How long have you been using Anime Studio and Poser? What versions are you using?
I started with version 1 of Poser. At first, I used Poser as a pre-visualization tool for live-action films. I continue to use it for storyboarding. But sometime around Poser 4 or 5 I began to explore the animation capabilities.
I currently use Poser 8 and Anime Studio Pro 7.
How did you find out about Anime Studio and Poser?
I can't remember how I found out about poser, but as an entertainment consultant for companies such as Dreamworks SKG and Deluxe Laboratories it was part of my job to know every animation or FX package available. Of course, through Poser I found out about Anime Studio.
What software did you use before Anime Studio and Poser?
I've used them all. Softimage, Truespace, Studio 3-D, Lightwave, Maya, Toon Boom but Poser and Anime Studio are the easiest to learn.
Where do Anime Studio and Poser fit into your workflow?
It all depends on the type of project I'm working on. With a live-action film, I will use Poser to pre-visualize and storyboard.
When I'm working on an animation I might create a character in Poser and then fully animate it with Anime Studio.
With Lil Emo Girl, I use Poser to create the basic characters and movement. Then I use Anime Studio to animate the mouth and emotions. Sometimes I use Anime Studio to create more cartoon-like stretch and squish.
With the bat in LiL Emo's HalloweEmo, I built a 3D character out of primitives then applied materials and textures to it in Poser. I output 2D still images then fully animated those in Anime Studio.
With most of my projects, I use Poser to create the marketing pieces such as book covers, posters, postcards and even business cards.
For example, the movie The Fragile Dragon was to star Robin Shou of Mortal Kombat. I hand drew the Dragon and applied it to the brick wall as a texture. I took a Poser character and made it to look like Robin with a shotgun.
What was your first impression of Anime Studio and Poser?
First impressions? These are easy-to-use and very intuitive, so almost no learning curve.
How did your first creations with Anime Studio and Poser go?
If you go to www.lilemogirl.com you will see the progression of recent animations. I started with very basic movements and progressed into more elaborate movement, gestures, and dialogue. It was pretty easy compared to many other 3D packages.
What was your inspiration for Lil Emo's Halloweemo?
My five-year-old niece Emilia was the inspiration. I had originally wanted to create an animated lion with Emilia voicing the roar. But as things progressed the lion with a long shaggy mane became the Lil Emo Girl.
When Emilia saw some of the basic animations she wanted try her hand at voices…so with little more than a concept I set about recording her somewhat random dialogue and creating the film around that.
What are your plans for a feature length film? Using Anime Studio and Poser for it?
The feature length film starts with the Lil Emo Girl coming to live in a trailer at her Uncle Joe's Junkyard. She will battle the "Populars" at her new school and lose horribly until she discovers she has a guardian demon watching over her.
I have some hot new Indie bands helping with tracks and I'll call in some favors for recording booth and engineering time.
After that, it becomes a total animation effort. I think Anime Studio Pro 7 and Poser Pro would be perfect for this project. The integration and new features will add a lot of production value.
If I can get this off the ground, I will be looking to hire some helpers. I have a third of the production budget so far but not enough to go into full production. So keep your eyes peeled for product placement and corporate sponsorship ops.
What are one of your favorite features of Anime Studio and Poser?
For Poser I love the dials and keyframe editor. I can experiment with a movement and if I don't like it I can reset to zero and start over without fear of messing up existing keyframes.
Anime Studio is just so easy to use. It's also quick. Full frontal animations might take a day to render in Poser, but will take half that time in Anime Studio.
If you could change one thing about Anime Studio and Poser, what would it be?
You've already added so many of my wish list to Anime Studio…The 2D physics feature is amazing and the new output formats are exactly what I need. If there was one thing I'd add to Anime Studio 8, it would be Poser-like dials that control the 2D Anime Character. I know most animators coming from traditional onion skin tweening would say it's not a requirement, but as a computer/low tech tra-Digital animator it would make long loop sequences easier to match.
For Poser I'd add additional render options or engines that would allow me to create graphic novel type coloring and shading or cartoon shading.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I made a film about this titled "Through Destiny's Lens."
My first inclination was the power to grant wishes but then I thought by granting one person's wish you'd probably have to take away someone else's… so flying.
The simple ability to fly without wings or mechanics would be cool… would really help when I'm filming. No need for cranes. Would also come in handy searching for lost golf balls or lost cats.
What other kinds of art arenas do you play in?
I'm a writer first, then a director and producer. Somewhere in between is animator.
I'm currently writing a Young Adult Novel "The House of Mirrors" about a disfigured teen who unlocks the healing powers of a mirrored cabinet. She emerges magically beautiful and secures the affection of her true love. Too late, she learns that her gift comes at the cost of a human soul. Now each day she must decide whom to feed to the cabinet. Each morning she appears prettier but each night she becomes uglier inside.
I'm also writing a horror film for Cinehyte Productions currently titled "Death Town" where three couples discover a remote Canadian town is inhabited by serial killers. This will be filmed next year.
As a producer, I have the opportunity to produce Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson and Krysten Ritter in a feature film that Krysten co-wrote. This requires a larger commitment of funds and I expect there will be others vying for this project. The possibilities are endless and I'm a perpetual optimist.
I'm also planning a new animated short film that I hope will be my bid for an Oscar. It will have a hand drawn look but Anime Studio and Poser will also play a huge role in the creation of this film. It's titled "The Pencil and the Eraser."
Is there anything else you would like to tell me?
I must applaud you folks at Smith Micro for all of the wonderful products you develop. I could not do what I do without them.