Sunday, 19 June 2011

Flying Bike

As promised, here is a little bit of animation this time. I needed a shot of the three flying bikes going past the camera. As you saw in the previous post I had the three bikes created as 3D models in Animation:Master. I animated the 3D model as required and exported this animation as a series of images and loaded them into Anime Studio.

In Anime Studio I already had the bike as a 2D Vector with all it's parts on separate layers. This was in a Group Layer so that all of the layers of the bike could be included. This Group Layer was placed in a Switch Layer and named as the correct frame number. A Switch Layer can contain many Sub Layers but only one of these can be displayed at any one time. They are usually used for Lip-Synch, containing sets of mouth shapes but are also ideal for times where frame by frame animation may be required. There isn't much frame by frame animation in 'Horace' but I decided this would be the best technique for the vehicles flying past camera. It was then just a matter of shifting the various layers of the bike parts around and scaling and adjusting them to match the frame rendered from Animation:Master.

For neatness I put all the images rendered from Animation:Master into a Group Layer and displayed them one at a time to trace. This screen capture shows all the images displayed at once.

A bike without a rider looks a little unsafe so I needed to place a character in the driving seat. The 3D render had a 'stand in' in place but I needed to add the real 2D rider. I started by posing Horace (just using Vector's no bones) on one of the bikes mid way through the animation. This pose was then copied to all the other bikes and adjusted as necessary.

In hindsight it would have been much better to have horace already in the Switch Layer with the bike and adjusted him at the same time. That's what I've done with the Fly By's I've done since and it's proved to be a much faster process.

I created an animated starfield in PD Pro Howler (it is a strange name for a painting / animation package I agree) as it's easy to do in this software. It's great software actually and worth looking at if you haven't heard of it.

Finally I composited the animation with the background and added a particle emitter to each exhaust in VisionLab. Incidentally, there is a new package being released by FXHome in July called HitFilm. It will be Editing, Compositing and effects creation all in one software. It's going to be even less expensive than VisionLab but far more powerful. It has a lot of features that After Effects doesn't so I think it will be a must have purchase. Take a look on if you want to see what it can do.

Here is a video showing all the stages through to the final result. Thanks for looking.

All text and images (c) 2011 Dale Hemenway


  1. Great stuff Dale! And a lovely final result with the particles etc.

  2. Thanks Andy. Always good to hear your comments.

  3. Wonderful work and a cool example on how using different programs.

  4. good job! I like the depth of the scene! see my blog please: