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Hash, Inc. - Animation:Master

Stalled Trek 2012 —Finished!


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Thanks, guys!


@Stian: I agree. It's partly post work I'm doing in Photoshop, but I like that it gives it all a "miniature" look which plays well with this being puppets. I also think that using the roughness combined with dof helps to sell the effect.

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@Stian: I agree. It's partly post work I'm doing for Photoshop, but I like that it gives it all a "miniature" look which plays well with this being puppets. I also think that using the roughness combined with dof helps to sell the effect.

Absolutely! By the way, how do you do it in Photoshop? I have used DOFPro a lot. It is a plugin in Photoshop. Very easy and quick to adjust the DOF. You do need an depthmap though, but that is easy to make, just a pure white render with black fog. Anyway, the DOFPro lets you adjust the strenght and the focal point, and it also do image sequences even with keyframing

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Nothing as fancy as that, Stian. Although, probably more work. :-)


1) I use A:M's DOF in the render, which does the "big work".


2) In Photoshop, I duplicate the layer and use a pretty big gaussian blur. I set the layer's blend mode to either overlay or soft light and set it's opacity to something like 50%. This gives the entire image a sort of "filmic glow."


3) I create a mask in a new channel that is essentially a circle (or circles) around what I want to be in sharpest focus (the heads, for instance.) I then blur the mask, so that it is very subtle.


4) On the bottom layer, I load the mask as a selection and apply a very small gaussian blur.


5) I then create a new layer on top and fill it black using the same selection mask. I set it to multiply and then I dial the opacity down until you just get "darkened edges."


6) Lastly, I use an adjustment layer to color correct the image.


All of this can be done in AfterEffects, too. I've just been doing it in Photoshop since they are still images.


[EDIT] Here's an example taking one of your train renders and doing the post process. Without actual DOF in the render, you don't get the dramatic effect of it, but you do see how it softens the look of the whole render and focuses attention on the face.





I can't actually change the DOF this way, but it does enhance what A:M is giving me and gives that "tilt-shift" look to it.

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So, change of plans. After I animated the first shot of episode two, I started to be concerned that I needed to make sure that episode 1 was fully completed before moving on. So, I've been doing final renders and fixing up the shots for it over the last few days.


It occurred to me that I needed some sort of framing device since this is being split into three-minute episodes.


So, I came up with the idea that the episodes would be hosted by an alien character who has been intercepting broadcasts in space and is sharing them via his own show. This gives the show an actual name ("The Paunk! Show") and frees me up to do other parodies down the road.


Although the plan to do ten episodes for this first season remains the same, I've decided I only need to have the first story finished by the deadline. By adding two minutes of host stuff to each episode, I now end up with five-minute episodes and 25 minutes of content is agreeable to me to put out on one DVD. This is a profound relief to me. I'm not really saving any work since I'll still be doing all ten episodes anyway. (In fact it's going to add an additional 20 minutes of animation to the project), but it means I don't have to kill myself to have all ten episodes done by April 1st.


As fast as it's going, I might still succeed in that, but I don't *have* to. :-)


Here's an image showing screen grabs from the first episode!



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This Looks so Good!

If this is Not going to become a huge succsess, i will Loose my Faith!



I might, too. :-)


Thanks, Mark, Jake & Rodney!


I should have the opening titles sequence finished today, which will be all of the visuals for the first Stalled Trek segment. I finished the "Earth Nerd" character yesterday and started planning out the set for the host segments. I also took the whole thing into Garageband and did as much sound work as I could, making new sound effects since the original ones are copyrighted. I played around with some of the loops to create a theme song for the main show. It'll do for now. :-)


Unfortunately, this chest cold still hasn't cleared up, so all of my voice work is temporary. It's going to be annoying to have to redub them all, but being that I'm dubbing to puppets, it shouldn't be too difficult. On the plus side, my raspy breathing provided the basis for a "ship's hum" sound effect. :-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just an update on progress.


Had a few stumbles with the production process, but better to make the mistakes early on than later. :-)


My voice has returned enough that I've been able to do the final voice tracks, but this meant having to reanimate the lip-synching on the first Stalled Trek installment, which in turn, means that I'm having to re-render those shots. It's costing me time, but there were some technical mistakes in some of those shots that would have led me to re-render them anyway. Also, I've developed a sort of "style" with the lip-synching now and I was able to improve what I'd done before.


I switched to using SoundBooth to handle the voice stuff and I'm finding I can control it much better than with GarageBand. I'm still using GarageBand for the music and sound effects, though. I'm managing to get by with just plugging in some musical stingers and a bit of me playing around on a melodica that I ordered last week.


I lost a lot of time worrying over the audio side, so it's nice to know that I won't have to do that with the rest of them.


As I'm waiting for these renders to finish, I'm trying to work up some kind of file organization for the rest of the episodes. When you have a lot of false starts, you end up with a large amount of files you don't need and I'm realizing I need to have everything streamlined, or I'm going to run out of space real fast. Right now, I've got 17.86 GB worth of files. One of the biggest problems is that I started this as Stalled Trek and a few weeks in decided to make it The Paunk Show. They really are two different things, but I need to organize them together somehow. Put everything in an order that makes sense and archive the extra stuff that I don't need.


The final running time for the first episode came in at 6:15, which is great for bumping up the overall running time for the DVD, but it's more animation than I originally planned for. Thankfully, the Paunk stuff takes place on one set and is mostly one camera shot. I've found that I can animate a very large amount of dialogue in a day. Getting faster at this was bound to happen and it's making me more confident I can do the animation in the time I have left.


It's been important to get this first episode into its final state just to prove to myself that it all will work. I'm pleased with the final product. It looks a whole lot better than I originally expected. I think the Paunk stuff is coming out pretty funny, too. It's going to have its own sort of storyline running across the episodes. But I'm easily two weeks behind on my schedule.


I'm still planning on April 1st for the launch, but I may move that if need be. I'm not going to launch until all five episodes of this first series are completely finished.

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I've decided to release the first episode out into the open! It won't change anything as to the "official" release date, but I am calling this one a pilot, rather than episode one.


You can see it



At least on the first watching, the audio seems to go a little out of sync at the end. Probably doesn't greatly effect the viewing, but as I've spent so much time doing lip synching, it's a big frustration for me. :-)


I need to check on what can cause that. Obviously the original files don't have that problem. It's either something to do with the conversion to Flash video or I guess it could be the flash plug-in on the Mac, too.


Let me know what you think!

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That looks super, Mark!


My one crit upon watching it would be that in some of the dialog you're occasionally cutting too late to the next shot, leaving an awkward pause in there. I just noticed that on a few cuts.


But that's a great looking show! (needs an A:M mention in the credits)




You can see it



At least on the first watching, the audio seems to go a little out of sync at the end. Probably doesn't greatly effect the viewing, but as I've spent so much time doing lip synching, it's a big frustration for me. :-)


I need to check on what can cause that. Obviously the original files don't have that problem. It's either something to do with the conversion to Flash video or I guess it could be the flash plug-in on the Mac, too.


Perhaps try uploading a Quicktime mov with AAC audio rather than converting to Flash.

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Thanks, Robert!


I'll confess that I timed everything to my original dialogue read and when I re-did the lines, I seemed to do them faster. If I have time, I'll re-cut them before it becomes an actual episode. Some of the head animation doesn't match anymore, either. I can't sweat too much, though, or I'll never make the deadline. Right now, I've got 55 days and four episodes to do, amounting to around 20 minutes of animation.


I feel kind of funny about the whole "made with..." thing. I'm a MacUser and I still wince at those "Made on a Mac" buttons. The plan right now is to change up the end credits with some kind of gag each time. I definitely want to stay away from those "Written, Acted, Animated, Edited, Directed, etc. etc. by" deals. It seems corny and folks don't really care. :-)


I actually uploaded it via Quicktime X using the uncompressed Quicktime movie (a whopping 1.9 GB file!) I haven't googled the problem, but I definitely encounter it with other YouTube videos, so maybe there's a fix out there.


[edit] Actually the original file is a whopping 9.9 GB. Yikes!

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Wow! That's amazing that you have been able to do all of that so quickly and single handedly too!

The script, the gags, the models, the voices and music, animation and editing ! Wow! Well done! :)


The lack of eye and brow movement bothered me a little but I gather that was by design in order to cut production time. The voice of the green alien grated after a while but this is subjective. Just my personal, hyper-critical opinions. :)

I love the intro music. It has a touch of the Hitch hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' about it.


Very impressive!

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Thanks, Paul! That's the whole reasoning behind the puppet-style animation. There's no way I could produce full animation in this time by myself. I'm still not entirely sure I'll pull off completing it in time anyway. :-)


Eye-movement was something I gave thought to, but had to throw out. The only way this gets done is if it's me animating an arm with the hand opening and closing. :-)


Paunk's voice is double-tracked to get that harmonics sound. (It's actually me doing an impression of Don Adams.) :-) Like many shows, I'm sure there'll be changes as I go. Hard to start off fully-formed.


I can only take partial credit for the music, as it is a GarageBand composition that comes with the program. I just changed the instruments and added things to make it sound more otherworldly. I really wish I had any musical talent... Some of the bits of music are me blowing into a melodica, but they are only very short bits and they sound terrible. :-)

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Looks good, visually appealing, very professional. Amazing amount of work.


I am fine with the limited animation, lack of eyeball, eyebrow movements, but might have more comic connection with audience if they did have some rudimentary puppety face type emotions. I'm pleased to see that they less resemble the muppets than I thought they would, so no law suit coming down the shoot.


One thing that distracted me first & subsequent times thru...which is my problem only...is the glossy, plastic hair - would rather see it felt material. It's obviously NOT important to change, but it was the one detail, that made me not believe they were puppets. I want them to be puppets! My problem.


I rewatched this about 5-6 times, and found out that there was something I missed each time. So I would say that either I drifted away, or the sound track wasn't of good enough quality to hold my interest, or the timing didn't let things register (but it felt like good timing), or I am just so uninterested in Star trek (most likely).


Given the limited animation, IMO, the sound track, storyline is probably the uber-est important-est.


I'm not a trekkie afficionado nor have I ever played one, so I don't feel qualified to critique it from the parody appeal point of view.


I would suggest getting some reaction/feedback from non-animating, non-storytelling, trekkie (non- friends) audience nutcases to get a better read on appeal, interest.

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Thanks, Nancy! This is definitely aimed at the uber-Star Trek fans.


No chances of going back and re-doing the hair at this point, Nancy. I tried it with the felt look and didn't like it. It would look great if I could do hair or yarn or something, but that ain't in the cards.


Time ain't on my side. To make it even more difficult, I just agreed to work freelance next week from Monday to Thursday, so the better part of next week is lost to me. Gonna' be really frustrating to sit around waiting for work knowing how much isn't getting done on this. :-)

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That was awesome Mark! :)


I was going to say, "No Crits" but I have one little tiny you've-gotta-be-kidding-me critique.

Make those TVs in opening sequence larger and/or flying toward the our screen)

The rationale is to fill up more space but more specifically to keep viewers from wondering what the heck is actually on those screens.

Because the screens themselves weren't visible for much time, it took a few moments to actually realize they were TVs.

Edit: That's not the problem... subsequent viewings make it a lot less of an issue. ;)


(I did say it was a tiny you've-gotta-be-kidding-me critique)


Outstanding job.

Very impressive.

The thing that most impresses me is that you did all those voices! :blink:

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Thanks, Rodney!


Really great to get this kind of reaction. It's tough working on these things by yourself and wondering if it will go over.


I had originally imagined many many more TVs at different sizes moving around, but took the short cut out. :-) I wanted the ones that came up close enough to recognize to be significant, but really only had three that were. I might update it in the future to feature Barry the Nerd or the Pear OD-9000 computer.


I have an okay ear for doing impressions, but what's really helpful is to be able to change the pitch. Even Mel Blanc used to do that. Daffy Duck was just Sylvester's voice sped up slightly. With modern apps, you can adjust the pitch without changing the speed. I'm not positive, but I believe the opening "Direct from Outer Space, it's the Paunk Show!" is the only one where I didn't change the speed of my voice. I just added echo to it.


Nurse Chapel screaming is a purchased sound effect. Don't think there's any software that could turn my voice into that. :-)

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Thanks, guys!


Now I guess I *do* have to finish it. :-)


Big thanks, Steve! I'm hoping to get some feedback from the Trek fans out there. I wrote to one of the Star Trek news sites earlier today and they responded and offered to put the word out about it. I'm going to try to get the other sites to take notice, too.

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Thanks, Ken, David, & John!


Ken, I think I'll be able to look at it fresh later in the process and hopefully fix that.


The Star Trek news site, Subspace Communique put up a really nice write-up about it here.


Hopefully this early exposure will foster interest in the show so that there'll be at least a small audience looking for it when it officially launches.

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Mark great job

i felt the ship lack this so i did it (apologies if i over step my bounds)

here's some sound fx for you

i did it in 2 parts just incase it would not line up so just drag and drop to the vo you'll see it

and if you would like i'll upload the ship sound and barry's energy belt







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Setting up my files for episode two. Already feel better with having some kind of order. :-)


I modeled up this over-sized pet carrier for one of my favorite gags from the original version of "Amutt Time." :-)




And just for laughs, here's what it looked like waaay back in 1996:



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