For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Monday, January 26, 2015

No. 75, Me vs Toonboom StoryBoard Pro, Part Four

A Note to My Readers:

The internet is littered with the corpses of abandoned blogs, their authors having lost interest, become burnt-out or otherwise permanently diverted.  This is not one of them.  I have taken a long hiatus caused by a combination of things: a trip to Italy, some paid work that has kept me busy, and a couple of hangups with StoryBoard Pro that I will mention below, but I have not lost my enthusiasm for my little cause of learning and writing about animation.

I realize the value of posting regularly, and am back with the determination to regain your attention and interest.  I thank you for your past allegiance and intend to carry on now as before. Let us continue.

-Jim Bradrick

Trouble in StoryBoard Pro

Digital vs Paper

I made a valiant effort to do my storyboards digitally, but this has not proved easy for me.  This is perhaps the most significant thing that got me stalled last August.  I can do it, and if you took away all my paper and pencils, I would do it, just as I would certainly learn to draw again with my left hand if I lost my right.  Nevertheless, it still feels more comfortable to me to draw on paper, and so, for now, I have gone back to doing first-draft sketches on paper and scanning them into the computer. As I am the animator as well as the storyboard man on my own projects, these sketches often double as my animator's thumbnails, and when I have just a pencil in my hand I am not distracted by having to deal with such issues as layers, toolbars and keyboard shortcuts that cut into my creative line of thought.

Written down, these things seem less like good reasons than mere excuses, and I am sure I will get over my discomfort eventually, but my decision to return to paper and pencil allows me to move forward again, and that is the important thing.


Then there is the issue of sound.  My script for The Two Washingtons contains dialog, and as I approached the dialog sequences I found that I was having trouble with visualizing the complex character interplay that was to go on.  There are four character voices planned, with possibly a fifth, and I realized finally that I ought to go ahead and record a scratch track so that I could work out dialog timing. Other dynamics between the characters would also become apparent.

If you have ever priced professional sound recording equipment, you know that this can be expensive.  But my friend Don Wallace of Wallace Creative in Portland, Oregon, put me onto a solution that gives me high sound recording quality at an amazingly modest price.  This solution is the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder. Powered by just one AA battery, it gives you digital sound recording you may find hard to believe.

The ZOOM H1 recorder on its mini tripod and with a foam wind baffle covering the mic.

Armed with my script and a fondness for ham acting, I soon had the soundtrack I needed.  In Adobe Soundbooth I edited the track into clips, changed the pitch on the voice of one character, and imported the sound into SBP.  As expected, having the dialog sound on the SBP timeline helped greatly in timing the remainder of the storyboard.

In the timeline at bottom, note the sound clip showing in waveform mode.