconnor said...

You can "replace footage" Command-H (I think) and replace the whole sequence.

That works if you're from jpg scans to psd color art as well.

Or you can replace the art in the folder with the same and it should automatically update.

David Nethery said...

This is the simplest way of keeping the process streamlined. "

Amen to keeping the process streamlined, but what you're describing actually seems like a lot of extra steps to generate a line test. Have you ever looked at the animation app that Paul Fierlinger uses called TVP Animation ? It does all that you're describing , but with less workarounds , because TVP was built from the ground up for animation. Most people using TVP, like Fierlinger, use it for paperless animation with a Wacom tablet , but you can also import scanned pencil on paper animation into TVP .

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