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Hash, Inc. Forums > Technical Direction and Development (Learning Animation:Master) > The Art of Animation:Master (TaoA:M) < New Users Start Here! > Calling all Pedagogs
Rodney
Dealing with Sound is an area that could be enhanced in the new TaoA:M and we are lucky to have Robert heading up this effort (he's quite musically talented).

- Music
- Dialogue
- Sound Effects
- Timing
- Beats

All very important subjects and huge areas of interest.

The current TaoA:M certainly deals with Dialogue (mostly via A:M's Dopesheet) but it doesn't delve much further into related matters of synchronizing animation with sound.
Here is page 71 from the current TaoA:M that hints at the importance of sound in animation.

I readily admit I am way out of my league here!
Rodney
Here is the text of that page filtered through my brain:


Sound is of paramount importance to character animation. Characters need to express emotion and communicate; talk, yell, sing, laugh, and cry.
With today's sound editing software it is possible to create highly effective soundtracks and sound effects for your animation.
With Animation:Master you can import your sound files and sync them with your actions:

• The sound of a bouncing rubber ball
• The burning of a Dragon breathing fire
• A line of dialog for one of your actors.
• Any appropriate sound to convey the story or produce the desired effect

SOUND EFFECTS
• Create your sound effects and put them in the “Sounds” tab in the Library
• Share your homemade sound effects on the Hash website

MUSIC
Rules of thumb:
• Characters naturally step every half second (every 12 frames) so pick music that beats twice a second (twice every 24 frames).
• All Music has a beat: fast, slow.
• Pick music with a beat that matches your action.
• Character walks have a rhythm.
• Surprise movements occur off beat.
• Actions should lead up to and match the music’s high point (crescendo).
• Music sets a mood and expresses inner emotions that are hard to visualize with animation such as feelings of isolation, rejection, hope, and devotion.
• Music can help determine an animations timing; how far a character has to travel in a given time.

ACCENTS
Movement should be accented on the beat, so FIRST determine the most important (accented) beats. These moments are essential in telling your story effectively and the addition of sound will help to accent these beats. Consider the following example of a character walking purposefully into a house:

1. Going through the door.
2. Slamming the door.
3. Opening the door.
4. Pulling the mat in.
5. Slamming the door again.
Rodney
There are several Metronomes online:

http://www.metronomeonline.com/

Here's the accompanying writeup from that site: (Empahasis/Commentary added is my own)

QUOTE
It's all about timing

No matter if you play drums, piano, guitar, or any other musical instrument, timing has an enormous affect on how good you sound. Impeccable timing will make even the poorest melodic idea shine, while weak timing will make a fantastic melody lose its appeal. Just like other aspects of musicality, timing is a skill that can be learned and improved. I would like to share with you a few concepts and exercises that will help you to develop a better understanding and control of timing.

In order to improve your timing, it is important to understand that every beat can be played in three different ways: before the beat, right on the beat, after the beat.

(he uses an animation example here...)
Let's take four beats and visualize them as four poles placed exactly one foot from one another. If you walked from the first pole at the exact speed of 60 feet per minute you would hit pole 2 after a second, pole 3 after another second and pole four after another second. The whole trip from pole one to pole 4 will take you 3 seconds. You could spend the same 3 seconds walking the same distance but not hitting the other poles on seconds 2 and 3. For example, maybe you were late getting to pole 2 and compensated it by arriving too early to pole 3. The same rule applies to playing music. Each note you play relates to the beat. If you had the ability to recognize exactly where you are hitting the notes in regards to the beat you would then be able to improve your timing tremendously.

This following simple exercise will help you recognize your timing pattern. It is very simple, yet very effective. It was shown to me by Kenwood Dennard, a fantastic drummer, teacher and friend. If you want to get the most out of this exercise, you should record yourself and analyze the results.

Set your metronome to 60 BPM
Pick up your musical instrument (or pencil)
Play 60 short notes, try to hit each note
exactly on the beat
Play back the recording and mark how many beats you hit exactly on the beat, how many before the beat and how many after the beat.
You will soon notice your tendencies. Some musicians tend to rush, when others tend to drag. The more you will focus on this simple exercise the better awareness to timing you will have and it will naturally be reflected in your playing. I recommend spending 5-10 minutes every day practicing this exercise.

Article by Yotam Rosenbaum
Rodney
Some other tidbits scattered throughout ToaA:M that mention sound:

QUOTE
Off-screen sound effects are the easiest scene builder.


As they are the easiest... perhaps it'll be easy to enhance the curriculum with them as well.
Added: For some reason when I read the above I immediately think of someone just off screen crashing into a bunch of pots and pans. We don't have to see that activity because the character we see on screen is seen reacting to that.


QUOTE
PRODUCTION
Any animation project is divided into three parts: pre-production, production, and post-production.
Character design, script writing, storyboards, and dialog recording are defined as pre-production. What is the story all
about and what will it look like when it is done? What does the character look like? What will the character act out?
Will there be interaction with other characters? Is the skeleton capable of the animation that you have planned? All of
these things are important questions that must be answered before you begin your animation. Story sequences can
usually be described in a dozen or so numbered sentences.

1. Character walks up to door.
2. Character tries to pull door open but it won’t budge.
3. Character exerts outrageous force to open door but it still won’t open.
4. Character discovers door opens inwards.
5. Character walks through open door.

Animating is production.

Lighting and rendering are post-production. Recombining the dialog track, credits, and adding sound effects and music
finish the process.


One of the eternal problems with projects is the productions that get started don't often get 'finished'.

QUOTE
STORYBOARDING
Most often, you will be involved in small productions that might involve just yourself or maybe another animator. As is often the case, there are no drawn storyboards available, other than maybe an overall idea of what it is about.

Somebody is going to have to at least block the camera shots: what’s visible and for how long. You don’t have to hand draw anything, Animation:Master is an excellent tool to create the storyboards using stand-in characters. First, to get a quick idea how long your animation is going to be: position the lights, camera, and characters for the first frame, then guess how long the animation will be. (Music or sound tracks are excellent indicators of how long the shot is). Go to that frame and reposition everything. Guess where the intermediate poses are and make further refinements every second or so. Watch the rough animation and make further adjustments until everything is close to what you want.

Your storyboards should answer the questions:
1. Which character receives the most camera time?
2. When are close-ups used? Long shots?
3. Which scenes show perspective?
4. Where do the camera angles change?


Often the dialogue of a sequence is used as the basis for animating. It can not only dictate the timing but the performance as well.
Vertexspline
Rodney---

Sound makes the movie, film, short or shot. Just watch any movie with out sound. Its like half a movie or less. So indeed agree that focusing some new learning on this will make everyones presentations -no matter the size --better and have more emotional attachment to. This new TAoAM is really looking to be such a great resource indeed. smile.gif

If Robert or others could add some resources that folks might use to interact with AM for sound ie . software, music, sound banks etc that would also be so helpful as for many of us ---these may not be too well known and often time there are even some open source items to save some currency on as well but just not so well known as some of the commercial items.

Rich
Rodney
QUOTE
If Robert or others could add some resources that folks might use to interact with AM for sound ie . software, music, sound banks etc that would also be so helpful as for many of us ---these may not be too well known and often time there are even some open source items to save some currency on as well but just not so well known as some of the commercial items.


There is a Sound Effects forum in the A:M Exchange section that we could plus up with short recordings of metronome beats, explosions, boings, bounces... and links to useful resources. Links are generally preferred for items not in the public domain.

I don't think many people know about it but in time it might become a viable resource.
Of course there are untold thousands of resources out there for anyone that can launch a Google search so that may be why there has been limited interest in sound effects here.
Vertexspline
Yes, Rodney I See that sounds effect forum spot now -----could use some more help links etc in there and maybe will get more use once more folks focus on sounds and music etc from the new TAoAM project. When I get up to that aspect myself I will try and add what I can ....

Rich
thumperness
It's funny, I rarely think of an animation I want to do and then try to come up with the sound...

I usually have a clip, music, or whatever first... and then an animation comes to mind that will go with it. cool.gif
williamgaylord
It's been a while since I've visited the forum. I'd be glad to help with audio since that is a big part of my professional expertise. I'd like to help put together some resources presenting the principles, practices, and equipment options for achieving good sound on a budget.

Bill Gaylord
robcat2075
QUOTE(williamgaylord @ Sep 6 2011, 10:04 AM) *
It's been a while since I've visited the forum. I'd be glad to help with audio since that is a big part of my professional expertise. I'd like to help put together some resources presenting the principles, practices, and equipment options for achieving good sound on a budget.


That would be fabulous! Could you outline what you might cover in such a tutorial and how you'd demonstrate it?

A tutorial on audio production for A:M users would be a good thing to include in the "for further study" section.
Rodney
QUOTE
It's been a while since I've visited the forum. I'd be glad to help with audio since that is a big part of my professional expertise. I'd like to help put together some resources presenting the principles, practices, and equipment options for achieving good sound on a budget.

Bill Gaylord


Awesome.

Let us know if you need anything and please feel free to rattle the cages throughout the forum as the TaoA:M Sound Guy because there are sure to be others who will bring their unique talents and perspectives to the project. And getting the perspective from folks like me that are clueless... well... I'm going to say that is important as well. biggrin.gif

Looking forward to it Bill.
Rodney
Here's a question perhaps someone can answer...
It's another one of those questions that I should know already and am perfectly capable of answering but... someone probably knows the answer already.

In A:M if we add one sound can use that to produce two or more sounds in an exported video? (My guess is that we can but I don't recall trying it)
An example might be having a single BUMP sound and then using that to produce a steady beat over 24 frames.
Rodney
This is something of a bump to let Bill know we haven't lost interest in his exploration of the principles, practices, and equipment options for achieving good sound on a budget. I'm still interested!

On a slightly related note...
Although there are literally thousands of sound editing tools available to creators for use with Animation:Master as far as I can tell the standard Audio Editor for most is the open source program Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/)

One of the areas of specific interest to me in Audacity is the use of Audacity's Track Labeling tools: http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/Label_Tracks
These Labels represent an important timeline element that displays onscreen in a similar fashion as A:M's (automated) Dope Sheet. Audacity not only has this capability but also has a programming language (Nyquist) that allows customization and creation of Audacity programatically. Many other sound editing solutions are also compatible with Audacity as well so it should fit into everyone's workflow easily.

While not free like Audacity, Quicktime Pro is a standard tool used by many A:M users to quickly edit video.
In the future I hope to explore the inherent relationships between A:M, Quicktime and Audacity especially with regard to Track Labels. It's not just a sound tracker it's a very useful filmmaker's tool.

Hmmm... track labels... love 'em and am using them already. Now I just need to understand better how to integrate them with A:M's Dope Sheet.
jimd
Hey Rodney take a look at this
http://traverso-daw.org/
Rodney
Thanks Jim!

Looking good.

I was hoping Traverso and Audacity's track data exports would be a bit more compatible but right now I'm too sure. I'll need to investigate further.
I've been transferring Track Labels back and forth from Audacity to A:M and at first glance it seems Traverso can do it too but from a different direction.
Audacity has Markers and Labels wheres (as far as I can tell) Traverso has only Markers which are roughly the equivalent of Audacity's Labels. Traverso's Markers are more interesting in that exporting them generates an HTML file in XML format... that could be quite useful. Audacity's Labels are exported as raw time code with a name in plain text. Both have their pluses and minuses and I'm sure a plugin could be created that would bridge the gap to A:M for either. Since this topic is titled 'Sound Principles' however, I shouldn't wander off too far afield in this area. I'll start another topic about my effort to transfer timecode data from these apps to A:M.

Bottom line: Thanks for the link. When it comes to Sound Editing Traverso should be very useful.
After using Audacity for as long as I have Traverso takes a little getting use to but I think it is simpler... approachable... and more user friendly.

Thanks!

Edit: I may be missing a plugin because I see a screenshot that has Label-like entries on it.
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