Saturday, March 30, 2013

New flash plugin, Single frame on Graphics by default

Hello There everypony!

Some weeks ago I made post on this blog about something that I believed Flash needed badly.

That would be a plugin for forcing every new created symbol to be in single frame by default.

Well, our fella, Arno B, has made it happen. Here is an open source plugin that he developed in a jiffy, that makes just that.

Flash Extension, lock single frame, by ARNO B.

If you are a professional Flash animator or builder, this may come in handy.  It is not a critical thing, but when you have passed several hours building something, it is very frustrating to find out that you missed some parts in loop, and you have to go like a hawk over evertyhint to fix it.

Thank you so much Arno B for your wonderful work on this. It is been an incredible surprise and a honor to test this tool with you.



Foals building complete

Hello there folks!

I have fantastic news to share today. The 12 foals have been completed, and not a single correction or detail is left to be done.  I feel like I just scaled a huge mountain.

Here I leave you with the test stage test, where I put all of the foals in an official background with an official character next to them for comparison. 

Gari and Spirit were very troublesome to do because I had to adjust all the mouths to their special features, that makes  about 300 symbols to arrange that must work together as a unit.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Building the foals 2

Hello there Everypony!

Spirit reporting progress again. 

In the last post I talked a bit about he foals builds, and I have been working on that , having now 8 out of 12 finished and two more half done. 

Hopefully, if everything goes well, I should be able to have the whole lot by the end of next week. 

Some of you suggested to test them with some official MLP character on an average show stage, which was a great suggestion, so here is the result. 

Seems taht Twilight is running a daycare center in the Golden Oak Library.  I added  extra color corrections to most of the foals, The most affected ones by the amends were Windwhisper (light blue pegasus on the top right corner)  and Tingle (Dark unicorn standing by the door).

I found a couple of technical problems that I solved thanks to this integration test, such as nomenclature errors, would have resulted in a very nasty surprise if added to our current shots directly. 

Here you can see an example of  a full build of a foal


 Each single foal has a 20 point turn around to cover the 360º rotation.  As part of the challenge, we made our best to make them rotate on the horse center axys (between the four legs) and to have as little snaps as possible. 

This is the reasons for which our builds take a while, it is the control of the 20 points of rotation, which involves a lot of symbol creation, plus, a lot of control tests necessary to ensure good functionality, not to mention the nomemclature surveillance. If one symbol is named the same from foal to foal, we will get  build bug, so you will get, for example, Spirit's legs on Moondancer's body. 

See you on the next update, I have a lot of wonderful stuff ready to share with you which I will try to post during this week. 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Making the builds, the foals

Hello there, ponies of the night:

Spirit reporting progress here. Fiuu! it is been long since the last post, but we have progressed quite a tad.

Right now I am making fully functional foals for the final sequence of COTN. We had builds before, but they were meant for a completely different animation technique, so the process was really painful and mostly slow.

The new functional builds include a 10 point turn around (T.A)  of the character, for only a 180º rotation, so it is actually a 20 point T.A when you flip them.

As an extra challenge, we made them rotate smoothly, which I will show in a future post.  I took a Fluttershy T.A that goes around the net as reference, and from that, I started to make amends and improvements, such a fully functional mouths, hooves, eyebrows, hair, tails.. in short, every single body part.

While doing all this, I noticed a few bloopers in my initial character design, specially in Tingle. In the first pass I made him really messy, but the shapes kinda got out of hand, and it didn't read well as a character that is related to electricity. Taking example from how LF conducts her designs, I got the following result, which is a lot more clear and shape driven.


Some comments ont he design got me a bit worried about if these kids would or not blend well in the actual show.  After calibrating the importance of this matter, I decided to put each of them to a test over a background of Ponyville.

So far, here is the result for this little fella.

The first two foals, Spirit and Candlelight, took a very long time, mostly because I had to build from scratch, and let me tell you, a fully functional pony has a LOT of pieces.  Today I made two working at mid pace, so four foals down, 8 to go.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Feathers

Greetings Friends!

Lion with another update!  I just realized I forgot to do one last week but that doesnt mean we're Idle.  Spirit's plowing ahead with more puppet builds and I'm happy to say that Luna's build has been updated and will definitely speed some shots up. Not to mention I'll be able to replace some weird symbols with more appropriate ones.

I just finished another shot today which was problematic.  One we refer to as 'Shot 07'.  (Basically the shot where she overlooks the city)

Took me a while to come up with her acting.. way too long for a shot this short.  But at the same time I didnt want to just recycle what was done and then the wings and.. well.. too many things at once in my head.

In the end, it's the wings that really make it work. Or rather, the feathers.  Originally it was a slow and sluggish unfurling of the wings and it had no life to it.. just a lot of tweens and visible flash animation.

With her acting done without her wings I could time them better to the music too.

I even gave them a bit of a snap!

As you can see, I divided the wings in several parts which allow a more precise manipulation.  Since it's not exactly like a flap I felt it necessary to give myself more control for better subtle movements.

The red line below is my hand-drawn guide.  I've re-done several passes of other shots that way to give myself a better planning over some specific movements.

Again, we're getting there. One shot at a time :)