Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

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dorne
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Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#1 Post by dorne » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:54 am

I'm dabbling in animation and drawing myself. I want to get enough fundamentals that I can start creating animations, and eventually apply them to visual novel making. One inspiration for me is the Monogatari animated series by studio Shaft, which makes great use of quick scenes and limited animation to create an immersive effect. Others visual novels like Fate/Stay Night and Mahōtsukai no Yoru from TYPE-MOON use creative transitions to animate stills.

I know there are many artists out there, but not too many 2d animators?

Still, I want to connect with people who want more animation in the visual novel genre.
Last edited by dorne on Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#2 Post by SexBomb » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:23 pm

Yes please!!!

Illustration and animation are two very different skill sets, which I imagine is much of why there aren't many animators visiting a VN forum... there is little need for them, and they are few and far between (particularly with 3D animation dominating the industry). Animation also takes a surprising amount of math, and many new programs and tools, so while it is possible for illustrators to teach themselves, it can be an extremely daunting endeavor.

I would love to see more 2D animation in visual novels. I can think of a few examples, but most of them are large titles with many other elements beyond being a visual novel. Ace Attorney, 999, Dangan Ronpa, and BlazBlue all come to mind as having animated cutscenes, with 999 and Ace Attorney going so far as to have 2D animated sprites. Blazblue is a fighting game, but it uses the visual novel format frequently between battles, and has animated cutscenes and intros. There are many small-scale VNs that utilizing blinking/talking sprites, but that is not quite the same. Perhaps a good jumping off point for you, since you're just dabbling right now?

I would be thrilled to see more 2D animation in standard format VNs. The reality is, however, that animation is extremely time consuming and difficult. It would be awesome to see a project (probably with a strong budget) achieve this, but I won't get my hopes up. Keep pushing on... Maybe you'll be the first. ;P

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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#3 Post by RotGtIE » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:24 pm

I suspect that Live2D is going to get increasingly popular for use in commercial VNs.

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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#4 Post by Divona » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:43 pm

We use quick 2D animations during CG in our project, it really help with the action scenes. Mahōtsukai no Yoru was one of our inspiration to take that route, as well as 3D camera from Fault series. Sadly, we don't have budget left for Live2D...

But yes, +1 for 2D animation!
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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#5 Post by indoneko » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:55 pm

A decent 2D animation (with actual character animation, not just scene panning and FX) will require skill and budget which most indie VN maker couldn't afford.... so it's actually normal if we don't see many animators here (and this trend probably won't change anytime soon).

Nonetheless, I'm in favor of the use of animation in VN games. I like eye candies~ :3
Hopefully live2D will become trend in the future and Renpy will have some kind of support for it...
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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#6 Post by Kkoro » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:02 pm

Yes! Mahoutsukai no Yoru is a perfect example. For those that don't know it, it's from a visual novel by Type-moon:

https://youtu.be/tLf9oWUe2fc

Look at how GORGEOUS it is! I don't know how it's called specifically, but I'll call it CG animation for now. It's so damn amazing.
It's just perfect for this medium. In my opinion, it's something that can't be replaced with regular animation or 3D animation. CG animation just belongs to visual novels.

Now why is it not that common here?

I think it's because it's the future of visual novels.
And as of right now, it's probably too expensive(I can't imagine how much Mahoutsukai must've costed).

But yes. It's something I want to use. Maybe I won't get the chance to use it for False Elegy. But it's definitely something I want to use eventually.
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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#7 Post by dorne » Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:56 pm

I'm glad there are so many responses!

@SexBomb

True. Alot of games (many of them Japanese) have visual novel elements in them. I feel that many of them use the animation as a key point, such as Ace Attorney series and Ghost Trick. The art of animation is a time consuming process. Not only do you need fundamentals in art, you need another skillset to animate! To be a good animator in Ren'Py, you would probably need to be both the artist and programmer, to execute such feats.

I'm just a guy who wants more animations in the Visual Novel field.

@RotGtIE

Live2d technology is pretty great, though sadly I don't think I could ever run it on my computers. It does help alot of artists who don't know how to animate to easily rig their characters.

@Divona

I'd be glad to see your projects!

@indoneko

The skill part I can agree with; I'm sure most of the time spent is on polishing the VN, rather than a skill they could not have thought to train in.

On the other hand, the reason I started learning how to draw and animate is because Opentoonz https://opentoonz.github.io/e/, an open source animation software has been getting improved slowly but surely, and it is well featured! It's great for hand drawn animation and comes with FX built in. Right now if I were to use this software for Ren'py, I would output animations into image sequences and program them in.

After one sitting, and trial and error I managed to create this small text blur video: https://gfycat.com/YellowishAdorableCalf.

@Kkoro I'm glad that people agree that Witch on the Holy Night has awesome animation! I would say it is CG animation, since they are manipulating the effects of still images, and rigging effects and music together.

Also I just found this today:

https://www.tofugu.com/japan/anime-vs-cartoons/

This shows you the influences of Japanese animation, and why they use 'Limited Animation'. The main point is to decrease cost and time to make. I'm sure these methods can be used to create animations made specificially for visual novels.
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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#8 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:32 pm

It's probably going to be the death of me, but I've been privately experimenting with a technique by Arc System Works that uses 3d models to achieve 2d animation quality. They used it for Guilty Gear Xrd, (that's a 3D model and so is this) and gave a talk at the Game Developer Conference on the technical specs they used to achieve the look. Arc System Works was really cool for sharing their tech pipeline in detail, which is especially rare for a Japanese studio. (Lots of discussion of the trick on 3D modeling boards I frequent, like Polycount.)

As someone whose degree is in 3D modeling and design, the idea isn't too complicated, it just involves some creative modeling, use of vertex colors instead of texture maps, and editing of normals directly on the model (instead of using maps). A bit of set-up, but very scaleable, I believe. I'm currently working with Unity to try and replicate the effect. If it works, the pipeline will actually be faster for me than 2D drawing OR 3D modeling using my regular workflows.

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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#9 Post by SexBomb » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:45 pm

To be a good animator in Ren'Py, you would probably need to be both the artist and programmer, to execute such feats.
Very true. I have a degree in animation, but am only just beginning to learn the basics of Ren'Py; and the idea of figuring out how to apply animation in it is just far too intimidating at this stage.
The main point is to decrease cost and time to make. I'm sure these methods can be used to create animations made specificially for visual novels.
Exactly right. The concept of CGs like this one are not difficult. It may take some extra time, but creating "active stills" are a very popular and easy way to boost interest in a project or illustration. Even simple animations, like smoke rising from a chimney or characters blinking/talking in a CG wouldn't be too difficult to program into Ren'Py, I imagine...
It's probably going to be the death of me, but I've been privately experimenting with a technique by Arc System Works that uses 3d models to achieve 2d animation quality.
LateWhiteRabbit, I LOVE this technique! To date, ASW is the only company I know of that has achieved a truly fantastic 2D look using 3D assets. Best of luck!

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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#10 Post by dorne » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:01 pm

@
LateWhiteRabbit

I love the cel shaded look of Guilty Gear Xrd! If your workflow is much faster with this technique I say go for it. Plus it'll help you stand out with your own style.
SexBomb wrote: Very true. I have a degree in animation, but am only just beginning to learn the basics of Ren'Py; and the idea of figuring out how to apply animation in it is just far too intimidating at this stage.
I suppose that just seeing the code vs animating will take some effort to align.
Even simple animations, like smoke rising from a chimney or characters blinking/talking in a CG wouldn't be too difficult to program into Ren'Py, I imagine...
I've glanced through the web (googling animation tutorial Ren'py), and there has some posts on the subject already. I believe it will help if there is an animation tutorial akin to renpytom's own tutorial for the basics of Ren'Py. It would be cool to show off the effects of 2d animation, coupled with easy to read steps on how to achieve the same feats.

Since I'm an unpolished beginner at both drawing and animating, the path i'm going to follow is:

-learn basic figure drawing
-learn basic frame animation, and filling in between frames, plus character skeleton/plastic rigging.
-colour/polish
-convert to image sequences
-go through existing notes for ren'py regarding animation
-test image sequences and learn how to manipulate animations in ren'py
-document steps
-recreate steps
-get feedback

The same can be said of CG animation within Ren'Py.
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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#11 Post by sake-bento » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:09 pm

2D animation in general is a huge interest of mine. I would definitely like to see more in VNs, even to a small degree. Years ago before Ren'py had ATL, I attempted to put together a series of minimal animations for a VN. It worked, but it was a terribly time-consuming process, so I shelved it, but it seems like a much easier proposition these days. At the very least, livelier looking environments like the ones in Cinders would be a good starting point.

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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#12 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:19 pm

dorne wrote:@
LateWhiteRabbit
I love the cel shaded look of Guilty Gear Xrd! If your workflow is much faster with this technique I say go for it. Plus it'll help you stand out with your own style.
Thanks. Most of my projects get hung up on the sheer number of illustrations required for the project. This method will let me spend 30-40 hours on one character - and then have access to as much animation or pictures of them as I want.
dorne wrote: Since I'm an unpolished beginner at both drawing and animating, the path i'm going to follow is:

-learn basic figure drawing
-learn basic frame animation, and filling in between frames, plus character skeleton/plastic rigging.
-colour/polish
-convert to image sequences
-go through existing notes for ren'py regarding animation
-test image sequences and learn how to manipulate animations in ren'py
-document steps
-recreate steps
-get feedback

The same can be said of CG animation within Ren'Py.
When I was studying 2d animation in college, the instructor (a former artist at Disney), had us start with a bouncing ball, then a waving flag, a simple walk cycle with a figure, and then a detailed head turn of a character. Those are great practices to do in order to learn animation basics.

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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#13 Post by dorne » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:11 pm

sake-bento wrote:Years ago before Ren'py had ATL, I attempted to put together a series of minimal animations for a VN. It worked, but it was a terribly time-consuming process, so I shelved it, but it seems like a much easier proposition these days.
Glad to hear, and thank you for your sacrifices.
LateWhiteRabbit wrote: When I was studying 2d animation in college, the instructor (a former artist at Disney), had us start with a bouncing ball, then a waving flag, a simple walk cycle with a figure, and then a detailed head turn of a character. Those are great practices to do in order to learn animation basics.
I've started with the bouncing ball, and I've not quite mastered it yet. It is fun to learn though! Just gotta keep practicing the basics. I've got my output, now it's onto programming it into Ren'Py. I'll post the results once I succeed.

*edit*

I've started my personal art thread, where I will host my test scripts and animations along with documentation. You may find it useful to learn how to animate in Ren'Py.

viewtopic.php?f=54&t=40449

There are many more tutorials that will be better than mine, you just need to look out for them.

Once you get past the hurdle of learning how to do frame by frame in the scripts, it feels much easier to do now. You learn how to loop an animation, how to run it once, how to hide it, now it's a matter of positioning the images, special effects, and actual animation input. I think the barrier for animators and the program isn't as big as we think.
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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#14 Post by Crucifixian » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:08 am

Yes I'm interested!

After the ball animation what are you going to work on next? :)

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Re: Anybody interested in 2d animation for VNs?

#15 Post by dorne » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:45 am

Crucifixian wrote:Yes I'm interested!

After the ball animation what are you going to work on next? :)

Glad to hear!

That's a good question. I was thinking of doing a head turn at first, but I might think of doing 2 concurring animations (animated background + sprite animation) instead.
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