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Which is better, Link (Melee) or Link (Brawl)?

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Cursory Knowledge to MMD and Frame-by-Frame editing

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Cursory Knowledge to MMD and Frame-by-Frame editing

Post by VentusXII on Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:12 pm

Ok Van =P First off, don't credit me for animating Link in this
particular case /yet/ I didn't happen to do that animation of Link---I
saw it in an MMD video (your guess was right) and it looked like it was
BEGGING the captioning, so I animated the text ontop of it in Photoshop,
which I will explain how I did last. Now, that being said, I plan on
doing my own animations with this Link model pretty soon anyhow, since
I've picked up MMD and have read a number of tutorials on the program to
familiarize myself with it, and I've already tracked down said OoT Link model (the creator and distributor of the model, Maruko
did a Dark Link model with it too) so I'm all ready to jump into it.
(Just that I'm having some computer component issues I'm trying to work
out to get it to work that are proving annoying obstacles -_- I've been
throwing myself into studying as many worthwhile tutorials as I can find
in the meantime because the wait to jumping into test runs with
animating Link is driving me nuts.) It's funny because I've read so much
in depth about the workings of the program at this point that I
actually COULD explain to you how that animation of Link was made in it,
so if you do want the in-depth explanation to do it yourself,
let me know and I can give it to you anyway. I'm pretty comfortable with
how to work the program from a technical standpoint; the only thing I
can't give you is practical tips....YET. =P I intend to work my way up
to more complicated animation routines than the simple little one in
that gif anyway, so at some point I should be able to help you
full-scale. =D

I don't know if you've seen any Zelda MMD vids, but below is a pretty
straight forward animation someone did with it, and it doesn't even
include any of the more detailed things I'm interested in exploring but
it looks pretty good anyway. None of this extra stuff is featured in
this particular video, but the program has some features I've read up on
in tutorials that I'm particularly interested in like how to easily
animate facial expressions on models as well as lip-syncing (don't even
get me started on how much fun I think it will be making it look like
Link is saying/singing whatever audio track I sync his lips to =P)
dynamic camera angles of course, and some very, very cool looking stages
(I've tracked down some Zelda stages too---so far I've picked up the
Temple of Time and Dark Link's fight room in the Water Temple from OoT,
and Hyrule Castle and Outset Island from WW). I'm not really interested
in the modeling aspect right now (although I'll probably invest into
that eventually) because at the moment I'm really interested in learning
to animate their movements to look fluid and natural; I've been
inspired after seeing some videos where the fluidity of their movements
REALLY impressed me (movements looked way more lifelike than in the
actual game! xD) I did write up a blog entry where I commented on a lot
of the Zelda MMDs I've stopped at, some of which have used some of those
stages, facial expression/lip sync effect, and super-fluid movements -->>>here<<<--
if you want to see more, but ehhhhh, be cautioned that you might find
those disturbing because people seem to get a kick out of picking
music/dances that are particularly....err....unfitting for Link/Dark
Link usually. .____. I'm more interested in doing things with them that
feel more in-character, personally. So I picked this video here as an
example because it's less OOC than what I've seen so far and its
animated pretty nicely, although it lacks any stage or extra effects
used in some of the others:

(Just make sure you're watching it on the better quality setting)

Anyway, pretty much anyone can do MMD who has the dedication and
interest. Or if you're feeling lazy like I've seen some people do, you
could just download motion data for a song that someone generously did
and distributed already and load it onto Link, and BAM you have an
animation done for you (many people do this actually). I really don't
want to do that though because (a) most of the available motion data
floating around is for Vocaloid songs which look awkward on Link, and
(b) I want to animate them on my own---plus it's a lot more customized
to my interests that way. I happen to be taking a course in 3D Modeling
and Animation in Maya next semester, so it ties in pretty nicely as an
introduction to 3D animation for me anyhow. If you're interested, you
could try it out. =P I'm going to edit that Link model into young Link
too, I've seen some other people do it in a few videos, and I've already
started reading some tutorials on PMD editor (MMD's model editor). Plus
I found the Bunny Hood as a modeled accessory (among some other Zelda
themed accessories), which would work great for some MM-themed
MMD videos. And heck yes in case you can't tell, I am super excited
about all this. ;D My motivation has gone up the wall, in case it's not
obvious from my new sig. Which by the way, I should explain how to do
the text animation for you now. ^ ^

I don't know how much of a detailed explanation you want, so if you want
anything clarified, or a term or phrasing explained better/more fully,
let me know and I'll elaborate better (I could even go get screenshots
from the program if it helps!) So first off, you need the source video
that you are going to make the final gif out of, because you need to
extract the sequence of consecutive image frames that you want in your
animation---you need EVERY FRAME IN THE SEQUENCE (well, you could cut
out some frames in-between to make it shorter and the file smaller, but
you still need the consecutive image sequence). There's a free program
I've liked using for that called VirtualDub (you could get it
easily, just search) and essentially what you do is open the video file
in the program, either type in the frame number you want to start from
or hit play on the video and pause it on the right frame (you can hit
back/forward to jump frames easily) then mark it as the start of your
frame selection (there's a button for it) then go to to the last frame
you want and mark that as the end of your frame selection (another
button for it) then there's an option under the File menu that lets you
export the entire selected image sequence between your start and end
point. Once you've got that saved in a folder, you need to open a 2-D
image animation program that lets you work on a frame-by-frame timeline.
(I used Photoshop, but you could easily do this in Flash,
and probably other 2D animation programs) I think a lot of people that
use Photoshop aren't aware of its animation feature which, while it's
not the main point of the program, I find useful for certain things. You
need to open up the Animation toolbar (go to Window > Animation) and
then Photoshop's frame-by-frame animation timeline will appear. There's
an option I use to save on time and effort under "File > Import >
Folder as Frames" that automatically does the work for you of importing
every image in the folder you choose as a consecutive image frame on
your timeline. But if for some reason that option isn't there, you will
have to do it yourself by going File > Place to import each image in
the same spot consecutively frame by frame (it's not hard but it's
time-consuming depending on the number of frames the animation is). If
you don't want to do any extra modifications at this point, you could
just go to File > Save Optimized As, and you could immediately save
the file as an animated GIF and it would be done. However if you want to
add things like animating text on top and other such modifications, you
need to go back to the timeline and work on it.

Crud.....this is hard to explain without going back to take screenshots.
xD When you're working on the timeline, you can view and edit every
consecutive frame in the animation. I went to the first frame that I
wanted the text to appear on ("Sa") and typed that text on a new layer
(I stylized it a bit too), making sure the layer's visibility is on only
in the frames I want it to appear (you can turn visibility on/off for
any given layer on any given frame). To move it the way I did, you need
to change the positioning of the layer in each frame to look like it's
following the position of Link's finger, so that when you play it
quickly, it looks like they're moving together. I used a combination of
this along with an easy method of animation called "tweening" where you
select the frames you want the text to move in, position where you want
the layer in the first and last frame, and then do a position tween
where the program calculates the amount of distance that the text should
be moving in the in-between frames for the animation to look constant.
This works REALLY well if you want to do a text scroll, although I did
more manual positioning of the text next to Link's finger in this
particular case. I pretty much did the same thing with the addition of
"Ri" "A" and "Nae" on separate layers. The fade-in, fade-out on "Says"
is done by raising and lowering the opacity on the layer gradually over a
few frames (there's an easy method of doing this by doing an opacity
tween on the number of frames you select) and "Hello!" is mostly
figuring out the timing of the correct frame to appear on, although it
has some opacity fade-out too. You have to do some trial and error to
get the animation to look smooth and correctly synchronized, to figure
out which positioning of the text on which frames looks the most
effective when animated, and also to figure out exactly what frame the
text should appear/disappear on because when your eye is registering a
number of frames per second, it's not always obvious, so you have to
examine it more closely to figure out what would give you the best
results. Anyway I have no frickin' idea how much you got out of this
explanation but I'm telling you it's not particularly complicated if you
want to try doing it. You essentially need two programs: a frame
extractor program that lets you extract a sequence of image frames from a
video (like VirtualDub), and a 2-D animation program that lets you work on a frame-by-frame timeline. If you can get those, then you're home free. ;D

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