Does a program that does this exist already? (Sprite animation)

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Post: #1
Here's what I want in a single app:

Simple pencil test animation first.
High resolution (512x512 at least), only needs one anti-aliased pencil/brush tool that responds to pressure sensitivity from a wacom tablet. Color optional. Eraser needed as well... and undo. Anyway, you can control the frame rate, add frames that are duplicates or new frames between already existing frames and play it back from the hard drive at any frame rate (10, 12, 15, 30, 60 fps)

Now that the pencil test is done, here is the important part.

The inking is for a sprite. You decide on a size for the sprite, say 32x32, and then scale the original pencil test UNDERNEATH it to match the size of the new sprite. Of course, magnification should be possible so you could have your 32x32 blocky pixels spread out across 512x512 actual pixels.

At the very least there should be an anti-aliased brush for outlines and an algorithm for filling in sections of the outlines correctly (i.e. not stopping at partially transparent pixels)

When done, it can be rendered out as a QT movie OR in a single image file with each frame even distributed across the picture.

I basically do this in a very annoying way currently. I use Painter for the animation. It works great if you have IX, but 8 and earlier don't have fps controls with the animation controls, so I have to render out whenever I want to see my animation going less than a thousand frames per second. Wink

Once it's finished, I render it to multiple files and THEN layer by layer add it to a single photoshop file. Then I mess with resizing everything (if I didn't earlier) and laying it out on the screen. THEN I draw over it with Photoshop's extensive tools, which DON'T have a great way of filling in cartoon outlines. Sigh. I'd keep it all in Painter, but it's not great with the transparent layers.

Anyway, if there is a program or combination of programs that does this efficiently, I'm very interested. If not. Could some Cocoa genius please make one?! Tomorrow, if possible. Wink

LOL

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Post: #2
Ever seen this, Aaron?

http://www.animationstand.com/

"Yes, well, that's the sort of blinkered, Philistine pig-ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage."
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Post: #3
I forgot to add that I'd like it to be Mac OS X native. Wink

Animation Stand has been around a long time, and I've checked it out occasionally over the years. There are some very cool features, but I don't believe there is any antialiasing. It's definitely geared towards entire animated sequences rather than sprite art.

Anyone interested in something to do that should really turn to Toon Boom or one of the high end systems. (Toon Boom *almost* does everything I need, but the sketching is not so nice, and dealing with the vectors for the final image can be more hassle than advantage... especially for smaller sprite type art.)

I think I will dig out Toon Boom again, though. I did buy it when it was first announced. The newest version even imports flash animations almost flawlessly and lets you RENDER to quicktime. GREAT feature for anyone that has old flash movies they want to archive on a standard DVD for play on TV's or whatever. This is getting off topic though.

Thanks for suggesting something. Smile

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Post: #4
I think there really should be a program like that... it would be really really useful, and I need to use something like that often.

Who's up for the challenge? hmmm...

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Post: #5
aaronsullivan Wrote:Could some Cocoa genius please make one?! Tomorrow, if possible. Wink
I would also love an app like this. Aaron, I suggest you design the interface and solidify the application specs. A misty-eyed coder is bound to come Smile

If you'd like, I can help out too with brainstorming, design, funding, or spiritual support. (Whatever is necessary.) This could be a very good app for 2-D sprite animators on the Mac.

ProRattaFactor
(Retro-infused games for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac)
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Post: #6
Yeah, I'd be interested in taking up the project. I'm thinking of weening myself off of game development a tad in the short term. I'd like to get intimate with Cocoa in time for WWDC. . . if I get to go. Love I've been thinking of something I could tackle. . . and this... this could be possible.

Although, would something like Pixen with animation and exporting support added on be what you'd need?

http://www.opensword.org/Pixen/

I was wondering about the pressure sensitivity thing, but it looks like it'd be dead easy:
http://developer.apple.com/documentation...6/BBCBJEGA

-Jon
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Post: #7
Aarku and Gatti, I'm currently working on a short film (exciting stuff!), but I'm passionate enough about this to throw together some quick mock up designs and throw some ideas I've had about it your way. I'll throw something together tomorrow if I get a chance. I have some ideas for things I haven't seen in any other apps that come from my animation experience.

As for Pixen and other image editing programs... You know, this program has a different focus. It's more about the initial animation motion and converting it quickly and easily to pixel art. After that is done, the results can be post-processed in any number of image editing programs from Photoshop to Pixen.

The purpose: "sprite animation"

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Post: #8
Im willing to lend my skills to a project of this nature also, let me know if there is anything i can help out with.

Kyle Richter
DragonForged.com
Twitter: @kylerichter
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Post: #9
Well, I went and spent the whole day on this. I dubbed it Flexanimator just because I needed to name it something and it is currently missing a color palette. Remember, this is for animation at full res and then making pixel art from it. Here is what I have so far in picture form. Look at them in order to get the gist of the program.
Overview
Animation details
Pixel overlay

If you are interested in the .nib, here is a skeleton Xcode project (you can play with the interface, but it does nothing. Smile )
Project shell

Comments?

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Post: #10
It's quite fabulous. Everthing so far seems to have the core components for a nice "flexible" animation/sprite system. Perhaps next to the zoom control area, it can have a text display of the zoom percentage so that the illustrator knows how far zoomed in they are. Pencils and brushes can have an opacity control. Oh wait...would that be controlled by the tablet system?

I lobby for it to have a color picker/swatch system similar to illustrator (savable swatches). The built-in Mac color picker that I've seen in some apps kinda stinks. Also, it would be great if the windows snapped next to eachother as seen in Photoshop/illustrator.

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Post: #11
Actually, there's nothing on there to deal with zooming. :-/ That little slider is for controlling the opacity of the pixel layer over the sketch layer. There should be a way to zoom, however.

I think the built in color picker would be a good way to get started, BUT we should also have a savable palette of sorts that is separate from the little area on the Apple one.

Opacity and thickness should be controlled by pressure for the sketching part, but I'm not so sure about the pixel art. My thought is that usually you want solid lines (with or without anti-aliased edges) in a single opacity at a time when dealing with pixel art as it's a lot more exacting. One frustration with using Photoshop to do pixel art is that if you use a brush for anti-aliased lines you are also bound to have thin lines that never reach full opacity (even at the full opacity setting)

This is the type of thing that can be tweaked and tested as the app takes shape.

At an early stage, I'd like to keep the pencil and brush options pretty limited, actually. Since the objective is very focused, there is no need for "fancy" brushes that give artistic or painterly effects. Outlines and effective fills and control over each pixel is fine. For initial animation a simple pencil for sketching and an eraser is probably fine for most people's needs. That's my thought anyway.

I'm always frustrated by color pickers and swatches, so any new ideas here would be welcome.

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Post: #12
I completely see your point regarding keeping the drawing systems relatively simple.

Regarding my mentioning of an opacity option is mainly for the coloring process. I'm thinking more on the end of providing an easy way to apply either simple light shading of another color or creating blends between two colors. That's really the only thing I see an opacity option for.

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Post: #13
Me too. Smile

Hmm... where are those people that said they might help code this... ? Wink Aarku? Kodex? Smile

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Post: #14
Alrighty, so what do we need to get this started? I'll be the first to show some examples of the system in action in the TUTORIAL section of the application's future website Wink (Quicktime videos and high quality photography)

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Post: #15
Aarku and Kodex and Gatti, I'm thinking of moving this over to iDevApps, but at that point many others will get a crack at it, so please speak up if you are still interested. (Gatti has already committed to tutorials)

I can contribute design ideas, direction, icon and button graphics and could act as a leader for the project, BUT I am not a Cocoa programmer at this point. I'd probably be the most devoted beta-tester as well, as this is a sort of dream app for me and the user interface and interactivity is paramount.

So, who's on board? Who can commit serious time to this "flexanimator"?

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." - Wizard of Oz
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