Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Project 2: Abstract Animation

Project 2: Abstract Animation
Create a 30 fps, 200 - 250 frame animation with a beginning, middle and end using color, type, shape, and SOUND. All due on Tuesday, January 24. Rough Cut due Tuesday, January 24.

Animation does not always have to involve characters or the illusion of observed life; we can simply create movement for movement's sake. Such an approach is a kinetic (moving) equivalent of abstract or non-representational art and design. The tension between conventions for representing three-dimensional reality such as perspective and chiaroscuro and purely abstract two-dimensional visual forms such as pattern and writing, is essential to art of the modernist period (roughly 1860's-1970's). For those of you fearing you have missed out on the dizzying elixir of the modernist era, rest easy; this tension 'twixt abstraction and representation is very much alive and well and still a crucial element in all of our our contemporary visual chicanery.

Check out an early example of abstract animation from animation pioneer, Oskar Fischinger, who created this film using... paper and string... egad! An Optical Poem, from 1938:

Another fine example: Norman McLaren's Verical Lines from 1960:

Not to be outdone, here's Paul Glabicki's Object Conversation from 1985... No computers here, either!

1. Starting a file. Important! When starting a new Adboe Animate file, make sure you choose ActionScript 3.0.

2. Make sure you are working at 30 fps for this project. Select Modify > Document to change your frame rate. "Shooting on ones" will make smooth continuous movements like pans and slides much more palatable. Slower frame rates create a noticeable "strobe" effect. Ghastly!

3. Before you can tween, you must convert your drawing into a symbol. Make sure your symbol is of the "Graphic" file type, NOT Movie clip.

4. Learn all about making symbols in Miles' amazing video below:

5. Once you've gotten the hang of symbols, you're ready to do some tweens. Tween is short for in-between. Traditionally, in pose-to-pose animation, we would draw the main storytelling poses, or key frames, first. Once we had the timing of those keyframes down, we would go back and fill in the the rest of the frames inbetween the key frames. Nowadays, tweening refers to the process by which the computer interpolates (mathematically figures out) the frames between the keyframes.

a. Miles' motion tween basics:

And for that extra magic touch... nested and instanced tweens!
b. Miles' nested tween naughtiness:

And here is a quick gif of some nested tweens... er, uh, dank?

1. Use Adobe Audition to make your sound mix. Export as AIFF or mp3.
2. In Animate, import your audio file to the Library by using File > Import > Import to Library
3. In the timeline, create a new layer, name it "audio".
4. From the Library, drag and drop your sound file onto the document stage (not the timeline).
5. You should now have a sound wave showing up starting with the frame 1 blank keyframe of your "audio" layer. Right click on the timeline and choose insert frame to extend the keyframe if you need to. To adjust the length of the clip, cmd-drag the end of the frame range.

6. When working with sound in Animate, make sure to set the sync property in the Properties inspector to STREAM - not event. Stream, yay. Event, boo. To do this:
  • In the timeline, select the blank keyframe on the "audio" layer
  • In the Properties tab, set Sync: to Stream. 
  • An Event sound will play regardless of the timeline. This is bad...very bad. If you export your video and there is no sound, it is probably because your sound instance is still set to Event... boo!!! Also, you will have problems if your file is not an ActionScript 3.0 file. HTML5 animate files only let you choose Event. Again, EVENT is BAD.

Change to stream. You won't regret it...

Additional pro audio tips (chortle)
1. Cut your sound DOWN to roughly the length of your animation BEFORE you bring it in to Flash. Do not import a 6 minute piece of music for a 12 second piece.

2. You can do some simple fade ups and downs in Animate to fine tune to your animation, but do as much as you can in Audition.

3. Don't be shocked if you need to go back to Audition to make changes to your sound file after you've brought it into Animate. Relax, it's all part of the fun.

4. The more professional approach would be to do your final audio/video sync in a video program such as Premiere or After Effects. To do this, export your animation as a png sequence and open the sequence in Premiere. You can then import your high quality sound file into Premiere as well. Match 'em up!

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