Thursday, July 31, 2014

Animated Short: "Somnium"

Here's a skillfully animated short film with a plot that reminded me somewhat of "The Matrix" entitled "Somnium". Gerard Seymour directed and created the story for the film, which resides on YouTube channel The Animation School:



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Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Muvizu Play+" Animation Program

Some weeks after I made this post, Digimania (the creators of Muvizu) announced "Muvizu Play+", a premium version of the Muvizu animation program which provides an alternative to the pay-as-you-go system for commercial use of Muvizu output.

In summary, Muvizu movie creators now have three alternatives:

(1) You can use the free version of Muvizu for as long as you want to create as many movies as you want. The free version, however, attaches a Muvizu watermark to each movie, and commercial use of such movies is not allowed.

(2) You can pay Digimania to remove the watermark from a movie and allow commercial use. The amount of such payment varies by the length of the movie in minutes and whether the frame size is standard or high definition.

(3) You can buy Muvizu+ (on which Digimania recently cut the price to 75 pounds from the previous 150 pounds) and produce as many watermark-free, commercial-use-allowed movies as you want for as long as you want.

For more details, see the Muvizu web site, especially this page.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

"Franticlaus: Son of Santa"

Santa Claus contends with a variety of challenges in this humorous Christmas animation by Daniel Kouts, accompanied with music by Nick Kouts:



related web site: http://www.danielkouts.com/ *
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Text To Speech for Video", new open source program

I am pleased to announce that Text to Speech for Video is now available. Having been rather disappointed in the quality, price, and licensing conditions of many of the text to speech products in existence, I decided to create my own free and open source alternative specifically intended for creators of animated videos who want an easy to use way of generating speech for their characters.  Below is a short video demonstrating what the output sounds like:




Right now there are two voices available - one male with a southern U.S. accent (demonstrated in the video above) and one female with an asian accent (I'd describe it as Indian subcontinent).  Each voice has about 1500 words now (including some duplicates with different emotiveness - questioning, emphatic, etc.).  I hope to add more words to the existing voices and more voices as well in the coming months/years.

It's also quite easy (if you have the patience) to record your own "voice". Since each word is stored as a separate wav file (22 khz, 2 channel stereo), the voices take up quite a lot of room (program plus the two voices currently about 80mb which will grow over time as more words/voices are added).  The upside is that, in contrast to many synthetically generated voices, the output can sound a lot like real speech (since it is real speech, at least on a word for word basis). *
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

"In Sickness" animation

Here's a scary but touching animated short from "The Animation School" in South Africa entitled "In Sickness":



It won the gold medal in 2011 The New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards in the Short Animation File category. *
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Experiment Using the Daz Transfer Utility

Recently I watched the following video about how to use the Daz Transfer Utility in Daz Studio to change static objects into clothing for Daz figures that move with the figure:



The foregoing caused me to wonder if this feature could also be used to allow modifying the figure itself in an external program such as Sculptris or Wings 3D and having it still move in Daz Studio (rather than just coming back as a static object).  Below is a simple experiment of this concept where I exported the Daz Genesis figure in obj format, imported it into Wings 3D, extruded some spikes from the head, re-exported it in obj format, imported it back into Daz, and finally used the Transfer Utility to export all of the Genesis figure default items onto the imported obj file so that it would move around just like the original Genesis figure.  Sure enough, it worked!





(I messed around with the surface settings in Daz to give it the appearance shown above).

I tried to do the same thing in Sculptris, but I ran into a problem in that when I ran the Transfer utility the imported object kept going out of vertical alignment with the Genesis figure (even after I aligned it correctly beforehand).  After some experimentation I realized this was a problem not specifically with Sculptris but with the fact that I had moved the object in Sculptris so as to be able to zoom in on the head.  Trying again with the added step in Sculptris of moving the figure back to the original position as close as I could get it resulted in the alignment in Daz being almost correct, the difference presumably being due to my being slightly off in my attempt in Sculptris to return the figure to where it was before i moved it. *
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Destiny" - Another Great Animated Short

I enjoyed watching this animated short posted by YouTube member Fabien Weibel.  It reminded me a bit of the movie Ground Hog's Day:


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