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Solution for Flash CS5′s Quicktime Export Maladies

Posted on | February 18, 2012 | Comments Off

 

I’ve been wanting to use Adobe’s Flash CS software for animating my film, but I haven’t because Adobe made all Flash QuickTime movie exports completely unstable. The frame rate is all cock-eyed and unpredictable. Even if you did PNG sequence exports, something embedded in the PNGs makes them just as unreliable if you re-import/re-export. This just isn’t acceptable when you’re a filmmaker! So, I’ve been animating in Flash 8 instead, which is the last version (Macromedia) that did QuickTime exports just fine.

But, the Flash CS5.5 interface has it’s bonuses, and I’m stubborn as anything… so, I worked at it, and I now have a reasonable solution for being able to use Flash CS5.5 on a Mac, and to get useable QuickTime movies with an established frame rate and compression codec that I determine.

The resulting file will NOT have audio in it, just your animation. This is fine with me, since it’s all going into an NLE anyway.

I don’t know much about coding on my own. This was a LOT of testing, copying/pasting from many sources online, and eventually I pulled it together enough to work, and to work well.


MAIN IDEAS:

- I am using a Mac Intel,  OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), and Quicktime Player 7 Pro

-Two receiving folders on your desktop  (1 for the exported PNG sequence, 1 for the new movie and Quicktime Export Settings file) (I put visual icons onto my folders so I can quickly identify them.)

-Writing and Applying AppleScripts and Folder Actions

- Using Quicktime Player 7 Pro, NOT Quicktime X (garbage)

-Creating a Quicktime Export Settings file

-Exporting a PNG Sequence from Adobe Flash CS5.5

-AppleScript Folder Action will run a Quicktime routine that will convert your PNG sequence into a Quicktime movie that you can use.

HOW TO DO IT:

1) Create two folders on your desktop. Name them (simple names). One is for the exported PNG sequence from Flash. One is for the new movie and Quicktime Export Settings file. Have them next to each other, because this process involves DRAG & DROP of one into the other to activate the folder action script.

 

2) Export a PNG sequence from your Flash CS5 animation file into  folder 1 (png seq).

 

3) This AppleScript  will be saved as a SCRIPT, and attached to your “movie” folder as a folder action. OPEN AppleScript Editor, copy and paste this in, and modify it with your own paths and file names where indicated. When done, COMPILE, RUN and SAVE it in your User/Library/Scripts/FolderActions folder.

————

on adding folder items to thisFolder after receiving droppedFolders
repeat with aFolder in droppedFolders

tell application “Finder”
set theFolder to aFolder as alias
set thePath to container of theFolder as string
set theName to name of first file of theFolder
if length of theName > 17 then
set theName to text 1 thru 17 of theName
end if
set theSequence to (get first file of theFolder as alias)
end tell

tell application “QuickTime Player 7″
activate
open image sequence theSequence frames per second 30

set imageSequence to thePath & theName & “.mov”

tell document 1
with timeout of 50 seconds
export to imageSequence as QuickTime movie using settings (“Users:youruseraccount:Desktop:yourmoviefolder:QuicktimeExportSettings.qtes”)
end timeout

close saving no

end tell
end tell

end repeat
end adding folder items to

———-

AppleScript looks like this when in the editor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) RT+Click the movie FOLDER on the desktop , select > Folder Actions SetUp
The pop up window shows you the list of available actions. Select yours from the list.
OKAY.

 

5) Now you will make an AppleScript that will generate a Quicktime Export Settings file, which will govern how your movies are made.

Copy this following AppleScript and paste it into a new AppleScript file. Save this in your User/Library/Scripts folder.

Leave the AppleScript OPEN for now.

——–

set file2save to (choose file name default location (path to desktop) default name “QuicktimeExportSettings.qtes”)

tell application “QuickTime Player 7″
tell first document
save export settings for QuickTime movie to file2save
end tell
end tell

——–

6) Now, you need to use QuickTime to establish your preferred export settings. WARNING: “Animation” codec is NOT STEADY for establishing frame rates in this situation. If you’re looking for a hi-rez intermediate codec, try Apple Intermediate or Apple Pro Res 422 (bigger file size.)

a) Open QuickTime Player 7
b) File > Open Image Sequence
c) navigate to your folder and select the first file from your Flash PNG sequence
d) select your frame rate in the pop up
e) Select “QuickTime Movie” in the menu pull-down
f) Click OPTIONS
g) Setting > Apple Intermediate Codec / select Frame Rate / Other > OKAY
h) Size> change if needed
OKAY
OKAY (exports)

LEAVE THIS QUICKTIME FILE OPEN for right now.

 

7) Go to your AppleScript for QuickTime Export settings

a) Click RUN.
b) select the movie folder on your desktop
OKAY
The “QuicktimeExportSettings.qtes” file is now located in your movie folder. The folder action on the folder is targeting it, and it will guide the export process.

 

8.) Close your QuickTime image sequence movie file
Don’t Save.

So, you’ve done all of the set up for your process!

 

9) You can now DRAG & DROP the PNG sequence folder INTO the movie folder.

Your image sequence is loaded into a Quicktime movie, exported with your determined settings, and then closed without saving.
Your movie uses the name of the first file in your PNG sequence as it’s title.
I put a restriction of 17 characters on any title. You can find that in the script and remove/change it, of course.

You’ll also need to empty out your “png sequence” folder before you export a new shot into it!

 

I hope it works for anyone that tries it. The result of this for me is that I can now use Flash CS5.5 to animate and receive quality QuickTime results!

:)

 

 

Winter: Glove Modification for iPhone

Posted on | January 20, 2012 | Comments Off

 

I have cold fingers, and it’s rough in the winter when I need to take off my gloves for accessing my phone screen. So, I modified my gloves to have electrically-conductive finger tips (index finger and thumb). Yay!

 

 

AppleScript Freelance Hours Reminder

Posted on | December 18, 2011 | Comments Off

 

I need a reminder when I’m working a freelance job to pop open my “hours logged” tracking document. I’m on a Mac, and I’ve finally been able to create a “folder action” for my jobs folder that will pop up a reminder when I open the folder and ask me if I’m logging my hours. If I say “no” then nothing happens. If I say “yes,” then it will open up MS Word and my document. Finally! Jeez, it took me way too long. I tried way too many other things, and this concoction finally worked.

Here’s the script for anyone that might want to use it. Alter the path to list to be your own folder structure.

- – - – - – - – - -

property dialog_timeout : 30 — set the amount of time before dialogs auto-answer.

on opening folder this_folder
try
tell application “Finder”
- -get the name of the folder- -
set the folder_name to the name of this_folder
end tell

- -create the alert string- -
set alert_message to (“Log Your Hours?” & return) as Unicode text

display dialog the alert_message buttons {“Yes”, “No”} default button 2 with icon 1 giving up after dialog_timeout
set the user_choice to the button returned of the result

if user_choice is “Yes” then
tell application “Microsoft Word”
- -go to the desktop- -
activate
- -open the document- -
open “Users:youraccount:folder:folder:Document.docx”
end tell
end if
end try
end opening folder

 

In-Clinic care

Posted on | December 8, 2011 | Comments Off

 

Here’s a sketch that is part of a series that is demonstrating a “Referral process” for an family with an infant or newborn in need of medical care. If there is no hospital that a family can go to for more intensive care, the only other option is for them to remain at the village clinic, even if the clinic is barely a clinic at all. This particular illustration will be part of a series of shots that visually demonstrate that the family needs to stay, that the mother needs to provide “kangaroo care” for the child, and that the care giver needs to be attentive with warmth (blankets) and medical needs. And of course, that the father is caring and attentive, too.

There are important things to consider in this sketch – head coverings for the women, long pants and sleeves for the man, the kangaroo care warp is snug, the baby is snug between the mother’s breasts, the blanket isn’t lifted too far off so that “keep the baby warm” is obvious, the thermometer, kidney dish with cloths and a second syringe indicating medical care, a syringe ready to use but not looking scary, and that the nurse is an older and thus experienced adult.

I and the director of this series do a lot of visual library development. We’re searching the web for research images, and the videos that her team has already shot provide clear information that I can refer to as well.

The next step with this and the other sketches is to do cleaned up line work, and add washes of light color and tones to give it a bit of depth and shape.

Getting There

Posted on | November 28, 2011 | Comments Off

 

I’m working on a series of images that describe the medical “referral” process, for when a woman and infant need more serious medical care than a village clinic can provide. The method of coming to the communicative  / universal imagery is interesting. It’s compounded by the need for a cultural mixing, so it feels available and relevant to those that will receive and use the information. Naturally there is the process of improving a composition, but it’s reliant on how to express rather complex information simply and clearly. It also needs to be able to read on the size of a cell phone screen, all the way up to a computer or tv.

Here’s where I started with storyboard sketching. I chose a cart and horse as transportation, and the hospital is rather large and looming in the background hills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s where I ended up. The cart & horse are now a commonly used public transport bus-van, making the hospital smaller and altering scale relationships overall, adjusting some clothing. The most important clothing is the mother’s “kangaroo” method of protecting the infant. The infant is put into a wrap or the shirt, between the mother’s breasts so it is skin-to-skin with her. The infant also needs a hat, as it’s all about keeping the child warm.

 

 

Aquaponics Ann

Posted on | November 26, 2011 | Comments Off

 

From the Picasa Album online: Farmer Ann

My partner, Ann Torke, is an artist that’s been evolving into the area of growing and farming. Specifically, she’s invested in the practice of Aquaponics. This is a holisitic approach to self-sustaining farming, with an eye towards clean food production, sustainable growth practice, organic treatment, and healthy food production. The system involves using fish (tilapia usually) in a water flow system that sends the fish fertilized water into the plant growth zone, which is designed much like a hydroponics system. The roots of the plants have fertilized water streaming past, and the plants themselves transform the water, reducing nitrogen. A filtering system for any unneeded fertilizer involves either a gravel bed or more formal filters in barrels.

From Farmer Ann

The group that she’s exploring this with, the New Urban Farmers,  is testing 2 main techniques side-by-side, in order to compare the benefits and trouble spots.They have all been to training workshops, conferences, and visited established Aquaponics/Community focused farms. Some of Ann’s main inspirations and training have been from Will Allen’s Growing Power and Nelson and Pade.

In the meantime, they are already growing plants for food, which are being sold at the Providence Winter Farmer’s Market, alongside additional micro-greens that are grown more conventionally in soil. The fish in an aquaponics system also become available for food. The fish in their system are not yet at this stage, and are still rather young.

And all of this is accomplished in some really beautiful greenhouse domes.

From Farmer Ann

Something Good

Posted on | November 16, 2011 | Comments Off

 

I’ve just picked up a freelance job doing animation and illustration for Global Health Media, an organization founded with the specific mandate of providing effective instructions on how to provide practical medical care for emergency and preventative issues. This is targeting areas of the world where professional medical care is not practically available or almost non-existent. The founder, Deborah van Dyke, is coming from Doctors Without Borders, and her experience has led her to understand that there is a deep lack of standardized and visual educating material to assist midwives, nurses, and even doctors.

My role at this time is to work on a series that will be supporting the care of newborns, particularly in emergency situations.

As far as “something good,” I do believe it is so. And that makes me happy to participate. This is one way that freelance work actually appeals to me, and that is when it has a way to improve the daily existence of other creatures on this planet.

 

 

Karen Aqua Animation at the ICA Boston

Posted on | September 21, 2011 | Comments Off

My friend Karen Aqua, an animation filmmaker, contributed a tremendous amount of passion to the world, reaching far outward from her little home in Cambridgeport, MA. Sadly, Karen passed away this year from a long battle with cancer. The ICA in Boston is holding a tribute to this beautiful woman’s life of work, curated by friend Branka Bogdanov of the ICA Boston, and Karen’s husband, musician Ken Fields. Ken, and local animation filmmakers and great friends of Karen’s, Amy Kravitz and Frank Mouris will be hosting the event.

Screening info: ICA Boston, Sunday, September 25 at 3 pm

Karen was heartfelt in her pursuit of how to configure the visions in her head to pastel, cut-outs, paper and paint. Karen’s primary work arose through animation filmmaking. She was an important participant in the independent animation filmmaker community, demonstrating what what could be accomplished if your heart and soul were full of zeal for your own path as an artist. Her visions were laden with abstractions of bodies, akin to petroglyphs calling to the gods. Images of Nature anchored the dancing and playful, as well as the call for action to humans ignorant of their effects upon the Nature that supports them.

Over the years, when she would come to animation events, as she always did, her shock of curly red hair would be in various stages, replete with colorful scarves, and sometimes her eyes would look a bit tired. But she was often out there because she herself had been pushing hard on completing a new film, and was screening it. Twist of Fate was one of the last major works she accomplished, and it’s process was a testament to her pushing her comfort zone. With it, she chose to try and break out of her usual, comfortable approaches. She was also working close to express her experiences with her disease. I’ll miss Karen very much, as I looked up to her as a role model for what it means to live your life as an artist, and her leaving was much too soon for all of us.

I hope that I’ll see you there at the screening.

 

Help Comes Along

Posted on | September 19, 2011 | Comments Off

 

The “Happy & Gay” animation production has been given a wonderful chance to move ahead and pay for some help to get this done!

A truly lovely benefactor has granted H&G with a donation. This is spectacular, as it just kind of came out of the blue… After the news arrived, my head was spinning, pondering the significance. It has moved me deeply, I am so very thankful. I was truly out of funds a while ago, and it’s sooooo very hard to do this project “solo.”  Thank you, friend.

This project has definitely taken much, much longer than I ever thought possible. But, I’m still plugging away. I’ve definitely had breaks where I just had to step away from it, but I’ve been committed to getting it done. I think that most festivals/other filmmakers have somewhat written me off and all that, but it’ll arrive and be a surprise. That is the day I look forward to, and the day everyone will hear a sonic cheer.  :)

End of the Summer Good-Bye

Posted on | September 19, 2011 | Comments Off

 

Well, at the end of the summer it was time for everyone to go their separate ways and take a breather before school started up again. I invited my wonderful gang of animation interns to come and share a meal together at my house as a way to celebrate. (The weird legs beneath me are NOT mine, but our “we must be in the middle of everything” dogs, Django and Savannah.)

It was great to have the company during the summer, as well as help getting some work done! Everyone learned enough about the process to be able to help the production effectively. The interns each had some experience with animation, clean-up and ink & paint. All the glorious things that we must do to get a film done during production time.

Thank you to all, Sarah, Ana, Stephanie and Nivedita!

And GREAT NEWS!  Sarah and Niv are going to be staying on through the Fall semester, helping out with ink & paint. Hooray!

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