Sunday, July 29, 2012

Music time! downloadable goodies

Spiritto salutes everypony!
I have been playing around with the Midi Keyboard, and since there was no MIDI version of "Come Little Children" available, I made my own.

Of course, my musical talent is "primary school" level, but I managed to get a simple music , a MIDI and a wav file.

If you are a musical brony, you might want to play with this a little bit (if you do, send it,please!) we would love to hear it.

Music sheet

MIDI file, Come Little Children

Please, note that the WAV and MIDI files are entirely different (in instruments and notes). And they are only meant as a sample for people to play with them.

 WAV File, Come Little Children

Original Lyrics: Edgar Alan Poe
Melody: James Corner,  (Hocus Pocus OST)

MIDI arrangement: Spiritto

Song used in the video: Arrangement by Kate Covington

That's it for today! have fun, I sure did. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mane 3

Hi Everypony!  I hope all's going well in your corner of Equestria! :)

It's been hot here.. in terms of temperature.  The week's been  hard as was concentrating. BUT, we are still working on the video.

Most of the last few days were spent making the puppets of the foals that will appear.  Luna's not completely done in terms of animation but the shots require those bundles of joy as characters.  While they all have the same build, they require time as their manes are all different and we want them to look good.  While we know which foals will be up close, we never know how it will look exactly when we're done so we might switch one for the other.

We have, however, established the 3 main (Mane 3) fillies that appear in the orphanage and concentrated our efforts on those first.

Here's Magpie (Maggie).  She's built using the same terminology as Luna but all foals have one less leg joint so it makes them simpler but still tricky.  Thankfully, the timing doesnt change too much.

I had fun while making them and when all 3 of the Mane Cast was done, I did a small test with the puppets.. both for fun and to see if it held together.   From left to right, Maggie, Spirit and Gari.

Tell us how you think it looks! :)

I think they're super cute ^^

Enjoy :D

-Lion, signing out.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fashion of the night

I simply love to exchange tips with other aritsts.

I talked with Trish yesterday and she gave me some fantastic pointers about lineart.

We made some tests on SAI, and here you can see the result. We created a couple of cloacks for our respective ponies, that would match their personality, yet following a night theme.

Spirit is mostly practical, so any attrezzo she might wear will reflect that.  THe lineart of this drawing was given by Trish, in order to give me a reference point to follow.

Gari is the most poweful of the children of the night. So here you have the great and powerful Gari.

This drawing is made by Gari (Trish) herself!  We found funny that she would have a witch costume. It makes her more Halloween-y

Thursday, July 19, 2012

'Pan Shots'

GOOOOOOOOD Morning Equestria!

How's everypony doing?

Lion here with a prod update and a little bit of tech talk :)  With the project progressing and us being in a butterzone in terms of production we're now tackling some of the more challenging shots of the video: The pans. 

We call those 'Killers' mostly due to the details that they require but also the animation.  Pan shots like that, in 2D are essentially a cheat of the perspective to 'fool' the viewer into beleiving that the world is more than just a flat plane.  It can be acheived with parralax scrolling but in this case it is acheived by tweaking the perspective as the 'camera' moves up.  Whereas in fact it's the image that is being moved down via translation.

As always I have a plan of it layed down which is the one that was seen in the animatic.  I already have a basic grid and a more-than basic idea of what I want.  Thanks to that, I was able to then animate a rough Luna sketch to get an idea of the timing.  That will SAVE MY BUTT later on.  On the line-art though, I decided the old Canterlot would be smaller.. less buildings and the castle would be bigger.  Of course, I had a previous shot to use as a reference as to which building goes where.  I made a MAP of old canterlot as to NOT get lost.

With Spirit warmed up in painting she painstakingly colors over the lines that I had layed down.  A few notes left and right as reminders of what I saw when sketching will also help her give a more accurate depiction that will fit the animation.  Check out those little details.

Now animation-wise, the background is on a separate layer for ease of access and having it move while I animate would be distracting.  It's a nice thing to have if there's interaction but putting the background in the character's symbol is a little nightmare in terms of positionning.  SO, I can't rely on having it there.  That's where the rough animation sketch saves my tush as it becomes my main reference for laying down the animation in the correct timing.  Keyframe galore everyone!  Cuz essentially, Luna's moving but going nowhere as I animate there.. she's just gesticulating over a still BG.. which, if not prepared for it, would be a bit depressing.

Still, it took quite a few passes to get that one working well. But it got there.

Here's a peek at a frame of the animation after full render composited shot.

When put after her little singing solo, which is already animated, it looked magical.  Hopefully you guys will think so too :)

Thanks for reading ^^

-Lion, Out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fanart of the night 2

Hello everypony!

Here I bring you a new update, with more "Fanart of the night"

We are really impressed with it. We didn't expected so many wonderful drawings to appear from our animation.









Monday, July 16, 2012

Come little Children, the song

Hello everypony!

Today's post is all about the song. 

THe song that we are using in this animation is sung by Kate Covington. Who granted us permission to use her work in our video. 

It comes originally from the movie Hocus Pocus, and the melody was composed by the incredible James Horner (Spirit's favorite composer, since he did the OST of Casper). 

There is a debate about the song's lyrics. Some say that they  come from Mr. Edgar Alan Poe and others than they  were written by  John Debney for the movie Hocus Pocus. 

Kate did the arrangements for this song and recreated the soundscore in her home studio, you can download the MP3 here:

and see the original version by Kate here


By Edgar Alan Poe

Come Little Children
I'll Take Thee Away, Into A Land
Of Enchantment

Come Little Children
The Time's Come To Play
Here In My Garden
Of Magic

Follow Sweet Children
I'll Show Thee The Way
Through All The Pain And
The Sorrows

Weep Not Poor Children
For Life Is This Way
Murdering Beauty And

Hush Now Dear Children
It Must Be This Way
To Weary Of Life And

Rest Now My Children
For Soon We'll Away
into The Calm And
The Quiet

Come Little Children
I'll Take Thee Away, Into A Land
Of Enchantment

Come Little Children
The Time's Come To Play
Here In My Garden
Of Shadows

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Hello everypony!

We have received many,many,many  questions about the animation, and since it is no longer possible to answer them in an individual way, I am writing this little F.A.Q to try and give you the information you are seeking.

1. Are you going to finish it?

Yes, of course. 60% of it is done already.

2.  When are you going to release it?

We cannot give a release date because

a)  That is putting too much pressure upon us, and it will affect the quality in a negative way.
b)  It´s our first really big project like that and we don´t know how long it SHOULD or WOULD take.  We´d like to give and answer, but we really don´t know.
c)  Good and tasty things need time.

3. Are you gonna finish Heaven's Light?

Yes, yes we are. The reasons of why we are doing this before Heaven's Light are purely technical, we are doing this animations for the sole purpose of learning, for having fun and increase the quality of both our portfolios . Therefore we need to learn a lot of things in order to make this animations.

4. Which software do you use?

 Mostly Flash and After Effects

 5. Can you animate (insert idea here) next? Now do this animation...

We do not do requests, sorry.   It is not reasonable to ask us to do so, due to the ammount of work and time required to do such thing.

6. Is this going to be a full movie or an episode?

No, it is mostly gonna be the song that you saw in the animatic, and maybe a ittle something more if we manage to gather the elements we need.

7. What will happen to the children?

XD, you will find out in good time. Isn't it more  fun to find out by yourselves than asking for a spoiler?

8. She is dropping them to their deaths! Is she taking their souls?

That is not the story I am telling, but I believe that anyone can interpretate it as they want to. Whatever you like best.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Helloes ponydom!

Lion here with more on animating and the project :)

I've been told that lipsynching is tough.  Very tough.  BUT, it depends on the mindset, really.  Lipsynching is more about the FEEL of a sound than the sound itself.  If you take every letter or syllable of a sentence, the lips are going to move so fast you're gonna leave the audience in epileptic shock x.x

It's not uncommon for me to put a lip or mouth shape 2 or 3 frames before the actual cue as to act like some sort of anticipated movement and then 'morph' the shape, so to speak.

In Flash, I take the audio and put it in its layer.. like one is supposed to.  Of course, thanks to the animatic, I have a precise framecount and frame to start as well as finish.  That audio layer is then put in 'stream' from the properties so I can hear it while scrubbing the timeline.

Notice I also have the lines from my freehand animation test over everything in lineart form (orange) so that I constantly have my guides to help get the cues right.  I also have a 'lipsynch' layer.  That's basically the mouth and/or jaw.

For this particualr shot, I pre-animated the whole symbol.  The reason for doing that is to concentrate on keeping the mouth to the head without having to worry about the lipsynch timing being thrown off by a change of position.

It caused some problems but prevented others as well.

Like when she raises her head to accent a particular part of the singing.  The tweening was not working well at all for that section.  I put everything frame by frame.  It gave a result I was decently happy with, too, considering it's Flash, after all.

That particular shot was pretty long and requires much concentration to get done.  There were a few skips that got corrected and while there could be some more polishing, in the end the shot still works.  I'll see if there's time to put a little more time in some previous shots for esthetic's sake, but here's a little GIF teaser of the animated shot.  Sorry for the weird coloring.. GIF animations being 8-bit and all that ^^;

- Lion, out.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Golden Crop

Gidday Everypony!

Lionheart here with a little update :)

With another background done I thought I'd show a little bit more of what goes into a shot.  Of course, there's the rough draft that we made for our animatic purposes which was far from complete (There's even an 'oops' written there).

Normally there is more detail in there but as we are a small team and we didnt have any real designs ready, we went on with this, again, only for timing.  But with the shot having found a purpose and working well in the previewed animatic, it was time to take it to the next level.

Here I went nuts with lines.. or GRID lines, for the perspective.  Indoor planning of a shot is, I found, a bit more challenging as there are less ways to cheat your way out of making something work.  Probably due to all the furniture.  But that allows me to lay down the guides, including dummy ponies for size, making sure I stay consistent.

Another thing I do is I pull out what's called the 'Golden Crop'.  These are composition guidelines that are used by many top artists to create balance and focal points in a composition.  This one being an interior establishing shot, I thought I'd put in something a lot more academic to help with the final composition as well as to determine the main diagonal.

As you can see with the lineart layout, I used a rug to break the straight lines and used the main red diagonal as my main line of strength.  All of that still stuck to the grid I layed down earlier.  I could have utterly cheated and built with boxes and planes in a 3D program but I felt I was cheating myself and the spirit of the show by doing so.  Still, with that lineart well established and defined, I then pass the PSD file to spirit for the final paint render.

That wonderful scene will have a few more alterations in after effects as well as have a few foals visible along with some of those that will wake up.

Just goes to show that sometimes, there is a lot more in a shot than what meets the eye.  If the audience does not feel something is wrong or notices the guides at first glance, then we did a good job :)

Thanks for watchin'  we're still truckin'!

-Lion out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another weekend, another scene

He everypony!

It is been a 3 day weekend, and we are practically cooking here (we have a heatwave). But regardless of the weather we continue to advance each and every day.

Three more scenes have been finished this weekend, (Lion really worked hard) and three more backgrounds as well. I also started exploring the FX for the clouds.  It is a very complex subject to be done in  After Effects, so I guess I will have to take two days on the postproduction phase to figure out a perfected method.

So far, 9 cloud effects done, only one of them usable. (if you know cloud tutorials for After Effects, please, do link, I have wiped youtube and found many, but the more info I have, the more options I gather).

Here you can see one example of a proto-cloud.  The "spikes" of the superior part move like vapor, the swirls.. well, they swirl (liquify trick). But this is not fully convincing me, so I accept suggestions.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fanart of the night

Hello There!

We are really happy today. During the past week we recevied some fantastic fanart pieces. We are really flattered by this and getting inspired from them  as well. Thank you so much!

Taking example from Rarity, and thinking that "anything good should be shared", here you are some of the pieces we received. We asked for speficic permission to post these; if we receive more approvals from the other authors, we may post the rest later.



Spiritto, signing out.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

No! she wouldn't ever drop them

Hello everypony!

We received a lot of messages and emails of people who are concerned about the disparition of Luna and the children at the end of the animatic. Many have thoung that she is letting them fall from the sky. Nothing further from the truth; Luna loves her children so much, she wouldn't ever let them get harmed.

 Here is the first shot that I composed for that part of the movie. The animatic is a reference for us that gives the key frames and the main timming, but it doesn't condense all the detail. There are like a ton of things that will appear in the final video that you don't see in the anmatic version, and the 12 foals following Luna is one of them.


Spirit, signing out.