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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Discussion Starter #1
Pencil - a traditional 2D animation software

I am really wanting to do some singing pumpkins this year, and the only stuff I can find is either animations that no one wants to share, or I don't really like the quality of...

So I came across this program that is cross-platform and FREE. From the looks of the stuff that other animators have done, it most definitely can do the simple pumpkin singing animations. I work on a Mac platform, so I can actually use this and sync it up with sound using the lovely iMovie with any sound/songs I want. (I am a graphic designer working primarily with print media, so the arty stuff won't be a problem, but it won't be anything like Hallowindow's gorgeous stuff)

I want the typical 3 pumpkin set up, but use different faces for each one, having different expressions and the songs would be very different (I'll use "This is Halloween" most likely, but there is some rockabilly stuff, HorrorPops, Necromantix, Alice Cooper and AC/DC... and just using Vincent Price reading from some of the spooky stories... if it wasn't TOO hard I could spend the next several months and have a nice loop of an hour or so of songs and stories)

I wondered if anyone has used or even heard of this program? I used to do animations back in the 90s using Director and some other programs, but it's been a while since I've taught myself something completely new... not sure to be excited or scared.

Anyone tried this? Tips?
 

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I'm not sure about the program you mentioned, but I am currently working on a singing pumpkin project myself. However it is not the animated kind. I am using the Vixen program (free), a kit74, and an old computer I salvaged.

I will gladly share my Vixen sequence with you when it is finished, if you decide to go this route.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the offer Willse, but it looks like Vixen isn't available for a Mac platform, and I don't do Windows. ;) You definitely have to post your singing when you get it finished, tho! :)

This is more what I'm trying to go for:



He said that he did the animation/sound in Maya, which is a program out of my league in terms of pricing and learning curve... There was a poster on Haunt Forum that did something similar, but he was selling his animation for $50 a pop for 2 songs... and the animations were exactly the same for the two background pumpkin singers (which I don't like).

I figure I'll try out the program and noodle around with it this weekend, and if it looks doable, I may break down and get a (used) projector and set this up!

:)
 

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Open up and say "Aaaaahh"
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I downloaded Pencil and played with it some...this idea is totally doable however it requires an ability on ones part to do animation by hand, much like if you were to animate using a flip book and, well, a pencil. It's just in electronic form.
 

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The Evil Apparitionist
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I downloaded Pencil and played with it some...this idea is totally doable however it requires an ability on ones part to do animation by hand, much like if you were to animate using a flip book and, well, a pencil. It's just in electronic form.

Yep, I did the same. Kinda like the old Gif animator stuff where you have to draw/edit and cut and paste a lot. Maya and After Effects have a price and learning curve but well worth it for the results. I ended up using several editing tools to bring together a decent animation for my projector last year. It's hard to get one program that does it all, they all have different toys to play with.
 

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Scared Silly
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I know this isnt exactly what you were looking for....
Nephilim : ImaginEERIEing : Gordo

but its fun to play with and can be used to interact with people in real time.

I'd love to see how your animation comes out. so if you do it, be sure to post it here.
You could actually use Gordo (with the right "appearance" settings so that his cut outs are a solid color) if the mouth opening and closing is all you want. Just get a video of him and separate the cut out parts with a chroma key, then use that mask on a black background.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Discussion Starter #12
What I'm doing is working with Adobe illustrator to do the basic faces, porting them into Pencil and playing with them there, and then exporting them as .mov files and pulling them into iMovie to add music and create the finished piece. I can match precisely the sound and movement that way.

I'm sure there is an easier way to do this, but it's working for me so far.... just lots of little stuff I keep forgetting about and going back to fix.

I have a short song I'm working with now - Rock-n-Bones by Elroy Dietzel (catchy little rockabilly) that is around 1:57 so if I really keep at it, I MIGHT have a finished prototype this weekend....
 

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Open up and say "Aaaaahh"
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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Discussion Starter #14
okay, I've noodled around with it for some of today, and while it definitely could work, it is going to be a long process with the programs I have available. I think I'm trying to do too much... so I am back burnering this for now.

I don't know if I'll get it done for this season's display since I have so many other things I want to build.. :)
 

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Here is the gordo the digital puppet projected using the torpedo projector.
It has a mad face also, even thogh my test dosent show it.

it was a little hard trying the keep the pumpkin centered in the camera and operate the keyboard in the dark.
Maybe you could use two mad faces and the normal one and edit them together for a trio.

two years ago I used a simliar puppet for a video invitation. Sent the video signal to the dvd burner.

 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Discussion Starter #17
oooooh, okay the Gordo kind of looks interesting! I looked at the website the earlier, but didn't check out any actual usage shots - thanks for posting that icemanfred!

Mr. C - I LOVE the Bates haunt! I can't believe how awesome his stuff is, and have no idea how he puts that all together and even has great neighbors to run his projector...

Edited to add: I like Gordo! I think this will be much easier and faster, although it's going to just be a single pumpkin, it still works pretty darn well! I can get the video capture software and pretty much record video clips of him singing anything I want if I take the time to sync him up with it! :D
 

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That demo was the interative mode.

for the singing pumpkins. Just open the mp3 file of the song you want on your hard drive. It will start playing and you manipulate the puppet.
It is automatically recorded on the hard drive for playback. no need to worry about syncing. It will be done as you record your routine.


two years ago when I made my dvd invitation, all I did was playback the routine through my laptops s video jack to the input of my dvd recorder to make the dvd.

Oh,btw, what you see in the lower right of the pumpkin is the watermak. I used the free demo for this test. I will buy the puppet now. I think its a cool effect for $15.
 

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Open up and say "Aaaaahh"
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After seeing the demo I have to agree Gordo is the way to go. For the price, the effect is perfect for this. Thanks Iceman, great find!
 

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Scared Silly
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Okay, I've got another possibility. Although I use Gordo for my magic mirror, there are a few things I don't like about the look of him. Consider this method a step above Gordo, but below hand animating every frame.
Basically, you put a small square of tape next to either corner of your mouth, as well as the top an bottom. You videotape yourself singing along with the soundtrack. Then, you make a series of black shapes to block out the uncarved parts of the pumpkin (top teeth, bottom teeth, left cheek, right cheek), with a white layer below them and a white eyes and nose layer above them. The squares of tape are used as tracking points to motion track the parts of your custom pumpkin mouth to your own mouth. You could easily add points to your eyebrows to animate the eye shape as well.
I just did a rough test in After Effects, and I can tell you that it does work rather well, and the best part is that most of the animation is done for you. The downside is that if you don't already have AE, it's really expensive.

...did that make any sense?
 
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