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All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.
Now in character animation, before you do any sort of animation, you first need to record your dialogue. Now in animation, dialogue tracks are recorded first. This makes it much easier to get a really good take and a good spontaneous bit of acting. Now, once you have that bit of recording, you have to read the tracks and actually get the phonemes. And then after that, you animate to the existing track. So basically record the dialogue, read the track to get the phonemes and then you animate to the track.
Now, when you are reading a track, one of the first things you will do is you will actually bring it up in the computer and you will see a visual representation of the waveform of the track. When you are looking at a waveform such as this in the computer, you will see that there are louder parts, which are the up and down parts here. So this is a loud part. Or a soft part. If you really take a look, you will see that the loud parts are vowels and the soft parts are consonants. So that means vowels are typically louder and consonants are quieter.
This is because remember, vowels are the open mouth sounds and consonants are the breaks between sounds. So consonants just by nature are going to be softer. So if you can look at this track here you can see that the vowels are little bit taller and the consonants are a little bit softer. So there is a consonant, a very short one, between these two vowels and here is another soft consonant. So that's a typical rule of thumb. But let's go ahead and read an actual track and see how it works.
So here I have a basic track and it's about 70 frames long. And I am going to go ahead and read it, but before we read it, let's go ahead and play in real time. (Recording: These pretzels are making me thirsty, these pretzels are making me thirsty.) So now that you have head the track, let's go ahead and scrub through it a little bit more slowly. So here we have the waveform that represents that track. So let's go ahead scrub through it a frame at a time and see what we get.
So the first word is "these." Now the dialogue track says these pretzels are making me thirsty. So the first bit of dialogue is when you can hear the word these. So this actual word is these. So you can also see that that's the TH, and this the E, and that's the S at the end. So you can see how we have the word "these." So you can see Th-eeee-ss.
So we have These. You can hear the P and even see that little mark here for the P, These pretzels, PRE. So there is pr-EH---tz---eh---lllll-ssssss. Let's actually go ahead and bring that up. So pretzels. So you can see here this part is actually the L and S, there are actually long consonants. Pretzels, so let's try that again. So that's pretzels. Are. Now I am using the phoneme sound.
So are is actually Ah and the letter R. So "are." You can see this is the M, Make, Marking. And now again we have got another M here, Me. So making me and the last word is thirsty. In fact if we take a look at this, we can almost figure it out just by looking at the waveform, what is it? Thirsty. So th-UR---ssss-t-eeee. That's pretty much what's it going to be.
You can almost look at the waveform and infer what the phonemes will be. So we can also see this as thirs-teee. Let's take a look at that. So you can actually get to the point where you can actually almost look at the waveform and by knowing the dialogue, you can pretty much see where everything is at. So we have thirs and this is S and then we have tee, which is that short consonant, and then t-eee and then the E. So we have th-UR---ssss--t--eeee.
So now that we have the track read, let's go ahead and play it back one more time, so you can see the phonemes against the sound in real time. (Recording: These pretzels are making me thirsty.) (Recording x2: These pretzels are making me thirsty.) So there you have the track read. Now when reading a track, be sure to match your phonemes against the waveform and once you have it, it's time to start animating dialogue.
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