My interest in animation started drawing tablet with screen following the inheritance of a significant stock of pipe cleaners. My father a man in his dotage and content with retirement by habit took a volume of Sherlock Holmes, an ample glass of single malt and a churchwarden briar stuffed with old shag into the comfy chair of an afternoon before falling asleep by the fire, little did he know that the by product of his muse would account for many hours of his sons time and lead to a hobby of personal exploration and enjoyment that is not only compulsive but at times mentally stimulating to the extreme.
My start point was simple, as when a boy I fashioned the pipe cleaners into the semblance of human form and encouraged the models to stand upright by using office tack, then with felt tip I drew a backdrop of a bar room and proceeded with the aid of a basic computer camera to act out the story line of a colourful old tune, The Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes, by Kevin Ayres.
The camera came ready with its own snapshot program which I linked up with the free version of Windows Video Maker then dragged and dropped the music which was saved into Windows Media Player, the results of this first effort can still be viewed on You tube and have received a number of positive comments.
Two more musical efforts followed, on the later, Blue Xmas by Miles Davies, I added in the use of a new software program “Adobe Photoshop” which is superbly flexible at importing a photograph to change, move by layers or distort in various ingenious ways and then you can even add in lighting effects and much more, my list being in no way exhaustive.
Your purchases may well stop there if your needs are only simple, however I find by nature that once started an unseen force pulls me ever forward to find that one next stage of progression and so dissatisfied with the accuracy of mouse drawing I next invested in a Wacon Intros 4 drawing tablet, I nearly went for the larger of the three size options but in hindsight for compatibility to my needs I find the medium version ideal.
Later I then stumbled on to a software sale and picked up a copy of “Serif Video Studio” which although simple by design I found it more flexible than Windows Video Maker and even a dozen plus videos on I still use this programme as my base to bring forward all developed scenes into.
Music with Windows XP or earlier versions was a simple click of a button job but upon upgrade to Windows 7 I found many such tasks becoming a little less user friendly and so now I work through an “Audio Lab Cleaning” program which is wonderfully simple when cuts, breaks and sound bites are needed.
But my latest purchase and by far the most revolutionary to my style was the bonus pack of ” Reallusion Iclone4 and CrazyTalk6.Pro” without a doubt this is the most fabulous of programmes for an enthusiastic amateur like me, try some of my latest efforts on You tube to recognise the difference, these programmes let you work with real 3D animated characters just like in Disney the only barriers being your computers capabilities and your own time and imagination, I believe it is worth paying a little bit more to get the “Pro” rather than “Standard” packages of these programmes because the add-ons and upgrades are much more comprehensive and worth every penny.
So there you have it, if you want to step a toe onto this wonderful Jack and the Beanstalk ladder of animation then this is one do it yourself way that I can recommend.