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Machinima for dummies - Plotagon etc?


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#1 kkffoo

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 03:42 PM

I've just caught up listening to big chunks of yesterdays 24 - 19 hours reunion show, and have lots of thoughts, but one that struck me was the oft repeated thought of how easy and quick movie making was with The Movies, and how current tools, while powerful, can be a disincentive to newcomers due to their complexity.
I know that the easier a tool is to use, the more people can access it...whether that's due to time issues, or maybe from feeling technically challenged.
I know the Xtranormal community was huge, and unfortunately now dispersed, but I'm wondering if any other entry level programs are out there?
I retried plotagon a year or so ago, and found it removed a lot of barriers to just getting stuff done, especially from a writer's perspective. It's hugely limited, but you really can make something interesting in a couple of hours...or less!
I can't embed this here, but here's a link to an example I made last year.
https://plotagon.com/10310
PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#2 Ken White

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 04:30 PM

I retried plotagon a year or so ago, and found it removed a lot of barriers to just getting stuff done, especially from a writer's perspective. It's hugely limited, but you really can make something interesting in a couple of hours...or less!
I can't embed this here, but here's a link to an example I made last year.
https://plotagon.com/10310


Interesting. Kind of stylized, but it doesn't look bad. I'll probably have to download the program and check it out, but I have a couple of questions...

How limited is it? I see that from the program you can only upload to them and to YouTube. That's a minus, though people could always upload to YouTube and then embed it on TMU. (Or maybe you could use screen capture software to grab your creation while you're playing it - though reading their FAQ, I'm not sure they'd be cool with it.)

You can't save the file as a "movie" on your computer, so that limits any kind of outside editing. How is the editing within the program, or is there any?

All of the films I checked out use computer-generated voices. Does that mean you can't use voice actors, or even voice them yourself?

I also see in the FAQ that "This means that you can’t make videos that have sexually explicit, profane or obscene language"....not that I'm an advocate of swear-fests, but depending on the story, sometimes a little profanity is required. Or a lot. I have less problem with their prohibition of "videos with hateful and racist content", but again context is everything. Is it glorifying hate and racism or does it just have a hateful, racist character, which can be germane to the story.

I can probably find out a lot of this by downloading, and I will, but not immediately. I have to get ready to go to the "bad brothel" that Roger described in the chatroom to be taped to the table again...

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#3 kkffoo

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 06:18 PM

It's slightly worse than it seems in that I have not yet been able to upload to YouTube, maybe just me though.
I believe the limitations which exist are there for a purpose..to squeeze down the app so that it also runs on tablets.
it's a very 'unfiddleable' program. No mods, no external audio and no camera control. Whether any of these features are planned... I don't know.
It is however fun to do, and very accessible.
PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#4 Ken White

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 06:52 PM

It is however fun to do, and very accessible.


If we have people who like or would like working with this (I don't think I'd be in that group), we'd certainly support it on the movie site and if it becomes popular with members, possibly we could approach them to see if TMU could be added to their list of places to upload - though based on their restrictions, they might consider TMU too foul a cesspool to display the family-friendly output from their software.

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#5 Bezzer

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 09:59 PM

Good call with this thread:-)

I've actually wondered for quite a while if/when someone will come along and deliver the next 'Movies' game.

A few years back, I was looking at the then newly released Sims 3 and some of the creating/modifying tools on there...and I remember thinking wow! this stuff...in a new movies game...perfect!

I always thought too that Moviestorm would be the natural successor to the movies, but the small development team hasn't really helped it progress IMO and their focus these days seems to be on marketing what they have...with very occassional content releases and patch fixes.

Even Iclone started out fairly simple, but these days seems to be trying to cram in as much as they possibly can...which is great for someone who already knows their way around Iclone, but not so much if you're just now finding an alternative to The Movies.

Never tried Muvizu, but again, it looks to have potential that it hasn't quite reached...yet.

Plotagon...not checked out yet, but will take a look...hope to see much more 'etc' here though:-)

#6 kkffoo

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 06:43 PM

I'm adding Nahton's find;
https://www.animatron.com/ as a simple to use online animation tool. (could screencap it maybe?)
PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#7 kkffoo

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 01:09 PM

Been up since 7am doing fun things like ironing so felt like not much I could contribute to the latest mini comp (in another thread) and searched around for some instant animationgratificiation.
I am a very good test case for these easy movie makers at the moment. If Kate, boggle eyed and weary can do something it is EASY.
Quite fun, very limited.

http://www.dvolver.com/

and here's my short and sweet sample movie;
http://www.dvolver.c.../movies-1065068
PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#8 thebiz

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 01:11 PM

I like it a lot (the 5 minutes Ive spent with it)! Im kinda looking at these simpler apps as to how easily kid millions (age 7) could use it for fun or school projects without too much help from me. This one is great for that. Could be used to get simple ideas out really fast. Fun too. Great find Kate. Cute studio intro.

The only issue I see is exporting the final product to something useable. Its a really old app (1998) but still kinda cool. ...Anywho, I will add it to the creative resource list.

Edited by thebiz, 06 March 2015 - 02:29 PM.

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#9 thebiz

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 01:53 PM

I did manage to get it embedded in the TMU site but its buggy and breaks the page a bit. Will play around with it to see if I can make it work a little better.

http://www.tmundergr...19d8a45db1/test


Edit: Ok I managed to fix the page a bit. You can use that code they give you to embed the movie on TMU. HOWEVER, you need to add "</object>" to the end of the code so it doesn't break the page.


Not sure how to then embed the movie on a thread...

Edited by thebiz, 06 March 2015 - 02:05 PM.

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#10 kkffoo

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 02:42 PM

Ooh well done!
It actually looks pretty cool
PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#11 thebiz

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 01:07 AM

I played with dvolver a bit more this mornin and then let Kid Millions loose with it. He made a santa vs pumpkin man short so I replaced the one I had with his new one (much better than mine). Then I installed Plotagon and had a go.

Honestly once you get all the scenes and characters that can for free its a lot of fun. Very restrictive in what you can do but the restrictions do add to the fun. You can do nothing with the camera and I wish you could turn off the music once its turned on but otherwise I had some fun and created a few shorts today. The deadpan dialog (only text to speech available) grows on you and if you can match it with bizarre scenarios you get something kinda weirdly cool. My first short I decided to use a office place shooting as a chance to steal some smooches. The gunshots are pretty eerie and offputting (as is his shaking fist anger over not getting a kiss). Does it work? Probably not but I like it.



The second one was just me playing around with the character gestures and actions with a simple little punch line. Move along. Nothing to see here...



The inability to use audio dialog was kind of freeing when it came to creating the scenarios fast and easy. The thing I really didnt like about it was that you have to give them some authority over your youtube page to get it uploaded there. Otherwise there is no export option other than to share the link. Honestly I think its kind of like muvizu super lite. Not that I know that much about muvizu. But with that big price drop on Muvizu Play+ Im seriously thinking about giving it a look very soon as well.

Edited by thebiz, 08 March 2015 - 01:18 AM.

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#12 kkffoo

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 06:21 PM

I enjoyed those. Makes me wonder if some sort of competition might work.....:45:
I couldn't link plotagon to youtube no matter how much I tried to force it up the pipe, so I worked out I could simply embed the movie directly to TMU using the code from their site.
PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#13 Nahton

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 11:48 PM

I enjoyed those as well biz. I totally get what you are saying about being freed from having to provide audio dialogue. It makes it quick to throw a dialogue driven short together. I see they've added quite a bit more free content. I didn't have any luck previously uploading to You Tube. If you really wanted to eliminate the computer generated voices you could use a YouTube downloader and record new video...oh wait a minute...freedom lost. Never mind.

#14 kkffoo

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 07:04 AM

Competition rules should insist on no fiddling to prevent mod diversion syndrome?
PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#15 thebiz

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 12:06 PM

A let Kid Millions play with Plotagon on his own yesterday under the guise of "homework time". He managed to come up with something coherent in about 30 minutes. Pretty impressive for the software I think. I think I will download it for the ipad and see if its equally suitable for quick amusements. I wish they would add a few extras like the ability to stop music on command and the ability for characters to enter/exit a scene.

The other nice thing about it is that the company seems quite active at the moment.

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#16 thebiz

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 12:51 PM

Rik Vargard mentioned this program called the Mine-Imator. Kid Millions loves the Minecraft so we might have to check this out soon. Heres Riks video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoXZOS46VwQ

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#17 Johnny Ex

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:53 PM

Ive seen this and thought the same thing.
This is Rik being Rik...So cool.
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#18 kkffoo

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 02:24 PM

I am quickly becoming a Rikfan :D
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#19 thebiz

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 03:01 PM

Ive taken a recent look at Plotagon and realized they now allow you to use your own voices in the movies.  As the robotic voice was always heavily criticised in the comments perhaps this will make plotagon a better choice for folks who are looking for free and simple animation software.  I might try to download the new version soon and give it a whirl.


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#20 thebiz

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:36 PM

I tried to update this on my computer over the weekend but it just isnt working.  Everytime I try to add an actor to the scene I get a blank black screen.  Very frustrating.  I successfully added it to my phone but I hate the small mobile interface.  This is a bummer as it seems to have some neat new features such as the ability to create custom characters and lots of new and free content.  The voice feature does not seem to have lip sync options instead creating the lip sync with the text to voice option and then allowing you to overwrite the audio file.  Not optimal but at least its a choice.  They say they are working to improve this feature in the future.  If anyone gets it on their non mobile machine and it works please shout it out here as I want to play with it and their support is lackluster... 


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