Friday, September 14, 2007
Some thoughts on Flash
I've been working on a Charbucks chapter 2 this past week, and have discovered I can do about 20 seconds of finished animation in a week, averaging four hours a day.
THIS IS AMAZING! At least for someone like me, who started out doing pencil drawings that had to be pencil tested on film, developed, cleaned up, inked and painted, and then filmed. Talk about medieval processes!
When I first started using Flash, the emphasis was generally on keeping the file size as small as possible, and it took me awhile to get a grip on that. In fact I never got that grip.
Here's a drawing of Whinsey done with the brush. I set it for Wacom pressure, but I hold a pen so lightly that it never shows a thick/ thin line as it says it will in the manual.
The pencil tool creates a smaller file size than the brush but the line is less interesting..
Now I'm going to optimize the drawing so it has fewer points in it, which means smaller file size.
Look at what happened to all my "curves!"
In the process of optimizing, you also get the Flash "look", super smooth and more modernistic line.
Looks nice in that one image, but it doesn't always turn out that well. So I revert to the plain brush drawing. In about 45 seconds the ink and paint is done-- wowzer!
I make that a graphic symbol, in case I might want to use it again.
But I can also then take this symbol, break it apart, and using the nifty distort tool create quite quickly another symbol that will carry the animation along in a more fluid way that just popping eyes and mouths off the face, the suggested way to use Flash.
Generally it's recommended that in Flash animation you break your character into reusable parts or symbols: eyes, mouths, heads, hands. This is the part that felt especially un-natural to me since I used to always do full animation, not what was once called "limited" animation, where only parts of a character move.
But the way things play out with Flash right now, I find I'm creating animation in Flash, then finishing it up in After Effects so it can play on youtube. There's no advantage to keeping file size so small anymore, for animation, as far as I can tell. So I'm just drawing along, sometimes making the girls heads graphic symbols, which can work quite nicely in a library, if you have enough different heads, to switch them out for one another while attempting lip sync.
Since Jon and Dinah are both away today, I spent longer at the computer today, and animated almost 15 seconds in less than five hours.
Why did I do this long essay? I just finished reading some Pioneer Woman recipes and was impressed by the excessive number of photographs and clear writing, and determined not to make her biscuits and gravy recipe.
Here's a link to the essay Linda mentions in the comments.