Introduction: Grandpa's Dream
There are many roads to Chicago. You can take a plane, car, train or walk. There are many ways to produce a video. Here is one example of how I have done it:
Each step in this tutorial has multiple steps. The scope of this instructable is not to cover each step in detail but to provide a helicopter overview and the workflow I used with one particular children's story - "Grandpa's Dream". A great deal of the software tools I used in this project cost no money at all.
Step 1: Process
Write ----> Story Board with sketches ----> professionally narrated and score -----> scan artwork -------> edit audio narration -----> import into Crazy Talk -----> export animated video from Crazy Talk into Kdenlive -----> produce video timeline in Kdenlive (you can also use Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro or others) -----> output to Youtube
The computer systems used in creating this animation were: Linux (Ubuntu/Kdenlive video editing software), Windows (Crazy Talk animation), Apple (narration and music)
The software used was for this project was: Xsane (image scanning over a networked connection), GIMP (cropping images on Linux), Kdenlive (Video editing software and effects on Linux), Crazy Talk (animated eyes and mouth from still images on Windows PC), Audacity (audio editing on Linux), Logic Pro (narration and music on Apple).
Step 2: The Most Important Ingredient Is Free
1) Write an original children's story (free - only cost imagination and time)
2) Work for hire: Pencil and Ink drawings for each page of the story (completed by a teacher whose passion was art)
3) Work for hire: story was narrated professionally by a music professional using a keyboard and her/our voices. Created using a Macintosh (Apple) Computer. Additonal audio editing was accomplished via Audacity (using multiple passes of the "noise reduction" filter to remove as much music as possible leaving only narration) exported as WAV file used in Crazy Talk as "script" to animate the mouth and eyes of the dog, Freddy, and Grandpa.
Step 3: When a Dog Is Your Narrator
4) Each drawing was scanned on Canon MX850 printer/scanner as greyscale 300 DPI JPEG image
5) Each scanned drawing was imported into Kdenlive (open source or free video editing software) on Ubuntu and saved as a new project. Screen shots of Kdenlive provided above.
6) Talking dog (one still photo of Freddy animation) and talking Grandpa close up (from still) created using Crazy Talk on Windows based computer exported as MP4 also imported into Kdenlive and greyscale filter applied. Screen shots of Crazy Talk provided above
7) Stills, talking dog and vertigo effect added to animated drawings created using open source (free) Kdenlive video editing software on Ubuntu and a NUC with internal SSD drive, 8 gigs of RAM and and external USB 7200RPM HD. A modest computer system in terms of specs. The audio of the animated dog and grandpa were kept in sync with the narration WAV file by zooming in on the Kdenlive timeline and lining up the audio tracks of each video track. I then muted the audio of the subjects that were animated by Crazy Talk. This left only one high quality audio track with animation synced properly (close enough).
Step 4: Exporting Completed Video Project to Youtube
8) Exported completed final project from Kdenlive as MP4 from and uploaded to Youtube
Notes: I could have added more animation with Crazy Talk. I could have made the eyes blink in all of the sketches. I could also have panned the camera across each sketch to give the sketches the sense of motion. I chose not to do this out of stylistic choice. I preferred the bouncing back and forth between a talking dog, still sketches and a scant use of color.
Included is another original music video, "Wheat Grass in My Wurlitzer", also featuring talking animals using the same process as well as "Loan Shark City" featuring talking golf clubs, trumpet playing golf clubs and hand puppetry mixed into one music video.