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Hey, I made a cartoon and posted it to YouTube


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#1 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 05:41 AM

I've been trying to figure out Adobe Animate for quite awhile now and this cartoon is where I'm at with it. I figured I'd try my hand at YouTube if I was ever able to get a few episodes presentable enough to make public (although there still are a few noticeable seams in the A/V). The writing is mainly silly and light. And don't look for scientific accuracy here. lol. The "Otto" in the credits is me. It's my middle name. I figured it was catchier than Gary. (Maybe I should call myself Geddy instead.  B)) My good friend Deidra graciously agreed to play the female character and I think she did a great job of it. She also wrote episode three with me. If you have a little time, check out the first episode and let me know what you think. Thanks! 

 


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#2 baldiepete

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 07:32 AM

Well done, that was great fun.

#3 Slim

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 07:44 AM

The vocals are beautifully recorded, I must say - did you use soundproofing? An expensive mic?



#4 EZrhythm

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:43 AM

They are too much like Earthlings :lol:



#5 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 05:31 PM

Well done, that was great fun.

 

Thanks for checking it out. I just wanted to keep it light for the most part. There are some hacky tropes in there, I confess. Probably the biggest is the doltish male/nagging female dynamic. These characters are basically a variation on Ralph and Alice Kramden.


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#6 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 05:54 PM

They are too much like Earthlings :lol:

 

Believe it or not, that's what I was going for. lol. It's a twist on the old "aliens who can't understand the ways of Earthlings" idea. The culture of these aliens evolved very similarly to Earth Western culture (the culture I'm most familiar with, natch) with their own equivalents of, say, Lady Gaga or Elon Musk. (On their planet Lady Gaga is called Madame GooGoo. :P )


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#7 Slim

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:25 PM

So how did you record the vocal parts? Did you put any filters or EQ on them?

 

I really liked it - I was really so impressed. To be completely honest and only to be constructive, I would have lost the really crude part and kept it to about 5 minutes.



#8 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:31 PM

The vocals are beautifully recorded, I must say - did you use soundproofing? An expensive mic?

 

That's good to know. Working so closely with the audio, I sometimes find it difficult to know whether it sounds good or not. It's probably due to ear (or brain) fatigue. 
 
The following is a lot more information than you asked for but in case anyone wants the details, here you go.
 
I used this hand-held recorder to record dialogue and SFX. The Zoom H6 (paid $400 for it in 2012). It's a remarkable bit of recording tech. I don't know how they make these small things sound so good!
 
54b2a-h6front.jpg
 
It comes with two mic capsules, the X/Y and the mid-side. I used the pictured mid-side capsule for no other reason than I thought it sounded better for dialogue. I held the recorder about 8 to 10 inches from my mouth and recorded in a rather crowded bedroom with enough reflective surfaces to mitigate a lot of the natural echo. Deidra's dialogue was recorded at her house in her bedroom facing toward a walk-in closet filled with hanging clothes which also helped to eliminate echo. I did not use a pop filter which caused me to have to fix a few plosives during the editing phase. But the audio you hear has very little processing done to it. For the most part, I just raised the volume with editing software and made spare use of dynamic filters like compression where I thought it was needed. But it was a lot of line by line volume leveling so I can't say it was done in a snap. My main goal was to make the dialogue sound like it was recorded in the same room. (I actually end up doing numerous recording sessions per episode as I tend to rewrite dialogue. Unfortunately even recording in the same friggin' room on different days can result in different sound quality.) Some lines sound obviously more echoy than others but for the most part it sounds pretty even if you don't listen too closely.
 
I got a little more professional for the third episode where I used my main vocal mic, the Studio Projects C1 ($199 I believe but that was 11 years ago), run through the same recorder, using a pop filter this time, and using an SE Reflection Filter, to boot. Going the extra mile like this resulted in better sound quality but interestingly only a little better.
 
When the dialogue pieces are edited I import them into Adobe Animate where I commence animating. That program was a helluva learning curve for me, let me tell ya. It seems really unintuitve at first but as you learn it, it starts making more sense. I had all these headaches trying to get it do what I needed it to do for the cartoon to work - foundational things like making the starfield continually loop in smooth fashion. The aliens have to look like they're traveling through space or the friggin' cartoon doesn't work!! lol. Sometimes I even had to "fool" it into doing what I wanted it to do. For example, the audio would always go out of sync with the animation at around the 2 to 3 minute mark. Well the cartoon is 7+ minutes long. Eventually though, through trial and error, I figured out that I had to create 7 to 8 approximately 1 minute long animation "capsules" within the program for the damn thing to stay in sync. These capsules (technically known as symbols in the program) play out one after the other during the animation. You'll see Smog's steering wheel occasionally jerk as the cartoon plays out. That's where one capsule transitions to the next.
 
I don't have any illusions about creating a successful YouTube channel. I just read that 60 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. Also, one of the main keys to building an audience for your channel is to post content regularly. Once a week or more is optinum. I'd have to break my back to get one of these things done in a month. So I'll make some more of these but it's going to have to be at my own pace, which I'm hoping will get faster but for now it's still a slow process.
 
Thanks for indulging me. If you got through all of this you deserve some sort of message board commendation. :P

Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#9 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:41 PM

So how did you record the vocal parts? Did you put any filters or EQ on them?

 

I really liked it - I was really so impressed. To be completely honest and only to be constructive, I would have lost the really crude part and kept it to about 5 minutes.

 

Thanks for the kind words, Slim. That's really nice to hear. And sorry that the crude stuff isn't your cup o' tea as I'm sure it isn't a lot of people's. (There's more of it coming in episode 5. :P) But I kind of like occasionally "humanizing" the characters with that kind of stuff. And I love South Park as well so that kind of stuff used sparingly will give it a kind of South Park-lite quality. But being as gross or mean as South Park, even though I quite enjoy that, isn't what I want to do with this cartoon. 

 

As far as the length is concerned, I hear you. It's a valid concern trying to hold a viewer's attention through 7 to 8 minutes of what is essentially two characters sitting there talking to each other. But I want these things to average around 7 minutes with one occasionally going a little longer. With better, more dynamic writing, which I'm always striving to do, I feel that that will eventually be a satisfying run-time. And I plan to add more action as I get better at doing this.

 

Yes to EQ and other filters but sparingly. Certain lines can get muddied up for multiple reasons in an uncontrolled recording environment like a bedroom. Could be I wasn't in good voice that day. Could be I wasn't speaking directly into the mic. Could be bad mic placement. Who knows, it might even be the weather that day. But in those cases I have to get the not so good sounding lines as close as possible to the good sounding lines. EQ is great for that because it allows you to cut the offending, muddy frequencies while boosting the ones that will enhance the tonality of the voice. I'm still learning. All this sound editing/mixing stuff is a combination of knowledge (gleaned from the internet, natch) and lots of ear training. I consider myself slightly above rank amateur at this point but I'm getting better. I'm currently re-mixing a song I wrote years ago in the Sonar mixing platform and I'll tell you what, learning to mix music with all its clashing frequencies and leveling problems is a hundred times harder than EQing dialogue. Drums, vocals, keyboards, bass guitars, and guitars, (not to mention brass, violins, etc.) are all battling it out for position in the frequency range and it's up to the mixing engineer to tame them all by boosting, cutting and rolling off frequencies to make them sound beautiful together. There's a reason Geddy called mixing "The death of hope." lol.


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#10 Slim

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:28 PM

I knew you must have put a lot of thought and care into the vocals because I DJ occasionally on the Internet and the one thing that stops you from sounding professional is a poor vocal sound. So I'm more interested in that aspect, and more sensitive to it. Obviously it's different because you're limited to what you can do in real time. I have a good mic and a pop filter, but the acoustics of my study are very ordinary and attentive listeners can probably hear a faint hum from my PC. The vocals on your video sound clear and distinct and well isolated.

 

But what's more interesting from your reply there is that you didn't actually record the vocal parts in the same place - I wonder if you'd thought of doing that, if that's actually possible? You might find there's an energy in reacting to each other that comes across really positively in the recording. Having said that, it already sounds quite natural and there's already a nice chemistry in it.

 

Bravo!



#11 MrSkeptic

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:44 PM

Is it a cartoon or is it animation?


They said I could be anything, so I became a disappointment.

 

 


#12 chemistry1973

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 11:38 PM

LMFAO.

Great work Geddy!

#13 chemistry1973

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 11:40 PM

Caltransians?!

HAHAHA

#14 Three Eyes

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 01:01 AM

I knew you must have put a lot of thought and care into the vocals because I DJ occasionally on the Internet and the one thing that stops you from sounding professional is a poor vocal sound. So I'm more interested in that aspect, and more sensitive to it. Obviously it's different because you're limited to what you can do in real time. I have a good mic and a pop filter, but the acoustics of my study are very ordinary and attentive listeners can probably hear a faint hum from my PC. The vocals on your video sound clear and distinct and well isolated.

 

But what's more interesting from your reply there is that you didn't actually record the vocal parts in the same place - I wonder if you'd thought of doing that, if that's actually possible? You might find there's an energy in reacting to each other that comes across really positively in the recording. Having said that, it already sounds quite natural and there's already a nice chemistry in it.

 

Bravo!

 

Oh really? How about a link? I'd like to hear that. I'll wager that your real-time DJing probably sounds pretty good from your description. But if you ever want to get hardcore about room echo reduction in your study, although I doubt that you need to, there are affordable acoustic panels on the market that you strategically place on your walls just for that purpose. I personally haven't bought any of these but maybe someday I will if I ever get heavily back into recording music. Singing, I'm guessing, will cause a lot more room reflection than speaking into a mic as your voice projects at a much higher volume when you sing.  
 
Yes, I tried to get the dialogue sounding as good as I could make it. I'm glad you noticed that. Thanks. I will say though that I owe a lot to the sound quality of the H6 and I admit I was thrilled when I heard my first test recording of it. Interestingly, I'd read somewhere a time ago that people are more tolerant of poor picture quality than they are poor sound quality so I figured early on that the sound quality of this thing should be one of the priorities. The advantage of the H6 is that it makes no sound whatsoever where if I were to record vocals directly onto my computer there would be noise issues and I might even consider putting the computer in a separate room. What I do now is make the room as quiet as possible by putting the computer to sleep, closing all the windows and closing the bedroom door. I also try to record mostly in the evenings when the world is quieter.
 
It just occurred to me that the low hum I inserted into the track to act as the spaceship's "engine" might be helping to mask the different room tones of the dialogue. If that's the case, then that engine sound is serving double duty. lol. Btw, that sound is actually the high hiss of a gas company truck that was idling outside my house one day. Sensing a sound effects opportunity, I took the H6 out there and recorded the sound, then digitally lowered and stretched it into the sound that's heard in the cartoon. I wanted to mimic the low tone of the Star Trek Enterprise's engine and that gas truck came along at just the right time. That's the way I do all the sound effects. I just look around the house to see what I can rattle, drop or splash. That repeating spaceship beep is actually my microwave's beep snipped and processed with editing software.
 
I had to record the dialogue in separate places mostly due to practicality. I would have preferred to record it all in one place but had I done that it might have added to my already slow production time. Sometimes it was just more practical for whichever one of us to record in whichever location. She's recorded at my place but I've also recorded at her place. It's all mixed up really so I'm lucky it still sounds fairly consistent emotionally speaking. I had to wear my director's cap to make sure the performance of each line of dialogue (hers and mine) would make logical sense with the dialogue the other character is saying when the lines were eventually glued together in editing. Of course, the scripts helped with that too. I make sure to write a proper script for each episode. 
 
As you say, performing the dialogue together would certainly have lent the acting more energy and believeabilty but given that we're both novice actors we are probably better suited to track our dialogue separately. In fact, we would probably have made a mess of it recording it together. lol. Recording separately lets us keep doing takes until the line sounds right. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how the animation world tracks dialogue though. I saw a short Disney behind that scenes doc of Frozen once where they showed the lead actor tracking his dialogue by himself with the director asking for different variations on the line (for options, I would imagine). But I don't know if that's how it's generally done. It's amazing what professional actors can do and I have a lot of respect for the really good ones. They kill with any script you place in front of them.
 
Okay, I'm really running off at the keyboard here.

Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#15 Three Eyes

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 01:02 AM

Is it a cartoon or is it animation?

 

You would think I would know, wouldn't you? lol.


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#16 Three Eyes

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 01:09 AM

Caltransians?!

HAHAHA

 

Smog wants you to know that it's spelled Kaltranzians and that any resemblance his planet's name has to Caltrans (aka California Department of Transportation) is strictly coincidental.  B)


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#17 MrSkeptic

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 01:52 AM

Where is Deidra from? I detected a pretty strong northeasterly accent.

 

I liked it except the vomitus but hey, it's your thing. Keep it up and you might get a gig with Adult Swim.


They said I could be anything, so I became a disappointment.

 

 


#18 Three Eyes

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 03:22 AM

Where is Deidra from? I detected a pretty strong northeasterly accent.

 

I liked it except the vomitus but hey, it's your thing. Keep it up and you might get a gig with Adult Swim.

 

Interesting you should guess that. She really doesn't sound like she does in the video but she did grow up in upstate New York. She took on a "Brooklyn" accent to play Grog because we figured it's easier to do comic acting when you take on a broad accent. At least we think it's Brooklyn. It could be Jersey, or maybe even New England or a combination of the three. We're not experts on accents. But I'm convinced she has a latent acting talent. It's unformed but it's there. She came up on the spot with the greatest comic British-y accent for the librarian in episode 3. She'd never spoken in that accent her entire life but out it came fully formed. 


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#19 baldiepete

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 07:59 AM

^^^^

Nice try, but I honestly didn’t think of that as a “British” accent. Mind you, you wouldn’t want to hear my attempt at an “American” accent. 🙄

#20 Three Eyes

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 03:28 PM

^^^^

Nice try, but I honestly didn’t think of that as a “British” accent. Mind you, you wouldn’t want to hear my attempt at an “American” accent.

 

It's just a comic version of one. I called it "British-y."


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.





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