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How to Create Engaging Interactive Learning Materials | Cartoon Animator

Zez Vaz – Director, Animator, and the founder of Toma Creators Studio

About Zez Vaz

Hello everyone! Today’s tutorial dives into crafting an engaging animation intro using Power Tools Vol. 2: Interactive Learning Bundle for 2D Animation – Make Me Actor and Instructional Tools. I’m Zez Vaz from Toma Creators Studio. I had the pleasure of co-directing and animating “Walter Precipitous,” a short film delving into the water cycle, along with numerous educational videos, all brought to life using Cartoon Animator 5.

Interactive Learning Bundle for 2D Animation

We’ll be delving into the dynamic content pack Make Me Actor and Instructional Tools, specifically how these tools empower you to transform objects and images into speaking actors. You can also customize ready-made actors and infuse vitality into animations using various text motions and animated props that cater to both experienced creators and novices. Make Me Actor boasts a wide array of distinct character templates and offers over 100 facial and body animations – perfect for making talk shows, tutorials, and more. You can alter the text within the props to suit your preferences and seamlessly create e-learning animations and teaching resources by blending cartoon characters with interactive quizzes that make for a fun learning experience.

Trying out the Content Pack

Start from scratch by downloading the pack, then navigate to the ‘Content’ page where you’ll find it. Click on the ‘Instructional Tools’ tab to access a wide array of props and animations at your disposal. I opt for the “Characters” prop, which makes the word “Sample” materialize on the stage. Here, I can select an animation and apply it to the prop.

Moving on to the ‘Make Me Actor’ feature, I have the liberty to choose a character and incorporate it into my scene. Navigating to the animation templates, I make a selection from the diverse array available — There are lots of animations, and there is so much you can do with them! 

I decide on one and promptly position the character to point at the text. The animation is visibly represented in the timeline beneath the ‘Motion’ category. Should I desire to layer another animation, I can choose an additional one, and both will seamlessly combine.

Additionally, I introduce the “Pop Stars” prop, accompanied by an array of other props and characters onto the stage. The options are nearly limitless, enabling us to populate the stage with a variety of elements.

Creating a Custom 2D Character Design

Let’s craft a personalized character puppet. I opt for a Make Me Actor character and enter ‘Composer’ mode. From the left panel, I click on ‘PSD’, launching the character in Photoshop. Here, I fine-tune each layer and the defining points that correspond to the skeletal structure. Leveraging the Van Courtir character, I swap out layers with his images. Using a faintly transparent version of the character as a guide, I meticulously align the bones and substitute layers with appropriate labels. With the edits complete, I save the PSD file and return to Cartoon Animator 5, where the character has seamlessly transformed into the one I just tailored.

Next, I introduce accessories like a beanie hat, sunglasses, and a mustache, treating them as props within the 2D character design. To infuse vital movements, I apply spring effects to these props. For added control, I integrate bones into the mustache and navigate to ‘Composer’ mode’s left sidebar, where I access the spring dynamics. Switching back to the character, I enter ‘Composer’ mode again and strategically position each custom prop, linking them harmoniously to the puppet’s structure.

Customizing the Text Props

Now, I will personalize the “Characters” prop (found in the Instructional Tools), but this time, we’ll click on ‘SVG’ instead of ‘PSD’. By doing so, the prop opens in Adobe Illustrator, where I’ll choose a font type and proceed to replace each letter with its updated counterpart. The three distinct words I will be work with are “Van”, “Courtir”, and “Show”.

Editing the Animated Cartoon and Exporting the Project

Finally, I include a background picture from Freepik to establish the desired mood. My preferred animation templates feature Van Courtir’s actions, complemented by the addition of the “Pop Stars” prop and a corresponding animation.

Prior to finalizing this animated cartoon, I integrate a music file into the timeline and introduce a subtle camera movement. To achieve this, I access the camera settings, applying a slight zoom on the concluding frame. With the scene now completed, I save the project and export the 2D animation as a video.

I trust you’ll find this content bundle engaging and versatile across various scenarios. Should you encounter any challenges with Cartoon Animator 5, the comprehensive online manual serves as an excellent resource for troubleshooting. Additionally, Reallusion’s YouTube tutorials offer valuable insights.

Happy animating!

Zez Vaz: https://zezvaz.com/ 

Toma Creators: https://www.tomacreators.com/ 

Van Courtir: https://www.instagram.com/vancourtir/ 

Walter’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@walterprecipitous

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The Making of Bank Heist Mocap Series for Action Films

ActorCore Stages Riveting Blockbuster Productions with Fresh Stunts


In the wake of their triumphant debut with the Action Film Series, ActorCore, the foremost online 3D content emporium, has unleashed Bank Heist – a masterpiece of anticipation and adrenaline.

Drawing inspiration from the grandeur of Hollywood’s greatest productions, this kinetic motion pack boasts an impressive array of 61 heart-pounding sequences. Prepare to be transported into a world where audacious criminals storm a bank, taking hostages and cracking open impregnable vaults. Experience the electrifying tension of fierce gun battles, strategic cover tactics, and high-stakes hostage negotiations. Witness the enigmatic robbers make their daring escape, only to find themselves pursued relentlessly by determined law enforcement.

Combine this pack with ActorCore’s 3D characters for diverse bank robbery scenes and Run for Your Life content pack for fleeing crowds to create thrilling cinematic experiences for games, films, and commercials.

Behind the Production

In partnership with Monkey Chow Animation Studios, creators of the Run for Your Life 3D motion pack, all animations have been meticulously captured by professional stunt performers at Motion Capture Orlando’s new studio, equipped with 38 Vicon cameras and run by a rock-solid crew.

Witness the creation of these amazing 3D motions:

Bank Heist includes some of the major story beats of an armed robbery and was inspired by my favorite films like Heat, Inside Man, and The Town. I went a little bit crazy on this one and got to play a filmmaker. We developed a narrative chain of events to get the story rolling!

Jeff Scheetz, Monkey Chow Productions

Sophisticated Motion Editing with iClone

Monkey Chow’s raw data underwent refinement within iClone , a real-time 3D character animation tool. iClone streamlined the process by offering rapid real-time animations, swift motion correction, animation editing, seamless blending, and precise actor-object interactions within the scene.

We edited the clips in iClone. We had to tighten up weapon placement, refine prop interactions, and integrate moving set pieces. The most complicated one was actually the vault. Andress used a roll of tape to enter the combination and pulled a scaffold to open the vault door.

We were able to construct our CGI vault door model to match the measurements of the sets, and we used reach targets to temporarily connect the hand to the dial, so the motions of the hand were driven by the movement of the dial. Additional animation layers compensated for grabs and releases as the combination was entered.

Armed Robbery Motions on Demand

Users have the flexibility to use these 61 motions as they are or enhance them by combining them with other motions using iClone 8’s new motion editing features. All ActorCore motions are completely royalty-free and can be exported as FBX or BVH files for compatibility with major 3D tools like Blender, Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema4D, NVIDIA Omniverse, and real-time game engines such as Unreal and Unity.

Check out Bank Heist 3D motion pack on ActorCore today!

Welcome to WarLord’s Workshop

Tutorials, Tips & Tricks, Interviews, 3D Animation

Hello everyone. I’m M.D. McCallum also known as WarLord, a longtime iCloner dating back to version one. For many years I was one of the few users who produced tutorials on iClone. Mainly the basics and how to get things done quickly with as little effort as possible. Not because I was lazy but because production schedules can be stress-packed with seemingly impossible deadlines requiring shortcuts in the method of production particularly concerning previz.

I retired from full-time animation several years ago but still keep busy with iClone on an almost daily basis when possible as these are exciting times to be an iCloner. Reallusion has always packed a lot into its mid-version updates and even more into their major upgrades. Having been given a small glimpse of their release roadmap, I can safely say that you haven’t seen anything yet.

When I first stumbled upon iClone almost twenty years ago it was a very different product with a simplified interface and no free cameras as they were all preset dolly and pan-type cameras with built-in paths. I saw a few videos, mostly dance videos which I’ll discuss shortly, and it was enough to intrigue me as some users were saying those videos were produced in minutes to hours, not days to weeks or more.

As a 3D digital freelancer, I was always on the lookout for any tool that might help with the tedious nature of animation back then. There was no timeline in version one, but I knew if it could do videos, it could do image renders and I needed custom images for the storyboarding I was doing at the time.

Left: ZBrush KitBashed Mesh, Middle: Character Creator Rigged Mesh, Right: Substance Painter Simple Texturing

iClone was a perfect fit with its premade library of props, motions, cameras, and effects. It wasn’t versatile at all way back then, but it was quick and when you need to turn around a storyboard depicting a revised shot list… you need it as quickly as possible. It became a pro tool for me almost immediately even though it was far removed from today’s version.

One other thing about version one. It had an incredibly powerful image-to-face tool that shaped the head along with mapping the image to the face mesh. Anyone could use this tool even if you had never used an animation tool in your life. Reallusion made it easy.

In fact, Reallusion made it so easy they included a large library of dance moves… hence the early label of dancing video maker, a name that iClone has long since shed but including those dancing motions turned out to be a shrewd move as they started popping up on YouTube and other media hosting sites sparking discussions about iClone and Reallusion.

Yes, as hard as it may be for some of you to believe, without those dance videos, iClone may have never drawn the early user base that it did. They brought attention to the fact that people who had no idea what Maya, 3DS Max or rendering were about had created animated videos in such a short time and… by themselves!

It was low poly and a bit crude compared to today’s iClone, but it was fun!

Left: iClone 8, Right Unreal LIvelink Before Lighting

That’s right… fun. A word not usually associated with computer animation at the time. Challenging, intriguing, experimental but not fun. In fact, back then it could be very tedious. Waiting overnight or days, maybe weeks, to see some rendered work was a normal thing. iClone real-time playback changed all that too. iClone has matured into a powerful animation application over the years. Future upgrades and releases will not disappoint as they provide some very useful and time-saving tools even though iClone is packed with tools and features now. While loaded with features, you don’t have to use everything until you are ready and that is another great aspect of iClone.

It is only as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. You don’t have to use everything until you get more familiar with the tools and concepts as the learning curve lessens. Don’t think of where you are today if you are just starting. Instead think of where you will be 3 months, six months, and a year or more down the road when you do have the skills to use all those tools.

My mission here, my little corner of the Reallusion universe, is to bring the “users’ perspective” along with my years as an animation grunt and project manager to provide you with more information about iClone and Character Creator.

One of my tasks will be to provide reviews of Reallusion products. These reviews usually revolve around some test scenes built for the product in question. These tests will be a lot like what many of us do when we get a new asset, dive right in and start pushing the limits. Maybe this will make the decision easier for some of you when it comes to pulling the trigger on new assets or products.

Left: Simple scene setup in iClone (Beginners Level), Right: Image render from iClone.

While there are a lot of tutorials out there for iClone, many are geared for intermediate to advanced user features leaving more basic features to be explored for those just starting in their animation journey. With this in mind I will be providing more basic tutorials, both written and video depending on the subject, to help less experienced users catch up quickly so they too can enjoy the advanced features and tools in iClone.

Also… and this is a favorite of mine, I get to experiment with iClone and Character Creator to continue to push the boundaries as so many users do. We’ll look at kitbashing, using other tools such as ZBrush and Substance Painter to create models in the millions of polys that we can optimize and bake down for use in iClone. We’ll slice and dice motions, use animation layers and other tools while diving into production pipelines that can lead to professional work or a more polished video.

I’ll also delve into Omniverse and Unreal Engine to achieve more cinematic renders using iClone as the underlying animation tool while off-loading the render work to these applications. All the while trying to keep the tutorials as short and simple as possible.

Twenty years ago, it was paper and electronic notes full of workaround instructions because the 3D apps at the time were lacking in features and tools. These workarounds had to be documented so we could use them in future work and that was very time-consuming. It was a real downer for the creative spirit at times.

Now we just load up iClone and start animating.

Can iClone make just about anyone an animator? Yes, it can. Whether or not you are a good animator is up to you.

Orbit Valley – Using Character Creator, Headshot, and iClone in Blender for Danish Music Video

Phichet S.B | Rasmus Rørbæk – Orbit Valley

Rasmus Rørbæk | Phichet S.B

Orbit Valley was established in March 2023 with the intention of operating as an end-to-end production company. The founders of Orbit Valley initially connected through their shared interest in music. While their respective friend circles were involved in music creation, they took charge of handling the visual aspects. As their friends began collaborating, it naturally brought the founders closer. Recognizing their similar pursuits, despite being in different locations, the decision to collaborate felt organic.

Phichet has an extensive background as a freelancer, primarily specializing as a VJ/3D animator and editor for a production company that emphasized commercials. Rasmus, on the other hand, completed his studies at The National Danish Film School, specializing as a cinematographer. Prior to enrolling in film school, Rasmus worked independently as a director and filmmaker.

Both founders were nurtured in a DIY (do-it-yourself) environment, instilling in them a propensity for versatility. They relish blending various techniques and formats, adhering to the belief that there are no absolute rights or wrongs in their creative process. Their wellspring of inspiration extends to meditation and mindfulness, influencing their aspiration to create from a profound state of consciousness.

For client musicians Emil Lange and Kidd, Orbit Valley innovative vision converged to craft a sensational “smash party” in the hallowed halls of Danish politics, specifically the parliamentary chamber. Armed with their creative tools, including Character Creator 4, its Headshot plugin, iClone 8 and Blender, the team breathed life into their ideas. The result? A transformative fusion of artistic prowess and political backdrop, defying expectations and injecting an electrifying energy into the usually staid atmosphere.

“For us, it has never been a question of saving time – we are not trained in character design and development, so it would never have been possible to create the characters without the tools like Character Creator and iClone ! We received pictures from the artists’ photoshoot and were able to use their faces in the CC Headshot plugin.”

Phichet S.B | Rasmus Rørbæk – Orbit Valley

From Static Head Models to Fully Animated Characters

Headshot 2, the AI-powered add-on for Character Creator, enables advanced 3D real-time human creation from images and 3D models. It excels in model fitting, texture baking, and full-body animation, outperforming rivals. In this tutorial article, Peter Alexander showcases its versatility and discusses why it stands as the prime option for transforming static models into fully-rigged 3D heads.


Greetings, this is Peter Alexander. In this video, I’m going to demonstrate how to use Headshot 2 to create two distinctively different stylized characters. I’ll be using assets from the artist, Makar Malicki, and the character Fred, which is based on Makar’s work.

Makar has a wide variety of assets I’d encourage you to explore.

The head I’ll be using is from an asset named “Gustavo”, which can be found on Artstation. Makar provides a bash mesh version and a ZTL file. I’ll be using the ZTL file, as I’ll be transferring the details to Character Creator’s topology.

Choosing a Head Mesh Reference

Preparing your Head Reference

ZTL is a Zbrush format, so I’m now in Zbrush to utilize it. The character has several components, but I’m mostly focused on the base head mesh. Headshot will extrapolate textures for the rest of the body based on the texture map provided for the head; so it’s possible to design the look of the entire character from Headshot.

Optional Polypainting

I’m not going to go crazy with texturing here, as I’m not a great texture artist. In addition, Character Creator provides a lot of additional maps that make materials look nice. So I’m going to add a bit of color for the skin, the nose, the ears, and maybe some shadows based on ambient occlusion values.

Projecting Details and Extracting Normals

After some thinking, I wanted the eyebrows and stylized stubbles to be part of the skin texture and normal maps to be transferred using Headshot. This can be achieved by using the project feature in Zbrush at a high subdivision level.

I hide the meshes I don’t want to be projected onto the head mesh and then use the project feature. After which I will go to the lowest subdivision and bake normal maps.

Transferring to Character Creator

Ideally, the optimal approach would likely involve exporting this using GoZ and then importing it as an accessory. However, due to an oversight, I didn’t follow that process, yet the outcome was still successful. Moreover, I should have ideally adjusted this to match Character Creator’s scale, yet my uncertainty about the initial scale initially hindered this. Nonetheless, this minor detail is inconsequential since you can conveniently adjust the scale using Character Creator’s toolkit.

Scaling Head Mesh

The character I’m commencing with is Fred, who was initially adapted for a Character Creator content pack and draws inspiration from Makar’s design. I’m currently adjusting the head’s scale to a level that I believe will facilitate smoother transfer, requiring the least amount of effort in the later stages.

Consideration for your Source Material

I’ll pause here and say that if you’re going to use another artist’s work for a commercial purpose, you should definitely have the permission of the artist and any necessary licenses. With that said, I’ll start to navigate to the Headshot 2 panel and select the ‘Mesh’ option to initiate a detail transfer.

Assigning Reference Markers

You’ll notice a series of markers, which are designed for an optimal transfer of details. You need to match those markers to get the best results. You can try to auto assign points, and sometimes it works for stylized characters, but in many cases it’s best to do this manually to avoid losing match points in some difficult-to-see area of the mesh.

Sometimes it can be difficult to estimate where a corresponding point should go, but just do your best. The next step can assist you further, as long as you’re close to the mark.

Masking Options

The ‘Effective Area’ in the ‘HEAD GEN’ tab enables you to mask the head in order to emphasize specific details. For the purpose of this tutorial, I won’t be applying any masking adjustments.

The ‘REFINE MESH’ section provides the opportunity to enhance details even further. The closer your mesh aligns with the source, the more effectively the final details will be conveyed. If you find that your tools are causing the mesh to stick to the source too much, you can simply deactivate the ‘Conform to Source Mesh’ option.

The great thing about this addon is that it feels like it’s trying to help you every step of the way. It’s a little more intuitive than Zwrap, which is likely the inspiration for this tool. The focus on the head over the body is going to lead to more successful results, even though having body functionality would be great. Also, the ability to bake details directly from Headshot is a great feature.

Attaching Head to Body

When you’re ready, select ‘Attach To Body’. This will bring up another window, most of which is self-explanatory. I’m baking the normals from the source mesh, along with the normal maps I have provided. Ultimately, I want my maps to be 4096px in resolution.

Regarding the body, I’d like to stick with the current one loaded, which is the Fred character. It has turned out quite well. Although the head is slightly larger than my preference, I can make the necessary adjustments.

Touching up the Head in Zbrush

I’ll need to make some refinements based on my experience. I realize I should have given more attention to the nose during the refining process, which means I’ll need to address it in Zbrush. Apart from that, the outcome is promising. I intend to enhance the details before sending the meshes back to Character Creator.

Cleaning Up Normal Map

Now I’m going to clean up the normal maps a bit by sending the head normals to Krita. The base normal map color is (r: 128, g: 128, b: 255). Any distortions can be canceled out using this color.

Adjusting Other Features

And now I’m just going to adjust the eyes using the ‘Proportion Editor’. 

The character is nearly good to go. Let’s put some clothes on him and test him out.

Correcting Clothing (For Stylized Bodies)

Often with highly exaggerated characters, standard clothes don’t fit well. For a character like this, you can try to convert the clothing to its base shape and scale it manually, then reconvert it to clothing. Unfortunately, you’ll lose some of the default settings in the process.

Usually, when an attempt is successful, I’ll save the project file, along with the head and body morph for further mixing.

Second Subject

Now I’m going to do the same thing with one of Makar’s orc models. I’m going to combine it with a Troll model I create for an upcoming content page. 

I’ve only dialed in the body. Due to the exaggerated nature of this model, the body/head separation function leaves some deformation issues. I will see if I can still use it.

As before, I’m using the ZTL file and I’m preparing some very quick texture painting for demo purposes.

Correcting a Starting Body

The body I’m using is far more exaggerated than Fred, and has a significant hunch. So what I’m attempting to do here is use the ‘Proportion Editor’ to adjust some of the issues. Then I’m using the mesh editor to smooth out some of the deformations in the neck. Now I’m ready to initiate Headshot 2.

Using Auto-Detect for Reference Markers

This time I’ll try to auto-detect the markers. And surprisingly it does a decent job.

Headshot 2 does a great job with this character too. I’d probably have picked a more toned down body in retrospect, but I’d say this was a success.

Fixing the Posture of Ultra-Stylized Characters

The current posture and bone alignment challenges stem from the exaggerated proportions of the troll body. Given its default hunched stance, Character Creator attempts to make slight adjustments to rectify the posture.

Adding other Details

Now I’m just adding some additional touches in Zbrush, altering the teeth and more.

As I did with the Fred model, I’m going to use Krita to paint and blend out some of the flaws in the normal map.

Adding Assets

I’m just using some assets I created to finish off the design.

I feel that now he’s sufficiently dressed as an orc. And with that, I will wrap up this article.

In Closing

I hope this demo of Headshot 2 helps in some way. There are limitless possibilities waiting for you.  For digital sculptors, you can now transfer your sculpted details to a clean topology with little effort, and animators can collaborate with other artists more effectively.

Peter Alexander (Mythcons): ArtStationYouTube. Facebook

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Character Creator: 3D Character Design Software

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3D Character Generator Free Download | Character Creator

Introducing young people to 2D Animation with Cartoon Animator

Kristen Collier | 2D Animator/ Illustrator

Kristen Collier

Creating animated films and educating a younger audience about 2D animation , Kristen Collier needed to find software that was easy to use, yet could produce high quality animated films.

In Cartoon Animator (CTA), Kristen found everything she needed and was quickly able to teach herself and others how to animate, and has even been able to create her own custom actors for her projects. 

” I researched different software during the lockdown, and saw that Cartoon Animator (CTA) had the best ratings of learning curve and for being economical. I love Cartoon Animator, and it’s easy on the surface level, for beginners, and for doing short, simple animations. CTA is my absolute favorite software. When I was working on my feature cartoon, Benny the Barnacle, for months I would work 12 – 16 hour days on the animation, it was so engrossing. I was working non-stop on it, and loving every minute of it. Cartoon Animator is addictive, but in a good, constructive way. “

Kristen Collier | 2D Animator/ Illustrator

Creative Agency leverages Headshot Character Creator to animate Jeff Bezos for Community Campaign

Liam Murphy – Lead 3D Artist, Graphic Designer, 2D/3D Animator, VFX

Liam Murphy

Liam Murphy is a versatile multidisciplinary designer with a career spanning graphic design, 2D and 3D animation, concept art, VFX, Experiential design, Product design, and motion graphics.

He received a strong educational foundation in Art direction  from George Brown college, and has gone on to work for Brands and studios like Tokyo Smoke, Tendril, Momentum and Angry Butterfly. His animation work showcases his ability to infuse cinematic styling into his work in motion design.

As 3D Art became more integral to the Advertising industry, Liam transitioned into this space, using his animation, and design expertise to create awe-inspiring Motion Graphics for his clients. Throughout his career. Liam has pulled inspiration from Movies and Cinematic CG trailers such as the work from Axis Studios and Blur.

Liam is currently working as the 3D and motion design lead at Angry Butterfly, independent creative and strategic consultancy based in Toronto, where he is bringing his skills in house to create a new standard for visual production at advertising agencies.

BILL IT TO BEZOS is a community service campaign for the Jane/Finch Community Centre, where Liam Murphy used Character Creator‘s Headshot plugin to animate a photograph of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to raise funds for their campaign where they raised more funds in 5 days than in the past 3 years combined.

“Fortunately, my search led me to discover Character Creator 4 and iClone 8, which turned out to be a perfect match for the project. The software’s impressive speed and stability allowed me to keep up with the numerous revisions that came our way, ensuring we were able to make the most out of the resources we had available.”

Liam Murphy – Lead 3D Artist, Graphic Designer, 2D/3D Animator, VFX

Vector Graphic Animations For Cartoon Animals

Tamás Zsolt Nagy – 2D Animator

About Tamás Zsolt Nagy

Hi there. My name is Tamás Zsolt Nagy, owner of Cartoons and Fun YouTube channel and the founder of Crazy Cartoons – Animation Studio. Since my childhood, I have been captivated by classic 2D animations, immersing myself in the magic of thousands of timeless Disney, Warner Bros, and Hanna-Barbera old school cartoons. These iconic animations have become the foundation and inspiration for the distinctive style I strive to infuse into all my projects.

When I decided 4 years ago to jump into the magical world of cartoon animation, I began my way by testing many software products. I knew that I needed a professional platform that I could use as a beginner.  Luckily, I found Cartoon Animator 4 (CTA4), a powerful and versatile software package which had many types of useful add-ons. Consequently, I have gained lots of experience with the last 3 years working with CTA4. It does not matter if you are a beginner or a professional, you can enjoy using this software in line with your skills level.

Last year, we witnessed the exciting launch of Cartoon Animator 5, introducing a plethora of remarkable innovations. In this article, accompanied by an exclusive behind-the-scenes video, we delve into the demonstration of the latest techniques offered by this cutting-edge software version. I’ll take you through my journey of designing the charming vector graphic character, Maxi, while harnessing the power of spring bones and exploring the possibilities of the free-form deformation tool to enhance animation dynamics. Additionally, I’ll showcase the seamless application of standard CTA functions, such as Lip Sync and 360° Head creation, which played crucial roles throughout the animation process. Let’s embark on this creative adventure together!

2D Character Design in Vector Graphics Format

Cartoon Animator 5 has introduced support for SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format, offering the convenience of working with vector-based objects. This innovation has significantly simplified the design process, which I find delightful. For my first venture into creating characters in Vector Graphics, I crafted a Giraffe using Adobe Illustrator, skillfully merging the Human Head and NonHuman Quadruped SVG templates. The seamless editing experience within the right structure saved me considerable time. Importing the SVG file into CTA was a breeze, and the results were nothing short of fantastic! CTA effortlessly handles the SVG character as vector graphics, granting me the freedom to zoom in without compromising any details of the character.

“Maxi” giraffe design in Adobe Illustrator and the imported SVG character in CTA5 Composer.

360 Head Design

The 360 Head Creator is a crucial tool when it comes to infusing life into your characters’ faces. By skillfully designing the head, you can achieve a remarkably 3D-like appearance when animating facial expressions. Personally, I prefer a more subtle movement of the head, so I typically avoid setting a wide angle range for the face, opting for just enough to facilitate the appropriate animation. As part of my character creation process, I always set up the 360 Head as the final step right after importing the rigged character into CTA. This ensures that my characters truly come to life with expressive and engaging facial animations.

Spring Bones

Introducing spring bone in version 5 was a game-changer. Prior to this feature, I invested significant effort in making character parts like hair move naturally with elasticity in the wind. However, with spring bones, everything changed. When crafting my latest giraffe character, I integrated spring bones into the front hair, ears, horn, and tail. I was particularly thrilled by the newfound elasticity in the ears’ appearance. The animation’s visual appeal exceeded my expectations, portraying a lifelike giraffe motion like never before. Spring bones revolutionize the animation process by allowing you to set the bones once and forget about them. The automatic elastic motion of the sprites follows your predefined settings. If you haven’t explored spring bones yet, I highly recommend it for its game-changing capabilities.

Spring Editor view of Maxi in CTA5

2D Character Animation with Free-Form Deformation (FFD)

Prior to CTA version 5, I utilized deformation on sprites for characters, but couldn’t apply it to the entire actor. However, with the introduction of the FFD feature, we can now achieve this. FFD has significantly enhanced the dynamism of our characters. In the story of “Maxi, The Giraffe,” I made extensive use of FFD, notably in the scene where “Hunter” gets scared of Maxi. The exaggerated FFD effect amplifies Hunter’s reaction, making the character much funnier. I’d like to acknowledge Garry Pye, the brilliant designer behind Hunter, whose fantastic characters have been instrumental in bringing my animations to life!

Lip Sync Animation

Correctly designing the character’s mouth sprites enables a delightful experience with CTA’s lip-sync function. This efficient tool saves you time by eliminating the need for frame-by-frame animation when setting the mouth sprite. Lip-sync is achieved by importing the character’s voice (wave file) using the ‘Create Script/Wave File’ function. Should you find the outcome unsatisfactory, simply replace the relevant sprite with a more fitting one. Alternatively, Cartoon Animator offers additional options for lip-sync, such as ‘Record Voice’, ‘Text to Speech’, and ‘Cartoon Script’, which I occasionally utilize as well.

Export for Post-production in After Effects

I am a passionate advocate of enhancing scenes with captivating effects. One essential technique I always employ is applying a background blur to create depth, and meticulously adding shadows for the actors. These effects elevate the overall video quality, making it appear more professional and truly worth the effort. To achieve these results, I rely on Cartoon Animator, a versatile software that allows for various creative possibilities. However, for the post-production process, a third-party special software is required. Fortunately, CTA offers an add-on that seamlessly integrates with After Effects (AE), streamlining the workflow. Through this feature, we can easily export image sequences and JSON files of the scenes, which can then be conveniently imported into AE for further animation and fine-tuning.

In the following screenshot, you can see my preferred export settings. I always opt for 100% image resolution to maintain the highest quality possible. Additionally, I enable the ‘Low Memory Export’ flag, which may slightly slow down the process, but the impact is negligible compared to the benefits it brings. Therefore, it is definitely worth considering using this option.

The CTA script in After Effects functions flawlessly, seamlessly importing all objects with the correct settings, encompassing camera views, motions, and layering. Now, the creative direction lies in your hands. With your expertise, you have the freedom to design the video’s appearance to your liking. So, feel free to incorporate various enhancements such as rain, lightning, color correction, shadows, blurs, filters, and more — let your imagination take the lead!

Cartoon Animator 5 is Your Friend

CTA5 has truly been the catalyst that brought my ideas to life. Despite lacking relevant experience four years ago, today, I can proudly create animations that have captivated over 300,000 viewers on YouTube. With numerous project plans swirling in my mind, it’s reassuring to possess the necessary tools and experience to turn them into reality.

I hope you enjoyed my journey and found valuable insights in my story. Maybe, after reading this article, you’ve been inspired to venture into the world of cartoon animation. If you’re unsure about which software to use for your creative journey, look no further than Cartoon Animator 5. It will undoubtedly become your most trusted companion along the way.

Tamás Zsolt Nagy YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CartoonsandFun

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Maya Animator discovers iClone 8 for Mocap Cleanup and Motion Editing

Dom Fred – Director / Producer / Editor / 3D Animator

Dom Fred

Dom began his career in the television advertising industry, directing commercials using new production’s digital and 3D tools. Over the past 20 years, he has also worked on music videos and documentaries, catering to a global clientele.

Since his childhood, Dom has been a martial artist, mastering various disciplines such as Taekwondo, Aikido, and Kung-Fu. His exceptional skills in Taekwondo, particularly at the Olympic and spectacular levels, have highlighted his talent for stunt work and acrobatics from a young age.

In 2007, Dom established his own company, DOM ANIMATION STUDIO, specializing in product and post-production. With a unique touch, he incorporates 3D characters into real environments, integrates special effects (SFX), and creates martial arts and acrobatics action sequences for commercials.

In 2010, Dom directed a short action film utilizing camera tracking, motion capture, and 3D compositing techniques. Two years later, he produced and directed his first independent short films, which received several awards in Los Angeles, Texas, Las Vegas, and New York for Best Action Sequences, Best Action Director, and Best Short Film.

During the lockdown in 2020, Dom collaborated with screenwriter Alick Macaire to co-produce and direct his first international animated movie, “SPACE AGENTS: The Mysterious Ax.” This Sci-Fi film revolves around the theme of hope for a better tomorrow, serving as an allegory for Dom’s feelings during the dark period of the global pandemic.

In SPACE AGENTS, Dom used several animation tools including MAYA, Unreal Engine, ActorCore motions. Along the way, Dom discovered using iClone 8 as an alternative to MAYA for mocap cleanup and motion editing which allowed him to achieve professional-grade animations at a fraction of the cost, time, and effort spent with traditional 3D animation software.

iClone 8 simplified the process of cleaning motion captures, making adjustments, and adding other movements to the characters within our timeline. This is often a challenging and time-consuming task on Maya, requiring perfect mastery of the tools. However, with iClone, we were able to accomplish these tasks more easily, saving hours of work.”

Dom Fred – Director / Producer / Editor / 3D Animator