Tag Archives: parenting

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.

 

Books Are a MUST on Every Child’s Gift List!

14 Dec

There are a few children out there who start their Christmas or holiday wish list with books, but they are not the majority. Most children lead off their lists with the latest and greatest toy or electronic device. The simple truth is, if a child has developed a love for the written word, then often a book is all that is needed to fire up their imagination.

Books, Books, Books

Books, Books, Books

Instead of needing a visual representation to drive home the meaning of the storyline, books use the written word to build a vision. Text formed into meaningful sentences, with descriptive adjectives and action-packed verbs conjure images in a youngster’s mind. In addition to this imaginative stimulation, books help a growing child acclimate to expected norms and behaviors. They teach by example how to act and react to environmental stimuli. Though technology has provided many tools to assist in the learning process, nothing – that’s correct, nothing – will ever replace the value of literacy in a child’s world.

Parents are the first-line teachers in helping to develop a child’s love of reading, which must start at a very young age. Implement a habit of reading your child a bedtime story every night. Schedule a daily bonding session that includes reading and sharing thoughts on the story. It is NEVER too early to start reading to a child. Though their attention spans may be quite short during the toddler years, the more you emphasize that reading is fun, that it is a special time to spend with mom or dad or even alone with a book, the better off the child will be.

So much of a child’s future education relies on their literacy and ability to retain knowledge gathered from the printed word that neglecting to read and develop of a love of reading can be debilitating to their success.  Even simple picture books with a single word on each page will help a toddler build their vocabulary and start to associate words with pictures and recognize letters of the alphabet. A youngster’s mind is an absorbent sponge ready to drink in knowledge.

So when you are shopping for a child, whether a toddler, preschooler, elementary age or a teen, add an age-appropriate book to your gift list.  Assisting a child in attaining literacy is the greatest gift you could ever give them.

 

For toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary readers, try one of the Pinky Frink’s Adventures of Pinky Frink’s Learning Books, available in print and digital versions from the following retailers:

Pinky Frink books at Amazon.com

Pinky Frink books at Barnes and Noble

Pinky Frink books at the iBookstore (iTunes)

Pinky Frink books from Lulu.com