Cacani: My Thoughts

Well I love it except for two things. Even though I have the 6month license there is no export to video. Fortunately, because I have a lot of editing to do, it’s not actually effecting me however I would like the option. The other issue, other two issues is that if I use the bone tool it crashes or if I use the other paste options it crashes. Every time.

Other than that, I absolutely love this software! I’ve been wishing something like this would be made and it has. The auto inbetweening is a little awkward at first but if you follow their video tutorials, you can easily be creating movement within minutes instead of hours or days. There’s not much I don’t like.

Things I have enjoyed so far:

  • The vector drawing tools. After so many years in paint tool sai, I have no problem with the curve tools and pens. It’s been years since I’ve made such clean line art. They’re simple and work well.
  • Snap. I like that it does an alright job at snapping ends together and if it doesn’t, there’s always the close gap tool.
  • Previewing how your inbetween will behave.
  • Eraser tools
  • Colouring and autocolour
  • WYSIWYG, no overly complicated tools with just as complicated options. Just simple and clean interface.

Things I don’t really like but aren’t a problem:

  • Minor issues with colouring and sometimes crashing during autocolour.
  • Sketching can cause lag when you go to do line art later. Especially if you sketch messy with a lot of lines. You’re better off to import a reference of your key poses.
  • Navigator window reference, does not behave the same way as it does in the tutorial video. Not sure if it’s a bug or feature restriction.

Despite the small issues, I really do think it’s an excellent program and well worth the money. The first time ever seen anything close to auto-inbetweening was in a video by a Synfig user and how they managed to work around it using zdepth and some clever auto tweening but it was still not very good and had a lot of issues. This isn’t the base with Cacani. It’s very straight forward. I recommend downloading the user manual as well as watching their youtube tutorial playlist before you start anything and practise.

Below is all I’ve managed to finish enough for upload. I hope to upload something with colour in the next week or so. But I am not really sure when since it’s so close to the holidays.

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Bulk Delete Plus Update

I have had an incredible increase in spam activity and recently installed Image Captcha to my blog. This significantly decreased the amount of spam comments however it then increased the amount of spam subscriptions. Over 200 new users in 3 days, all spammers so far. For those of you who were legitimate users I am sorry if you were accidentally deleted in the clearing out of these users. Please do resign up but also let me know in a comment that you’re a real user. I highly recommend signing up for an email notice instead of becoming a user if your just a reader that likes to be kept up to date but not be active.

I do apologise for any inconvenience and I apologise for my long absence. I’ve been incredibly sick and now have an ear infection so I’ve been away healing. I will be back soon though. I will hopefully be sharing a few speedpaintings and some mini tips about Toon Boom Animate Pro 3. I hope to see you guys around when I get back. TTFN :)

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Head Turn WIP’s In Toon Boom Animate Pro 3

This first video above, I have been working on for quite some time. This is my first head turn from one side to the other. I actually got very stuck on the hair but it’s working out slowly but surely. I just wish there were more tutorials on classic frame by frame animation but it really does seem to be a dying art.

What I am trying to do is keep it smooth and consistent. I noticed I really need to work on the mouth and chin area and it has really opened my eyes to a lot of common mistakes I keep making. All in all I think I need a lot more practise and to brush up on my over all drawing skills as a whole.

This next one I’ve only just started. I spent about 2-3hrs on it last night. I spent so long because I was distracted. You can tell because the mouth and chin magically get smaller towards the end. My plans for this one is to have his eyes open slowly towards the end of the head turn and his eyes move off to the side in annoyance. I hope to do more work on it soon. This is all I have so far.

 

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My Toon Boom Animate Pro 3 Experiment

For this short animation I used Clip Studio Paint Pro to paint the background, Toon Boom’s Animate Pro 3 to animate and colour the character and Adobe After Effects to add a nice tint and gradient Overlay and those little firefly looking things. The fireflies were an accident.

My whole goal was to animate a simple blinking animation that was composited in such a way that it would look beautiful even though it was so simple. My other goal was also to simply learn Animate Pro. I wanted to be able to do most of the compositing in Animate but I found it so incredibly difficult to use the networking that I just opted for After Effects.

Even though my knowledge of AE is limited, I am fortunate enough that a lot of Photoshop techniques carry over into that program and I was happy with the outcome. I’m even happier that I was able to use AE for what it is intended to be used for and not have to rely on it to do a lot of work. I want to try and keep it that way. I’m going to do a lot more TBAP experiments in the near future but it takes so very long to complete the simplest things so please do be patient with me. I know I will get much faster as time goes on.

My biggest hurdle right now is getting the “Paint all drawings” to work. Or even just work properly. I think it’s my fault though. I think but I’m not sure, but I think I haven’t prepared the colour art layers properly or the strokes for that matter. Only time and learning will tell.

Anyway that’s pretty much all I have to share for now. I might even post a few small tutorials here and there. I’ve been enjoying working in Animate Pro so far. I’m glad that I learned so much in Blender because it made the 2.5D and 3D scene building a lot easier. That and moving the camera. If I learn enough I will definitely share those tips.

 

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Toon Boom Quick Tip: Customized Hotkeys For Your Drawing Tablet

Beginners, I recommend learning the hotkeys first and then using them as shortcuts on your tablet. You can use any drawing tablet that has hotkeys or express keys or whatever the company that made your tablet calls them. I’ve had these settings on a wacom bamboo, intuos and Cintiq and it really saves a lot of time. I really recommend setting these most common commands on your tablet to speed up the process. Bamboo users may run out of keys.

First, navigate to your tablet properties utility. Usually found under the start menu >> programs>> Wacom (or a folder named tablet or the company name that made your tablet). Open it up, find where to edit your express key commands and set to the following, for an Intuos Pro. If you have another model feel free to add or lessen but these tend to work the best.

  • Ctrl z and name Undo. If you’re anything like me you will be using this alot
  • Ctrl s and name it as Save
  • Delete key this is particularly helpful when you’ve selected a drawing and your keyboard is far away.
  • Spacebar this brings up the hand tool to move and pan around. I find working on a laptop most of the time, this is very useful. It’s also a good idea if your pen has express keys to set at least one of these buttons to spacebar so you can quickly use the hand tool to pan while you draw.
  • , (comma) to move left of key frames. This is extremely helpful when you want to manually check motion or if you want to flick back real quick to a keyframe and edit the previous frame
  • . (fullstop or period key) this will navigate to the right of your timeline.
  • F6 insert keyframe
  • Alt E enable eraser (particularly handy if you don’t have an intuos or if your pen isn’t working properly.)

There are many other useful hot keys. The last two I use as this or increase brush size up and down keys or I set them to ctrl and alt so I can zoom and pan using my mouse wheel. You will most likely find yourself mainly using the first six hotkeys. Anything after that would come from experience and comfort.

One last note when customizing an intuos custom hotkey, use keystroke for complex commands and modifier for simple things such as shift, alt, ctrl etc.

Hopefully this helps and if you need more instructions on setting up specific custom express keys please don’t hesitate to ask!

 

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Low Poly WIP Update

So as some of you know I like to play around in Unity. However the only downside is that without the right tools and being fully self taught in 3D it seems to get harder and harder to achieve what started out as simple goals. Anyway, rambling aside, I’ve almost got the hand of low poly models. But I keep using too many edge loops. I’m trying too simplify it down further and further until I reach an N64 sort of low poly but it’s just currently out of my skill set. It always ends up looking hideous but it’s never stopped me from trying.

Hopefully though the next time you will see BB will possibly be inside Unity and I hope, moving about. But without knowing how to script it’s been a very difficult task. Still I am hopeful at least. If you’re on Sketchfab, don’t be shy! Say hi. I’d love to see your works too <3

BB Work In Progress
by DraconianRain
on Sketchfab

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Metasequoia Tutorial Coming Soon

This was my first modelling program and not because of MMD but because it was the easiest to use. I tried Blender but it was so hard in the beginning and all I wanted to do was to learn how to model. Eventually I moved to blender for good though because I needed more tools.

Anyway enough of that. I will be making and sharing a Metasequoia tutorial in either a few days or few hours. If you are a Metasequoia user or new to modelling anime, you might want to keep an eye out for this tutorial. In the meantime if you’re new to modelling in general, please do look up tutorials on Edge Loops while you wait. Hopefully it will be helpful.

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Delay

There will be a delay in the daily posts this week. It’s bill week so I probably won’t have any handy hints and tips to share. However you can look forward to some simple Zbrush tips and how to draw tips. Next week I want to focus on creating certain types of paint brushes in both Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.

Continue reading

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Random Blender Tips: Soft Selection

Anyone that has moved from Maya or 3DS Max to Blender for whatever reason will find this particularly helpful. Especially if you are like me and have often needed to use the soft selection brush. I use to use it a lot on head and face morphs which I do now in Blender with Blender’s Shape Keys.

Simply select the general area you want to pull, then press O to turn on proportional editing. Press O again to turn it off. Alternatively you can turn this feature on and off from the menu bar. The pink arrow shows where. The two images below display soft selection turned on and where to find it if you want to use other options. To increase the area effected by soft selection, simply scroll your mouse wheel. You will notice the brush size increase and decrease.

Snap 2014-09-04 at 18.56.47 Snap 2014-09-04 at 19.04.55

 

For more indepth information please visit the Blender Wiki. I have added a direct link to proportional editing. Hope that helps! Happy modelling guys! http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.4/Manual/3D_interaction/Transform_Control/Proportional_Edit

 

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Random Blender Tips: Evening Out Topology

I am a Blender user. I have been for at least 2-3yrs now. I mostly picked it up again around version 2.58 and during that whole time it was at least 2yrs before I found out about this function. It’s one of those things modellers except everyone, even noobs to already know and it is hardly ever mentioned in tutorials but it is essential to clean and smooth topology. And usually when you go and ask for help, these days you only get made fun of or told to go away and not be stupid which I happen to think is very wrong to say or do to anyone learning.

Anyway I’m also someone who started in Max, so I found Blender extremely hard and even though I love Max more and really wish I could buy it, I persevered with Blender and found that it has a lot of advantages that other programs do not. Especially when it comes to smoothing out lumpy work.

At some point you will be polygonal modelling or doing retopology and you’ll really want to smooth out what you’ve been working on to clean it up a bit. The easiest way is to select either the whole model by pressing A, or part of the mesh by pressing B for rectangle marquee select or C for a brush select, and then pressing and going down to Smooth. Below is a before and after. Notice how the topology has evened the mesh topology out but still kept the general shape?

Snap 2014-09-03 at 13.52.56 Snap 2014-09-03 at 13.53.07

 

That’s all there is to it. This is quite possibly one of the most necessary things to know about when you’re first using or getting use to Blender. Most of the tools you need you can quickly search for by pressing your Spacebar and typing it in.

I like to use this feature on retopology that I have done in Topogun. I know Topogun has similar, but I know more about smoothing in Blender and prefer to do it there. Below is an example of the type of smoothing you can achieve in Blender.topology face

 

Hopefully that helps out to some of you looking for that ever elusive smooth feature! I know I had a lot of trouble with it at first but once you get use to it, Blender is pretty fast to work in.

 

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