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Author Topic: Animating pictures from my staff party
JamesDublin
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Icon 1 posted December 12, 2006 10:38      Profile for JamesDublin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have some pictures from our office party on the weekend and a co-worker and I are trying to have some fun by doing some basic animation with them.

How do the clips you see online get people's mouths to move to music etc? We want to take clps from The Office (UK) and make our boss speak them and maybe move his hands and feet.

I see this stuff all the time on places like www.starterupsteve.com/funny.html but I can't figure it out! I've tried searching for help but I get a lot of stuff for 3D rendering software.

Need a free program (for Mac ideally, but I'll use Windows if necessary) that will make our 2D pictures sing and dance along to the audio we pick. Am I looking for flash animation???

Any help will be appreciated!
Thanks!

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I still love my 17" PowerBook G4!

Posts: 56 | From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged
maximile

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Icon 1 posted December 12, 2006 11:27      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Most of these things are done in Flash. I don't know of any free alternatives, though there might be lots...

But Flash Professional has a free, 30 day, unrestricted trial. It'd only take you an hour or two to get up to speed with it enough to do what you're trying to accomplish. You can find it at their website.

One warning, though: It runs horribly slowly on Intel Macs - no UB yet.

Edit: Have a look at this informative tutorial. [Big Grin]

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted December 12, 2006 15:11      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You can make animated gifs with photoshop. I assume the same is true with the gimp, although I've never been enough of a masochist to work it out.
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JamesDublin
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 05:09      Profile for JamesDublin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the suggestions!

Turns out Gimpshop (which I'm falling in love with) works. It has a plug-in called GAP that does animation. However, it'd be easier to fly a space shuttle than install it. You nee to know at least basic code.

Good news is - takea picture, cut the mouth and jaw out in Gimpshop or Photoshop and then make several copies with the mouth blacked-out and then import it into iMovie.

Haven't tried it yet but I'm gonna RUN home after work to try it out!

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 06:10            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There are a few considerations. Animations are tricksy and need special care. When all you are doing is moving a mouth you don't need to encode the entire frame each time, just the parts that changed. GIF animation supports this but you need to set the right flag each time: clear to background on each frame. The first frame is the background, every frame after that acts as a cel containing just the differences against the background for that frame.

This is reasonably efficient but you still don't have it properly factored. Flash has higher factoring, conceptually at least (I don't know how efficient it really is). Flash lets you work with multiple layers, re-using and animating different cel images such that you have the least amount of images stored in the file.

The worst possible case is a movie file (.mov, .avi etc) as they encode the contents of every frame. If they have decent frame-to-frame intelligence it will be smaller than a worst-case animated GIF, as they can still only encode the parts of the frame that changed. However, to avoid "burn" effects (cumulative errors from basing each frame solely on its differences to the previous one), you still need periodic keyframes to remove any creeping errors. This will thus involve storing repeated copies of the background over and over.

If the background never changes, this makes the file excessively large.

To me it seems about time someone made a free Flash movie package, if one doesn't alreadyexist. I think there are free packages that make older Flash formats -- for example, PHP ships with a package for building simple Flash movies on the fly, something Tut-an-Geek used to use for projects. For what you need -- very trivial animation -- a free package that creates a Flash 5 video or something is more than adequate. You'd still need a proper copy of Adobe's Flash studio package if you wanted to make a Flash 9 movie or use the up-to-date Flash Video codecs.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 06:35      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
uill: As I last understood it, the Gimp's animated GIF maker works with layers - so if you have a background layer, and were to tell it to cycle through the other visible layers, it should be well compressed. (Assuming everything works...and BTW, I never tried it. [Razz] )

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 06:47            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You'd have to find a way to synchronise the audio to the animation though, and GIF restricts you to an 8-bit background, no anti-aliased cel and you don't get the advantage of JPEG compression on the background.

Flash gives you better compression, higher quality cel animation, no need to repeat any cels that recur, and you can include audio for synchronised sound and video.

GIF animation is not meant for movies. I am not really sure what it's meant for since it seems to be almost universally irritating. I've used it for a few GUI design demos on visual notification -- that's about the only thing it's good for. Otherwise, it's a horrible waste of CPU.

Flash also allows you to get a larger play area out of a smaller file -- I don't think an iMovie video [1] is going to very small and efficient either. Flash has many down sides but since this is what it was created for -- efficiently coded animation -- look for a free, third-party Flash package. I think Adobe allow this up to Flash 5 or thereabouts. It is your best bet.

[1] (or any video; iMovie is not a codec)

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JamesDublin
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 12:02      Profile for JamesDublin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow!

This is why I've been discouraged in the past. Looking to do some pretty basic animation and boy, does it get complicated.

I made it happen by using Gimpshop. Picture one is normal, then I cut out the person's mouth and filled it in with black, and then just moved it a bit lower and saved as pic 1, moved it down a bit more again and saved it as pic 2, etc..

Then I imported it into iMovie and added sound to it.

Still a lot of work for the few seconds of movie but it does look good.

Is anyone familiar with http://www.starterupsteve.com/funny.html ? It's a funny site, kinda hit and miss but there's a lot of 'Flash Animation'. I keep hearing the term but when I search for Flash Animation programs it gets complicated. And I can't imagine the stuff on that site was designed by professional audio/visual technicians.

Must just be a bare-spot on the software front.
Oh well!

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I still love my 17" PowerBook G4!

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 13:37      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by JamesDublin:
This is why I've been discouraged in the past. Looking to do some pretty basic animation and boy, does it get complicated ... Still a lot of work for the few seconds of movie but it does look good.

Is anyone familiar with http://www.starterupsteve.com/funny.html ? It's a funny site, kinda hit and miss but there's a lot of 'Flash Animation'. I keep hearing the term but when I search for Flash Animation programs it gets complicated. And I can't imagine the stuff on that site was designed by professional audio/visual technicians.

Zomg you work for Guerilla PR!

But anyway, I think that most of the people making little web animations are using (possibly pirated) versions of Flash Professional. It doesn't take too long to get some entertaining results. Besides, it'd easy to underestimate how much time some people are prepared to put into a little thing like that.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 14:04            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I had a little poke on Google and Flash very definitely has an open source software following, but since I know nothing about Flash development itself, I have no suggestions. It does seem to all be based on programming, in ActionScript, but whether there are really easy ways to achieve really simple results, I don't know.

If not, time someone wrote one!

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JamesDublin
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 17:41      Profile for JamesDublin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Crazy. Maybe there's money to be made from this!???

And yeah, I bet the time put into some of even the most basic ones is considerable.

Thanks for the help!

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I still love my 17" PowerBook G4!

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted December 13, 2006 18:21      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not strictly on topic, but my eldest son (18) has spent the last couple of days making his first attempt at a stop motion animation, using iStopMotion, his younger brother's Lego, and a lot of bluetack. The result is on his MySpace page, and I think it's pretty good, especially for his first attempt.

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