Monday, October 6, 2008

Animating Question...

Jason, Thom, et all...
Okay, this touches on my REAL reason for wanting to join the CAnimators blog. (And Jason, I know I've talked to you about this before). My two oldest, Caleb and Rose, have been begging me to learn animation. Rose, age 11, is a budding artist with geniune talent, (she recently painted the watercolor version above of my character Rose Brier) and Caleb, age 13, is a computer guru. Caleb is working for Veraprise, my husband's company (anyone need a website? talk to him). Rose is experimenting with flip-book animation.

This year is a prime time for them both to start learning an animation program, since they're both homeschooled (next year, we may put them in private school). What would be a good place to start?

I have been thinking of starting Caleb on learning Flash, if we can find an old version of it somewhere. That way, he might be able to do some simple things for the websites Andrew creates: and Rose could have an outlet for her artwork. I'm going to check out the free stop-mo programs you posted about, Thom, but I'm wondering if I should look for something more graphic since we have an on-site artist.

Let me know what you think would be a good starting place for them: a program, a book, a technique: let me know. If it was a more expensive program that had a "fun" element to it, maybe we could make it a Christmas present.

So what do you all think?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Monkey Jam!

I'm continuing to play with stop-motion, and ran across this superb free [edit: it's not technically open source] pencil test program. To save myself some time, here's the blurb about on the Monkey Jam website:

"What's MonkeyJam?
MonkeyJam is a digital penciltest program. It is designed to let you capture images from a webcam, camcorder, or scanner and assemble them as separate frames of an animation. You can also import images and sound files already on your computer. Although it is designed for pencil and paper, MonkeyJam can also be used for StopMotion animation and has several features just for that. Movies created in MonkeyJam can be exported as AVI files."

Best thing about it so far is the X-sheet. For you 3D animation-only dudes, it's very similar to Maya's dopesheet (properly speaking, it's the other way around). Easily move your drawings around and change timing. It's great!

Only drawbacks so far are the lack of onion skinning and a grid overlay like StopMojo has. But then the latter doesn't have the x-sheet.

I'm sure there are some better programs for money, but this one is free. I plan to make a tutorial with it soon (emphasis on PLAN).