Learning curve

February 21, 2011

Many creative people fall into the trap of learning new complex and advanced programmes in order to turn their ideas into reality, when there are many others who do what they need without facing a learning curve.

For instance, you can edit your photos without learning a professional photo-editing package such as Photoshop, not that it is too complicated but what’s the use of learning it if you won’t use all its features?

It’s the same with video-editing, which can be done using a light and elegant programme like Adobe’s Premiere Elements instead of the professional version, and so on.

Like a great 3D modeling programme called Anim8or I used back in the days when I wanted to create a quick 3D objects for a game I was working on. I was able to design and animate models without previous knowledge of any 3D modeling programmes.

Alike Anim8or, Muvizu is a free and a simple programme that helps you in creating 3D animations with probably the easiest way possible. But unlike the former, it produces a high-quality animations with complex character movements in a shorter time.

It is one of those programmes that you can master in one day, starting by adding a new character to the scene, choosing nice clothes for the model and adding the speech dialogue sound file and its mouth lips synchronise automatically!

Your starting point can be a ready template for the scene you are planning to direct (city, historical, entertainment, home, sci-fi and spooky) or you can start from a blank one and then add building objects later.

When I started navigating the scene, I directly noticed a similarity in the type of graphics and how do you move objects with Google’s social virtual environment, Lively, which unfortunately  was discontinued later.

As any animation programme, everything you need to complete the scene is available: camera. lights, gravity and collision physics.

You can add your own textures and backgrounds and tweak characters but there is no text to speech engine which would be a nice addition.

After finishing your work, you will be able to upload the animation you made straightly to YouTube to let the whole world see your efforts or have it showcased at Muvizu’s own channel.

The whole point of Muvizu is that if you really wanted to make an animation movie, in real life scenario you have to design the models, set up the scene, configure a physics engine and set up cameras or lights.

But in Muvizu it is all ready for you to use it, even while moving an object it will collide with other objects in real time.

DA Groups, the company which developed Muvizu has licensed Unreal Engine3, the most popular game engine among gamers, to use it in their programme. One of the reasons behind the great results Muvizu produces.

Multiple users can collaborate on film, audio and drama projects with easy to use tools and viewable results at the same time.

Although the available characters have a cartoonish look with no way of adding human realistic figures, importing your own 3D models is possible.

Muvizu is unique, think about using such a programmes by teachers to further explain their lectures. When Muvizu has been developed, the normal user with a decent computer was taking into account, therefore you do not need an expensive equipment to run the programme.

It is available for Windows but it can be run on Intel-based Macs using Boot Camp.

The latest update brought some interesting tweaks to the user interface and they have added the ability to control character’s lower body, a new visual effects like fire, smoke and more.

Their website is loaded with useful materials if you wanted to learn specific techniques.