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Free Animation

a suggestion for a pipeline and workflow based on Free Software


Nelson A. F. Gonalves Escola Superior de Educao e CI&DETS Instituto Politcnico de Viseu (Portugal)

Maria P. Figueiredo Escola Superior de Educao e CI&DETS Instituto Politcnico de Viseu (Portugal)

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

Background and some context information

Present the animation workflow implemented by OpenLab ESEV to support 4 students' animation shorts: "G.0.D.", "Agora sim, agora no, "Midnight Snack" and "Rivalry".

Intro & context 1

Individual projects developed within a compulsory course of the Fine Arts and Multimedia graduation program of ESE Viseu. The four cases shared the choice to produce 3D animation shorts using only Free Software. Production ran during the 2nd semester of the present school year. Students' first experience with the tools took place during the 1st semester.

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

What is OpenLab ESEV?

Project of the Polytechnic Institute of Viseus School of Education (ESE Viseu)

OpenLab ESEV 2

that aims to promote, foster and support the use of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (F/LOSS), Free file formats and more flexible copyright licenses for creative and educational purposes.

Key areas of action:


Dissemination, Training, Support, and Production.

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

What is Free Software?

To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer. (RMS) Freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0). The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2). The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3).

How we worked

Workflow

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Infrastructure and management

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RapidSVN & SVN: a revision control system. Project folders structure Assets Version Author Last change date

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Gantt chart: tasks, timeline, schedule dependencies, resources and indication of completion.

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Pre-production

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MyPaint: digital painting, concept art.

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GIMP: image editing, textures, etc.

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Production

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www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

Dope Sheet: control over multiple actions, timing manipulation, shape keys & actions editor.

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Graph Editor: animation as curves, interpolation manipulation, viewing, browsing and editing of any curves.

Initial render

Node editor

Final render

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Post-production

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www.4frames.org Movie, DVD. Production files (SVN repository http://ourproject.org/scm/?group_id=1067).

KDEnlive: video editing, color correction, effects, etc.

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

Audacity: audio editing, recording voices, foley, etc.

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats


SWOT Analysis 4

Evaluate the workflow used by the projects to help decision-making. This is an ongoing process but we have some preliminary data to share. Based on SWOT worksheets filled by students and teachers that participated in these projects. Identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project.

www.esev.ipv.pt/openlab

Strengths

Weaknesses

No financial costs for acquiring and/or updating the tools. Tools features. Possibility of developing own tools and/or customizing pre-existing tools, responding to specific needs. Interoperability/compatibility between Free tools and Open/Free file formats.

Students' little or no previous experience with the tools (workflows built around proprietary software). Poor independent learning and collaborative work experience. Poor integration and use of the Internet in workflow. Poor English skills.

Internal factors

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Top of the game with none or very low financial cost. Requires learning, implication, motivation. More preparatory work and training. More english speaking skills... Increase students' ability to adapt and evolve. Expand comfort zone!

Opportunities

Threats

Increased curiosity and awareness of individuals and institutions on issues related to Free Software (FS) and Free Culture (FC). FS & FC online communities provide learning and production support. Increasing financial constraints of institutions and individuals. Prosumer culture (Web 2.0)

Portuguese context: not knowing similar projects, short support base, lack of documentation. Software patents. Institutions/individuals dependent on proprietary tools. Ignorance, prejudice and confusion between skills and tools (magic tools).

External factors

Natural integration of the Internet, network learning and collaborative work. Independence from vendor lock-in and proprietary commercial strategies. Economic benefits. Ignorance, prejudice
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What we've learned...


Final thoughts

OpenLab ESEV has several different projects in progress (and planned) and areas of action. This experience proved to be fruitful and will surely be continued and expanded in future editions. The results we've achieved and the interest aroused among the local community and partners suggest that new opportunities for the use (and refinement) of this workflow may appear. And (web-based) videogames? And stopmotion or 2D animation? OpenLab ESEV exists within a portuguese public institution of higher education. Formative and ethical dimensions of our intervention are particularly important. Ethics matter!

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Next year...

Replace/switch tools

From Subversion to Git From Blender current internal render (or LuxRender) to Blender Cycles. Blender-aid: managing the content of a Blender production. Blender GSoC Tomato: motion/camera tracking. Ardour: audio production. Bash scripting: image/movie converter (batch processing) Python: search & collect (and tag) reference images from the web. Python: Blender add-ons.

Final thoughts

New tools & features

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Anyone interested in helping us?

Final thoughts

3D animation Group project OpenLab ESEV and outsiders Distributed (distance collaboration) Shared process, social networks Free/Libre and Open Source Software Creative Commons licensed (movie and production files)

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Free Software is a matter of liberty, not price. Using Free Software is a statement about the world we live in and how we choose to live in it.

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Thank you!

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