Cycles are the best friends of an FX animator part 4
I had the chance to animate some EFX for TMNT’s short 'We Strike Hard & Fade Into the Night’ there aren’t too many secrets to tell about how they are made except for two really useful things:
Cycles and flash frames
All of these scenes have cycles, they work really well for long scenes where the EFX are not the main protagonist of the scene, they are only there to support the storytelling so is not really the main interest. They also are really useful for fullscreen transitions, like on image 1 and 3 one is fading to white and the other to black, animating lines in full screen is really time consuming because they occupy the whole screen and also because the closer something is to the camera the more details you have to add.
And finally I use a flash frame on image one to blind the audience for a tiny second in order to change completely the whole background with the smoke and fire, it happens instantly like an illusionist’s trick and is at the same time very practical because you don’t have to animate how the fire got there, when the light fade out the cycles are already there.
Well shoot! Thank you for the compliment! I just saw a post about how tumblr was glitching & not telling people when they had asks, so I thought what the heck, maybe I have one, and this gem hahaha haah was sitting in my inbox. I hope this isn’t too late, it can’t have been hanging out too long since my @gemanimate post isn’t that old. Either way it’s probably worth posting?
I used toon boom harmony. And I hope this is helpful, and not just a mess of things I think are coherent. It’s a lot of answer for a simple question, and I hope it doesn’t come off as condescending, but the glow wasn’t just one glow, it was a bunch of slightly different things and trickery that made the efx what they are. Efx are socool and I like animating them so much in case that wasn’t clear. Each image has a caption clarifying what process it explains if it’s not super clear.
Please feel free to ask for more clarification of anything if you’re more of a ‘words’ learner. I felt like it’d make more sense with visuals, especially since the network is a confusing concept if you’re not familiar with it. At least, I think it is. _____ On to the second part of your ask: how long this mess took me to throw together? Time for another absurdly long answer to a simple question! And if I’m real, I’m writing this all out because I need to admit it to myself more than anything haha.
My shot is only ~3 seconds long, and I started the animation portion of my shot two-ish weeks (maybe more) before the due date of august 29th. I should have been able to finish with tons of stress free room for technical error/other unforeseen issues, but I actually took another week and a half past the 29th to finish (thank you @gemanimate team for being understanding).
So here is a friendly, caring, and cautionary reminder–to anyone reading–to plan for both the practical aspects/requirements of a shot as well as your personal mental/emotional capacity to work. The hours needed to finish a shot aren’t necessarily the hoursyou need to finish a shot, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you plan accordingly. Bolded for the cheap seats (it’s for myself, I am in the cheap seats in my own life). For example, the first few nights I was working on it, I set up a file. Next night, laid out the characters, etc. Eventually, I got into a groove where I was actually animating, but I hadn’t planned for that slow start, or any of the snags I hit in life that tripped up my work flow along the way. Plan cushions for that mind game stuff that I can’t seem to acknowledge if that’s something you deal with, in addition to the technical needs of a project.
Moving off the soapbox, the hours I put into it that were actual work hours were maybe 15 - 20 hours? Maybe more? I unfortunately did not keep time, and I’m not great at recalling stuff like that. It’s like it wasn’t finished one day, and now it is, and heck if I know what happened between then and now.
But I guess if you were asking about time because of the complexity of the compositing/glow stuff, that was the last 1 - 2 hrs of work. Once the animation is done, the comp is just throwing in some modules and messing with them until they look the way you want. Messing with their settings is how you learn about them & how they operate. There are tons of different means to achieve the same end in toon boom, a lot like photoshop. None of what I’ve said here is a set in stone ‘correct’ way to composite for a glowy effect, but it is one way.
Happy animating! And again, please let me know (anyone) if there’s anything that you’d like further clarification on!