Saturday, October 20, 2007

2D Magic Tool : FlipBook!

Very soon I'll be doing Jason Ryan's upcoming animation course where he will be teaching his cool 2D-3D approach, cartoony acting, and a lot more! So, I'm really excited for it. YAY!!
A few days back I asked Jason, to suggest me a 2D animation software and he suggested me to purchase the new version of Digicel FlipBook, version 5. Finally, I've managed to purchase it and I love it!
The pressure sensitivity works great and the lines look very smooth and flowing. There is also an option to pick different types of pencils and they all work great. It really feels and looks like I'm drawing with a real pencil. The line quality is so good that I can even do life drawings in FlipBook. hehhe.. Though for my life drawings, I like to use Alias SketchBook Pro.

In FlipBook, you can directly import your drawings/frames from Maya and then you can time it there in FlipBook, and draw better poses and finally export everything (timing, etc) back into Maya. It's really cool! Timing is also very easy in FlipBook. I can play my animation in loop, adjust my timing and watch the results in real time. I think that's a huge plus point. Also, I love the new "Light Box Option". This makes it very easy to work straight ahead and pose to pose. COOL!!

Check out these doodles I made in FlipBook.

Rabbit Run Cycle

Tug of war

Yeah, I know my drawings are horrible... but don't worry, I'm working on it. heh..

One more thing I would like to discuss here. A lot of folks ask me this same annoying question over and over .... "Hey! Why the hell do you spend so much time in 2D? Are you scared of working in 3D?"
Scared?? NO! Not at all. Why would I be scared of working in 3D? I don't get it. I know, I can work in 3D and 2D both. I'm learning animation, and I like exploring things. 2D gives me a freedom to explore things which I can hardly ever dream of doing in 3D (unless I'm a technical nerd, or a kickass rigger). In 2D, I'm not dependent on CG rigs and I can experiment freely and figure out things much quicker. Drawing a pose with a stick figure takes me about 10 seconds or sometimes even less. And posing a CG rig takes not less than 10 minutes or sometimes even more. So, its really very fun, easy and quick to experiment in 2D. :)

The best thing animation students can do is to get familiar with 2D animation. It teaches you the basics very quickly and really helps you understand the process. So, purchase a copy of FlipBook and have fun with it. C'mon you kids! There is no need to be scared of 2D. Its not mathematics, you know! hehe.... Once you know the power of 2D animation and realize how much it helps you in your 3D animations... I bet, you'll take its help wherever possible . And of course, no doubt, soon you'll be found miles ahead from the rest of the crowd. They will struggle and you'll chuckle! :)



vabhu said...

hey amrit

your information always helps us a lot. thanks for your animomania work flow tutorial. you are talking about jason ryan's animation tutorial service but whenever i go to his site i m asked for user name & passsword.
How to access his site. and one more question I am a newbie in 3d world and i m struggling with breakdowns arcs and ibs so tell me what to do.

Jacob said...

excellent advice, Amrit.

When I started doing 2D tests I received lots of the "WHY!??" questions as well. I completely agree with you here. Not only is rough posing so much quicker in 2D, but I also feel like you learn a lot more about real animation doing it in 2D, because you aren't spending lots of time making curves look good and getting the splines to not make the character feel floaty - you just draw the frames, one by one, and aren't fighting the computer's inbetweens.
Anyway, good post. :)

Amrit Derhgawen said...

Hi there,

I'm not sure whats wrong with Jason's site. It works fine for me. Goto

Try this link. Maybe this will work for you.. I don't know! :(

For making breakdowns, lets do it this way.... Make two simple KEY drawings. Call them Pose A and Pose B. You have to go from Pose A to Pose B. Now before making a breakdown, THINK... of the most interesting way to move from A to B. Try to do it yourself if possible and study it. Now, when you make your breakdown, exaggerate it and try to make it in such a way that it cleanly links the two key drawings A and B. Don't worry about breaking the rig as you can hardly see the breakdowns, you can just feel them. They will create an effect which will look quite natural. Make sure its flowing and for that, you'll have to work on the arcs and favoring. For making a clear and natural arc, observe life. Always look for "HOW" in the real world. Observe how everything moves. Observe how your hand moves from a pose to another, etc. This is how you'll learn about breakdowns.
Don't be afraid of experimenting. So, keep experimenting.

Study these keith lango's tutorials:

Hope this helps! Good luck. ;)


vabhu said...

thanks amrit

i will surely try the way you suggested. I just see ur push and pull animation, its very cool so keep it up.


vabhu said...

amrit few more questions

why stepped -> linear -> spline?
why not stepped -> spline ?

what do you mean by secondary breakdowns?

Amrit Derhgawen said...

Thats right Jacob, thanks for chiming in! :)

Hi Vaibhav,

Sure, feel free to ask questions. :)
why stepped -> linear -> spline?
why not stepped -> spline ?
what do you mean by secondary breakdowns?

Well... If you read my workflow tutorial carefully, I'm sure you'll find all the answers.
First of all tell me, what is the difference between LINEAR and SPLINE? Both of them gives you free inbetweens. Right? So, where is the difference? Linear gives you inbetweens without eases or straight inbetweens..... and spline gives you inbetweens with eases. Check out a linear motion curve in the graph editor... what do ya see? It just goes directly from point A to B. There are absolutely no eases. Now convert it into spline... now what do you see? Now as you can see very clearly, it eases out from A and eases in to B.
When I'm satisfied with my animation in stepped tangents, I go to linear because I want maximum control over my anim. And I don't want the computer to suggest me things and take decisions. I know how my eases should look and feel so I want to create them manually. I don't want my dumb computer to do that for me. So, after converting into linear, I manually remove all the unnecessary bumps (which are hardly visible in Spline) and then I add the eases and refine them (which is almost impossible for me to it in spline) where needed. I simply cannot do all this in spline. And it would be really, really hard for me to do all this in spline. It will just leave me confused. Spline is just to add that extra bit of smoothness or to make it look "CG smooth". Thats it.

What are secondary breakdowns?

Umm..I thought you've already read/seen my workflow tutorial! Well, looks like you didn't read it at all. heh...
Okay, never mind.. if you read its first part (Few Basics), just after the disclaimer, you'll find all the definitions.
Secondary Breakdowns:
Secondary breakdowns help you define the motion even more. When a primary breakdown is not enough for the computer to interpolate properly, you add a secondary breakdown, kinda like fill in the blanks, to further define the motion. It helps to define eases, additional overlap, micro anticipations, additional arc definition, overshoot, settle, etc...

Good luck :)

vabhu said...

sorry amrit
For my stupid questions. But i can ask as i m a newbie. U r like a helping hand for me. U r saying u go to linear mode to achieve eases. As much as i know and i have read that those eases is achieved by using keyframes not by those arcs in graph editor.

And second thing i have read ur tutorial but i was little bit confused.

at last

tanks a lot buddy


Amrit Derhgawen said...

Hey there Vaibhav,

Don't worry, your questions are not stupid at all.

It really doesn't matter how you create your eases. I'm not a big graph editor fan and I create all my eases, overlaps, overshoot, etc, visually. I totally depend on my eyes. However, the graph editor does help to make things look smooth. I may have a very small bump(almost invisible to my eyes) at the time of an ease-out or maybe I wanna add a small ease in somewhere. This is where the GE helps. :) GE lets you refine things quite efficiently.

>>>i have read that those eases is achieved by using keyframes not by those arcs in graph editor.<<<

There are lots of ways to do a single task (especially in character animation). So you shouldn't be saying that "Hey, This is not achievable!" Almost everything is achievable, you just have to know how to do it.

>>>And second thing i have read ur tutorial but i was little bit confused.<<<

Don't worry. You're starting out. You may not get it all at once. Spend some time animating, experimenting, failing, succeeding, ... and very soon you'll know what I'm trying to say in this tut. Animomania is a tutorial where I've discussed about MY workflow. It may or may not work for you. So, you might get confused (especially if you're a newbie) don't worry. ;)

Keep learning, good luck.


vabhu said...

thanks amrit

for giving me ur precious time


Amrit Derhgawen said...

You're most welcome, Vaibhav. :)

Unknown said...

Looking real good A! I too am trying to get FB5. Is the maya to flipbook image transfer integrated into the program itself? If so that is so cool! What version of flipbook do you recommended? I heard the lite version works fine for what we need it for? Thanks again and keep up the awesome work.

Amrit Derhgawen said...


There is a MEL script which works great, I guess. I've just tested the script, and it worked pretty well.
It kinda works like Keith Lango's Monkey Shuffle script... I'm not sure if you're familiar with that.

I would recommend FlipBook version 5, definitely! It is way cooler than any of the previous versions. Yep! FlipBook Lite is more than enough for any 3D/CG animator. I don't think they'll have to make a 2D feature film with tens and hundreds of layers!!



Anonymous said...

Great job amrit,
I love your Flipbook works, I just bought a copy last night.
may I share it with you if I finished some works.

BTW, May I link to your blog. Thanks.

Vincent Lin