Thanks for posting the info. Yeah, I'm not surprised about the vector conversion issues. That looks bad but I've experienced issues even when importing directly from AI too.
My intention is to use CACANi for what it does natively and export bitmap renders for compositing in ASP or one of the compositing packages I use. I'll try it out as soon as we finish our current production. If it doesn't work out for me, I still have Toon Boom Animate for this sort of thing. (And of course DKW Root's FBF script for ASP.)
Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:54 am
by Francis Seven
I've just discovered CACANi and in spite of the stupid name I really want to try it for FBF. I wouldn't try to do FBF on ASP anyway. One of my projects can only be done on FBF and if CACANi can do away with all the inbetweening, then I need this. Only thing is, I have to wait until it goes on sale again.
Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:52 am
I bought a license of CACANi a few months ago when it was on sale to accompany ASP on future personal projects. CACANi looks interesting but I haven't gotten around to using it yet. Unfortunately, it might be awhile before I can get to it because I also have a license of Toon Boom Animate Pro that had been unused for even longer, and since I'm using Toon Boom Harmony at my day job, I've been focused on learning Toon Boom now (TBAP and TBH are essentially the same program.)
Once I'm settled in with the TB products, I'll take a closer look at CACANi. I'm interested in it mostly because we can't afford two licenses of TBA here but we can probably swing an additional copy of CACANi if we decide it's suitable for our Little Green Dog projects. (Thank goodness ASP is so affordable--this is only one reason why (there area many) ASP is our primary 2D animation program.)
Just wondering, is anybody here using the full version of the CACANi for FBF?
Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:03 am
In case you change your mind about doing FBF in ASP, check out DKW Root's script here:
He's essentially created brush/pencil tools that behave in a very Flash like manner, and added a workflow for drawing FBF directly in ASP. I want to spend more time with these tools but, alas, too much other stuff going on at the moment.
Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:35 pm
by Francis Seven
Thanks, Greenlaw, I always appreciate your input.
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:37 pm
I have TB Harmony and Cacani. I am just now getting up to speed and feeling confident with Cacani and all I can say is that I've waited a long time for animation software to be this good. Once Cacani gets the ability to import audio for lip sync, it will probably be my main animation program for line work. And, I've been through most of what is current and old.
I've used ASP (back from Moho 2.0 to ASP , DigiCel Flipbook, and TVPaint/Mirage. There used to be an old program called TweenMaker. I thought TweenMaker was going to be the magic for 2D animation. It had the ability to set the timing for the in-betweens. Alas, it folded shortly after debut and nothing ever came of it. Now comes Cacani.
I am finishing up storyboarding my new film and will be using Cacani for the bulk of all the animation. This will be a feature film with me as the only animator. So, you see why I would be excited about a program that can do the in-betweening for me.
My pipeline is as follows:
1. Storyboard in Storyboard Pro and export out all shots to TB Harmony
2. Within Harmony, rough out keyframes and lip sync (only because Cacani doesn't yet have audio)
3. Export Keyframe images to Cacani and animate fully
4. Export out images from Cacani as transparent .png's < important
5. Import Cacani images into Harmony and use convert bitmap image to vector
Once the bitmaps are converted to vectors, then you can use Harmony's vector textures and all it's color palette tools.
I'm exploring a different route for lip sync, as well. I'm thinking of using Papago, but not sure yet. I just need something that can time the dialog; so, I have some sort of X sheet for Cacani. That way I could skip steps 1 and 2, and do the rough keyframe sketches and animating with Cacani. It's all a journey; but, with Cacani doing the bulk of the in-betweening, it does make things better. Once, I start full production, I'll have my Vimeo page updated.
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:07 pm
Cool! Thanks for the info.
When we made Scareplanelast year, Anime Studio Pro allowed me and Alisa to work very quickly and efficiently but the one big weakness I encountered was when I started drawing the few FBF animations. I'm okay with how sequences turned out but I had to keep the scenes super limited because it simply took too long to draw FBF frames using the native ASP tools and I was running out of time. I made a note at the time that we needed a better tool for drawing FBF sequences for future projects.
At the moment, I'm using Animate Pro at home for FBF but mostly I'm using it to help me learn and use Harmony at my workplace. But I'm still interested in CACANi because at some point we'll probably need two copies of an FBF program in our home studio, and it's not likely that we can justify buying two licenses of Animate Pro to use on our personal projects. If CANCANi can work as well as Animate Pro for FBF, all the better.
Naturally, when we start our next 2D project, I want to give DKWRoot's FBF tools a chance too. If I can keep it all inside of ASP, even better still.
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:36 pm
ernesttx wrote:I'm exploring a different route for lip sync, as well.
There's so little lipsync in Scareplane that I just animated it directly inside ASP. In doing that tiny bit though, I found scrubbing and using switch layers in ASP to be very easy. For more dialog heavy projects that we may do in the future, I would probably try tying the switch layers for the mouth shapes to a Smart Bone Dial for easier switching.
In some of our other projects, we use Magpie Pro to animate the lipsync. Magpie Pro is similar to Papagayo but with a lot more features. We used it to animate the mouth shapes for 'Happy Box', which was our first 3D short, and we're also using it for the short we're working on now 'B2' (a work-in-progress). In 'Happy Box', we rendered the mouths 'Robot Chicken-style', meaning the mouth shapes were output as hand drawn 2D image sequences from Magpie and and then texture mapped (i.e., 'pasted on') to the faces. (It's actually a little more complicated than that but that's essentially it.) For 'B2', we're using it to output morph data, which is then used to animate the actual geometry in our 3D program. Magpie Pro also supports Anime Studio (like Papagayo) but I haven't used it that way yet.
I thought I'd mention this, just in case you need something more powerful than Papagayo.
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:53 pm
Those are good alternatives. My statement was more looking for an alternative route for timing of dialog; in order to facilitate animating in Cacani.
I'm wanting my facial expressions and mouth shapes to be more dramatic and expressful. Looking to break down of the dialog sooner or quicker in a rough form. Harmony has the auto lip sync, but I don't like auto stuff. I like listening to it and drawing where I want the opening and closing of the mouth to be. Everything I'll be doing is purely hand drawn.
Yes, auto lipsyncing can look mushy...I don't use it myself. We called it 'peas and carrots' where I used to work because it could make characters look like they were chewing food instead of talking.
Just to be clear, Magpie Pro is not auto-lipsyncing. What it gives you is an easy workflow and UI for manually keyframing lipsync animation. Basically you load your audio on a timeline, set up a dope sheet with your text, and then step through frame by frame and manually key your mouth shapes by clicking on buttons that represent the mouth shapes you've set up elsewhere (in Anime Studio, for example.) What Magpie Pro outputs can be a 2D frame sequence based on what you feed into it, or you can have it output motion/sequence data for your 2D or 3D program. From that point, you can edit/finesse your motion further in your animation program. (This is why I cited those two projects--the first one gave us image sequence output that we used as animated textures for compositing in Fusion, and the second use gave morph data to apply directly to our 3D characters which we tweaked a little more in our 3D program.)
The workflow is really similar to using Papagayo but with a lot more flexibility (works with 2D and with realtime morphing for 3D and it has a lot more output formats to choose from. For ASP, you would output the appropriate data format to drive Switch Layers, and from there you can perform additional adjustments to the shapes as you see fit.
Now, Magpie Pro does offer an alternative auto-lipsyncing mode but IMO it's more trouble than it's worth to set up, especially for the results. The quality is a little better then the usual 'load and play' systems if you take the time to train the software for your voice quality but the results still look like automation. If you use Magpie Pro, I think the results are much better to use it for manually keyframing mouth shapes like you would in your animation program.
Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:25 pm
Francis Seven wrote:Buying that software on the first of the month. Look at this Dangaioh sequence they did.
Wow, that is pretty cool. It almost makes me want to put aside my Toon Boom training for a bit...but--sigh!--work must comes first.
Looking forward to trying out CACANi when I have some free time again.
Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:00 am
by Francis Seven
Holy wirklichkeit, check this out, done with TWO keyframes!
I don't know much about this software, and I don't mean to sound biast - but if you drew that character in ASP, and then put another frame where those shapes move to the second position, you'd get the same results... I think one pitfall we can all fall into is imagining that a software will somehow inject the magical powers of the talented people creating the demos for it into us (that goes both for this, and seeing selgins work with AS )