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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. “
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Two-way Synchronized Character Animation Workflow Empowers NVIDIA Omniverse™ in Real-time Crowd Generation for Digital Twins and AECO.
Reallusion releases the latest iClone Connector for NVIDIA Omniverse™. The updated Connector enables a two-way real-time USD synchronization between iClone 8 and Omniverse, empowering users with a straightforward character animation pipeline to Omniverse applications.
John Martin II, Vice President at Reallusion, explains, “The iClone Omniverse Connector simplifies character facial morph animation, body animation, props, cameras, lights, and scene setup for creating inside Omniverse. With Live Sync to Omniverse, users now enjoy seamless two-way USD data transfer and have more intuitive control over the creation process, resulting in a significant reduction in workflow and increased productivity. This proves especially beneficial for industrial visualization projects involving large 3D crowds and animations.”
The Latest Innovations
Building on the foundation of a full 3D animation system integrated into NVIDIA Omniverse™, the iClone Omniverse Connector brings even greater productivity with its new Live Sync feature, offering real-time animation preview and a seamless two-way workflow. The powerful combination of iClone and Omniverse empowers individuals and design teams to effortlessly create, animate, and deploy 3D characters for digital twins and business simulations, all while fostering seamless collaboration within the Omniverse platform.
Unprecedented Productivity with iClone
Experience a remarkable surge in productivity with iClone, the fastest real-time 3D animation software, empowering users to effortlessly produce professional animations for films, previsualization, simulation, videos, and games. The seamless integration of facial performance, character animation, mocap production, scene design, and cinematic storytelling within iClone’s environment makes 3D production on the Omniverse platform accessible to creators of all skill levels. With just a few clicks, users can establish live sync between iClone Connector and Omniverse, witnessing immediate and gratifying simulations at their fingertips.
Real-time Preview & Full-frame Transfer
Motion Editing & Preview
Simultaneous real-time live preview for animation editing of the face and body.
Animate by applying iClone’s premade motions or use the handy editing tools.
Character or object interaction are made simple with Reach Target constraints.
Full-Frame Animation Transfer
Happy with your animation? Selectively send animations to their respective objects when you are ready.
Supports bone and morph animations for 3D characters.
Animate transformations for props, lights, and cameras.
Intuitive Two-Way Production Workflow
Selectively import Omniverse scene data/props as references for iClone character alignment or object interaction.
Two-way light creation and property control.
Synchronize camera shots and switches in iClone for Omniverse cinematography.
Collaborative Simulation for Businesses
Utilizing iClone Live Sync to Omniverse for deploying digital humans in virtual productions proves exceptionally efficient and productive. Upon entering the completely free and open platform of NVIDIA Omniverse™, users gain access to advanced Ray Tracing, enhanced speed, and seamless compatibility with prominent third-party solutions. The platform also integrates cutting-edge AI technologies like Audio2Face for audio-to-animation, rapid GPU rendering, denoising capabilities, and the real-time SSS shader. Together, these features empower advanced character animation for simulation purposes, making Omniverse a top choice for creators interested in collaboration.
Download iClone 8 for Free
Download the full trial of iClone for easy character animation and start creating Omniverse-ready productions with free online training.
In today’s visually-driven world, explainer videos have become an essential tool for successful communication. As content creators in the digital landscape, our goal is to produce engaging material that effectively delivers our message. This article aims to provide you with a thorough guide on how to create compelling explainer videos for YouTube utilizing Cartoon Animator (CTA).
1) Anatomy of an Explainer Video
Crafting a compelling explainer video requires careful consideration of multiple elements, each playing a crucial role in its effectiveness. By following these steps, you’ll be able to create an engaging and impactful explainer video.
Audience: Your audience is the centerpiece of your video creation process. Understanding who they are, their geographic location, age, gender (Demographics), along with their interests, aspirations, fears, and dreams (psychographics), helps you create content that resonates. The audience-centric approach ensures your video speaks directly to the viewer, enhancing their connection with your content.
Script: A well-crafted script forms the backbone of your explainer video. It’s not merely a narration; it sets the tone, voice, and pace of your video. An engaging, concise, and clear script can turn complex ideas into easily digestible information chunks.
Visualize: Visualizing your video before you start animating is a vital step. Developing a storyboard helps structure your narrative, identify any gaps in the flow, and understand how your script translates visually. It sets the groundwork for the actual 2D animation.
Audio: High-quality audio can significantly enhance your video’s overall quality. A well-recorded, clear voiceover can dramatically impact your video’s effectiveness. Background music, sound effects, and pauses play an equally important role in augmenting your video’s tone and pace.
Animate: With your script, storyboard, and audio ready, you can step into the world of 2D animation. Cartoon Animator offers an intuitive platform to bring your concepts to life, allowing you to create captivating visual narratives with ease.
Feedback: Feedback is a critical aspect of refining your video. Sharing your initial version with a focus group and taking their comments into account allows you to see your work from various perspectives, identify potential improvements, and polish your video.
Publish: Once satisfied with your refined video, publish it on YouTube. The right title, description, keywords, and thumbnails can significantly impact its visibility.
Analyze: Once your video is live, use YouTube analytics to measure its performance. Understand your audience’s engagement and reception, which will feed into future video development.
Iterate: The process of creation is never one-and-done. Analyze your successes and shortcomings to constantly evolve your content. Every video is a stepping stone towards perfection.
Audience engagement plays a pivotal role in achieving success on YouTube. The level of engagement directly impacts how widely your video is shown to viewers by the YouTube algorithm. Higher engagement results in greater exposure, while lower engagement limits the video’s reach. It’s essential to bear in mind that YouTube strives to connect your video with the appropriate audience, and its algorithm works diligently to identify and target those individuals.
Now, the question arises: How can you determine the quality of your video?
It’s common to receive polite responses like “That is very nice!” or “Cool presentation! I liked it” when showing your video to others. However, it can be challenging to gauge their true level of enjoyment. Are there parts of the video that were merely “OK,” while others were dull and in need of improvement? To address these uncertainties, YouTube Analytics provides valuable insights through Video Engagement metrics.
To gain a deeper understanding of audience behavior, Derral Eves presents the “YouTube Formula” in his book “The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue.” This formula serves as a reliable roadmap for success, and it can be summarized as follows:
Try: Create and publish your video content on YouTube.
Fail: Pay attention to how your video performs and identify areas that may not be meeting audience expectations.
Analyze: Utilize YouTube Analytics to examine engagement metrics and gain insights into viewer behavior.
Adjust: Based on the analysis, make necessary improvements and adjustments to enhance audience engagement and overall video quality.
By following this iterative process of trying, failing, analyzing, and adjusting, you can continually improve your videos and better align them with your audience’s preferences.
To analyze your video and understand how your audience received it, there are several factors you should consider. After publishing your video, it typically takes around 48 hours for YouTube to start collecting data. Once you begin getting views, you can access valuable information through a graph. Here’s how you can view audience engagement on your video:
Step 1) Visit your YouTube Channel and click on the “Content” tab located on the left-hand side.
Step 2) Hover your mouse over the video you want to see analytics on, and click on “Analytics”.
Step 3) Click on the “Engagement” tab.
Step 4) Scroll down until you see the video engagement graph.
Here are some metrics to pay attention to:
Engagement: Aim for an Average Percentage Viewed (APV) of 40%. It’s normal for viewers to leave the video midway, but maintaining an APV of 40% ensures a good level of interest and engagement.
Retention: The first 30 seconds of your video are crucial. Aim to retain at least 70% of viewers during this period. This initial engagement is a strong indicator of your video’s overall success.
Dips and Spikes: Review your video’s playback timeline for dips and spikes. These can offer insights into which sections your audience found most engaging (spikes due to rewatching) or least interesting (dips due to skipping).
If the graph shows too many Dips in your video, it means those sections can be improved.
If the graph shows Spikes, it means those parts are interesting and you should do more of that.
The use of GIFs in your video can significantly increase its visual appeal and engagement. There are various resources where you can find GIFs for almost any concept. Custom GIFs can also be created to align perfectly with your narrative.
The type of GIFs you should probably focus on getting are the ones that have a transparent background, that way they can seamlessly be added to your animated projects without any problems.
Freepik.com offers a vast repository of drawings and 2D animation sequences in a single image that can be converted into APNGs using the APNG Assembler. Once ready, they can be easily imported into your CTA project as shown in this tutorial. Images like the following examples from Freepik can be used to create APNGs or Sequences. Like this sequence of a cat running from Freepik:
Can be animated when put together into this sequence:
Step 1) Click and drag all images into APNG Assembler.
Step 2) Select “Delays – All Frames” to adjust the frames per second (fps). In this example, we’ll use 12 fps, so set the delay to 1/12 seconds. Finally, click on “Set” to confirm the changes.
Step 3) Click on the ellipses “…” to access the output options. Next, select “Make Animated PNG,” and you are done!
Now APNGs can be freely brought into Cartoon Animator 5.
You can learn more about GIFS and APNGS in this video:
5) Mastering Sequence Animations in CTA
Sequence animations are a powerful way to make animated video fluid and dynamic. They allow for the smooth presentation of a series of actions or concepts. Learning to create and utilize sequence animations in CTA can add a new level of professionalism to your videos. This comprehensive guide can help you master sequence animations.
Basically, a 2D animation sequence inside CTA is like having several APNGs or GIFS into a single one that you can swap or switch into with ease. It’s very simple. Once you have a sequence created in vector software like Illustrator, you can take it inside CTA and animate whatever sequence you need. For example, these three sets of explosions were added into a single file:
And in Illustrator, it looks like this:
If you pay attention, the layers show the correct structure you need for sequences created for CTA.
And inside CTA, when exported as an SVG, it looks like this:
An animated sequence that can switch between “boom_1”, “boom_2”, and “boom_3” by just right-clicking on it, selecting “Action Menu”, and then selecting one of the options.
To learn more about how to create image sequences, you can check this tutorial:
Crafting a successful explainer video requires more than just technical knowledge. You can use GIFs, APNGs, and image sequences as much as you want, but if you don’t have the correct storytelling, for the correct audience, you will not be able to create a compelling video.
How do you measure how compelling your video is? By uploading it to YouTube and checking the engagement analytics. If you have above 40% retention rate (Average Percentage Viewed) then that means your video is performing really well. The key is to use technology and the techniques you learned in this video in combination with a good story, animation, and audience understanding. If you are interested in seeing how all of this plays out together, you can check out this Webinar where I explain each step in detail.
My name is Mathias Rodrigues Bjerre, I’m a film director and digital artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark.m from Copenhagen, Denmark. I sometimes work on projects as a technical director and I also run a social media profile that features my animations called ZeroSum.G which occasionally receives millions of views.
I graduated from the National Film School of Denmark, specializing in Digital Art and Animation Directing back in 2020. The school offered immense creative freedom, but it did not provide its pupils with any technical curriculum in CG, so I built and learned my digital workflow on my own during my school years.
And after having seen my narratives and technical skills, the school ended up hiring me a month after I graduated to help them ‘refurbish’ their brand just in time for entrance exams. I was tasked with delivering a multitude of shorts, doc-interviews, illustrations, and animations that painted a picture of the different educations the school had to offer. My challenge was not only delivering the visual works but also coordinating with different people under time pressure. I am glad that in the end, I’ve made every individual branch of education (Sound Design, Editing, Directing, and DOP) stand out as a strong unique academia on its own, while I at the same time, made the viewer comprehend that film-production is a team effort and that no part can stand alone in the process of making film and art. (link)
Besides the National Film School of Denmark, my clients also include SONY Music, United Nations, Danish Broadcast Corp, Danish Cancer Society, and AKQA. Besides commercial clients, I’ve also worked on multiple, state-funded artistic projects. As time flew by, I started to develop my own personal style of aesthetics, which I’ve cultivated since 2016 — a form of digital stop-motion. And here are some examples of my work.
Why I created this project?
Around 2 years ago, I contacted the production company Angel Films, seeing we had a mutual interest in creating a new direction for animated content based on new technologies.
As a storyteller, I know one of the most time-consuming aspects of creating animated films consists of designing, modeling, and rigging characters from the ground up. The biggest animation houses here in Denmark can spend up to one entire month just to build a single character. Simply making a 3D character blink, could eat up days worth of production time! I realized this quite early in my life when I first started digging into Maya and rigging as a teenager. I was manually setting up IK controllers and skinning characters, only to realize that my joint placement was wrong and I’d have to redo hours of work. It was grueling!
Yet, Angel Films and I had very steep ambitions…
We wanted to tell stories that allowed for potentially hundreds of unique characters, so it became a very obvious goal for us to find ways to speed up that workflow. According to my friend’s suggestion, I delved into Character Creator, and after having generated only a few actors, I never looked back since then.
Creating the protagonists in Character Creator
For the ‘We Are All Gonna Die lmao’ film, we wanted to create an ambitious animation about an imminent climate catastrophe that hits the world and triggers a panicked and violent reaction from the Danish youth, who end up overtaking the Danish parliament by force, with the goal of forcing the entire country to heavily reduce their CO2 emissions by cutting unnecessary power grids and transportation services. The rest of the movie would follow the new government and all of the ensuing chaos and disasters that would follow such a radical movement.
For such a project, we naturally had to re-invent a lot of things in our technical workflow, since our story required hundreds of unique characters and sets. Having recently discovered Reallusion and their many software solutions, this couldn’t have come at a better time, and was a huge game-changer for us. Character Creator alone allowed us to save thousands of hours when it came to building the characters for our work-in-progress political satirical feature film. Having spent 6 months creating 20 unique characters for my graduation film by hand, using Reallusion cannot be understated as an enormous revolution for my workflow. It’s a game-changer: since 20 characters took less than 5 days to create with this workflow.
We managed to build a key scene from the film that required dozens of unique characters as they stormed the Danish parliament in the wake of the before-mentioned potential climate catastrophe.
Using Character Creator, in combination with the huge Marketplace that Reallusion has to offer, we could quickly build out many different characters from different economic classes and ethnicities, giving them make-up, accessories, and unique features. With Character Creator, we were able to create a 2-minute scene from the movie featuring dozens of unique characters — hippies, politicians, regular joes, etc. all storming a 3D copy of the Danish parliament. We could quickly build out the different characters, changing them on the fly without having to manually rig them afterward. It felt like true creative freedom and allowed me to experiment and use our production time much more efficiently.
From CC to Maya animation and Redshift render
I have a unique style of 3D story-telling that I’ve cultivated throughout the years, that gives my movies a stop-motion-ish aesthetic. By having your characters move in 12 fps instead of 24, the audience automatically lowers their quality expectations, as they are aware that they’re watching something stylized — this is very important if you want don’t want to spend hours animating and perfecting your character’s movement, as you’ll be less likely to hit the uncanny valley that comes pretty easily with janky animation in 24 fps.
Reallusion has very nice pipeline tools that allow me to easily get my characters into Maya and ready to animate. I export the finalized characters as an FBX, and I also export their texture maps via the substance painter export function. I can then easily recreate their shaders with Redshift in Maya from those exported maps. For rigging, I used another external plugin, Advanced Skeleton to easily set up animation-friendly rigs. And with a tiny script I built, we could also set up the blend shapes by just clicking a button. After completing all the necessary steps, including setting up shaders, blendshapes, and rigs, the characters were fully prepared for animation and rendering in Maya. And, It only took approximately 10-15 minutes per character!
We could quickly build out many different characters from different economic classes and ethnicities, giving them make-up, accessories, and unique features — Personally, it felt as easy as if playing a slightly advanced Sims.
-Mathias Bjerre, Filmmaker for Angel Films
Zerosum.G: honoring the new Pipeline
In fact, the speed and expressive workflow that Reallusion helped us foster, allowed me to create a channel I run in my free time named ZeroSum.G. The channel features around 30 unique animated shorts that I’ve made throughout the year, featuring characters made with Character Creator. I’ve also undertaken a political satirical project, where I digitized one top Danish politician a day for a duration of 12 days leading up to the Danish election back in 2022. This was enabled by using Reallusion’s amazing plugin, Headshot, which allows you to build a character based off of a single photo of their face. Besides local Danish politicians, I’ve also made Joe Biden, Trump, John Cena, and even Gordon Ramsay. Some of these random shorts have been seen millions of times on YouTube and TikTok. As of the posting of this article I have accumulated around 110 thousand followers on different platforms in the span of around 4 months of productivity.
I’m a person who enjoys the creative process, but who’s also very interested in optimizing the technical workflow in a production. Because the less time you need to spend with tedious processes, the more time you can spend on the fun parts of film-making. I must say that Reallusion has been a total game-changer for me personally!