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#1 harunw

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 05:30 AM

Exercise 1 - You're the Director.

 

This is a good intro to A:M as it gets you to familiarise with the interface and ease of dragging-and-dropping objects around.
It also gets you aquainted with the concept of Libraries and Poses that allows you to organise your digital assets and store a model's own animated sequences.
Plus a quick mention of camera techniques and POVs, which are an important aspect of storytelling.
 

Test #1 - my first try

Ex01 - You're the Director1.png

 

Test #2 - just mucking around with fog and changing some surface attributes...

Ex01 - You're the Director2.png

 

 

Attached are also the project files (v19)

Attached Files



#2 Rodney

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 03:55 PM

You're off to a great start Harun.  

I love that you are extending the exercise to explore.

Keep that up!  


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See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
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#3 harunw

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 06:36 AM

You're off to a great start Harun.  

I love that you are extending the exercise to explore.

Keep that up!  

 

Thanks, Rodney, appreciate it!



#4 harunw

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 06:51 AM

Exercise 2 - Chorus Line

 

This introduces reusable actions, such that the same action can be applied to different models, even if they have varying sizes (as long as they have the same bone structure or rig).

Below is the embedded animation (in one video)....

 

Test #1 - basic only

Test #2 - trying out more reusable actions....(could be better if it had music and sound effects)

 

Attached Files



#5 Rodney

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:00 PM

Awesomely awesome!

<insert applause from the audience here> :)


I got a slight "Wreck it Ralph" vibe there in that pan through the audience.
In the same general sense of when Ralph goes to his meeting with fellow bad guys.
I'll guess that is the sense in which... I think importantly... there is detail in a scene that compels a viewer to want to watch a scene in order to pick up new information that was previously missed. This is especially important in todays's world of clicks and viewer counts but also just from the standpoint of long term entertainment. As such... what can I say except, "nicely done!"

Sound is always going to be a useful addition.
I'm zeroing in on a 'soundtrack' workflow myself that uses the opensource program 'OpenToonz'.
If you don't mind I may use your Exercise 2 video as a test for that workflow...
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#6 harunw

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 06:56 PM

Thanks very much for the compliments, Rodney :D

Please do add some sound bits and music to the Test #2 clip, which I've attached below.

Attached Files



#7 Rodney

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:25 AM

Thanks. I'll give it a go. :)
A good idea is a seed, not a solution
See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
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#8 robcat2075

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 02:50 PM

Looks like you're barreling through with flying colors!


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#9 Rodney

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 01:28 AM

I don't think I can quite call this a success but I learned a lot... and discovered many things that didn't work as well as I'd hoped in A:M and other applications. In the end I *mostly* used A:M to add the sounds in. Audio consists of random music and audio effects found online.

The primary thing I ran afoul of in A:M was that I changed the volume of the music in the background and then later couldn't seem to get it back to a higher level even though I set everything to 100%.
I found that .WAV files worked much better than MP3 because an MP3 file seemed to disappear from the timeline whereas WAV files would stay.

At any rate, I'll post this so that I don't leave you hanging wondering if I'll ever work on the thing. ;)

P.S. For those in need of some decent 'movie' music on the cheap and even free check out this site: http://www.gregoirelourme.com
The short music intro that can barely be heard in my test is created by him.
He recently contributed to a project called 'Pepper and Carrot' which is where I first encountered his work.

Attached Files


A good idea is a seed, not a solution
See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
Want to learn A:M? Start TaoA:M

#10 harunw

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 03:08 PM

Looks like you're barreling through with flying colors!

 

Thanks a bunch!



#11 harunw

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 03:19 PM

I don't think I can quite call this a success but I learned a lot... and discovered many things that didn't work as well as I'd hoped in A:M and other applications. In the end I *mostly* used A:M to add the sounds in. Audio consists of random music and audio effects found online.

The primary thing I ran afoul of in A:M was that I changed the volume of the music in the background and then later couldn't seem to get it back to a higher level even though I set everything to 100%.
I found that .WAV files worked much better than MP3 because an MP3 file seemed to disappear from the timeline whereas WAV files would stay.

At any rate, I'll post this so that I don't leave you hanging wondering if I'll ever work on the thing. ;)

P.S. For those in need of some decent 'movie' music on the cheap and even free check out this site: http://www.gregoirelourme.com
The short music intro that can barely be heard in my test is created by him.
He recently contributed to a project called 'Pepper and Carrot' which is where I first encountered his work.

 

That was pretty good! This kind of collaboration is great as it shows your interpretation of the clip (sound wise). It would be interesting to see another person's work on this.... Rodney, many thanks for your effort!



#12 harunw

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 11:52 PM

Exercise 3 - Move It

 

After doing this exercise, I realised how even the slightest positioning of a model can have a big impact on the perceived emotion or feeling the character is trying to portray.
Even the size of the opening of his eyes, how clenched or relaxed the fingers are, the neck whether arched forward or backward, let alone the manner in which his ears are drooping or stretched, can make rabbit appear to emote quite differently.
 
The flexibility of the rig and the availability of preset poses help greatly in this respect, and I often used A:M's manipulator toolbar (or keyboard shortcuts) as well as the various chor views to make it easier to pose the model.
 
Below are my attempts to pose rabbit...
Ex03 - Move It1.png
 
I also rendered the scene in toon mode, which I think A:M did nicely....
Ex03 - Move It2.png

Attached Files



#13 Rodney

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 02:39 PM

 This kind of collaboration is great as it shows your interpretation of the clip (sound wise). It would be interesting to see another person's work on this.... 

 

Agreed.  I hope others will jump in and collaborate with each other on all sorts of projects.  Artists/animators tend to toward isolation but it's not only fun but rewarding to work together to plus up the creativity quotient even further.  There were several interpretations that I was staring at as I put my 'version' together but I must say that the final effort was largely dependent upon the audio I had available.  That more than anything dictated the outcome in this instance.  For instance, my initial idea didn't include anyone in the crowd 'booing' until I ran across that particular audio file... and once put into the sequence... that became the through-line of the sequence.

 

RE:  

post-145-0-59678800-1500709677.png

 

post-145-0-72175900-1500709692.png

 

NIcely done.  The poses really drive his personality!


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See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
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#14 harunw

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 12:44 AM

 

 

 

NIcely done.  The poses really drive his personality!

 

 

Tqvm!



#15 harunw

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 12:59 AM

Exercise 4 - It's a Pitch

 

A:M has excellent tools to help you in doing your animation.
The skeletal mode makes it easy to pose the model via its rig, and the different chor and camera views shows the pose from various angles, which is important to get the pose right.
The timeline shows where you've put keyframes, and you can easily switch to the curves editor for fine-tuning.
I really like that I can playback the animation live in shaded mode and switch views in realtime to check from different pov.
 
For this piece, what I did was just posed (keyframed) the model, with every pose at equal spacing (every 15 frames i think).
As each pose was being done, I would playback to see if they looked ok, adjusting each pose if needed, but ignoring the timing.
Once I was satisfied, then I group selected the keyframes, and moved them, to tighten up the timing.

 

 

Attached Files



#16 Rodney

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 04:44 AM

I love your play by play walkthrough of your process.
Not only are you making this look easy... you are making it look fun! :)

Your presentation made me think of something.
There are some features that appeared after the manual was published that may come in handy for you as you animate and one such feature is the "Set Camera to Bird View" selection that will allow for quickly placing (and animating!) the camera. The basic process is to select your primary object (the Knight in this instance) and the turn the view around to where you feel you have a good shot. Then Right Click on the Camera and select "Set Camera to Bird View" and the camera will set to that view. We can then move forward in the timeline to our next desired view and perform the process again to create a moving/animated camera.

There are two caveats that I can think of:
1. If the option to "Set Camera to Bird View" is grayed out that means we need to select an object in the scene and move/rotate around it a little to activate the option.
2. The Focal Length is not saved when the camera gets set so that setting may need to be adjusted manually.
Note that there is another option right above this one to "Set Birdview from Camera". That isn't the one we are after here but... it can help us get to where the camera currently is set so that we can adjust its view.

Hope all of that makes sense.
And... not that you want a moving camera here... I'm just adding the thought for what it's worth.


Keep it up! You are making great progress.
A good idea is a seed, not a solution
See my effort to think about the art of animation at: My Blog
Want to learn A:M? Start TaoA:M

#17 harunw

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 04:13 AM

There are some features that appeared after the manual was published that may come in handy for you as you animate and one such feature is the "Set Camera to Bird View" selection that will allow for quickly placing (and animating!) the camera. The basic process is to select your primary object (the Knight in this instance) and the turn the view around to where you feel you have a good shot. Then Right Click on the Camera and select "Set Camera to Bird View" and the camera will set to that view. We can then move forward in the timeline to our next desired view and perform the process again to create a moving/animated camera.

 

Thanks for this tip Rodney! I used it in the next exercise :)



#18 harunw

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 04:15 AM

Exercise 5 - Take a Walk

 

The tools that helped me here were markers (to mark rabbit's height during his walk), the paste mirrored (what a convenience), stride length and path - in fact, i wonder how can you do a walk cycle without the latter two? I end up with rabbit doing a skating effect unless I sort out the stride bit... I also like it that you can just drag-and-drop the rabbit model directly onto a path and A:M automatically creates a path constraint.
 
Nevertheless, walk cycles are actually quite intricate, so here I pretty much followed the tutorial exactly, except I made rabbit blink via the choreography, which is great as you can layer over the saved action with some additional animation. The sound effects were intentionally loud, for fun. :)
 
 

Attached Files



#19 Rodney

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 07:59 AM

Bravo!  Nicely done. 

 

Love the sound effects too.

As they might say in the funny pictures... "poifict!"   :)

I had to turn my volume on my headset back up because when I read your text I thought, "Oh Oh, this is gonna be loud" and had turned it down.

Hehe.  So you got me there.


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#20 harunw

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 03:47 AM

Bravo!  Nicely done. 

 

Love the sound effects too.

As they might say in the funny pictures... "poifict!"   :)

I had to turn my volume on my headset back up because when I read your text I thought, "Oh Oh, this is gonna be loud" and had turned it down.

Hehe.  So you got me there.

 

Thanks Rodney! It's great to have some feedback!



#21 harunw

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 03:51 AM

Exercise 6 - The Door's Stuck

 

I think I rushed trying to do this exercise, and consequently, spent a lot of time correcting mistakes, after I had adjusted timing. It would have been much better had I blocked out all the poses and camera angles, etc. and made sure everything was sorted out, then adjust animation timing. And the way I adjusted timing was to select all the keyframes and group shrink the timeline, if you know what I mean, which worked, except now the keyframes are not on even spacing, so it made it difficult to select and realign the keyframes.
 
In any case, what became fun later, was to find the various sound effects to match the bits of animation. Hopefully, these will mask out any flaws in my animation.... ;)

 

 

Attached Files



#22 Rodney

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:04 AM

THAT is approaching awesome. 

 

Very nicely done.

Well, conceived and executed too with lots of nice touches.

Useful (and entertaining) sound.  Check.

Timing.  Spot on.

Ability to generate a laugh.  Most definitely yes.

Lighting, Shading and Look Development (surfacing).  Oh, yeah.

 

So, from my point of view, this performance is a success.   :)

 

Is there anything... anything at all that I might suggest to improve upon your effort?

Hmmm.... in looking over and over again and again I would say that it would be nice if Shaggy's facial expression might hit a few more extremes to relate what is transpiring inside that thick head... a head so thick that he can't seem to fathom the situation he's placed himself in.... and a punchline where that realization finally sinks in.   In the latter's case you almost achieve this AND we must keep in mind that Shaggy's facial rig isn't exactly built with exaggerated facial expression in mind.  In many ways his setup is quite the opposite... but.. having said all of this that would be my suggestion; some additional attention to this crazy character's facial expressions would take this performance to the next level.  A little camera movement that gets the audience to focus on the face at the opportune moments might also be advantageous.

 

BUT... facial expression isn't the point of this exercise so rest easy my friend.

You've earned it for the moment.

 

Hehe... THEN... get back to work and tackle the next exercise.  

 

Great job Harun.   :)


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#23 harunw

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 07:00 PM

THAT is approaching awesome. 

 

Hmmm.... in looking over and over again and again I would say that it would be nice if Shaggy's facial expression might hit a few more extremes to relate what is transpiring inside that thick head... 

 

Rodney, you are being too kind with all your compliments....but many thanks for them!
 
You know what, I didn't think at all about doing facial expressions...in fact, here's my story...after almost completing all of the animation, i was wondering why shaggy's eyes were all white (couldn't see his iris/pupil), it then struck me that shaggy had eye targets (i think that's what they're called) that allow you to position where his eyes are looking at....well, somehow his iris was all over the place, so i had to rescue the animation and work out where his eye targets ought to be throughout the shots....i was relieved as long as i got his eyes to point frontwards!
 
As far as facial expression goes, I too thought he had very limited poses, but upon relooking at shaggy's face poses, and as can be below, in combination with using his lip sync poses, shaggy can express quite a range of emotions...
 
Lesson learnt - always spend a little time with your model before you start animating to see what range of expressions and animations it can do....

 



#24 Rodney

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 03:59 AM

Your image didn't upload for some reason.

 

 

That whole thought relating to facial expressions is something I need to work on myself.

Of course there are always going to be those things that we spot that we think, "Gah!  I need to fix that." or "Why didn't I fix that?" but the faces of our characters... those are something we know the audience will be looking.

 

I was recently messing around with a short animation and was fairly pleased with the results... a subtle camera movement... characters progressing forward with a hint of weight... background... environment.

But when all was said and done and I'd had a chance to reflect a bit more I noticed the faces of the two characters in the scene hadn't changed at all during the entire sequence.

And it suddenly became very obvious to me that I'd been spending my time on things that didn't count nearly as much as those faces.

So... back to the drawing board and an attempt to put a little emotion on the faces as well as obvious change to the facial shapes (mouth for instance... starting from a surprised look... ending with a smile.

And that may be all it takes in many instances... a subtle change... a blink... anything that supports the storytelling idea.


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#25 harunw

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 02:38 AM

Your image didn't upload for some reason.

 

I hope it appears below....

Ex06 - The Door's Stuck - Facial Expressions.jpg



#26 Rodney

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 07:22 AM

Yes, that did!  :)


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#27 robcat2075

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 08:18 AM

Looks like things are turning out well. 

 

Nice walk and  "Door Stuck" exercise!


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#28 harunw

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:44 AM

Looks like things are turning out well. 

 

Nice walk and  "Door Stuck" exercise!

 

Thanks very much, Robert!



#29 harunw

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 04:05 AM

Exercise 7 - Can You Say That?

 

The dopesheet's ability to convert text to lip poses is pretty good. Beyond that, adding facial expression, body language and hand gestures to match the action was quite an effort....I had to act out the motions to visualise what keekat is expressing...this time, animating is done backwards than i'm used to, that is, we start off with lip sync, then a bit of facial expression, then body motion....and since timing is fixed by the sound clip, you have to animate in sync up front....indeed a challenge, however the sound's waveform on the timeline is really helpful to determine where your keyframes should be, and the way the timeline itself organises and displays keyframes is intuitive and efficient....i guess there are several ways to approach animation, and A:M's tools does help you a lot in this regard. :)
 
 

Attached Files



#30 Rodney

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 08:06 PM

Apologies for being slow to respond.  Distractions!

 

As always I like the detail you add to these exercises.

That says a lot about you an your willingness to put everything you can into the challenge ahead.

The big plus this time around of course is the mood you've set which sets the stage for the performance.

Personally, I find that (staging) to fall well into the realm of Anticipation and because of that we start building up our expectations even as we enter the scene.

That's the long way of saying... nice touch!

 

When the poorest part of the performance is the audio quality... that's saying something too!  ;)

We need to scrub that audio for noise and get that updated as the noise detracts from your presentation and it deserves better.

Sorry about that!

 

Now... I need to rewatch your video with an eye for lipsync. 

And that in itself is a clue as to how successful you were in this exercise.

While watching I didn't even think about lipsync!  :)


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#31 harunw

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 05:37 AM

While watching I didn't even think about lipsync!   :)

 

 

Hehe, it's all smoke and mirrors (aka mood and lighting...) that was distracting from the main purpose of this exercise.....and that's the secret! ;)
And thanks very much again for your generous compliments and feedback!


#32 robcat2075

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 07:21 AM

I like the mood lighting!


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#33 Rodney

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 12:04 PM

I've always wanted to extend the pause between the question and the answer in the 'Can you keep a secret' exercise.

The primary reason being to establish a beat for the character to perform.

 

The idea being:

Q:  Can you keep a secret?

<pause while character looks around to see if anyone might overhear or to allow some revelation to flash across Keekat's face>

A:  Didn't think so.

 

It's like a good joke.

It needs to build up... up... upwards... in anticipation of a final payoff.

Then right before the reveal... perhaps a slight move in the opposing direction... to further build suspense and anticipation or perhaps even make the audience think they don't have it figured out even if they are heading in the right way.

Then the resolution.

 

The hard part of using this isolated audio is that there isn't a lot of time to animate a performance.

Some time could be added before the question.

Some time could be added after the answer.

But adding a beat or two between those two keys is essential to the telling of the story's pacing.

 

Have you heard this joke?  

 

What's the difference between a good joke and a bad joke timing?

 

So, yeah.  While cleaning out the excess noise I'd like to re-time that thing or perhaps even better... split it into two audio files.

A quick workaround to this for use in A:M would be to save the current audio as two different files then trim the audio once it's inside A:M.

Of course a program like Audacity makes editing of audio trivial too. 

 

Audio is like animation itself in how beats can be inbetweened to evoke specific thoughts and emotions.

Keekat has a bunch of secrets and (I think) he's suggesting one of those may be 'timing'.  


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#34 harunw

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 03:41 AM

I like the mood lighting!

 

Thanks for the good feedback!



#35 harunw

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 03:43 AM

I've always wanted to extend the pause between the question and the answer in the 'Can you keep a secret' exercise.

The primary reason being to establish a beat for the character to perform.

 

<..snip..>

 

Thanks for your ideas! Might give it a try next time.... 



#36 harunw

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 03:46 AM

Exercise 8 - Customised Car
 
Sorry for disappearing for so long, but i have had a major spike in work load and other matters, and couldn't focus on doing 3D stuff...
Hopefully I can continue from now on, and below is the first of the modeling tutorials - the customised car being the one in blue.
 
Ex08 - Customised Car v01.png

Attached Files


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#37 Rodney

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 06:51 AM

I had just been wondering what you've been up to. :)


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