How to Make an Animated Movie
When I was writing my first novel, The Few Who Count, I had no idea that even if I finished it and liked the end product, it would not be published by any established press, and once self-published, it would neither sell nor be read. No. Instead, like many a beginning novelist, I thought that someday it might make a pretty good movie. I even cast some of the leads. I wanted Amy Irving as Caldwell and Jodi Foster as Hayley. Those were roles for very young women. I was young at the time. So were they.
Well, Amy Irving, Jodi Foster and I are middle aged now. But Caldwell and Hayley are still young. If a movie is ever made of The Few Who Count, Irving and Foster are never going to play those roles.
In fact, if a movie of the novel is ever made, the roles are probably going to be given to a computer. Why? Because I am the only person who has any interest in making a movie based on my novel. And today, it is actually possible for a novelist to make a movie all by herself!
This tutorial is in Spanish, but it's quite well done
Instead of casting calls for actors and actresses, I am currenty engaged in the process of casting the right computer -- or rather, the right software package -- in all the roles that my movie requires. The would-be performers? Anime Studio, Claymation Studio, Poser and Xtranormal.
I was given Anime Studio as a gift and I have it installed on my computer, but it's a very maleable and touchy actor, requiring way too much direction for my taste. I practically have to tell the actor what to do with every limb, every digit, every step of the way. Here are some tutorials that explain how to direct a movie using Anime Studio.
Can you imagine telling Jodi Foster how her ankle needs to be connected to her foot and what the relationship between the two should be when she walks? A really good actress doesn't need that much direction!
Bone Tutorial -- how to coordinate the movements of the parts
Anime Studio is a software package for animation in 2D. Poser, our next contender, is a program that creates animations in three dimensions. In Poser, a character's posture is arranged into individual poses, which, when strung together, can seem like live action.
Poser Tutorial: How to Make Your Actress Sneeze
In Claymation Studio directors use their own dolls, action figures or clay figurines to create action sequences from a series of snapshots. The result can be stunningly realistic, but the process is extremely laborious.
Claymation Studio Tutorial
Blender is a software package that enables you to make spectacular special effects. For instance, it's good to know that if your script calls for a nuclear explosion, you don't have to detonate a nuclear bomb in order to get the effect you wanted!
You can also use Blender to morph one being into another seamlessly, or to create catchy three dimensional logos.
Many of these programs allow professional level results, if you put in the time to learn to use them like a professional, but they also have a steep learning curve, and those of us who have more pressing projects to work on may not have the time to put in.
For those of us who want to make movies but are not willing to invest either time or money, there is another option. Xtranormal.com's slogan says it all: "If you can type, then you can make a movie."
The limitations with Xtranormal are as follows:
- The free version allows only two characters per scene.
- The appearance of the characters is limited to only a few choices in each style.
- You are limited to English, although there are a few different accents to choose from.
- You are limited to a few backgrounds.
- You are limited to a few camera angles.
- You are limited to a few postures and actions.
As with everything else in life, the choice is up to us. How much control do we want? If we want to control every move, every posture, every nuance, then we have to put in a lot of work and thought. If we want everything done for us, then we are limited to a very few choices.
It kind of reminds me of the recent discussion in another hub about whether we want the world to be run by a giant computer. The upside would be: being freed from having to make our own decisions. The downside would be: not being able to make our own decisions!
A rudimentary video I made on Xtranomal
Can we delegate important decisions to computers and get surprisingly good results? Sure, we can. But the choice of how much we want to delegate, and how much control we would like to retain, is still up to each of us.
If you want to be an independent moviemaker, there are many possibilities to choose from. The ultimate choice is up to you!
(c) 2009 Aya Katz