King James Version (KJV)


Animation and sound effects

Posted by Marius Oberholster on Thursday, March 10, 2016 Under: WIP
Hey all!

Today's update takes a bit of a different route. I'm actually gonna let you watch everything I've been graced to put together so far - not fullHD, as that takes significantly longer and this took long enough to upload last night so I can actually share it, hahaha.

So, here is everything put together so far:

(Only 01:08, so it's a quick watch)

Now let's get into what went into this, hahaha.

Animation challenges and tips:
- Make sure your models are complete before rendering.
Sounds kinda duh, but I've had a few surprises in this project I did not like. Just one being that I forgot to add doors to the palace. What palace doesn't have doors, hahaha. I did add some before rendering, but if your render takes about 10 hours, you want to make sure everything is in place, or you waste 10 hours.

- Use small bits in individual files
Major learning curve for me. I've seen that it's easy to make changes to small files, as opposed to trying to make changes to longer sequences. If you keep the blend files to a short length of animation - say, one camera angle at a time - you will be so glad you did! It also means that while you are waiting for a render, you can continue working on the next part of the animation. If that is the direction you choose. I actually recommend that, because of Blender's current OpenGL state. You cannot see enough in the viewport - unless you bake everything, to be able to say that you're sticking everything together as scene strips and then hitting render. I've done that before on Genesis 1, I did not like the surprises I got and had to re-render often. I prefer this method, haha. If you do it in short bursts, you'll know it's right and you can see it come together, like above.

- Render more than enough if you stitch together post render
In movies you get more than just a cut to next scene transition. Sometimes you have fades, wipes or even spirals and other more elaborate things. For these transitions to look good, you need your video to stay in motion. It looks really bad, to me, if videos hold the first frame of the second video still, until the transition is halfway and then starts playing. I hate that with a passion. In order to avoid this sort of thing, you have to make sure your videos have enough meat to give you full motion transitions. If you are sure you need only 5 seconds of clear footage and you know the transitions are gonna be very short, then render 7 seconds or a tad more. Don't overdo it, but rather overdo than miss it completely - hahaha.

- Lip syncing
You can check out my lip syncing tutorial here. Check the description for when the method starts, because I do start it off by quickly making a character to lip sync and it takes about 36 mins (usually takes more than 3 hours) of the video. Always, always check the description - especially for long video tutorials.

The biggest tip on lip syncing in Blender I can give is OpenGL render. Oh snap, you will be glad you did. If you don't check your animation and you render it out and only find out days later that it's totally wrong, you will want to kick yourself for not checking it - especially if you knew to, haha. Do OpenGL renders of your stuff before you render the final. You will be so so so so very very very glad you did!
   In case you don't know how to - all you do is set your output settings to video and then in the top of your 3DViewPort, there is a button that says Render. Go, Render> OpenGL Render Animation. Wherever your video is stored, go watch it. Just make sure that with your output video settings, that the Audio is not on Mute and that the output setting includes audio.

Take risks:
- Persian translations
My knowledge of Persian starts and ends with the statement: "Pretty font!!!! Wow!" haha. That's not to insult or dis myself or anyone else, I just don't know anything other than the language is probably the most beautifully written one I've ever seen (personal view here). I did however, feel led to give it a shot and add it. I used Google translate for the translation and it translates as Iran by default, but lists Persia as a synonym - so I'm happy with the opening. That, however, is as far as I feel lead to place text on the screen I cannot read or write myself, hahahaha.

Like I said in the previous update, I ran a large section of Esther 6 through Google Translate for Persian text on the scroll the chamberlain is reading. Thankfully, even in FullHD, it is absolutely illegible to me. Some of it may be in the bottom of the screen when the king gets his attention by taping in the table, but it would still be mostly guess work imo. I did just tell you what I used there though. If it's cussing or insulting, Google translate is to blame, not me, hahahaha. I'm kidding, I'm sure it will just not make sense in the worst case scenario.

Next, we're gonna look at sound effects!

- Cricket sound
We do not live in the country and we have lots of ambient noise in the background, so recording crickets (or even waiting for them to possibly chirp), was just not an option. So, I went online and I just listened to what they sound like and GOD helped me literally write the cricket sounds you hear in the opening.

I tried a few things I felt led to - doesn't always make sense, but you don't always know whether it's GOD or not, until you try it. Joyce often puts it this way: "You've got to step out to find out". The first thing I tried was my mouse's scroll wheel. I thought that if I up the pitch and add some reverb then it would be instant cricket - no, no it was not. Hahaha. In fact, it sounded more like a zip of some kind. Really odd buzzing zip sound...

Next up: MIDI! I really luv using MIDI to write sounds. It's a great challenge and the results are often surprising, like this tennis ball sound:

(it's pretty much the first strong sound you hear that cues the music)

Also, the sea sound here:

These were not at the same difficulty level in terms of writing. For the ocean shore, there is literally an instrument built in that you just work with in a clever way. Same with gun sounds. But when it came to the tennis ball sound and the cricket sound, I used the drums instrument.

- The tennis ball sound
It was a hand clap and a bass drum that was rounded and reverbed. The hand clap rounded gives the "pock" sound, while the bass drum gives you some lower end to make the sound thicker. The reverb gives you a sense of place and makes the sound familiar.

The cricket sound was more simple ito writing. It was the short whistle (tried the long one too and no, doesn't sit well), spaced about a fourth away from each other. I tried going for 3 16th notes, but on the third the whistle restarts, so you get a dip. Stick with the 8th that works, hahaha. Pardon me if my math is a bit off, haha.

As good as this was, it had no effects and it was not in stereo. In Audacity, I spaced and reverbed the sounds and overlaped them - additionally quite a bit in Blender too, to get the sound to span the time of the intro. Lot's of effort for a simple sound, but GOD did not make things the easy way, HE put in the extra effort to make everything beautiful and intricate, so if you wanna do it well, start pulling those sleeves up, hahaha.

- Foot steps sound
Since I don't have soft soled Persian shoes from the time of Esther, I had to make due with what I had - Bronx or Tekkies (running shoes, if you're not sure, haha). I stuck with my Bronx, because they made a deeper sound, but I had to re-record them a few times, because I kept moving my hands and making tap and sliding noises (used my phone to record it). Only a second of the audio was clean enough to use, even after high-pass and noise reduction. Not a reflection on my phone, just that it's hard to hold a mic to your feet as you're walking (no selfie-stick unfortunately, hahaha).

For the last step, I lowered the pitch a bit and split the sound, so it would work better as a closing. For some reason, the lowered pitch gives it a completeness. Just goes to show, listen to the leading of the HOLY SPIRIT. HE knows what works and what doesn't.

- Narration and dialogue
I spoke about this in the previous update, but I want to add something. There seems to be a mistake often made that people over pan their vocals. So much so, that if you listened to it on stereo, there are vocals that are 100% left and others that are 100% right. It is not physically accurate and will annoy the viewer. Rather center all your voices if you're not sure how much is too much, but I still encourage you to take risks here - just don't think just putting it 99% left or 99% right is a good move, hahaha. Voices bounce, just like any other sound, off of objects. There's just enough to not make it 100% from one location, but little enough to ensure you can estimate directionality based on stereo sound.

Be safe in this area - set yourself a limit like no more than 75% to the right or 75% to the left and please, if at all possible, don't mix on headphones. Speaker mix will sound great on headphones, but it's rarely the other way around (speaking from experience here). There are new programs that make it better, but wow, it's better to mix with speakers, imo.

- Editing in Blender
Surprisingly, I prefer Blender's VSE over every other editor I've tried. Especially since you can combine 3D animation into your edit (really helps for scrolling text like stuff - like this video). It's just like wow.
On top of that, you have your basic effects and the Gaussian blur effect strip is now much much faster - I think there may even be a chance that the VSE will get a serious update for Blender 2.8.

Personally, I found that because you can place audio and video all through-out each other's tracks, you are not creating this monster of a track list and you can even neatly keep things to about 10 or so tracks for all the video and sound. It is a stunning editor and works really well. Just don't try to do too many things in one project. Edit in one and do animation in another one. The system doesn't like to calculate more than 1 timeline in the same scene - it gets confused and quickly too.

- Proxies
That brings me to another point. Proxies are Blender's way of creating low quality versions of the videos you use, so editing runs at the perfect frame rate (or close to it), even with effects. While this does not use more than one timeline, each strip really should get it's own directory. I've had some weird looking edits because I tried to proxy everything into one folder. Use them - they are an extremely valuable asset, especially for lip syncing stuff.

Anyhow, that is it for this update! :D. To close it off, I would like you to check out a post here and I leave you with a render from the video in FullHD.

If you don't know JESUS yet, you are missing out on eternity, seriously. None of the above would be possible or even exist without HIM and neither would you... Ask HIM to reveal HIMSELF to you, and HE will, in HIS time and in the right way for you.

Have a great one and GOD bless!!

Software used:
All characters - Make Human and Blender
Animation, Modeling, Rendering and Editing - Blender
Audio production - Audacity, Anvil Studio and Blender
Did I mention Blender? hahaha.

In : WIP 

Tags: god  jesus  holy spirit  bible  kjv  blender  blender render  esther 6  esther  animation  rendering  compositing  modeling  progress  wip 

About Me

Marius Oberholster Hey all! I've been doing CG work full-time since 2011. GOD has been with me, supported me and taught me all the way. HE tells us to do all things as unto the LORD and that is my goal. I do whatever I believe the HOLY SPIRIT is leading me to do and it's not always easy, but it's always worth it to be obedient! JESUS is awesome!! If you don't know HIM yet, follow the link above!

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