Rather than hijack other threads, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread that aims to delve deeper into how to do rotoscope animation in studio artist the more "traditional way'', adding manual keyframes and having the software do the hard work and calculate the inbetweens.
The long term aim is to establish a workflow using different studio artist tools that can help me make a fifteen minute short film using this technique. If in the process it can help anyone else achieve the same or pick up some tips or ways of working, that would be even better.
To start off I've selected a clip from Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.
I'm not sure what the rules are according to using existing footage, but as it's for learning purposes I think it should be ok. I've done quite a few tests already, but it's probably best to start off pretending to know nothing about studio artist, which I didn't a few weeks ago.
If I opened up the software for the first time, this is what I would have tried first.
This is a screenshot of work in progress
You can see the result in the straightahead.mov
For anyone brave enough to try this at home I've added both the session file and the paseq preset.
It animates and the keyframes look good but the interpolation is a bit random to say the least.
To fix this I've picked up quite a few tips from the forum, which I'm going to try and implement next.
And here is the source footage which I'll be using
and the rendered file
Good idea to start a specific forum discussion on this. I think other's will benefit from the discussion as well as you.
I downloaded everything, and tried out your PASeq for 10 frames of animation. So i guess my first observation would be that you have different numbers of paint strokes for each of your 3 keyframes. I'm unclear why this was the case?
I don't think the interpolation is random, but i do think you are just seeing exactly what you told it to do. All of the bottom paint strokes, that only have a single keyframe at frame 1, will just draw as they were originally drawn for every frame of the 10 frame animation. My guess is that you probably don't want that to happen in the actual animation you were trying to render out?
Same issue with the paint strokes that have keyframes at frame 1 and frame 5. they will continue drawing for frames 5-10 as they were drawn at frame 5.
So, any PASeq action step that only has a single keyframe (at frame time 1) will just draw the way it was originally drawn for each frame in an animation.
Paint stroke interpolation happens in between 2 keyframes for a given action step.
Any additional frames after the final keyframe on a given action step will just paint what was recorded in the last keyframe for that action step.
If you want to turn off an action step at some point in an animation, you can do that. You can record a mute keyframe (a black keyframe). To do this, you hold down the m key, and then option click the keyframe where you want the mute to go. The action step will not play back once it hits a black mute keyframe, unless it hits another normal red recorded keyframe at a later frame number. Then it would continue playing using the new information recorded in that new keyframe.
So, there 2 things going on in your PASeq that you would probably want to fix. First, if you want a given paint stroke to interpolate over time, it needs to have at least a second keyframe to interpolate to at a later frame time. And second, once you reach the last keyframe in an action step, it will continue to play back what is recorded in that last keyframe for later frame times in the animation. So you need to mute the keyframe after the last recorded keyframe if you want it to not continue to play back those non-interpolating paint strokes.
The other thing to be aware of when interpolating between 2 different paint strokes is the direction you draw the stroke in the 2 keyframes. Try an experiment, recording a single manually paint stroke in your PASeq, as a vertical paint stroke from top to bottom on the left side of the canvas. Turn off PASeq recording. Now draw a vertical top to bottom stroke on the right side of the canvas. Option Click on keyframe cell 10 to record your second keyframe (the last paint stroke you painted, the one on the right side of the canvas).
Now play the 10 frame animation and watch how the intermediate paint strokes between the 2 keyframes interpolate.
Now perform the same experiment, but draw the second right side paint stroke keyframed at frame time 10 from bottom to top. Now play the second animation.
Notice how the paint stroke interpolation is different in this second example than the first example. The paint stroke flips direction across the interpolation, so it contracts to a small line in the middle.
So you need to be aware of this when drawing your individual keyframes. You want the stroke start point and directions of the drawing for what you record in the 2 keyframes to match the kind of stroke animated movement you want for your interpolation of the 2 keyframes.
Lucas and i were discussing this in his recent post on using bezier paths for morphing. You need to be careful how you draw your bezier anchor paths for the morph so that the interpolation between the paths doesn't flip (unless you want that effect for some reason).
For the next step I wanted to try and get some line flow going and take on board some of the tips you mention.
So what did I learn this session. Here's what I wrote down as I went along :
Half of my time went into drawing and the other half went into managing my curves :
Where curves disappear I'm having to put in more keyframes to make sure the interpolation keeps the volume of the body. Best case scenario I can get away with a keyframe every five frames and worst case scenario I drop back to drawing every two frames.
I'm keeping away from doing very detailed work as I'm not comfortable enough yet with the workflow
I also noticed that the ink line goes squiggly when you animate it. I had a quick look through the preset settings but couldn't really track down the random setting that causes that. It would be nice to be able to clear all randomn settings from a brush at the click of a button, as a quick workaround.
The result is definitely an improvement on the first version, but it's taking more time and effort and some of the flow of just drawing is now diverted into organising the curves in the paseq window. It is also still a long way off from the "waking life" linework.
Out of curiosity I'm also timing how long these tests take me to do. For instance for this short clip of about fifteen frames, which is half a second of animation, it took me about an hour to create the keyframes and make a render. I would say about half of the time was taken up my learning new tricks and doing the same thing twice.
Tomorrow I want to try the encapsulating method and see if I can get round some of these issues by letting the software deal with organising the curves
Here are the work files if anyone else wants to have a go.
I haven't reuploaded the source footage as it's remained the same
You asked about a way to turn off all randomization in a paint preset. there is a specific paint synthesizer macro edit command to do that.
As shown above (in the integrated Help browser), it's called Turn off all Randomization.
Here's an effect's blog post on Paint Synthesizer Macro Edit Commands.
The post was generated pre 4.04 release, so it shows the old visual style for the integrated help pages. Starting with the 4.04 release we changed the visual look of the help pages to what i'm showing above.
And the arrangement of the macro edit commands was also somewhat changed by the visual designer of the new help pages.
I'm running 4.05a7 and my Help Browser doesn't look like this. It still looks like the old 4.04 release. Any way to acquire the updated version?
What is new in release 4.05a7 ? Is there a possibility to have this one ?
Actually 4.05a14 is the latest, and is the current 4.05 release candidate. We hope to get it out to everyone soon. Version 4 updates are really all about bug fixes at this point. New features go into the code for the next version.
The help pages you see in the integrated Help browser are stored in the doc folder.
I was just going to post the new one to the preset sharing group for download, but ning has changed their policy on uploads limited the amount of data you can upload, and it's too big. So i'll ask our web designer to provide download access to it on the main synthetik site. That will probably take a few days to happen.
Thanks, will look for it!