PaintsChainer: Testrun Two

After my initial experience with PaintsChainer, ( Autocolor Your Manga? ); I was compelled to run some more trials. This time I tried two versions of my image: the initial sketch and then a conversion to dark lines similar to inked appearance. This will be a fast moving article wasting no time displaying the results. So let’s get on with it.

I started with a pencil sketch upload to PaintsChainer.

fightsketch_rjrdesign

Immediately after upload, the colorizing process began before I even clicked the button. Perhaps elements of color are assigned according to gradients of the scan. Not quite sure.

a

After adding my color sample overlay, some bright colors were bleeding from the image…

c

I also quickly converted my sketch to line art to see the results on darker lines.fightsketch_lineart_rjrdesigne

Applying new color samples over the darker lined image, the resulting autocoloring was noticeably smoother. The color picks also stayed within their chosen zones better as well.

df

Just for fun I applied the original darkened line art as an overlay to the autocolored image. Once again we can see how the PaintsChainer tool provides interesting and useful results.

g

If you still haven’t tried out PaintsChainer then what are you waiting for?

Auto Color your Manga?

Jumping right into things; the other day I heard about the release of an interesting piece of art software called PaintsChainer. Released from manga software developer Taizan. The program was created to automatically color line art drawings by utilizing color choices set by the user. I had to try it.

First off I headed to paintschainer.preferred.tech. The interface was simple. Click the ‘Choose File’ icon, locate your line art image from your computer, and upload. Initially there was an error created stating an image size limit was exceeded. This was because I chose a high DPI scan of my drawing, so I formatted a smaller resolution image and re-uploaded without error. The image below shows a screenshot of my image uploaded onto the PaintsChainer site.

1

Next I used the application’s simple tools to paint color selections over my drawing. There are pencil/ brush tools that allow you to select the size of the brushes, also an eraser and a undo button. The colors are selected from a simple color picker pop up box. As you can see in the image below I quickly applied color samples to various areas of my image using my pen tablet. I was obviously aiming for speed whilst doing this stage. 😉

2

The next step is the most intriguing one, it’s what happens when you press the colorize button. Your image is wondrously transformed to a fully colorized output image, as you can see below. While color has been applied, it appears to have done so in a strange manner. Some of the color information has been disregarded,  or completely blended out. This is especially noticeable in the background of the image, where some patterning seems to have been applied. There also appears to be a random coloring element in the characters right eye.

Again, the color sampling step for this test was carries out extremely fast; so we cannot denounce the capability of PaintsChainer. We must acknowledge multiple positive qualities which have presented themselves here. Such as how the shading of my drawing has carried over quite nicely into the colorized result. Also notice how the hair has been colored rather well, providing areas of lights and darks which give the feel of a natural light. The overall image is softly colored and pastel in nature. Its apparent there are most likely much greater results attainable when more time is put into the color sampling phase.

paintchainer

Make sure to head over to PaintsChainer and try this out for yourself. Have fun and take care until next time.

Adobe Flash Animation

Today’s’ article covers a few key points to remember when working on Flash animations. There are obviously many factors to take into consideration when working in Flash. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. By following some simple guidelines however, you will find that the process can be made much simpler. No matter if you are working on a small project or on a much larger scale; consistency in workflow is a key.

Let us take a look at some key elements improving your workflow and the overall end results they achieve. One of the largest problems in Flash development can be related to bulky file sizes. This can be caused by many things, yet we will discuss the use of symbols. Symbols can be composed of many parts, so the opportunity to build them incorrectly arises very often. You must ensure that the graphics and other elements you use when creating your symbols are appropriate for that specific use. So what exactly are the appropriate ways to create symbols you ask?

First of all you should be ensuring that the graphics used are either vector for scaling or bitmap for space saving. You must also beware of multiple symbols that perform the same duties. This is why there is power in the use of instances; you can reuse multiple copies of the same symbol by utilizing different instance names. For example, you can build many different things within Flash in space saving ways…if you know how.

Let’s say you create an animation on your timeline. You can then convert those layers of animation into a Movie Clip. Now you can place an instance of this Movie Clip on the main timeline, thus only requiring one frame to contain a Movie Clip symbol. Now if you need a button to activate this Movie Clip to play, you can simply use a rollover actionscript that would initiate the clip to play at a selected frame. This would allow you to have a functional button based off of your Movie Clip without even creating a button; how’s that for space saving! You can of course create animated buttons by using separate or multiple copies of a Movie Clip, or Graphic instance nested inside each other.

Remember also that at any time you wish to change any of the elements on your timeline, you simply use the Scene panel for navigation. This will allow you to easily inspect the nesting structure of your symbols. When you double click a Movie Clip, Button, or Graphic symbol you are entering into its timeline to edit it. To exit out you simply click on the name of an element in the Scene panel dialogue to backtrack to the root of that elements’ timeline.

So far we’ve quickly called out a few workflow and creation key points:

  • The basic ways to save space by using correct graphic formats and utilizing symbols as instances.
  • How to utilize a Movie Clip that takes only one frame on your main timeline.
  • The ability to use that same Movie Clip as a button by use of action script.
  • What steps to take to view symbols when nested, as well as edit them.

Now we will look at an example of a complex Flash animation shown below in Figure 1. There is a lot going on in the animation in terms of complex mechanics. There are many repeated elements, animated graphic symbols, movie clip symbols, file sizes optimized, assorted, reusable animations, and so on.)

Fig. 1

Image

The above element consists of multiple Movie Symbols nested within Movie Symbols to create various effects. In essence, a slideshow, scroller, rollover animations, tweened animation, links and multiple text effects are all controlled with proper use of Movie Clips and instances. Bitmap graphics were utilized as necessary to save file sizes. Minimal frames were added to the main timeline to prevent clutter and maintain organization.

In conclusion, it is true there are many factors to take into consideration for Flash animation. The ways in which we create these complex projects plays an integral part however. The proper use of symbols and their instances are a key to creating effective complex Flash. By minimizing clutter and file sizes you enhance load times, appearance, function and overall…enjoyment.

Until next time, peace. -RJR-

Publishing in Flash: Simplicity, Size and Graphic Formats

Adobe Flash W.I.P.
“Water Temple” Adobe Flash

Hello again everyone, this article is just covering a few principles on the Adobe Flash platform and publishing methods. This is by no means an in depth review, but provides some pointers.So here we go!

The choices you make when preparing to publish a flash movie can make or break the end product. You can either present the viewer with something enjoyable to interact with, or something appalling.  Successful publishing of flash is dependent on several factors. The major factors being file size, graphic formats, and simplicity. It is the mastery of these factors that ultimately draws the line between amateur and professional.

Before selecting any publishing preferences, you need to know your audience to determine presentation method. Once you can choose your media platform, you are on your way. You must determine what type of quality, aspect ratio, and screen size your media is to be viewed on. Knowing these things early on also allows for more creative freedoms in flash.

The overall concept of simplicity is a key factor as well. To achieve this you must always keep watchful eye on the way you create your flash. Rather than slowing down your performance; you must utilize correct formats, symbol types, and graphics. You can select smaller items in your flash work for conversion to bitmaps. You can also make use of instances to re-use material over and over. These are things that work well for cutting down clutter and simplifying your flash.

Maintaining simplicity in structure and file size utilization is even more important for mobile device publishing. This is when you really need to watch the use of large graphic files, complex tweens, and alpha transparencies as well. In order to reduce the amount of re-drawing on screen, you must take note of these factors. With the new advancements in CS5.5 however, there are great ways to reconfigure and debug your flash for any output as well as mobile.

In conclusion, there are many ways to improve the quality of your publishing with flash. Among the most important are retaining simplicity, and maintaining small file sizes. The best ways to do this will always be to build smart inside of flash. Use the right graphic formats for smaller files; watch out on heavy effect use, transparencies and tweens. If you follow these rules, publishing will be that much more efficient. Until next time..take care & Peace!

Some more progress “Watcher”

Sky Work....
Sky work
Sky Detail
Sky Detail for “Watcher”

Welcome back again. Today I’ve uploaded a few progression shots of one of the recent digital paints I’m working on. As in the previous  post, this is based on a sketch I did a while back. I’ve done some work on the major elements in this piece, yet most of the time has been spent on the sky. I always like the skies to capture the eye. The vast landscape on the horizon has received some attention, and the foreground.

I’ve decided to call this piece “Watcher”

Stay tuned for  updates…see you soon and take care!

-RJR-

Digital Paint Process

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Recently having began work on a new digital paint, some progression shots are in order. The above slideshow illustrates some of the elements I’ve been working on. Based on a sketch I did a while back, its just now in the early stages.

You can see the makings of some vast landscape on the horizon, and some sort of creature in the foreground.  Something tells me this creature won’t make it to the final cut though. Though a character indeed will make an appearance there in the foreground.

Stay tuned for  updates…see you soon and take care!
-RJR-

Digital paint software 4 free…

Hello again everyone, I am back again to follow up on a promise in one of my earlier posts. Today we’ll be taking a look at a great freeware digital paint program…Alchemy. Every once in a while you come across a great program that does everything you want it too. Once in a while you find one that goes above and beyond; this is the case with Alchemy.

The program is not only freeware, but also very easy to learn for a first time user. Whether you’ve done digital drawing previously or not, you may vary well find this program useful and enjoyable.It boasts a simple user interface with some fun tools for sketching and even mirroring your work while you draw.

Watch a short demo video below, but make sure to link over to the Alchemy website and try it out yourself… so you can have some fun with digital creating!

I hope you are on your way to creating some masterpieces. If you have any questions, comments or would like more info…post a response!

Take care and keep creating!