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 Post subject: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 10th, 2017, 1:02 pm 
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Joined: March 19th, 2011, 6:43 pm
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Preface:

The Journey begins... Pseudacris temporarily wakes up in a tragic state of mind and body to find his life slowly slipping away. Beneath the brutal sun and lost in a wasteland of waterless habitat, he attempts to recollect the broken distorted memories of his short time on earth. Follow this tragic hero through the harsh battle before him as he attempts this pure and noble deed of saving his clan from sure extinction and the others mired in the muck. :thumb:

I'm having some issues with the video playing. The cartoon is in 1080 HD quality, but the auto setting for YouTube wants to play it in 480p. Then jumps back in forth between 240p - 480p making some scenes look blurry. Could just be a problem with my wifi... You should probably watch it in either 480p (with the auto setting off) or in 720p (with the auto setting off). Looks good in full screen. Let me know what you think! All critiques are welcome... good or bad! Enjoy... and thanks for watching! :beer:








Artwork

I originally wanted to make the characters more authentic looking to the herps we are all familiar with here in California. Similar to Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher. However, some characters required too much detail that wouldn't work for certain scenes due to proportional size requirements. When small, they looked like a squished jumbled mess. So, I had to make some hard decisions to make the characters more acceptable in an animated world. Having one character with lots of detail and others with less, creates an unbalance disturbing to the eye. So, unfortunately changes had to be made. However I did take the liberty of sampling colors from photos of these animals to get a more authentic aspect to each of them.

This project was originally canned... A few years back, I went out and bought an art tablet thingy with a pen that you pug into a laptop and draw directly onto the screen. I quickly realized I couldn't do the detail I originally wanted. The accuracy was horrible and couldn't keep up with my hand. It would take years to draw all the frames. So, that was it... not doing it. Project canned. Then at the beginning of the year, I stumbled across a cellphone app called FilpaClip. A simple free app that allows you to draw and create simple animations with your thumbs on a touchscreen phone. So, I started messing around with it and realized the frog project was now possible... I went out and bought a 9.6" Galaxy TAB, downloaded the app to it, and began drawing away. I had all of the scenes and episodes already finished, with storyboards. So, I basically just picked up where I left off. More than 95 % of the animation was done with my thumbs and figures and I ended up buying a stylus pen which proved to be nearly useless except for fine detail requirements.




Music

I had a lot of music already written that was basically sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Some dating all the way back to high school when I first started writing music. I realized a lot of the material could be transferred into a froggy theme and supported the emotion of certain scenes. A lot of changes still had to be made... for instance, a song about my mother's sadness now could be used to express the sadness of a character in the story. I've always admired lyric writers who can write lyrics that can be widely interpreted in a more poetic form of writing. I've always strived to incorporate that in my own song writing. Interpretation of the lyrics is more of an expression of the listeners own opinions as opposed to forcing the opinions of the writer. I bought cheap weird and obscure instruments to create a strange and interesting froggy vibe... including a $100 fretless bass and a set of wooden guiro's. With bass and acoustic guitar, I tried to imitate the sounds of croaking and hoppy jumping rhythms as much as possible. Everything was recorded on a Tascam pocket recorder in my apartment. So, the sound quality is only as good as I could afford. I didn't want to spend too much time mixing the songs, because I have sooooo much else to do, considering I'm doing everything myself. Still... a lot of the music sounds pretty good and I'll include a list of episode tracks and unused tracks at the bottom of the post. They sound better from the Soundcloud page.




Video Editing

I get bored easily lol I've never been able to do one hobby, forever. I'd do art for a few months... then skateboard and learn some new tricks... then roll my ankle or sprain a wrist and end up picking up an acoustic and writing a couple songs... then back to art for awhile. Things get stale and I need a break from it to regain the excitement of doing it. After skateboarding became a thing I could never do professionally and something that threaten my ability to show up to work each day because of possible injuries (and an orthoscopic shoulder surgery), I started making videos. I still had a few of my little brothers friends who skated and ended up making a series of skateboarding videos for them. With some lame sections of myself included while they filmed during resting breaks lol (If you don't skate and practice, you lose it...) Each video was synchronized to music and required fine splitting of video clips. It also got me familiar with basic movie editing software like Windows Movie Maker, which I used to create all of the sk8 videos. So, I already had a good understanding of how to go about making an animated film. I knew I would be limited... however, I could do enough to tell the story.

I looked into a few different animation studios for my laptop and ran into the same problem I did with the art tablet thing. It would take way too long to produce anything... I had no idea how to navigate through them and I'd have to search through youtube videos on how to operate and do everything. Not only that, but the visual of the workspace was that boring light grey color and didn't have any interesting shapes balanced out in proportion to the size of my laptop screen. Keep in mind, I'll be staring at this workstation for hours as I edit. No way could I do this project with an uninspiring visual display. So, I decided not to go with an animation studio and instead went with Camtasia. It sucks for what I'm doing and the customer service guy who I've talked to a couple times says, "sorry you're on your own...you've already done more with this studio that we thought was possible" when he's hooked up live and viewing my laptop screen to help me trouble shoot problems. However, it's a nice feeling to be doing something new instead of copying other peoples ideas or following directions and that's refreshing, I guess. Also, I can accomplish what I need to do in half the time.




What does this have to do with field herping...?

That's actually a very good question. I was asked a few years back, when I posted a couple of the first drawings and/or songs, "what does this have to do with field herping?" Field herping inspired this. After taking a long break from setting out to catch snakes, aside from the occasional unintentional encounter... I got back into it around 2010. Learning new things and being reconnected with the little unliked and unwanted critters, brought back an old enthusiasm to get involved. How can I contribute to field herping...? How can I apply my skills in a different way that others already haven't. This video might not be for the diehard herper... honestly, I don't know. But, it definitely was made for the people who don't really care about the animals or never really thought about them. I hope to encourage awareness and new interest within the people who drive over snakes crossing roads, simply because they never thought that snakes crossed roads and aren't looking at the road while driving... they are looking up ahead. This video may lead them back here or to some other forum where they can learn about these amazing creatures. Not only that... YOU are the audience! Who else in this crazy ass world has any interest about watching a frog cartoon?? :lol: :mrgreen: :thumb:




Chapter 1 Songs


Theme Song - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/s ... ideo-theme

Sympathy of a Drought - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/s ... -a-drought

Dry Pond Blues - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/dry-pond-bluse-1

Dreamscape - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/dreamscape

Dry Pond Blues - End credits jam - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/d ... redits-jam



Unused songs & tracks

Curriculum - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/a ... s-curricul

Frog Shade by the Marsh - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/f ... -the-marsh

The Salamanders Journey Up the Mountain - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/t ... e-mountain

Frog Voice Practice - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/f ... e-practice

The Day the Water Turned to Mud - Acoustic & harmonica version - https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/t ... ca-version

The Day the Water Turned to Mud - Electric feedback version https://soundcloud.com/user-336035423/t ... ck-version



:sleep:


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 14th, 2017, 1:34 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:22 am
Posts: 302
Well, as a person who loves animation, I guess I will respond here.

The good:
- I like the idea and your artwork is great

The bad:
- The pacing is WAY too slow. So slow that I stopped watching it only a couple minutes in. You need to pick up the pace, especially with your VO. It sounds like you are talking to a really slow person that needs time to process every word. I think the whole thing would benefit from a more natural pace.

- The audio levels. The VO should not be equal in volume to the BG music. The VO should definitely be a bit higher than the music so the two don't blend together.

HTH


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 14th, 2017, 7:49 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
We live in an age when people are rarely called apon or are able to have a relationship with work of animation, in the way people (once) pondered a poem or a painting.

This did that. It is savorable and I think its brilliant.


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 14th, 2017, 8:44 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
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It's awesome, but I agree, there needs to be less lag time between action sequences, and the voice over needs to be quicker. Aside from that, great job! :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 15th, 2017, 5:12 am 
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I took it as an artful naturalism of cadence that's a refreshing antithesis to the sped up artificial experience of input we've been trained to ingest by dumb down media/entertainment.

I wouldnt be surprised if it were purposeful and part of how good it is.


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 15th, 2017, 7:44 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
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Kelly Mc wrote:
I took it as an artful naturalism of cadence that's a refreshing antithesis to the sped up artificial experience of input we've been trained to ingest by dumb down media/entertainment.

I wouldnt be surprised if it were purposeful and part of how good it is.


You want to say that again in English? :lol:
You just love dem big woids, huh?


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 15th, 2017, 7:48 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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I loved the duckweed-as-heart swirling on an invisible implication of water - in my minds eye it repeats itself. and the moment the cracked dry mud first appears.


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 15th, 2017, 8:06 am 
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I think what touched me was the dark - the green heart delicately swirling alone.


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 15th, 2017, 8:42 am 
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I don't want to write too much here and discourage other people from sharing their opinions or interpretations. However, I will address a few things with the thought process I had going into this...

RenoBart wrote:
The pacing is WAY too slow. So slow that I stopped watching it only a couple minutes in. You need to pick up the pace, especially with your VO. It sounds like you are talking to a really slow person that needs time to process every word. I think the whole thing would benefit from a more natural pace.


I did have to split up the original VO track in order to fit it into the rhythms of the music and such. I think you can pick out portions where a sentence may have stopped before a period or closing thought. I had to separate it and add those gaps so that it wasn't just words talking over the music. A hair to the left or to the right (looking at a view of the audio track in the Camtasia movie maker workstation - screenshot pictured in the end credits jam) would throw the flow of the words off and you'd be amazed at how much of a difference that makes. The overall pace of the VO, however... IS slow on purpose. We are entering a marijuana revolution where it will be more common practice in adolescence than ever before. I personally quit back in 2003 and it was more of a rebellious thing back then, and in the times before (60's). It's going to be more like smoking cigarettes, not that it already isn't, so I think the pace might be more in tune to that type of mind and audience.

I also wanted to put emphasis and character on the words. Like Kelly mentioned below... it's more of a painting hanging on the wall of an art studio, where you have time to view and appreciate different aspect of the art, music, and poetry. It's meant to be thought provoking. For me personally, it's too much to take in all at once... I can't appreciate the quality of the swelling feedback, along with the way the words are pronounced (to give them character), and appreciate the overall detail and placement of the art. For someone like you who seems to have a faster pace of mind, you might want to try watching in in full screen and turning up the volume a bit. A few notices in volume REALLY makes a world of difference, whether it's in the direction of louder or quieter. I mixed it at a volume of 70 on my laptop, but that probably differs from one pc to the next as much as color in our photography. I do realize the music isn't for everyone. So, appreciating those grooves may not be one's fortay and more of a distraction.


RenoBart wrote:
The audio levels. The VO should not be equal in volume to the BG music. The VO should definitely be a bit higher than the music so the two don't blend together.


The volume levels on that first song/Sympathy of a Drought (and the swelling feedback) were hard to balance out. The feedback literally would hurt your mind in the original recorded track. So, a lot of balancing on the high tones there. The song/Sympathy of a Drought, builds up in volume to build up intensity. When we reach the scene of the frog sticking his head out of water for the first time, the guitar enters and gets louder...then at the pond pool floating in front of the beating heart (colored more in brown and less in blue to transcend the dirt pushing out the water and to give intensity of the gasping pollywogs) it gets super loud and intense. I lowered the volume levels at both of those scene transitions at the least amount I was aloud to lower them within the workstation settings. Just a hair. It took away the emotion of the song. I also tried raising the volume levels of the VO at those transitions, while leaving the music the same, and the voice sounded too loud. During the part of the floating pond, the voice just sounded like noise and you couldn't hear what I was saying any better than having the volume where it is in the vid now. I tried several combinations of balancing... I felt like this one was the best. This is a music display as well! So, I didn't want to downplay the song. I do however agree! I was very unhappy with that part and had to just go with the best possible option. The voice looses it's quality a higher volume levels than what is presented in the cartoon and sounds more like a cheap voice over as opposed to spoken lyrics within a song. It sounded unnatural and thrown together.


Kelly Mc wrote:
I took it as an artful naturalism of cadence that's a refreshing antithesis to the sped up artificial experience of input we've been trained to ingest by dumb down media/entertainment..


I couldn't agree more :thumb: :thumb: most media these days is all about mind control


Brian Hubbs wrote:
It's awesome, but I agree, there needs to be less lag time between action sequences, and the voice over needs to be quicker. Aside from that, great job! :thumb:


I was hoping the comic book collector would like it :beer: You were actually my first choice for the voice of Actinemys. However, once my grandfather became an option, I could accept no other. I don't think he was too enthused with performing that malarkey, but he seemed pleased to be interacting with his grandson 8-) Actinemys's colors came from sampling one of you pond turtle photos. Hope I don't owe you any copyrights there :mrgreen: :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Croaking Frog - Chapter 1 - Dry pond blues
PostPosted: July 15th, 2017, 3:18 pm 
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I just noticed that there were more comments, clicked on the post, and just now seeing theses... I guess I was probably writing my last response while you were posting lol I didn't see the usual, "other people have posted comments" warning notification, because I had to copy n paste, then log back in to submit my response. I always get automatically logged out if I write a long response...well sometimes, not always.

Brian Hubbs wrote:
You want to say that again in English? :lol:
You just love dem big woids, huh?


Tell me about it... :lol: Thank god we have things like the dictionary and encyclopedia or else I would have any idea what she's saying :P



Kelly Mc wrote:
I loved the duckweed-as-heart swirling on an invisible implication of water - in my minds eye it repeats itself. and the moment the cracked dry mud first appears.


Awesome interpretation! I didn't want to point out the beating heart painting in the background, but I felt it would go unnoticed if I didn't. The duckweed/lilly pad was intentional :) Froggy heart theme... glad someone noticed! ...although, I was thinking lilly pad :mrgreen:


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