We're starting a new animation project and I wanted to pick your brains about the best workflow for what we want to do. We've been animating a web series since the start of the year using a combination of CA, Premiere and After Effects: it's one talking head that uses a somewhat limited puppet placed over dynamic backgrounds. This new project is a little more involved:
We have two characters talking to each other in a location (couch in an apartment) and then they go off on tangents and see themselves individually in different environments (kitchen, bathroom, riding a motorcycle, etc.). We just recorded the VO session with two actors; we had them sit next to each other on two laptops and record directly in to Character Animator which was fun but ultimately gave us issues to deal with:
Because there's so much material to go through, we've decided to do a radio edit on just the dialogue so that we can chop that down into two final dialogue tracks that are the takes we want. After that, should we:
Final note: both characters we built are vector files from Illustrator, so is there any way to take advantage of that in the other programs for scaling the puppets up and down? So if for example I want to see one character in a head-and-shoulders medium shot on the couch and then cut to a full body shot in the kitchen, do i need to split the puppet layer in CA and make that scale adjustment before I export? Or if I dynamic link to After Effects can I adjust the scale in that program without losing quality?
Thank you so much in advance!
Reliable answer: try things and see how it works for you. I have seen enough variability between puppets to say any response you get here will not be 100% reliable.
Unreliable personal opinion answers: I suspect chopping segments out of the time line will mess up transitions between frames - sudden jumps with my puppets can make hair sudden fly up in the air etc. For only 3 minutes of final video of out 40 minutes total, I suspect it may be faster to just re-record the face movements from cleaned up audio files.
I *believe* if you use dynamic linking it will rescale it automatically, and I *hope* that it would avoid the jumps described above, but I never confirmed it personally.
Another approach is to record a scale transform over part of the current recordings/tracks. Just do a new recording - it creates a new layer on top. If no good, just delete it. However, again, I fear the hair and body movements might jump around in strange ways, or get weird scene transition artifacts.
So you might be correct - you may have to cut up the scene into separate scenes to avoid rough transitions. So I think you are thinking about the right sorts of questions - will dynamic linking work, will it scale correctly, but also check to see if the character jitters in strange ways at the transition. I would experiment a bit to see what happens with your puppets. Different puppets I have found react in different ways.
Another thing you could try (sorry, not at a computer to try it out right now) is you can drag a scene into another scene. I wonder if you can trim and transform a scene done in this way.
So at the end of the day I don’t think I answered any of your questions... but even if you get answers, doing quick experiments with your own puppets and content I think will be the most reliable way to proceed regardless.
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This is similar to a workflow I use for managing different shots... wrote it on paper...