Just a couple of questions

Ok I have been reading these boards for the last two or three days and have come to two conclusions

  1. you guys are freaking geniuses
  2. I’m in way over my head I think lol

I have decided to try my hand at video editing and some animation. I am a complete newbie to any aspect of this but I do come from an audio recording background. I am Tech Director at my church and I am trying to create worship intro videos that involve kinetic typography. I am using a MacBook pro is x 10.7 something. I am completely new to Macs so I’ve got a double learning curve going on lol. I have a pretty decent basic grasp of GIMP and I love it for graphic editing and I’ve been playing around with Synfig for the last few days and have a good basic understanding of how to create animations and so forth. Here are my questions:

  1. is there a beginner guide written in layman (or in my case, idiot) terms that explains more in depth features of this program?

  2. in these layman (idiot) terms can someone explain to me how to turn my animations in synfig into a movie I can use with my ProPresenter 4 presentation software ( preferably .mov)?

  3. can someone explain the steps in idiot terms of how to use GIMP, jlipsync, synfig, and either blender or kdenlive from start to finish to create an animation with words that follow an audio track? Just a basic explanation not detailed step by step just so I know the order of how I need to accomplish my goal.

Many many thanks in advance!! As I said I’m in way over my head but the only way to learn is to do. If you experienced guys can bear with me and help me learn I will be forever grateful.


Hi 8thDayStranger!

Before reply your question in detail, I’ll give you one simple advise for Synfig Studio use. Many of the things that can be achieved are obtained using contextual menus (right click).

The only guide we have is the wiki Manual. You should read the Diving In section by doing all the examples you have there.
Once done you’re ready to start navigating by the tutorials, of course start by the beginners ones and continue with the intermediate and then the advanced. Don’t just read them, do them!

First try to render directly using ffmpeg. It might crash because the ffmpeg command line is changing quickly than we adapt its parameters. To do it:

  1. Load your animation in Synfig Studio
  2. Press the clapperboard icon and you’ll reach the render dialog. There select a location for your saved animation and give it the extension of mov.
  3. At the drop down combo box, select ffmpeg as target. The Parameters… button will be available.
  4. Press the Parameters… button and choose a video codec and a bit rate of your needs. Xvid and 2000 bps are more than enough.
  5. Press render and wait.

You can try other codecs but it is possible that it fails. Save your animations always first, before export.

Alternatively you can export the animation using png sequence. It is the most safe way to render your animation and the most versatile. Image sequence is admitted any any video editor. For that just give the extension of png to your animation and leave the target as Auto. Consider that it will produce as many frames as you indicate on the Time tab of the render dialog (start and end frames).

Here are some tips to turn a image sequence into a movie. But in any case you can always import them in your video editor.

Rough and quick:
0) Write a script of the story.

  1. Use Gimp, Pencil, MyPaing or Krita, or simply pencil and paper to produce the storyboard based on the script.
  2. Import the storyboard into Synfig Studio and define with more precision the timing of the animation.
    3a) If you have dialogs, export from your lilpsync program one phoneme animation that follows the audio track (mouths or letters) to be imported into Synfig Studio.
  3. Using tools of point 1) draw the key frames. The better the keyframes are the better results you’ll obtain.
    4a) Do Character layouts if needed for references of the keyframes and its in-betweens.
  4. Import the keyframes (and lip-sync) according the storyboard. It is called the animatic. Refine timing now!!! not later!!!
  5. Trace the keyframes in Synfig Studio. Think carefully how to draw your characters to make them easily to animate. Split into many scenes and shots needed. Don’t try to make all in one Synfig file.
  6. Export the animation(s) at low resolution and import it(them) in the video editor.
    8) Import the audio file(s) and sync them.
  7. Do the final render at high quality.

There is one open project that has many tools to produce complex animations. Specially interesting the remake tool. Check it out!


Awesome reply!! Thanks!! When I get home tonight I’m going to try a test run. I think I have the animation part down enough that I can figure it out. Gotta play with lipsync and blender this evening to try all the steps I need to do so when it’s time I have a better understanding. Thanks again and within a couple of weeks I’ll hopefully have some great stuff to share.