Sunday, January 13, 2013

CGAA Year 1 Animators: Tame Your Dragons!

Here's a guide to help you train your Dragons.
It gives you step by step Dragon instructions and some ways to tackle its idiosynchrasies!

And remember: JUMPING SACKS
Keep your sack stories simple. Think about the character, and conveying gesture purely through movement. Read the notes and check out references on myuca. If the idea is something that excites and interests you, and makes you want to dive into the 12 drawings per second.. then dive in! and enjoy the ride! I look forward to seeing your sacks having come to life next week... ATLEAST half way through the animation... if not more :)

If any of you do not have peg-bars, you need to make sure your animation papers are exactly aligned on the edges while you are animating. This is not very difficult as all the papers are exactly sized. Don't make this a practice, its an emergency solution just so you dont waste the day because of forgotten/ lost pegbars.

 Here are some basic steps to help you with Dragon Frame software. It includes a few issues you might face when you open dragon frame software, and points out ways you can deal with that.
  1. The log –in for the dragon machines.
Username: dragon
Password: dragon

  1. Double click on the Dagonframe icon to open the software.
  2. Choose to ‘Create New Scene’, and save it with your name (in the CGAA toolkit anim folder on the desktop)
  3. You will see a message ‘No Video Source’

  • Remove lens cap
  • Turn camera on
  • Make sure it is on MANUAL setting

  1. Click Command + R  to refresh dragon. It should now say ‘Aquiring Video Image’ and automatically go on to Live view mode where dragon shows what the camera sees.

If the Live view does not get activated try the following:
    • Refresh settings by hitting Command + R again
    • Go to Capture > Capture source > select camera
    • Turn the camera off and on again, and again hit cmd + R
    • If none of the above work, you will need to quit and restart dragon and follow the above steps.
There is no logic or reason why sometimes dragon takes a few attempts to recognise the camera source and give a live- view, the only way to solve it is to persist! And it will work.

  1. Adjust the height of the camera, and the camera frame to suit your animation frame. Remember to Focus before you start filming.

  1. Capture frames by hitting the Enter button.

  1. If you’re not happy with how your image looks; if its looking bleached out / too dark, you can change the camera settings in the cinematography window.

On the top right hand corner of the Dragon frame, you will see this:

Click on the Camera icon to get into the cinematography window.
Once inside: you can go here (see below image) and change the exposure settings. Test your settings by taking a test shot. Once happy, you can return to the Animation window by clicking on the Animation icon on the top right corner again of your window. 

  1. X- SHEET: Once you finish shooting your frames, you can add, remove, duplicate or insert frames by going into the X- Sheet.
Access X-Sheet by going to Window > Show X-Sheet
Inside the X-Sheet, click on the frame number you want to edit and right click to see the edit options.

Hope this is helpful. Goodluck with it, and enjoy your animation Wednesday.

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