~ Ahh, Max…I was Startin’ to Miss Ya!

Well, I think my foray into making animations with simulated paper cut-outs has come to an end for now. It was gratifying to experiment with that type of animation and I had fun working with a few family members and friends to make two shorts. To make them, I used Photoshop and edited with iMovie, but if I make more, I think I’ll use Adobe Flash instead of Photoshop. Originally, I wanted to challenge myself by using Photoshop’s animation tools, but it turns out that they are somewhat limited (at least as observed in the version that I have). For example, consider the image below from The Holidays are Coming:
Side view of an open garage. Tennis racket seems to be flying out of the garage.

In this scene, Papa R is tossing the remnants of summer out of his garage. This tennis racquet comes flying out and when it hits the ground, the tennis racquet slides a little. That’s fairly realistic, but I think it would have looked even better if it had been spinning, as well. Animating rotation is where my version of Photoshop drew the line. I could animate “placement” and “transparency” settings so that it looked like a figure was hopping, sliding across the screen, blinking, or flying in an arc, but it could not spin. That is, unless I animated the rotation frame-by-frame as I did with Papa R’s arm when he offers the officer a drink and with his body when he slips on one of the cans in his driveway.

PapaRslips

Animating frame-by-frame isn’t a bad idea, but it wasn’t ideal for this short because I was in a bit of a time crunch (albeit, a self-imposed time crunch!). So, I decided to animate this way when it was most important to do so. Flash, on the other hand, will allow me to animate rotations, so if I approach a project like the Halloween or Holiday short again, it’ll be my tool of choice. As I mentioned earlier, making the shorts was tons of fun, so I really can’t imagine not making another one!

Over the past few months, though, I really started to miss working regularly with 3ds Max. Navigating Max’s three-dimensional environment is invigorating to me and I end up getting excited over the smallest of accomplishments, like animating The Fireflower’s canons *girly squeal!*

My new animation training program begins in March, so lately I’ve been reacclimating myself to 3ds Max. It’s easy to get a little rusty with a program like this if it’s not used regularly. So, for a warm-up a couple of weeks ago before I reopened The Fireflower, I just made a little still life something.

Wood man on water

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