Book Trailer

Hi everybody,

It’s probably stretching the term to call this an animatic, but, at any rate, it’s a rough first draft of what will be a trailer for a kids’ horror book. I needed to put something up so my brother can start thinking about sound design for me. The character animation will probably be done with a combination of Pencil and Inkscape (because I really like the traditional look), while I’m hoping to do things like camera moves (pans, etc.) and the text animation in Synfig. I want to do something cool with the text, like have it materialize out of mist, so any pointers on that would be great. Here’s the link:

Ignore the helium-quality voices of the “kids.” I’ll have actual child actors doing those voices for the real thing. :smiley:

With any luck, this project will actually get completed. I figure the odds are decent since I completed the book that it goes with.


Looks good! I especially enjoyed the ‘rapid sequence of scary clips’. :wink:

Yeah, that sequence has terrified everybody who’s seen it. I should probably add a warning of some kind. :open_mouth:


I don’t know how useful this is to look at (for one thing, I sequenced it with Blender and I don’t think I’ve learned the best settings there yet), but I’m trying to compare character animation workflows in Synfig vs. frame-by-frame in Pencil/Inkscape. The Synfig version in this case (the last in the set) lacks outlines, but I plan to try one with outlines in the next test.


It looks very good!
I think that once you play a little more with synfig you’ll do a very good job with synfig!.
Please ask us more anything you need ti know!. Synfig need quality artists like you to attract more developers! :wink:

[size=150]Synfig Doodles[/size]

Trying to get the hang of drawing things directly in Synfig. After years of using Inkscape, Synfig’s logic takes a little getting used to, but I’m slowly catching on. These were all done on my laptop during downtime at work and without the benefit of my Wacom tablet, for whatever that’s worth. (Not that I’m a great artist even with the Wacom, mind you.) I could see a sort of Venture Brothers style maybe working for this approach. Hmmmm…


Directly drawn? not sketch behind? oh man, you demonstrate the the tool doesn’t make the artist. You’ll be outstanding whatever tool you use!

Maybe you can share with us your top 3 list of features of Inkscape that you most miss in Synfig (and that would hopefully be easy to implement)…


Well, many of the differences of course stem from the different goals of the two packages: Synfig is obviously geared toward auto-tweened animation, while Inkscape is more oriented toward SVG-compliant vector drawing. As such, I don’t necessarily see Synfig’s drawing tool set as inferior to Inkscape’s in most cases, just different. I also get that, for now at least, there isn’t much development going on (something I genuinely hope to help out with indirectly by helping to attract a larger user base with some of my finished Synfig work - we’ll see how that goes).

Having said all that, I would love to be able to manipulate shapes and lines by just grabbing anywhere on said shape/line and dragging as you can in Inkscape. Bezier handles are great for precision, but they slow things down when pixel-perfect precision isn’t needed (as in, say, some background elements). I’d guess that this is one of those features that will show up naturally down the road as Synfig matures. I’d also love to see a Synfig equivalent to Inkscape’s Calligraphy tool so that I could freehand pressure-sensitive regions/fills in the same way we can now do outlines/strokes. This approach to using regions as “lines” can yield a more organic look - something I really like about Inkscape.

All in all, though, the more I play with and get used to Synfig’s approach, the more I can appreciate the underlying logic and, of course, the better I get at getting what i want out of the program.


So, I had these great plans to finally make some headway on this book trailer, but I’m sitting here on the couch with a stinkin’ summer cold, trying not to cough up my lungs. (Sorry for the mental image.) I was watching my Sam and Max DVD and decided to drag out the laptop and doodle in Synfig. I was going to do a little more with this, but the medicine is making me sleepy so I’m stopping here. It’s one of my fantasies, though: twenty-five-cent coffee!


Can I be mad? :smiling_imp:
That coffee machine is very similar to this one!

Good design anyway! :smiley:


I wouldn’t get too mad. Those guys probably had no idea that their design would be so similar to mine. :smiley: Neither did this guy. I guess if you’ve seen one simplified cartoon coffee machine, you’ve seen 'em all.

It is weird how close mine ended up in size and color to the one in that cartoon, though. Mine started off brown and a bit deeper:

In fact, I didn’t know what I was even drawing at first. I just drew the big brown box shape to work on line quality and size for outlined artwork. (Most of the Synfig stuff I’ve done so far has been without outlines.) I decided to do a vending machine because that’s what the shape I’d first drawn (the two big brown pieces) suggested. Then I decided to make it a coffee machine, so I changed the orientation of the . . . vending hole? (What do you call that opening where the coffee comes out?)

Then, when I started adding a background, I changed the color of the machine to a blue because I thought it contrasted better with the walls I’d drawn. So I ended up with what you see in the above post.


Hey, look: Actual work in progress!

Working on animating the ‘rapid sequence of scary clips’ today and tomorrow. This one isn’t really scary, but it’s arguably a tad creepy seeing that giant eye. And, hey, I get to put the magnifying glass tutorial to good use!


Hi my friend! Great art here! Are you already animating then?

Yes, I’m trying to animate at least. Here’s a link to a first go at this little snippet:

It loops four times here so you can see it, but in the trailer, it’ll only play once of course. I tried to use blur layers to simulate a depth of field change, but I’m not sure how successful I was. Maybe it’ll be okay, though, since this snippet will go by so fast in the actual trailer. Any thoughts?



Hey muhkayoh, it looks very good!.
I have some questions/suggestions though:

  1. It is supposed that it is a depth of field effect of the camera, right? so I think that the focus transition is not so quick. Try to make it a bit slower and(maybe) easy in/out.
  2. There is something in the blur layer that I took some time to understand. The blur layer does render a blurred version of the underlying layers composited onto the underlying layers. If you wan to increase the effect of the blurring try to make a Straight blend method. It should look much better. If you already did, forget this point :wink:

Great drawings!


Thanks, Genete!

On point #1, I may not have the luxury of doing a slow DOF change since the snippet is only on screen for a couple of seconds, but I’ll play with it and see what I can do. I’m probably going to redo the scene anyway - with a better character design for the woman holding the magnifying lens.

I managed to attempt a short snippet of character animation using the “Blender method” we discussed in another thread. Here’s the result:

It’s not great (especially the boy character), but with practice maybe I’ll be able to pull it off. One of the issues I have is checking the fine-tuning on the animation. My playback in the Synfig player is always of low quality no matter what settings I use, so I have to output a render and watch it in the Blender VSE to see little mistakes. Of course, it also doesn’t help that I’m a rank amateur animator. :smiley:


I think the anim looks good.

The focus of the shot is on the girl and her reactions, not necessarily on the boy. (Unless he’s talking, but then we would pay more attention to his voice). Keep us updated.

I agree with ghosthand. My eyes were focused on the girl’s face mainly and her expresions.
If I only have a 10% of your drawing and coloring abilities! :slight_smile:


Thanks for the feedback and encouragement, guys!

I’ve set up - but not yet animated - the first half of this scene and put the dialog track to it with Blender:

I’ll try to animate it either tonight or tomorrow, still using the “modified Blender approach” I spoke of before. This one will have more motion than the second half (with its shoulder shrug), so it’ll be more interesting - I hope. :smiley: Anyway, if this approach works for this sequence, then I hope to start getting better - and faster - at it so I can actually finish this dang book trailer.