Veronica Vinyl/Brian Cooper is an artist writer performer. Formerly a professional Drag Queen and screen writer working in LA as well as book and magazine illustrator. He/She has worked with Elvira Vincent Price Gene Simmons Hugh Hefner Andy Dick Bob Ezrin and many others on a variety of art projects. Presently living in Colorado designing public art projects for DLCooper Studios and making animated shorts.
Get Awesome Inside CrazyTalk Animator
Aria for the Dead is my mini epic animated series. Based on characters I created for the Rock Musical Diamond Dead which I co-wrote with Richard Hartley the composer of the Rocky Horror Picture show. The original screenplay was picked up by the Landless Theater Company in DC and became a late night cult stage show and has done incredible, winning the DC fringe Festival twice. Diamond Dead is presently in development as a feature film. I convinced Richard and Andrew Gaty the producer to let me make an animated series out of the script based on the Character of Aria De Winter. The wild Rock and Roll Maven who in her pursuit of becoming a famous singer accidentally causes the Zombie Apocalypse and destroys America. The idea for the series was to see if I could find funds along the way to keep it going. I’m going to set up On kickstarter.com and try to generate backing that way. Another idea is to make a graphic Novel from the screen captures of the video so that the project becomes more multimedia.
“I had one problem though I could edit and draw I didn’t have clue one on how to animate.”
Of course I had one problem though I could edit and draw I didn’t have clue one on how to animate. I went all over the web looking for animation programs that didn’t involve my brain exploding trying to make it work. I failed a whole lot. Then I found CrazyTalk. I bought the facial animation program and made a small pile of shorts for YouTube animating my drawings faces and dolls and even the pope. It was fun and easy to use, but I still had the problem that for Aria for the Dead. I needed actual Character movement. It’s a very action based script. Then recently Reallusion came out with the Animation program. I was so excited. I borrowed the money to buy the program and went to work. And I can honestly say. This is the best program of its kind that has ever been sold. I know, I have downloaded and deleted them all. It seems to encompass all the best features of there products and add a whole new dimension to animation.
When I started making Aria for the Dead, I watched all the tutorials and made my story boards sketches and paintings. My background was in using Green Screen effects and I was already all set up with pretty good light rig and chromakey back drop. So I decided that I would make Aria like I make a live action short. I animated my characters on green screen and brought in to my stage on the program a green screen back ground. Then I exported the finished movement to Editing program and chroma keyed Back grounds and for grounds. In layers. Then as a final touch I added filters for light and atmosphere. Like fog and reflections. Slipped in fisheye punch and pinch layers to add even more movement.
The idea was to keep every thing moving I could in every shot. The back ground the fog the changing light source. Everything I used was public domain video like time lapse clouds Explosions. The online Film archive is an awesome source for this. Then over these I dropped in airbrush FX so the back grounds didn’t clash with the hand drawn characters in the scene. The Airbrush filter also helped blur and soft focus the back grounds to add that rack focus looking way the eye processes depth of field.
One interesting feature of CrazyTalk Animator is the way it treats animation like puppetry. In a future episode, I am taking an actual skeleton rod puppet of Death. Operating it real-time. In front of a green screen then taking that footage and intercutting it with an animated skeleton and finally using CrazyTalk facial animation to add in Death speaking. Maybe I will be the only person to notice what it is but maybe it will come out cool enough to make an awesome effect.
Another cool thing about the program is that once you create the animation and the finished project is in the can you can make screen captures and use those for the Graphic novel. The panels come out looking amazing because they capture comic character in actual mid sentence or mid action. And you can build sequences using Animator frames that give comics an amazing texture.
You can do a lot with CrazyTalk Animator and it's easy to use but if I were asked how to use it, I would say try everything it offers and challenge the program to do even more than it may have been designed to do. It seems to me however chances are the programmers for CrazyTalk probably have already thought of what you might be up to and designed the path to make it happen. Don’t paint inside the lines. If you do something in animation cuz that seems to be the easiest, keep going further. Do what can't be done. You may not get to that point but where you wind up will be even further than you thought. CrazyTalk Animator has given me a leap in my video’s and comics.