barrys - all messages by user

2010/11/1 15:41:17
New project Tonethemoan...if you can wait just a few more days then the next version of Muvizu should contain a feature which will make life super-easy for you. I'm not promising anything but I've got an internal development build where it's working a treat. I'm cagey about making you a cast iron guarantee just in case it doesn't make it through our QA process.

2010/10/14 11:26:23
Smaller Head Movements It's being worked on as we speak. Hopefully it'll make the release in a few weeks - but no promises.

2010/10/7 20:20:34
Geraldo In Stockholm Update: Blog's getting filled every day or two and I've written a script. The chase sequence eluded to in the blog has been built but those damned skull-and-crossbones have ruined everything*


*The Devs will set conditions for the art assets in Muvizu, such as, the number of texture slots, legal geometry, proper naming etc. If anything fails then the object gets spoiled by a big Skull-and-crossbones decal. Unfortunately there are quite a few dodgy objects in my opening scene. Damn, going to need to fix the material assignments on the palm tree...
2010/10/5 13:37:18
Animatable objects-props I completely agree with the importance of holding things. It's pivotal for taking Muvizu to the next level. From the Art/Design side of things we've got a lot of problems to solve which I reckon we'll get started on before Christmas. But like McMillan-ra says it's going to take a while. Here's what's on my mind:

Holding things
How do we pick things up, how do we put them down again?
Same question as above but how do we deal with surfaces at any height?

What about characters at different scales?
How does a 'held' object affect current animations?
How many new poses and animations to how many moods will we need to add?
Grip's important - holding a phone is different to a gun. How do we cater for this?
How do we add object-specific animations: Peeling a banana, or speaking on a phone?

Answers on a postcard please

2010/9/29 20:10:59
Geraldo In Stockholm the working title for the forthcoming new Geraldo episode. Thought you'd like to know. I've written a script in my head and gone all 'new media' and interactive with a BLOG. I know, amazing.

Anyway, I'll post a series of 'making-of' articles that will chart my progress. It'll be as ambitious as the last one - Geraldo and the Plan - so you can see how I put together a complicated Muvizu video.

2010/9/28 9:54:30
rotation of characters Well, if you're animating make sure you're in DIRECT - CHARACTER ANIMATION. When the record button is pressed you'll see a large white disc round the character's feet. Clicking on the rotation arrows will cause the character to rotate 45 degrees.

Hope this helps

2010/9/28 9:52:24
Characters with the AIR of Realism Yes, we will. It'll take time because the process involves making a new skeleton and a new set of animations but it's on our (large) to-do list. I don't think we'll ever go for proper realism; we'll stay cartoonish but, yes, it's on the might need to be patient though.

2010/9/20 14:33:27
the importance of hands You guys are correct: the hands are important. That's why over half of our character's bones are to be found in the hand, and why our animators get to animate them. This isn't usually what is done in game engines where the hand skeleton is usually simplified for framerate reasons. Anyway, the biggest hurdle isn't the tech it's the user interface.

The hands have the usual six axes of freedom enjoyed by most 3D objects. They can be moved and rotated in all crazy directions. On top of this is the control for each finger, how they bend, straighten, scrunch, relax, rotate and spread. I've not even mentioned grip style, IK or FK movement. The emotion imparted by hand movement needs all of these freedoms. This all amounts to a massive control headache that I'm unsure could be addressed by copying the head controls. I'm not sure how to achieve this without compromising Muvizu's ease of use. However, you've planted the seed so I'm sure it'll get pondered upon.

Perhaps if we went head-hunting at Cape Canaveral...

2010/9/20 9:49:20
Few Suggestions Hi Frendor

These are great suggestions and they have been added to the "Wish List" spreadsheet I maintain. It gets wheeled out after every release to inform our workload for the next one. The good news is that camera, object and light movement is coming so keep an eye open for updates. Initially this will be simple movements so don't expect a car's wheels to turn or anything that fancy, yet.

2010/9/15 14:55:31
Uploading To Muvizu Hi Frendor

I'll look into it for you. The uploading process is a little mysterious but here's how it works behind-the-scenes. This may explain why there's a short delay in videos appearing on our site. A 48-hr delay suggests something extraordinary is going on. Anyway:

- Uploading through our App or website makes your video go to youTube with special hidden tags
- Within minutes your video will appear on youTube

- ***After a longer time youTube sends out a message to us saying "new upload with those special tags"

- our website, recognising the special tags, will pull your video across to us and embed it in our Gallery

- ***But first the administrators get to approve/reject your it will sit at someone's desk waiting their approval. This means that videos can only appear on our site during office hours.

- Once it's approved then your video will appear on

The two stages marked *** can add up to a delay of an hour or so. Ha, we've also rejected a few videos too. I trust yours wasn't a racist rant?

Let me check into it.

2010/9/14 20:13:42
Expressiveness Some good ideas, Hugmyster. You'll be pleased to hear that a "Neutral state" is very much on the cards. Watch this space.

2010/9/9 16:06:30
How does Youtube work?
2010/9/9 16:05:41
How does Youtube work? Hi

I know a little bit about it, but not much. Anyway, in a nutshell:

-Stick to widescreen (16:9 format)
-Upload the highest resolution possible. youTube prefers 1280x720 or 1920x1080
-Don't add your own black bars to simulate widescreen. youTube auto-detects your resolution and adds its own if necessary.
-Upload the best quality video you have. Try to limit the number of times you compress a video. For a start this means getting a VERY good quality video out of Muvizu (try lossless JPEG)

-youTube will also struggle with interlaced movies. Stick to full frames. So 1080i is bad, 1080p is good, as is 720p

-It's generally accepted that MPEG4 files (of which there are many flavours: DIVX, XVID, MOV, WMV) offer the best quality vs file size. You get a high quality movie for a small file size.

-I think it prefers 30 frames per second, but I'm not sure

em, that's it I think

2010/9/7 15:56:41
Making of "Sleekit Things" Hi

I was asked how I achieved the lighting on "Sleekit Things". I've always loved shadow animations in particular "The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello", "Paranoland" and recently "Limbo" video game.

All objects are made black. The environment lighting is turned off and the sky and ground colours are set to black.

Behind the skeleton are some backdrop objects with their illumination levels set to full.

It's subtle, but you'll notice that there is a fog-like lighting effect on the backdrops. This was achieved by filming some Muvizu fog and projecting the film through a spotlight:

This well-worn cliché was achieved by filming a backdrop with a shaking camera and sending the resulting image onto another backdrop. The shaking, blurred film sat behind some crisp letters on a PNG texture and was filmed again.

2010/9/7 10:06:07
Motion JPEG (Don't overlook it!) I can't remember what settings I used, but I don't recall having any problems with AVI. Once I'd made my edits in Premiere I would output using the youTube preset. This would spit out a mp4 file which is youTube compliant

2010/9/7 9:01:46
Motion JPEG (Don't overlook it!) Aye, my fault. It's called "lossless JPEG" and to find it...

2. In the ENCODER tab, pick "lossless JPEG" from the drop-down list

3. You have two COLOURSPACE options. One works and the other one doesn't. Try them both.

Hope this helps

2010/9/6 12:00:02
Lighting tutorial Hi toonarama

You're right - lighting can make or break your animations. I'm going to ask Alex (in-house lighting chap) for his advice. He built and lit the pre-made spooky and western sets.

Anyway, I'm not going to tell you how to achieve daylight, sunsets etc. Instead I'm going to offer some lighting guidelines that may help your video pop out:

First, do light your scene. Don't leave it as default white set. Attempt something. This seems an obvious rule but you'd be surprised how many animations are just plain white

Most successful lighting setups are simple. They attempt to set an overall ambient colour and only use one or two localised lights to highlight objects or characters. If you start to add numerous lights then they will start affecting each other; shadows will be indistinct, colours will mix and your effect will generally be diluted away.

OK, so we know that there are rules about colours that go together and colours that don't. These rules are what great artists know intuitively. For the rest of us there are no end of helpful websites about colour theory, the merits of certain colour schemes and how to achieve mood with lighting. When you start to light a scene have an overall 'colour aim'. Your aim may be to induce a feeling of heat, warmth, isolation, coziness, horror, etc. This will influence your Environment lighting choice

After establishing your overall aim the next job for lighting to do is illuminate what's important in your set. This is usually a character or location. Use point- or spot-lights to bring these subjects out from your background colour.

Lighting is only part of the secret. You can colour, or skew the colour, of objects in your set so that they contribute to the feeling you're trying to get across. A good example of this is the Matrix films. They all have a greenish tint which, admittedly is done in post-production, but lighting choice and prop colours all reinforce this green tint. You'll never see a bright red post-box in a Matrix film - it will be a dirty brown or orange - because this wouldn't suit the lighting.

Maybe I'm talking crap with all of the above. Here are some people who DO know what they are talking about along with some helpful sites:

2010/9/3 23:11:23
XVID Matt - avoid XVID for post work. Your best bet is Motion-JPEG for post-work.

2010/9/3 10:32:28
Motion JPEG (Don't overlook it!) Hi. When I was making 'Geraldo and the Plan' I had all sorts of codec problems. I wont go into details but MP4 files (like XVID and DIVX) weren't behaving inside Adobe Premiere. I embarked on a tedious exercise to find a suitable codec. In the end I installed the K-Lite codec Pack. This placed a codec in Muvizu's drop-down menu called "ffdshow." The cool thing is that you can configure ffdshow to spit out loads of different codecs so it's easy a quick to try a few for file size or quality issues.

Motion JPEG (or lossless JPEG) gave good quality images with big (but not massive) file sizes. Furthermore it also sailed through Premiere and After Effects with no problems.

It's an old format but does the job. Try it if you're having XVID or DIVX problems


K-Lite is here:
2010/9/2 9:57:23
tutorials Thank you. I put on my most posh Glasgow accent - to frequent ridicule from my colleagues. One day we'll get freakmoomin to record a video tutorial...

(52 secs)
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