Friday, August 2, 2013

Meet Gari at Bronycon!


Hello there everypony!

If you are in Bronycon or heading towards it right now, you can visit booth 300 and meet Gari.

Do you remember the mare in the intro of our video?  Well, She is a dear friend of ours that has been  in the art freelance bussiness  for years. Most of the desings that you will find on Bronycon 2013 are her craft.

Trish Forstner everypony!



So,  come by and say hello to her from our part!  Oh! and one more thing, she knows the whole story of Children of the Night, .. so bring her a cookie (she loooves-loves-loves cookies), and she may lit the candle and tell you a tale.

PS:  To avoid miss understandings, please note that she is the owner and designer of Gari and Fly-by-Night, characters from CoTn, NOT the voice of Gari. That would be Sarah Williams. 


Spanish version in production!


Hello there! THe team has been summoned, and the Spanish version will be available in a couple of weeks. We count with a brilliant musician, by the name of Tristan M., and a professional Spanish VA and musical singer. Maria M.

 We also have a professional translator giving a shot to the song, to make sure it is the best product that we can have. I crafted the first draft myself, but even if I am native from Spain, it cannot hurt to have a polishing pass over it.

 I hope you all will likewhat were working on. There is a parallel team developing a versin in Latin American Spanish with authorization, I have heard the first pass, and gosh, it is awesome! Best SPirit

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spanish version possible, I need instrumental track

Hello there everypony! I have received a number of petitions of the song being translated to Spanish. We do have contact with a professional singer which has been working with me "Spirit", for years now. However, there is only one thing keeping us from uploading such version. We don´t have an instrumental track. And we cannot simply remove the vocal track using the vocal filter from Audition and record over, that would sound.. very poor, and canned. Instead, we would nead a clean instrumental. If any of you could help with such thing, We will upload the song in Spanish, crediting the musician, of course.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

There we go Folks!

Here is the final result of all that work.




I'd like to personally thank all of you that stuck with us to the end...

Hopefully this makes up for all the waiting :)

And no, she doesnt drop the foals :3

-Lion

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

LOOKIT! LOOKIT!

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Evrrrrrrrypooony!

Lion here.. with GEWD NEWZZ!

*coughcough*

Best show you:


See this!?  That is a FULL TIMELINE!  YES!

Every shot to add was added and almost *ALMOST* every tweak to do was done..  By tomorrow, I should be able to do the very final FINAL render!

All depending on how long it will take to upload to youtube, the realease date is this week for sure..

So hang on to your manes, we're sooooo close!

I need rest now...

But the next post WILL be the video.

-Lion

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Count them :3

OMG!  Is it POSSIBLE?  The Foals are THERE!

All 12 of them.. the black shape in the back is Luna backlit by moonlight.



How's it going everyone?  Lion here..

Wondering why I make a big deal out of them following Luna?  It's kindov a year-long story >.>
Suffice it to say that taking a work in progress at face-value and assume that what you see will be the final result is a surefire way of being 100% wrong.  (or 99.9 % for those that want some hope)

Even part of the teaser that look 'final' have been tweaked and adjusted.. even if slightly.

But I digress..
The bulk of shot 35's animation is all done.  Tweaks and slight adjustments are still required but here's a full-render frame from said shot.  (Which will get a bit more treatments before release)

From Adobe Premiere's timeline, it would seem like everything's done but not quite.  This is the home stretch where we put all of the wishlist back in the project for one final pass before one final render.

It's gonna be so kewl to have all your reactions!

Be safe, I'm going back to working on it!

-Lion

Saturday, July 6, 2013

David Larsen Joins the CoTn team

Hello Evreypony!

Spirit reporting progress.  The killer shot, number 35 is almost done, after that, everything is downhill, or so we hope.

But the news today is that David Larsen has joined the project and he is providing his awesome musical abilities.   So far, he has done an splendid job!

He is working on something that has a lot to do with what the fans requested. I took the decission two weeks ago, but you will have to wait until the release to find out what in tarnation I am talking about.

He and Sarah Williams are going to bring sound and voice to something new that wasn´t there before. 

Here is a sample of David´s work. He requested one of our bgs for his piece "Aeons". 





NOTE:  This is David´s musical piece, NOT our video.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Last Shot

Hello there everypony!

We haven´t posted for a while, but I am coming back with great news.

We are in the middle of the last shot. YES! last shot, number 35, which is the hardest of the bunch.

Again, I cannot tell when it will get done. After making such a long way, I am not gonna make the mistake to trip on the finish line, so we won´t announce a release date, but, soon, it will be complete.

Now I won´t lie. I am terrified of the release (Spirit), because I really don´t want to dissapoint anyone, yet, I am proud of what we have done so far, because it convinces me, and for once in our lives, we haven´t been rushed or pushed by a deadline, it is a work that is has been done just like we wanted to do it, nothing more, nothing less. Just this one time we have sweeped speed out of the formula.

I want to thank you all once again for your patience. Just a little longer guys. :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kicking, Bucking and the like!

Muffins!

Nah.. just me doing something different than 'Hey Everypony'

Lion here with an update!

Like Spirit said in the previous post, we're going ahead.  While there are not many shots left, which is good, one of the longest and most difficult is left to do.  I'll be starting it momentarily but do have corrections to do in several shots for Luna's mane.  As unruly as it is and despite the general looks there are some places where.. it looks flat and falls short of being flowy.

So that's my next task: RULE LUNA'S MANE!  Or.. y'know.. make it behave like I want >.>

Some of you managed to sneak on my stream some time ago and saw how much is done already and for the shot that I was working on, I have a Screencap here.



Of course, the effects are yet to be added for several reasons.  One of which, instead of stopping my animating to have a complete render, I will just move on to the next order of the day and do FX in the order it is supposed to go in: After production.

those of you still sketpical as to if she drops the children in the night?  This should clarify :)

 All in all, progress being made, another shot to add to the 'done' list and another one starts.

Bit more patience everyone, its getting done.

-Lion

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Progress of CoTN

Hello there everypony!

I am here to report exactly were we are at with our little short film.

The most frequent asked questions are:

When will it be done?
How much do you have left to do?
How long it will be?

Once again,  let me explain that we decided NOT to give a release date to focus on production instead of  completion. The point of the film is to push our skill to the maximum, getting a product of the highest quality we can achieve at the

moment.  Giving a deadline would make it an industry standard case and it would be absolutely pointless, because we don´t have industry standard conditions (no team, no budget, limited resources, no profit purpose and only two folks doing what they can).

Now for status report:

Backgrounds: 100% complete (pending corrections in shot 33B)
Animation 75% (two shots left to animate)
Postproduction 60% (effects have been prepared, catalogued and tested in AE, it is just a matter of rendering). Pending shots haven´t been postproducted yet (d'uh).

VA: 100%
 FX animation: 75%   Changes in Luna´s mane for better flow over shots 11, 8, 14 , 24 A, 34B, 35, shot 34 A , 34Bb and 35 pending FX, done in tradigital technique.

Now , I am afraid that such things are very difficult to calculate in time frame. I don´t know if we are going to encounter a technical problem along the way (we had many before).

 Ok, now that the explanations are done, let's get to the cool stuff, and that is the problems that we are tackling right now.


Just yesterday we encountered a problem of flow in Luna's mane. The cycle that we have prooves not to be enough for the need, so we will have to tweak it, just like they do in the show.    We tested three different ways of tackling this problem, to conclude that tradigital was the only way to solve it.

Basically, we will have to add more animation to her mane when she lands, takes off or does extreme movements. We decided to take example from three cartoon characters with similar hair treatment, being those Ariel, Eris and the Spring devil from Samurai Jack ( which looks like Celestia BTW).  

Here you can have a rough example. 



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Streaming

Lion is Streaming the animation process for the shot 34B, if you want to peek at what he is doing, you will be welcome to join!

http://www.livestream.com/lionheartcartoon


Monday, April 29, 2013

Don't get in the way, Flash

Hello there!

Spirit reporting some progress today.

I have been running lots and lots of tests lately, and to my surprise, I have figured out ways to eliminate some of the Flash software limits.

The list of positive tests include:

* Randomization of multiple  graphics at once with one command
* Possibility of rendering any action script media in PNG sequence with no frame loss, including the use of a V- cam
* Transform FILLS to LINES  (twisted procedure, but the possibility is now open)

All this technical meaning that I have now more freedom to do my FX magic here and there.
 
Link to the swf file:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/25132556/example%20stars.swf


This is one example of what can be done now. This clip would usually take about two hours to get done, while with the new commands took about 30 seconds, it is only one graphic symbol, applied with the spray tool, and set to random frame with one single command.


With similar strategies I have done waterfalls for the clip, dust dissipations and some mist. 






Saturday, March 30, 2013

New flash plugin, Single frame on Graphics by default

Hello There everypony!

Some weeks ago I made post on this blog about something that I believed Flash needed badly.

That would be a plugin for forcing every new created symbol to be in single frame by default.

Well, our fella, Arno B, has made it happen. Here is an open source plugin that he developed in a jiffy, that makes just that.

Flash Extension, lock single frame, by ARNO B.

If you are a professional Flash animator or builder, this may come in handy.  It is not a critical thing, but when you have passed several hours building something, it is very frustrating to find out that you missed some parts in loop, and you have to go like a hawk over evertyhint to fix it.

Thank you so much Arno B for your wonderful work on this. It is been an incredible surprise and a honor to test this tool with you.

Best

Spirit

Foals building complete

Hello there folks!

I have fantastic news to share today. The 12 foals have been completed, and not a single correction or detail is left to be done.  I feel like I just scaled a huge mountain.

Here I leave you with the test stage test, where I put all of the foals in an official background with an official character next to them for comparison. 

Gari and Spirit were very troublesome to do because I had to adjust all the mouths to their special features, that makes  about 300 symbols to arrange that must work together as a unit.






Sunday, March 24, 2013

Building the foals 2

Hello there Everypony!

Spirit reporting progress again. 

In the last post I talked a bit about he foals builds, and I have been working on that , having now 8 out of 12 finished and two more half done. 

Hopefully, if everything goes well, I should be able to have the whole lot by the end of next week. 

Some of you suggested to test them with some official MLP character on an average show stage, which was a great suggestion, so here is the result. 


Seems taht Twilight is running a daycare center in the Golden Oak Library.  I added  extra color corrections to most of the foals, The most affected ones by the amends were Windwhisper (light blue pegasus on the top right corner)  and Tingle (Dark unicorn standing by the door).

I found a couple of technical problems that I solved thanks to this integration test, such as nomenclature errors, would have resulted in a very nasty surprise if added to our current shots directly. 

Here you can see an example of  a full build of a foal

 

 Each single foal has a 20 point turn around to cover the 360º rotation.  As part of the challenge, we made our best to make them rotate on the horse center axys (between the four legs) and to have as little snaps as possible. 

This is the reasons for which our builds take a while, it is the control of the 20 points of rotation, which involves a lot of symbol creation, plus, a lot of control tests necessary to ensure good functionality, not to mention the nomemclature surveillance. If one symbol is named the same from foal to foal, we will get  build bug, so you will get, for example, Spirit's legs on Moondancer's body. 

See you on the next update, I have a lot of wonderful stuff ready to share with you which I will try to post during this week. 

:)











Sunday, March 17, 2013

Making the builds, the foals

Hello there, ponies of the night:

Spirit reporting progress here. Fiuu! it is been long since the last post, but we have progressed quite a tad.

Right now I am making fully functional foals for the final sequence of COTN. We had builds before, but they were meant for a completely different animation technique, so the process was really painful and mostly slow.

The new functional builds include a 10 point turn around (T.A)  of the character, for only a 180º rotation, so it is actually a 20 point T.A when you flip them.

As an extra challenge, we made them rotate smoothly, which I will show in a future post.  I took a Fluttershy T.A that goes around the net as reference, and from that, I started to make amends and improvements, such a fully functional mouths, hooves, eyebrows, hair, tails.. in short, every single body part.

While doing all this, I noticed a few bloopers in my initial character design, specially in Tingle. In the first pass I made him really messy, but the shapes kinda got out of hand, and it didn't read well as a character that is related to electricity. Taking example from how LF conducts her designs, I got the following result, which is a lot more clear and shape driven.










LEFT= BEFORE    RIGHT= AFTER



Some comments ont he design got me a bit worried about if these kids would or not blend well in the actual show.  After calibrating the importance of this matter, I decided to put each of them to a test over a background of Ponyville.

So far, here is the result for this little fella.


The first two foals, Spirit and Candlelight, took a very long time, mostly because I had to build from scratch, and let me tell you, a fully functional pony has a LOT of pieces.  Today I made two working at mid pace, so four foals down, 8 to go.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Feathers

Greetings Friends!

Lion with another update!  I just realized I forgot to do one last week but that doesnt mean we're Idle.  Spirit's plowing ahead with more puppet builds and I'm happy to say that Luna's build has been updated and will definitely speed some shots up. Not to mention I'll be able to replace some weird symbols with more appropriate ones.

I just finished another shot today which was problematic.  One we refer to as 'Shot 07'.  (Basically the shot where she overlooks the city)

Took me a while to come up with her acting.. way too long for a shot this short.  But at the same time I didnt want to just recycle what was done and then the wings and.. well.. too many things at once in my head.

In the end, it's the wings that really make it work. Or rather, the feathers.  Originally it was a slow and sluggish unfurling of the wings and it had no life to it.. just a lot of tweens and visible flash animation.

With her acting done without her wings I could time them better to the music too.

I even gave them a bit of a snap!

As you can see, I divided the wings in several parts which allow a more precise manipulation.  Since it's not exactly like a flap I felt it necessary to give myself more control for better subtle movements.

The red line below is my hand-drawn guide.  I've re-done several passes of other shots that way to give myself a better planning over some specific movements.

Again, we're getting there. One shot at a time :)


-Lion

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Something that Flash really really needs..

HI there!

Spirit talking to you today and bringing the morning report. 

We are presently creating our Luna puppet for the final scene (yes, we proceeded with no puppets until now, believe or not). And after creating a mountain of symbols, we spotted something that Flash could use.

A script for setting the properties of the graphics to single frame by default. I consulted other animators, and they crave that as well.  It might seem that we are lazy, but it is very time consuming to have to check something EVERY time you create a symbol. If you are managing.. let's say, 80, it is ok, but our Lulu has surpassed the 1000 (just these past two days I created about 200).  And we also have 12 children, with very different assets for each one (every child has a different blink, mouthshape...and we have two different builds for filly and colt).

So, if there is any guru out there that knows about such thing, please, please, email or comment. I would be really grateful for that.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Comparison Part 2

Greetings friends!

Lion here with another update on progress.

I got a little bit side-tracked this week due to a special request by Michael Brockhoff (The director on the Bronies documentary)

Looks like you guys will have a little selection of Special Tee-shirts at one point in some conventions!  And yes, Prof John is part of the lineup for those Tees.

Now.  Last time (last week?) I said I'd render a comparative shot between what was done before and what I modified to my new and improved standard.  I'm not 100% sure about the ending of the new version but it kinda fits the song well.

I'll ask advice to my lovely Wife-Partner when I can get a hold of her.  But for now, here's a little sneak-a-peek:


This is Before










And this is After.

If they seem out of synch, just refresh the page, they should synch up afterward.





As you can see, the movements are more circular and not as jerky. Of course, since they are on '2s' now instead of being tweened, it also means the animation more or less runs at 12 FPS. Less 'Flashy' as some would say but slightly less smooth.  It's a matter of balance, really.. can't have everything all the time but I think I'd take more lively animation over smoothness of framerate.

So let us know what you think of the improvements :)

Be safe!

-Lion

Friday, February 8, 2013

Comparison

Helloooo Everypony!

Lion here with a little update.

The blog's living again and.. well.. we never did stop living.  STILL, I thought I'd alleviate some possible concerns AND give an inside view once more.

Some of you might remember a post called 'Lipsynching' (http://firstnightmarenight.blogspot.ca/2012/07/lipsynching.html)

After working on 'Bronies' and with great feedback from a senior animator whom I shall not name (But has been a super awesome input with the betterment of my flash animation skills) I realized that: Tweening is evil.

I never really liked it BUT I thought I could tame it.

Fact is: I can't.  I should have listened to everypony including myself but I didnt and now I'm working a bit harder.  Takes a bump on the head to realize it I guess.

Tweening is a support tool.. not so awesome for prodution.

SO, I thought I'd show the difference in the timelines.  Here is a before and after screencaps of what we refer to as 'Shot 02'.




While it looks crazy, (And it is) is also means that Luna has more life to her.  Her movements don't breathe of 'flash' as much as a living entity.. at least it's the feeling I get.  I don't know what came over me to actually accept what I had first done as 'good enough'.  Everything moves now, she's got pacing and her motions are significantly more pushed.  Not just an almost static singing head like before.

In other words, I feel a lot happier about showing this animation now and a lot more confident that it will be worthy of the fandom.

And now I'll keep on trotting and show a comparison of the Gif animation that also is under the LipSynch post when Shot 03 has had its beauty cream applied :)

Be safe!


-Lion

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The News

Good say everypony, Lion here.

I have good news and bad news.

The good one is that Children of the Night is resuming.  It's still a huge task and one that took me some time to see 'one day at a time'

The bad one is that I don't like what some parts look like anymore.  It's choppy.. square.. lipsynch sucks in some areas and Luna's puppet is a gumbo that needs to be addressed.  In other words, it's nowhere near the quality that I gave for the documentary and is NOT a good representation of what I can do anymore.

So to that effect, some sections that I thought were done will have a revisit and/or will be completely redone. (Some shots, not all)

The speed should pick up however as working with JanAnimations sure helped put some things in perspective and showed me better ways of doing some shots.  Don't lose hope, we're still alive :)

-Lion

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spirit´s birthday

Hello there Everypony!
Today is Jan 9th, and that means that Spirit is a year older today.  She will probably be busy today, as usual, but let's give her a birthday cheer!.

-Lion