I got some time to use the software I’ve been so excited about. Embarrassingly enough, I open my first sequenced Targa animation, and I sat there wondering where to go from there - with a clear plan in my mind of what to do! lol
A quick visit to their incredible selection of top-notch video tutorials and the first part was under way. Wow can this Howler 8.2 crunch animation FX fast! I saved that off and added my next plan, and finally the other. Saved to a new sequenced Targa animation and back into Carrara as a backdrop and everything appears to be working perfectly!
So here’s what I achieved:
I set up an animation using a 360 degree background image I made using the Eviron Construction Kit. The animation consists of a target helper following the path of a six second walk, using sequences of aniBlock walks for spacing. The Film camera pans slightly as it follows the motion back, slowly allowing the walker (which can be any figure with a walk animation) to get slightly closer by the end. No character is needed, of course, but I wanted to allow for flexible possibilities. I set the volumetric clouds to animate for six seconds, plus they slowly rotate throughout the animation and I set windy conditions on all of the trees - even the dead ones. It’s going to be one heck of a storm.
The animation turned out great - but got much better in Howler - as the next step was to add lighting flashes within the area. There turned out to be perfect spots to have them too. Even after just this stage, it really looks cool! But then I made a blurred selection within the alpha layer and ran a keyframed AnyFX rain animation that starts and ends slower that the gust in the middle that pushes more rain to the left. This one I made with very little opacity and a lot of rain and was meant as a depth layer of rain back where the woods (that doesn’t yet exist in the scene) opens up and there’s less protection from the wind. Then I performed a second AnyFX rain pass with a more consistent soak of a rain on top of that. Wow does this animation look great. A real electric storm!
Now I went back into the prepared scene, got rid of the clouds and made new ones that mostly rotate around each woodlands block with a slight translation to the left. The camera retains the same animation as the original. I made the Woodlands blocks visible and tweaked the clouds with a bit more opacity and silver lining, less density and more sharpness and cranked the quality up to high.
Now I’m waiting on that render which Carrara says will take 20 hours. Usually when Carrara thinks something will take 20 hours, it ends up taking longer in the end. We’ll see. If you’re ever stuck in this situation, a quick speed pick-up would be to eliminate one of the volumetric clouds, and then another… until you get the overall render time you’re okay with. As this is for a product, even though it’s a bonus file, I’ll live with the wait. Watching these frames go by is showing off how great it looks!
When done, I’ll add the final layer of rain using an alpha mask again - according to the new data in the animation. At that time I’ll decide if Howler will perform any other actions. I have a real surprise awaiting as well, that will be included with this bonus animated Backdrop.
Dan & Philip,
Thank you for all of your efforts in creating such an outstanding piece of software. It feels so natural once inside, that it seems confusing at first. My first short try at Dogwaffle was in a hotel room with a new netbook sporting Windows 8 64 bit, with a small cpu (especially compared to my eight core,3.1 GHz, 16GB RAM workstation!) to try out my aging, neglected Wacom Tablet - still like new as I’ve never really used it since I got it a few years ago for free from a friend.
I set my brush to resemble a #5H or 6H, perhaps even 7H, and started light-sketching a human face. I was very impressed by both the tablet and the software. Never would I have thought that sketching on a tiny tablet could look and feel so similar to my nice sketchbook. I don’t ever draw with such a hard pencil, but I just thought that such a feel would resemble the feel of the stylus on the hard tablet, which it did - to a tee. But now that I know better, I’ll bring up some nice oils or acrylics as I know that will make my stylus on tablet feel like a brush on canvas. With the bleeding and glazing effects you’ve built into this, I cannot get over how real it feels.
I’ve later found out that it is the software. The tablet still works great otherwise, but it’s when PD is open when it really feels right.
I appreciate all of your hard work, and am overwhelmed at the endless supply of free training that you take the time to create for your users. You guys ROCK!!!