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Pinky Frink is Now 3 Dimensional!

16 May

Although you can easily create animated cartoons with 2-dimensional characters, it is not quite the same as having them in 3D. Three dimensional animation opens up so many possibilities for character movement that are just not possible in a two dimensional state. With the amazing software packages available in today’s market to help create 3D animation, it was a no-brainer that the next major undertaking was to bring Pinky Frink to life in the three dimensional world (see inset video for a very short example of one of the first animations I did of Pinky Frink in a 3D animated cartoon).

Notice in the video that in addition to the character movement and speech, that the water moves, plants bend and move in the breeze and Granny J is rocking in her rocking chair. Compare the 3D video above with previous two dimensional videos (view a two dimensional Pinky Frink video here) and you will easily see the major differences. Notice in the two dimensional video how the background and characters are “flat”.

Even with all the creative software available, this was no light undertaking. In a three dimensional world, not only must every character from all the Pinky Frink books be modeled, you must also do the same for every prop you will use (furniture, toys, plants, etc.). Then you will also need the terrain (land, water, sky, roads, walkways, parks, etc.). Plus if you want “working” buildings (where your characters can walk through doors, open windows, enter rooms, sit on furniture, use appliances, etc.), you must build them in the 3D world, just like you would have to build them in real life. This means creating the flooring/base, adding walls and ceilings, adding doors and windows, and don’t forget things like window treatments (curtains/blinds), area rugs/carpets, perhaps a fireplace – with a realistic burning fire!

Once you have all of your 3D modeling done, then comes the task of adding animation. Not only do your modeled characters have to move naturally, including their facial movement when posing, or when they are idle, walking or speaking, but many of your props must be animated as well. Trees, plants and bushes must move when a breeze blows. Doors, windows and drawers must open. Appliances must operate with motion similar to real life. Vehicles must be able to “drive” through your terrain. Animals (pets and/or wildlife) must have animations sets that mimic real-life motion and behavior. Even items in your terrain, like water, will contain animated components. Is it a gentle stream, a rolling river, a quiet pond or crashing waves at a beach that will make your project complete?

And let’s not forget the audio! This is not only a simple single voice – you will need audio files for each voice, animal sound, water sounds and any background music/sounds you need to make your project complete.

I utilized a number of different software programs to create the inserted video.

  • For audio editing: AVS Audio Editor
  • For 3D props: SketchUp, Archipelis
  • For terrain creation: Earth Sculptor
  • For animation: Reallusion’s iClone 5, Adobe Animate & 3DS MAX
  • For character modeling: DAZ Studio & 3DXchange & Autodesk’s 3DS MAX
  • For image editing: GIMP, Adobe Photoshop
  • For final video rendering: Adobe After Effects

These are just my preferences, but after investigation, you will easily be able to decide on what products work best for you. Some are relatively inexpensive, but others come with a hefty price tag.