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Reusable Animation Clips


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#1 zandoriastudios

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:22 AM

I was having lunch yesterday at CiCi's Pizza, and on a big screen in the rear of the dining area was playing some old Hannah Barbera cartoons.... I couldn't hear the sound, only watch the images. I was noticing a lot of reused drawings, loops, and stuff--which is a great time saver for things drawn by hand. Then I started thinking about how you could just render reusable clips with an alpha channel, and composite all the different elements in AfterEffects, rather than re-rendering the same reusable action in different scenes. Of course, it would not have the same freedom as staging every shot uniquely, but over time you would have a pretty big library of clips to pull from if you were making an animated series... I notice that I tend to favor a certain lighting when I setup my renderings, so different elements rendered separately should work together pretty well... Do any of you already work this way? Please discuss!

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#2 robcat2075

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:06 AM

I think that only works for limited animation like Hannah Barbera did. The fact that they only staged their characters in certain ways made it semi plausible that so much of their motion would always look the same. Still, only kids mostly accepted the shortcuts. There are a few wildly successful properties like The Simpsons that can have things keep looking the same over and over and even use it as a joke, but they're not 3D. I think audiences' expectations for 3D are too big for that now.

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#3 Fuchur

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 08:45 AM

I think that only works for limited animation like Hannah Barbera did. The fact that they only staged their characters in certain ways made it semi plausible that so much of their motion would always look the same. Still, only kids mostly accepted the shortcuts.

There are a few wildly successful properties like The Simpsons that can have things keep looking the same over and over and even use it as a joke, but they're not 3D.

I think audiences' expectations for 3D are too big for that now.


With a few exceptions... I am often using rendered images of for example a blood-cell as a sprite-image-sequence.
That is not exactly the same, but it offers a great freedom while being much faster than rendering 5000 blood-cells as 3d objects or so. For such things it is useable, because in general they have their own, randomised motion, which is often quite fast and if you set up a random offset for the imagesequence, it looks quite well.

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#4 largento

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 12:37 PM

I never used to notice it that much in Hanna-Barbera cartoons, but the Filmation cartoons (Tarzan, Flash Gordon, etc.) were much more blatant about it. Even as a kid I recognized those sequences that were used over and over again. The trick to reusing it in 3D, would be that you'd have to keep your camera setup pretty flat. If the perspective is wrong, it would show up in 3D. Of course, it would save time just to render the characters with an alpha channel and render out the backgrounds as a static image that could be composited. Again, as long as you didn't move the camera. I've definitely re-used frames in the comic strip to save time.

#5 Rodney

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:00 AM

Honestly, I don't understand how one man studios do not plan to reuse animation. This is especially true when the product is serialized (the demands of the schedule suggest reuse is financially viable and should be carefully planned). Even better, with CG animation you can setup and rerender shots of characters from slightly different angles... so... it'd be that much harder for audiences to see the same animation. One useful way to reuse images is to frame them differently. For example, a running character might run across the screen in one scene and run in place (with the background moving) in another. It'll look different enough from the audiences' vantage point. A change here... a camera angle or zoom in there... a subtle tweak... a series of ideal expressions used over and over again to best advantage to fully establish the personality of a character... all are at the disposal of the animator. Of course, these similar scenes can always be tagged so that if your 'budget of time' allows you to go in and up the quality and unique aspects of a shot/sequence/story. There is a danger here of course; the limited animation of Hanna Barbera drove the types of stories they could tell. So, to steer clear of that as the primary motivator here's the underlying question that'd drive re-usage: What in your story requires (or allows for) repetition? Life is too short and you've got lots of stories to tell. Hanna Barbera's animation may be known for their limited quality but they are also known as famous characters loved by millions. That old rule of, 'if you can't win them with quality... hit 'em with quantity. If you've got ample doses of both quality and quantity, even better. Use and reuse that animation! (and don't forget you can also re-purpose those animated images for use with comic books, webpages, posters, etc. Yes, even the sequential images!)
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