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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:51 PM   #1
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Animation to FCP 'virgin'.

Just noticed the following thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/non-linea...animation.html

but I think this is one or two steps ahead from where I am currently at.

Essentially we've started an animation project from numerous creative angles but we're at the point where we need to start putting the jigsaw together.
I've recorded the voice over (the actual author of books we're animating) and added foley/sound effects (and will shortly be adding the soundtrack). The illustrator will be working in 'Illustrator', Photoshop and Flash for the time being at least (possibly AE before looking into dedicated animation programs such as TV paint).
We will also be looking into part film/video & animation projects.

My query is as to the size of 'canvas' the illustrator should be working on. With square/rectangle pixels in mind and the fact I often shoot in HDV (720p) what size should we be working on? Bearing in mind I'll currently 'downscale' HDV 720p to SD during the compression stage, should I therefore ask for 1280x720 pixels or stick with 1080x576...or 720x576 considering the square/rectangle pixel scenario (had a bit of trouble with DVDSP and 16:9 image stretching recently...see past post!).
I presumed most, if not all animations were shot 16:9 but I believe, until fairly recently at least, shows such as Family Guy were still made in 4:3. This is another dilemma, again I guessed 4:3 was on it's way out (save for the odd experimental Gus Van Sant flick) and so widescreen (and it's many flavours) should be the first option (the majority of people seem to have 16:9 sets these days).

My plan was to pull in QT files from the animated material (from Flash as an example) into FCP after which I'd add the soundtrack (created in Logic/Soundtrack Pro) then titles from Motion/Livetype into either a HDV 720p project or a PAL anamorphic project...but I'm not entirely sure now!?!

Cheers.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 10:05 AM   #2
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I use AE because I illustrate on paper, but also because I like all the special effects. I've never heard of TVpaint, has it been used for any feature length? Another option is Animation Software | Toon Boom Animation if you are shopping around.
The canvas size in illustrator should absolutely be 16x9, 720p is fine if 1080p is overkill. Remember that it's vector based and the size is infinite, most important is the pen size you nail down has to look good on screen and be consistent from shot to shot. Do not animate anamorphic (that is attributed to video recording) use square pixels whenever possible. HDV codec is also attributed to video recording, even people who shoot with it actually edit with "pro res" -so just use that. Make sure your project is NEVER interlaced, select "field dominance none" in FCP sequence settings. Pay close attention to frames per second and keep it consistent, 24p might be a little jittery for computer animated stuff?
Family guy is stupid to stay 4:3, they have always had technical errors in their shows (like weird interlacing issues) but like South Park they aren't about the technical skills.
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Old July 31st, 2009, 10:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aric Mannion View Post
I use AE because I illustrate on paper, but also because I like all the special effects. I've never heard of TVpaint, has it been used for any feature length? Another option is Animation Software | Toon Boom Animation if you are shopping around.
The canvas size in illustrator should absolutely be 16x9, 720p is fine if 1080p is overkill. Remember that it's vector based and the size is infinite, most important is the pen size you nail down has to look good on screen and be consistent from shot to shot. Do not animate anamorphic (that is attributed to video recording) use square pixels whenever possible. HDV codec is also attributed to video recording, even people who shoot with it actually edit with "pro res" -so just use that. Make sure your project is NEVER interlaced, select "field dominance none" in FCP sequence settings. Pay close attention to frames per second and keep it consistent, 24p might be a little jittery for computer animated stuff?
Family guy is stupid to stay 4:3, they have always had technical errors in their shows (like weird interlacing issues) but like South Park they aren't about the technical skills.
Thanks Aric (cool name - never heard of that before).
Good - I'll continue in 16:9 then. Yes - Toon Boom is the other software we looked at alongside Tv Paint:

TVPaint Developpement - Web Site

AE is something we have but have yet to get into...looking forward to the learning curves on that however. I won't be doing any of the animation per se, more the post prod and audio. The reason I've mentioned the HDV stuff is because we may do some animation which utlisises film footage also - I'll be shooting in 720p25. Unfortunately I don't think my version of FCP has the pro res option (still on FCP2)...an upgrade is hopefully imminent.
Ok - so I'll ask the animator/illustrator to work within a 1280x720 pixel canvas - I guess at the moment I'll only have the HDV 25p option to edit in??

Another option is PAL anamorphic - I'll be in 720x576 (16:9) whereas he will be using 1080x576 (am I on the right path here?) otherwise I'll stick with the 1280x720 format whilst I post in the aforementioned HDV codec (in absence of the pro res codec).

Apologies for some probably very basic questioning but the graphics/illustration side isn't really something I've touched on (hence not being entirely sure what vector based means...I'll look it up :) ).

Aye - Family Guy is so well written and so rammed full of idea's you can practically forgive those guys for pretty much everything!

Many thanks.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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Is PAL really 1080x576? NTSC is more like 853x480 or 865x480. Although HDV might be OK for some editing, you usually change your sequence settings to something else before you export. In your case you can use "apple intermediate codec" -I think. Or drag the pro res plugin from another system into your FCP plugins folder, but that may be horribly illegal.
After Effects is good for animations like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, where there are video effects and a series of images used to animate. But the other programs offer better sort of puppet-like controls for vector based images, where you can squash and stretch characters or tweak the drawings within the program.
In any case work in HD if possible! Just remember: Family Guy is still not HD.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 11:45 PM   #5
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Is PAL really 1080x576?
No, Anamorphic PAL is 720x576 stretched to 1024x576.

Square Pixel widescreen PAL is 1024 x 576, which is 80% of 720p, so 720 isn't really a massive resolution increase for us PAL users (So unless things are being broadcast 720p50, where you have the increased temporal resolution due to double the number of frames, then 720p HD isn't such a hot proposition in PAL world.)
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Old August 6th, 2009, 03:14 PM   #6
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No, Anamorphic PAL is 720x576 stretched to 1024x576.

Square Pixel widescreen PAL is 1024 x 576, which is 80% of 720p, so 720 isn't really a massive resolution increase for us PAL users (So unless things are being broadcast 720p50, where you have the increased temporal resolution due to double the number of frames, then 720p HD isn't such a hot proposition in PAL world.)
I agree that is not a major leap in quality for PAL users, but you may as well use 720p for animations.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 06:48 AM   #7
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Sorry for delay in replying!

Yes -apologies I meant 1080x576 is PAL pixels stretched so I would expect this size for illustrations (importing images into a 720x576 project).

Since my last post I've played around with an exported SWF file exported from Flash (haven't yet tried an exported, uncompressed QT file) and dropped this into a HDV 720p25 project. This required rendering even though the QT was 1080x720 and was 10fps rather than 25fps (this should've been exported as a 25fps project).
Ok - this was a test, but seems to work ok. Not sure why it required rendering and if it's necessary for the animation to be in 25fps?

Cheers.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by David Scattergood View Post
Sorry for delay in replying!

Yes -apologies I meant 1080x576 is PAL pixels stretched so I would expect this size for illustrations (importing images into a 720x576 project).

Since my last post I've played around with an exported SWF file exported from Flash (haven't yet tried an exported, uncompressed QT file) and dropped this into a HDV 720p25 project. This required rendering even though the QT was 1080x720 and was 10fps rather than 25fps (this should've been exported as a 25fps project).
Ok - this was a test, but seems to work ok. Not sure why it required rendering and if it's necessary for the animation to be in 25fps?

Cheers.
Craig posted above that "Square Pixel widescreen PAL is 1024 x 576" That is 16x9 not 1080x576.
720p is 1280x720, unless it is anamorphic in which case the resolution is 960x720 STRETCHED to play back as 1280x720. Is this number really different in PAL?
You will have to render animations in an HDV timeline unless the animations are exported as a quicktime ".mov" with the HDV 720p 25fps codec selected. You'll always have to render if your animation's codec is not exactly the same as your Final Cut sequence settings. I don't know if you can export with those exact settings from Flash. (you can from after effects).
HDV as a codec was designed for video to be recorded onto a camera with high def resolutions. It is compressed with mpeg 2 codec same as a DVD, which means that the video does not take up much space on the computer, but is not the best quality. When you make an edit or dissolve you have the chance of losing more quality in that area. Which is weird, but that is why people shoot in HDV and edit in Pro Res or Apple Intermediate codec.
Are you setting up your Final Cut timeline with the "easy setup"? What other options do you have for 720p?
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Old August 11th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Aric Mannion View Post
Craig posted above that "Square Pixel widescreen PAL is 1024 x 576" That is 16x9 not 1080x576.
720p is 1280x720, unless it is anamorphic in which case the resolution is 960x720 STRETCHED to play back as 1280x720. Is this number really different in PAL?
You will have to render animations in an HDV timeline unless the animations are exported as a quicktime ".mov" with the HDV 720p 25fps codec selected. You'll always have to render if your animation's codec is not exactly the same as your Final Cut sequence settings. I don't know if you can export with those exact settings from Flash. (you can from after effects).
HDV as a codec was designed for video to be recorded onto a camera with high def resolutions. It is compressed with mpeg 2 codec same as a DVD, which means that the video does not take up much space on the computer, but is not the best quality. When you make an edit or dissolve you have the chance of losing more quality in that area. Which is weird, but that is why people shoot in HDV and edit in Pro Res or Apple Intermediate codec.
Are you setting up your Final Cut timeline with the "easy setup"? What other options do you have for 720p?
Oops - I meant to put 1024 not 1080 (I mentioned 1080 instead of 1280 too...typo's I'm afraid!)...I was thinking of 1080p from somewhere else.
Yes, I work in 1280 x 720 HDV. I told the animator to work in 1280x720 and this will probably work for us. He exported the file as a quicktime (I read there was a way of accepting swf files in QT pro and then exporting from there into FCP but I cannot find a solution to that).

I'll drop the FCP set up options on this post shortly - FCP is out of action as currently compressing.

Cheers Aric.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #10
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this can play flv, but I'm not sure about swf unfortunately. In my experience they are hit or miss, usually not working. If you really can't use his flvs he should be able to export a quicktime. The question is what codec? H.264 is lossy and HDV might be worse. Animation codec is almost uncompressed in quality and might be a good start but takes up a lot of space, and if you guys aren't swapping drives it might not be an option.
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