anyone know of animation frame references?

  • something like this:

    <img src="http://www.e-crit.com/running/muy_run_frames.gif">

    but more detailed with more frames preferably

    and not just running

    it doesn't matter if it's a book, or a site (preferably a site)

    but just a general reference to video footage taken from good reference views like this side view?

    I've googled a bit for some, I'll google some more later and post here if I find something before anyone else posts

  • with cheap digital (photographic) cameras that get decent 30fps video at 640x480, I've been thinking of filming my own references.

    Jordan Mechner did, back in the day, and look where that got him!

  • Jordan Mechner did, back in the day, and look where that got him!

    Yeah, and look where that got the rest of us:

    http://i48.tinypic.com/2hdz56x.jpg

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  • when I see veins popping out like that, I can't help to think about them as a hazard.

    Imagine, just trip and brush your arm against a sharp surface.... instant bleed-out!

    but yeah

    1.- make your own animation reference

    2.- ????

    3.- profit!

    4.- make a crappy movie about it

  • That link newt posted is pretty interesting, definitely worth a look.

    And Madster, you're doing it wrong

  • This'll be a little offtopic but I think it'll be fruitful for some devs here.

    with cheap digital (photographic) cameras that get decent 30fps video at 640x480, I've been thinking of filming my own references.

    Jordan Mechner did, back in the day, and look where that got him!

    We've been doing that on our current project that has a top-down viewpoint. It makes some interesting results. We found a nice spot for a direct view to a point a few meters below and basically just traced the selected keyframes from the recorded videos. I'm more a traditional sprite artist and not much of an animator so it provided a very good template for animations.

    The real problems come into the picture when you're supposed to get a decent amount of tweens. Tracing sprites is alright but drawing quality keys on top of the traces is more time demanding than most could tolerate. A nice idea would be to trace the animation keys and make the animations with bones but I don't like this at all since it doesn't provide the awesome organic natural look that the previous method does.

    I've been looking for a nice piece of software to try out creating tweens with by morphing a key frame to another but I haven't found anything worthy. Photoshop's liquify (aka the thing that makes your favorite fashion model's body look ten years younger) seems rather nice but I don't think the feature is included in any of the versions of Photoshop I have a license to.

    Okay to the actual OP question then. No decent references here, but you might want to try out the method I described in this post.

  • I've been looking for a nice piece of software to try out creating tweens with by morphing a key frame to another but I haven't found anything worthy.

    You need motion estimation. Try Premiere, assemble your animation and then slow it down, adding frames in between with motion estimation. You might need to enlarge it, you can shrink it back down again.

    Format conversion is going to be a pain probably, unless Premiere can export frames to PNG.

  • I would not recommend using automatic tweening (or morphing, which is all it is for the most part when it comes to raster images) for sprites, for tons of reasons, but mainly because it would look like Keira Knightly's cooking (hey she said it, not me!).

    Automatic tweening is fine for 3D objects, bones, IK or object/sprite world movement, things like that, because it's all down to math. But using it on pixels, with only a small number of frames, you're going to end up with smeared graphics and the time taking to get them looking halfway good, it'll have been quicker to draw them by hand or use other methods.

    Think about it, a tween is the computer being given X number of frames to turn A into B. It doesn't know how an arm or leg moves, it doesn't know the difference between the sprites shirt and it's face, all it knows is the quickest way to get from A to B. Yes you can add curves and splines to the tweening motion. But a 2 frame curve is going to be a straight line any way you look at it, and the more frames you pack into a particular animation sequence, the more unresponsive it will feel to the player. Which goes against how a good morph works.

    There are a few ways to do it by morphing sprites themselves, using weights etc. But honestly the results are never going to look all that great, so I'm going to help you by not going into detail on how to do it.

    It might seem like a handy shortcut, but it's really not. You'll get far better results doing it by hand, or doing it in a 3D package or with vectors (both of which is going to handle it better), then converting and using the output as your sprites. And yes, 3D can be used quite nicely for a 2D sprite, even if the sprite isn't going to look 3D (cartoonish ones for example). In those cases it's pretty similar to how bones work in construct, just easier and more advanced (since those programs are made for that sort of thing) only you'll have the choice of avoiding the segmented body sections by being able to use real skeletal systems within the 3D package (but then you'll also miss out on the rag doll effects Ashley suggested for a future version with constructs bone system).

  • We're getting a bit offtopic here but hey, at least we're talking about animation frames.

    Definitely automated tweening has its disadvantages, I'm more than aware of that. Point being I haven't had any real tests yet. If I have a one second animation consisting of 15 keys I don't think it would look that bad if there was another 15 tweens making it look smooth even though half of the frames wouldn't have the same kind of quality. I'm not talking about taking that kind of animating shortcuts as I tend to have a lot of handdrawn keys.

    Taking this project's overall looks into consideration it could look very cool to have morphed tweens there too since there is no way I'm animating 60 frames per second by hand. I'm okay between 12-18 keys per second. Professional handdrawn animation in cartoons and anime generally tends to have 12 animation frames per second (which is naturally every other frame of a broadcast fps video file), maybe the full 24 frames in fast scenes.

    <img src="http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/8183/tracedkeys1.png">

    Here's an example of the said keys. It's a simple fast animation but the problem lies in making it look smooth in a very detailed environment that has a lot of prerendered materials. If it's played fast enough to make it look smooth it's simply too fast and doesn't look natural. If it's played too slowly it stands out. Morphed keys could easily fix this by providing more sense of motion in the animation between the keys.

    I put an overlapped "onion skin" version of the animation and I don't think that it would be reasonable to have full drawn production quality animation frames more than that on a character sprite.

    Edit: Killed a typo

    Edit 2: Oh and as a reply to madster's hint on trying Premiere... We don't exactly boast a budget that would allow us to buy a 1000� piece of software for animation tweens. Thanks for the heads up though :D

  • The problem is, you're comparing traditional animation techniques to game animation. Which a lot of times isn't viable.

    For every extra fraction of a second your firing animation is playing. It's another fraction of a second I, the player, have to wait before the bullet is fired. Now when you factor in player reaction time. You're risking very slow response time. Which annoys players. That's why you will often see sequences used for quick actions have less frames or simply happen very quickly. A player doesn't want to press the fire button, then wait for it to happen. Sure, that's more realistic, but it's not what a player will want. Especially if they just lost the game right at the end, because of it.

    So yeah, while more frames will look smoother. And could be fine in other situations. For actions relying on fast reaction times. It's a nono. Come to that, same could be said for anything the player does. They move to the left, they want to go left right that moment. But no matter how good their reflexes are, there is going to be a pause between their brain saying do that, to their hand performing the action, to the game responding in kind. That can take a second or more in a lot of cases. So adding more time to that is going to make the controls feel sluggish, forcing the player to fight with them more than the bad guys on screen.

    It's just something to bare in mind. Finding a happy medium between quality and response.

  • Concerning gameplay you're out of the conversation's bounds. We're not talking about gameplay. Trust me here, I know my gameplay design but this conversation has nothing to do with it. Adding tweens does NOT make the animations longer in time, it just makes them look smoother.

    Please let's get back to the topic.

  • I found a plugin for (free) VirtualDub called MSU Motion Estimation.

    Didn't try it, give it a go and let me know

    but yeah, you should be able to go from 17-20 keyframes per second to a sweet 60 without much trouble.

    HOWEVER:

    -enlarge the sprites

    -use distinctive coloring (edges or full-color sprites) so the algorithm can make out shapes

    Your results will be a little bit blurry... but when shrunk back down, that'll go away

  • Hi!

    I don't know if somebody posted or recommended this book. This is a classic one that about animation for 2d cartoons, I use it like template. It's old but it has the principals of animation.

    amazon.com/Cartoon-Animation-The-Collectors-Series/dp/1560100842

    Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair.

  • I think what Lucid is looking for is reference to do "Rotoscoping"

    Here you should find good source pictures/videos for that purpose:

    http://www.3d.sk/

    Just select search videos and you should find what you need.

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