Blender IK Test


As the title suggests, this post is about an IK Rig I’ve been tinkering with. I’ve never once gotten it to work until recently when the penny finally dropped. I don’t completely understand it, but I officially know more now than my entire time using Blender for almost a decade. I just avoided it at first, then bugs, then issues, then lag but now with Blender 2.8 and all of it’s changes and enhancements and massive speed boost, I tried again.

And it worked. It’s not a perfect animation, but it works. It works how it’s supposed to and how I expected it to and fortunately these rules apply to other 2D software that also uses bones. I’ve now gotten IK rigs to work in both 2D and 3D. I’ve been self learning, self taught animation for years before I started finding tutorials as I slowly teach myself to animation in both 2D and 3D and today I just finally feel like I’m making huge progress. I do hope to one day do something worth completing and posting.

 

Recent Synfig Animations


My most recent two animations here were fully livestreamed on 4 sites at once using Restream service which I highly recommend if you’re trying to increase your visibility as an artist.

Anyway I felt like enough time had passed and that I might give Synfig another chance. I’m glad I did. I like it but it still lags sooooo baaaaaaad! And for a stable release, it crashed an awful lot. In the first image I did use Blender to make the background. I used Blender 2.8 alpha and rendered it in EEVEE.

The first one was just vector point animation. I don’t know what else to call it. It’s also technically morphing. I would have edited the motion had it not crashed at every attempt. So I left it as is. I really would have liked a smoother steam movement though.

Still, it’s better than nothing.

The main point was to make quality animation with freeware. It’s possible but it takes time and patience and the acceptance that the software isn’t always perfect. Synfig is a great alternative to Moho. Krita makes an excellent traditional frame by frame animation program and OpenToonz has a little bit of almost everything. But if you’re looking for a really good Moho alternative, try out Synfig.

OpenToonz Animation Timelapse


OpenToonz Animation Timelapse from Draconian Rain on Vimeo.

I made this in hopes of showing others that you don’t need to be in a studio or use fancy software to make animation with cool looking effects. It’s 4hrs sped up to 26 minutes.

It’s a shame that so many people strongly believe that you need After Effects to create anything halfway decent. It’s simply not true. All you need is passion, determination, motivation and a willingness to not only learn but be prepared to do problem solving. After you learn OpenToonz, your only real roadblock is yourself.

Keep trying guys. Just keep at it and please always use freeware to learn animation first because so many people after they realise there is not “do it for me” option and find out that you have to do everything yourself, these people give up while others come to find that despite the results they absolutely hate the process and also give up.

Don’t waste your precious money on paid software until you are certain that animation is for you and who knows, perhaps you will never leave freeware and opensource because of the many benefits, including an active and friendly community.

 

Game Stuff


Forever I’ve been saying “I’m going to make a game!” Or “I’m working on a game!” Well after a lot of trial and error I settled down with Construct 2. GameMaker in the end just wasn’t for me. It’s drag and drop frequently didn’t work and didn’t make sense and I couldn’t make heads nor tails of the scripting language. I kept hitting a wall.

So far in Construct 2, I am very comfortable. I am looking forward to Construct 3 and there’s a number of features I am very excited about. I will continue to use Construct 2, especially considering that the new version will be subscription based.

So far I have successfully created items to collect, yet no scoring system or high score and health damage and starting the entire level. I would like to learn how to make a “respawn to last location” feature and a high score. I’m also still trying to learn a hearts style health bar.

I’ve made an awful lot of pixel art for it. A lot of the tilemap packs I gave away for free because I’ll be honest, I will never use them again. My style changes so often that I frequently move on to “something better”. I think I will for a long time until I find my comfort zone. I have decided to go back to raster and vector art for games though. I feel limited by my art style and animation.

Perhaps in the near future I can start sharing some screencaps. In the meantime enjoy this gif. And please consider the ugly art, is just test art to learn the program and get started. I also have yet to learn how to adjust the camera view.

2017-03-18_9-20-49.gif

Pencil2D Exporting Video Tutorial


I have never been able to do this, despite using it for years. This frequently made me more or less refuse to use the program. But I figured it out. Everyone else, it worked fine but not me. So try this if everything else suggested has failed.

  1. Download ffmpeg
  2. Create a folder in your Pencil2D directory called “plugins”. I think on Windows it’s case sensitive so use all lowercase.
  3. Unzip all of ffmpeg into the plugins directory.
  4. Find a file called ff-prompt. Run it!! If you don’t Pencil won’t find it.
  5. Find the ffmpeg exe file in the Bin folder. Copy it. Go back to the plugins folder.
  6. Paste the ffmpeg exe there. I’ve tried it other ways.
  7. Now you should be able to export and Pencil2D should be able to find and use ffmpeg now.
  8. Enjoy!

I tried EVERYTHING suggested. Followed every tutorial meticulously! I even ran prompt. This is the only thing that has worked currently for me and I’m not the only user having video export issues.

As of writting this, this method has worked on the current stable release 0.5.4. Beta and the previous version

Krita Animation


Since the first Beta release I’ve tried and tested out Krita’s new animation features and tools. I must say not only am I blown away but I think I can finally stop aiming for TVPaint and happily stick with Krita for a long, long time.

Raster animation isn’t just my preference, it’s been a long time goal. Something I’ve been aspiring to and chasing for years. I was thrilled to see Toon Boom Harmony finally add raster layers but they still lack an awful lot of basic painting and blending tools. Unlike Krita which started out as drawing and painting software. I’m really excited to try it out when it’s officially released and start a new project.

I’ve always wanted to create a classic paint styled animation but doing that on paper and Cels is incredibly expensive and you run out of storage fast. That’s simply not the case with digital animation. Although storage can become a problem, it’s also an easily solvable one.

I’ve tried multiple freeware. And if it wasn’t vector only it was pixel only which frustrated me. I tried animating with GIMP but it was even more horrendous than animating in photoshop.

First Impressions of Krita Animation

My first use of Krita 2.9.9 Beta, I noticed a dramatic improvement in brush speed. That was always one thing that put me off when it came to drawing with Krita. I’ve been an on and off user for quite a few years now. I think the first time I used it was in 2010 but I’m not sure any more. I’ve picked it up more seriously in 2014 and I’ve been using it more regularly since.

I noticed a number of improvements to various tools but the animation features were what I was most interested in so I didn’t dig to deep into much else. For a first Beta it was very impressive and worked well. Only crashed once or twice during various animation tests.

Krita 2.9.10 Beta though some improvements were made, for me personally it was more buggy. For whatever reason I could not edit an animation file if closed and re-opened. It was as if the layer was locked though it wasn’t. But hey, it’s Beta, bugs are bound to happen. There were a lot of improvements but from the first to the second Beta’s I tried, there was an issue with playback. I noticed I wasn’t the only one. It would not playback in real time.

In Krita 3.0 Pre Alpha the brushes were a lot faster. Sometimes it lagged in the previous alpha’s but it’s working even better now during animation which makes me very eager to see the final release of Krita 3.0 and what else they’ve added and achieved.

The files were editable after saving, closing and re-opening. No crashes thus far and a drop frame rates button which solved the playback issue. There were a few jumping and skipping of frames but I expected as much since my PC was doing to much at once. After closing the excess programs I noticed a huge improvement.

The user interface is a LOT more spacious than before. This was something I liked a lot especially for animation. It was starting to feel very cramped. It’s a little bit buggy while arranging and docking items but that’s to be expected.

Frames move without issue and testing playback speeds is a lot more accurate now if you’re a windows user like myself. Onion skin seems to be functioning better in the latest release. Before it was a little buggy trying to turn certain frames on or off with onion skin. Turning the visibility on and off was a bit difficult but not anymore. It was also a bit buggy altering the onion skin tint before as well, but that seems to be resolved.

I love the onion skin feature in Krita. I wish more programs had their onion skin set this way. It’s easy to customise the onion skin visibility on specific frames and very easy to change the onion skin tint colour as well as turning it off. However I can’t comment on using it with full coloured animation as I haven’t gotten much further than clean up inks.

The main reason I haven’t gotten as far as coloured animation was the lack of editing after saving in previous Beta versions and some crashing occurred. But I plan to try coloured animation in the current release. It will be fun to see how I go and what happens.

So basically to sum it up, I really love the animation features added to Krita. I can’t wait to see what’s next.