July 2, 2021 at 7:10 pm #3740
Heya! I’ve been keeping an eye on this software to try it out for a while, and have been finally dipping into using it for a substantial project in the past few days. Overall the drawing and animation experience with it is phenomenal! It’s super intuitive and the start up tutorials were fantastic for getting a jumpstart into using the interface. I just have a few quality of life suggestions I’d noticed myself wanting for the sakes of working with longer length animation projects. :>
I have an animation I’m using the program to rough out in time with a song that’s about 1:40 in length. Since I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that you can designate a total frame count when starting a new file, nor did I know how many frames in total it’d take to reach the end of the song (it’s almost 2000 overall- with the instances of animation itself totalling about 200+ across the song with repeated use in different places), it’d be nice if in scene settings a total frame count could still be specified after the fact- that both current and new layers could generate clones to compensate for the right length.
Related to that, having some option of either specifying the amount of clone frames you’d like a layer to have by either typing a number, or simply starting a new layer when created at whatever frame count I’m currently at, would be fantastic. As it stands for the project I’m working on right now- I was working with two layers before realizing I wanted a third for roughing out a lipsync during one part of the song, but in order to do so I had to manually drag clones out of the new layer, or wait on the copy/paste function for several minutes, to reach the point I wanted to actually start the lipsync at (over 700+ frames in!) So while doable, it is extremely cumbersome to attempt manually. It’s also demotivated me from wanting to consider cleaning up the animation lineart in this software at the moment compared to pulling it into another program, just from how long it’d take to set up new inking layers to work with.
My other more minor suggestion would be the ability to swap frames as opposed to just slide them. There are instances I’d like to flip where two frames are taking place, or swap scenes entirely if I feel the timing would serve them better somewhere else, and some sort of toggle to switch between swap and slide modes, rather than slide mode and adding more clones, would be really helpful!
Overall with those quirks aside I’m absolutely loving the software! I’m super excited to eventually be able to pull reference footage in rather than just audio for working from, and this is definitely going to be my go-to software for hand drawn animations going forward~ 😀July 3, 2021 at 1:51 pm #3743
Thank you very much for your detailed explanations and suggestions. Much appreciated. The swap mode has been suggested a few times before – happy to hear it from you too! And what you describe about all the clones sounds really frustrating. Both points of yours are definitely something we need to come up with a good solution to. These are now entered into our todolist. Thanks again.
As long as your reference footage is made as a sequence of png files, then they will import right into a reference layer in Animation Paper. Did you try that?
NielsJuly 4, 2021 at 1:37 am #3745
I actually didn’t know I could do a png sequence for reference footage! I’ll keep that in mind for future projects I try out in this going forward, since I should be able to convert videos into sequences with photoshop.
Also no problem at all! I’m really excited to see where this software goes in the future! 😀July 4, 2021 at 10:25 am #3746
Alright, thanks a lot 🙂
Yeah, you can import just one png (could be a model sheet or a background or something else) – or you can shift-select multiple png’s (like a numbered sequence of video or rendered 3D animation, etc, for reference use).
When you import png’s Animation Paper automatically creates a reference layer for the images. It is not possible to draw directly on a reference layer, but you can add a new normal layer on top and do animation, clean up or tracing or whatever on top of the reference layer that way.
Reference layers do allow you to use all the usual timing functionality – like add clones, copy/paste, slide originals, etc.
I hope this helps you!
NielsAugust 4, 2021 at 10:17 am #3814
I’m looking into these requests of yours. About the slide-mode and swap-mode:
I am always trying to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible, so adding a third mode might not be the best solution. I am wondering if simply dropping slide mode would work for you? I mean, in stead of sliding your originals as you do in AP today, we could just change how it works a little, so you are still sliding, but sliding through the next originals (making them swap places).
Or am I committing the crime of dropping something that is super useful? What would work for you? Super interested to hear your thoughts on this.
NielsAugust 4, 2021 at 10:23 am #3815
On second thoughts – I do think slide mode has its value. Maybe we need the 3 modes afterall. But then we have to make it obvious which mode we are in at any given time…August 4, 2021 at 6:56 pm #3816
Hey Niels! I will say as far as how the slide mode currently functions, my own initial expectation when I’d downloaded the software would be that the layers would pass through one another and swap places, rather than sliding everything that’s ahead of it. As I was thinking about it I do partially feel like the Add Clones functionality, functions somewhat like a sliding tool as well, since adjusting the number of clones above a frame already slides/adjusts the frames below it by proxy. So if I’m wanting to make subtle timing adjustments I already can accomplish this by increasing or decreasing the amount of clones I have. Whereas with moving frames around, I’m usually wanting to change their placement without altering the timing of my other frames in the piece, which I’ve done by accident a few times now with the slide tool, and have had to manually readjust my other displaced frames after the fact.August 4, 2021 at 9:57 pm #3817
Thanks a lot for coming back to me Katherine! I see. I think, basically, this is really mostly about what you (and probably many others) expect. Which is super important. My goal is to try to make AP do what people expect, while still having it do what I consider to be good usable functionality.
I do still believe the slide mode as it is now, is very useful. You see, the point is that you first do your timing using very few key drawings with clones between them. Once you have your key drawings positioned as you want them, say in sync with dialogue or music, then you wound’t want to use Add Clones mode to adjust anything, because you would loose your timing later down the timeline. This is why Slide mode is valuable I believe. With Slide mode you simply slide (adjust) any key drawing to hit the right point in time according to your audio or timing. And nothing will be misaligned anywhere else.
But as I said, what you expect is super important. And some kind of swap/move mode is valuable as well. So I do believe we need to have all three modes. Somehow we just need to make it sort of self evident what will happen (what to expect) as you use any of the modes. – As a minimum super obvious what mode you are in.
More thinking is required! 😉
Thanks again!August 4, 2021 at 10:12 pm #3818
No problem at all! I’m really excited to see where the program evolves from here, and that definitely makes sense for the slide function when working with isolated sections! It gets a lot more chaotic when working in larger projects like I’m currently trying to haha!
I think potentially the simplest way of denoting what mode a user is currently in, could be a text display on the x-sheet itself (at the very top or very bottom), which could also act as a shortcut button to click and swap modes besides the drop down menu or the shortcut keys, since the current visual indicator of being in slide or clone mode is fairly subtle right now on the cursor. I regularly do work that doesn’t involve color with a bluelight filter on the screen which gives everything an orange tint, so the cursor changing from white to brown is sometimes hard for me to notice unless I double check the dropdown for what mode I’m in! (I’d pulled the program open just now to check how it looked while typing, and legitimately hadn’t noticed the little picture that appears by the cursor when in slide mode until now! I don’t fully know why I’d been missing it, but having an obvious indicator on the screen that’s larger than the cursor itself to notice could be a big help as well :>)
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