Very big update post! The first important update is that the animation for Episode 8 is done. I’m ready to collapse!
Episode 8 is the first fully animated episode done in Clip Studio Paint. As you know, season 1 was done entirely in Adobe Flash/Animate. Flash CS6 was the first program I ever used to animate, it’s how I learned and it’s where I felt the most comfortable. However, after the finale, I knew I had hit a quality wall with the software and if I wanted to continue, I had to make some changes.
This is the sole reason that season 2 hasn’t been released yet. If I chose to remain at the level I was at, I could have continued forward with Episode 7 and had it out probably sometime last year. But growth needed to happen and I was already comfortable with Clip when it came to drawing.
It was weird at first and there was a ton of experiments and tests. Some parts of Episode 8 went through different phases of production and quality. Each one being updated when I became more comfortable with the program.
Production on 8 technically started in 2016 after Episode 6 was released.
I was just experimenting with Clip as this was improved for the final episode later on.
In January of 2017 I did my first voiced test with Clip
Clip Studio provided a hurdle that I wasn’t sure how to handle initially. I couldn’t import an audio file to animate to. That was a HUGE issue as I’ve always animated to the mixdown of a scene, trying to match the animation as much as possible. It also meant lip syncing was going to be weird.
To remedy this, I decided to handle the animatics in Flash and then import the exported animatic to Clip and animate over it.
The next problem with Clip was file size, the program only accepted AVIs at the time (MP4s are now compatible), so animatics would be HUGE in size. With a 2gb limit, I had to chop up scenes a lot more than I ever did in Flash. Even though the quality was going to be better, the animation process was now spread across multiple programs. Clip also has no motion tweening capability. I would use tweening for moving backgrounds mainly, this meant I had to come up with a new fix.
Ultimately the answer to the tweening problem was exporting uncompressed AVIs with transparency. Then in Premiere Pro, use a still image and have it move how I would if it were being tweened in Flash.
It felt like more work but honestly, it was a smoother process in the long run. Flash used to have issues where it’d crash or force save and then go unresponsive for a while, Clip never had that. Clip also never fought with me when I wanted lines to do something.
Updating early tests
The first part of Episode 8 that I animated involved Sharon Amare being sort of a troll. There was more body language and movement than I usually would animate. But as I got more comfortable with Clip I started to want to fix things up a bit.
And ultimately I would redo the backgrounds to better fit.
In December of 2017 I released a clip from Episode 8 to show that production was still going on.
Being confident with the new animation process
Audio mixdown- Flash animatic – Clip Studio clean up – Premiere Pro rendering
I moved forward to some mech content and other scenes for the new trailer.
Season 2 Debut
While I don’t have a set time for it to be released, I do know how it’s going to be handled. I am going to do batch releases this time around. I will not be releasing the first episode of the new season until Episodes 7-9 are completed. This way I’ll have a jump start and be able to have episodes release closer together than they ever did in season 1.
Episode 8 still needs sound design, music and lip syncs. But the hard part is done and that was cleaning up all of the animation for this 16 minute episode.
Recently I debuted a new trailer for Season 2 on the 5 year anniversary of the webseries.
Unlike season 1, this season has a better focus on the plot.
Other things that I’m trying to improve on is the sense of world and establishing shots of the environment. Backgrounds were never something I enjoyed or was even remotely good at. But I’ve been trying to correct that critique from season 1.
Some screens from the full Episode 8
Some behind the scenes of animation progress on season 2
I use a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13, because of this I’m pretty much animating everywhere I go. My car, my job, the train, Starbucks as well as my own home office. I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with my productivity otherwise if I didn’t have this. Highly recommend it!
Ultimately, season 2’s production is going really well. I wish it was faster, but upping the quality from season 1 is making it take more time. I’m still essentially a 1 person production team when it comes to the visual aspect. I have a sound designer and composer, but animation, background, writing, all me. Because of that, it just takes a ton of time.
I will most likely be setting up a season 2 debut livestream before the year is up to give people a preview of the new episodes before they’re released publicly.
As of now I’m working on the animatic for episode 7. Yes, I worked on episode 8 first. I had all the actors lines and honestly, it was the harder episode to work on so I decided to get over this hurdle first. I don’t expect episode 7 to take as long as 8 did. Now that I’m confident and comfortable in this process I fully anticipate getting 7 done before December. I’ll probably just sacrifice sleep to do it!
That’s all for now!