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Filmmakers of all kinds are exploring new digital tools for creating animated content. After Effects CS3: Animating Characters follows the creation of a short animated film, from storyboard through final output, using After Effects CS3. George Maestri uses a one-minute monster movie to showcase the new Puppet tool, along with many other techniques for animating characters in After Effects. He covers lip syncing, creating segmented characters with movable joints, and employing special effects. George demonstrates in detail how to create individual scenes and shots, and offers insight into how to pull the pieces together to form a cohesive production. Familiarity with After Effects is recommended. Exercise files accompany the course.
As you start any animated project, you need to get a sense of what the shot timing is in the project. Now with this particular project, we had about 10 shots and a lot of it was narration, so one of our first goals was to just kind of roughly time the shots against the narration, so we had a kind of a rough estimate of how long each of these particular shots would be. Now before we did that we had to have some sort of dialogue track. Now at this point, we hadn't found our dialogue artist or actually a voice talent yet. We were still kind of searching for that, but we wanted to get started on the project.
So we have lot of shots that weren't particularly tied to dialogue, so we could actually start animating those first. So what we did, we just recorded a scratch track. I'm going to go to the exercise files here into Monsterpiece and under Audio, you'll find one here called Monsterpiece-track and if I load that up, you will hear basically this rough track. Actually it was Charlie, the artist who did this and he was kind of one of the big forces behind this and he actually just recorded that on a cheap microphone, maybe even his laptop microphone.
So you can hear there is a lot of background noise in this track, but I just want to play you just a small snippet of it here. Let me go ahead and hit Play here. (Movie: Greetings. And welcome to Minute Monsterpieces. Today's monster piece is Frankenstein.) OK, that's enough of that. So you can hear that was very noisy, kind of not that great of recording, but for the purposes of getting started which we really needed to do, it was good enough. We knew we were going to replace it with really good audio.
And the most important thing for us at this point was just to get rough timing, so once we have this track we can actually start to use this to time it against the storyboard to create the Leica reel, so we're going to go ahead and do that in the next lesson.
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