If you need more space for audio and other tracks, use the dual screen option.
Dual screens are also useful if you are working away from the main computer on set and need a monitor closer to the animator.
Also set timecode/sequential frame numbering display, hint baloons and blank screen on capture option in the settings dialog.
Eclipse and Eclipse SD can be set to English, French, Spanish, German or Chinese.
Tool tips, menus and other information will be in the selected language.
File > Settings. Then click on the language of your choice and click on OK.
Introduction to Eclipse
See how stop motion animation is made using Eclipse, then follow the steps below!
(The puppet is "Flapper", a character on loan to us from the Oscar winning studio, Se-ma-for)
Lip sync for everyone
Add dialogue to your animation
Bring your characters to life with lip sync dialogue. Once a very specialized and time consuming skill, Eclipse revolutionizes the process of filming full lip sync animation.
This clip shows how to use the x sheet tool to break down dialogue for lip sync animation.
Also see how to create short loops so you can work on longer shots comfortably.
Audio stop points mean you can listen to the audio after the last frame without having to listen to the audio track till the end of the clip.
Use the keyboard only to breakdown dialogue, don't touch the mouse. Seamlessly switch between dialogue breakdown and animation. Lip sync on the fly!
We also offer a standalone product called Lip Sync Pro for planning dialogue and action.
When using a DSLR, checking RGB values (which range from 0 to 255) are a great way to check exposure. Individual RGB values that approach 255 mean those pixels are approaching white - there is limited detail available in those areas. For very small areas (like a highlight on an eyeball) high RGB values may be acceptable. Generally though, it is a good idea to keep values under 255 so you have options to adjust exposure later in editing software. Conversely, values approaching 0 mean the area is dark, with limited detail available.
Timelapse is a great way to condense time, showing changes that take hours in seconds. Here we have filmed a caterpillar by taking one shot every 5 seconds. When we play these shots back at 25 frames per second, that little caterpillar jumps about like crazy.
In the case above, we turned 8.5 minutes of real time into 4 seconds screen time.
Other uses for timelapse include cloud formations, human movement and flowers blooming.
Access the tool by going to the File > Timelapse menu.
The main tab lets you specify how long the interval between captures is.
Press the red start/stop button to trigger the timelapse function.
The readout on the bottom of this dialog shows when you first started capturing, when the last capture was and importantly, how long until the next capture is triggered. If numbers are appearing in the "skipped" field, then frames are being missed. Increase the duration between captures.
The second tab allows the placement of a date and time stamp on the image.
You can change the position, color and background color / transparency.
Bitmap copy + paste
Copy and paste images directly from Eclipse into image editing applications (Photoshop, GIMP or Paint for example), great for adding titles and other effects while you are working!
To copy and paste images, firstly go to the Editor screen.
You will see your frames presented as thumbnails.
Select the frame you wish to edit in an image editor.
On the right hand side toolbar, select the option Copy frame to clipboard
Then open your favourite image editor, and paste the image into it.
For best results, ensure you image editor document is set to the same height and width in pixels.
Using this method, you can copy one frame at a time.
Gimp is available here.
Copy the flattened image in your image editor.
Come back to Eclipse, select the orginal frame and then use the option Paste from clipboard
This will replace the original frame.
With this method, you must always replace a frame, it will not create new frames.
If using a DSLR, you will have to switch the view to HQ mode on the main toolbar to view the changed frames.
Exporting and optimizing
It is possible to shoot RAW quality images with Canon DSLRs. Set this from the drop down when setting up a new project
A File > Export > RAW option appears only if you have filmed with RAW using a Canon DSLR. This will create a sequentially numbered sequence in a folder suited for later processing.
Following this process ensures changes like hidden and duplicated frames are kept in sequence.
Still image export:
size v's quality
In this example the animation was filmed at a resolution of 3456 x 2034. When exported each frame was:
BMP: 22 MB (uncompressed)
PNG: 13 MB (some compression)
JPG: 0.7 MB (lossy compression)
It can be seen from above the choice of format can significantly effect the disk space requirements and time to write the images to hard disk.
Movie export DSLR's
When shooting with a DSLR, choose Source: Captured for the highest quality images to export.
This is important to note if you have been removing rigs or painting on frames.
Best size for sharing online
We recommend Internet WMV medium quality (500K) at a low Size (640 x 360) for sharing via email or web.
Exporting for editing
We recommend MOV ProRes 422 to use when editing.
Ensure you have set the Size of the video to a manageable dimension (eg, 1920 x 1080)
Some systems may have difficulty creating WMV files. This is usually due to Windows not having WMV codecs installed or up to date. Download and extract this ZIP file if you have having problems exporting WMV files.
The animation used in this demonstration can be seen here on Vimeo
Shooting square (1:1)
Webcams and DSLRs shoot rectangular images (usually 16:9, 3:2 or 4:3). How can you be sure what you are filming will be on screen if you are shooting for Instagram or Vine?
Setting the mask / guidelines aspect ratio
Use the mask option in Eclipse and Eclipse SD (shown here set to on with the green dot) to blank out areas that will not be square (1:1).
Beneath the mask option is the guidelines toggle button. This shows you what you will see when the image is cropped to square, however it also shows you the full frame. Seeing everything can be handy when filming.
For Instagram (May 2015) the video size displayed is 640 x 640.
Therefore, in Eclipse, setup the following from the Menu > Export:
The exported file will be in MP4 format, perfect for emailing to iPhones or Android devices then uploading to Instagram.
The maximum length for Instgram videos is 15 seconds.
Lip Sync Pro is a software application for planning ("breaking down") dialogue for animation.
Breaking down dialogue before filming means you can save time and focus on your characters performance.
Step 1. Setting up the project.
Install the Lip Sync Pro trial, or start up Lip Sync Pro.
Create a File | New Project
Select the Audio file:
samples / audio / I_want_that_one_male.wav
(this is bundled with LSP and is found in your windows Programs / Lip Sync Pro directory)
Select the Mouth set, these are the images you will animate to the audio track:
simple_mouth_set / simple_mouth_set.LS1
Set the Frames per sec rate (FPS) to 12
Step 2. Play back an audio file
At the top of the LSP interface you will see the audio file represented as a green wave form. To the lower left of the wave form you can see the play button. Click this to play back the audio. You will notice a white line move across the audio file, showing what is playing back. The wave form is like a map, showing you what you are listening to.
You can also use the number 6 key to play and stop the audio. Press the number 1 key to go back to frame 1.
Step 3. Create a loop
If you have a long track, or if you are working on a short segment of a track you can create a loop. Simply left click and drag from left to right on the wave form, or left click and drag down on the wave form in the grid. The loop area becomes highlighted. The loop area is shown in both the vertical and horizontal wave form.
Play the loop area only by pressing the number 0 (zero) key.
Step 4. Other looping functions
Use the play loop once or play loop repeat buttons below the horizontal wave form to play back just the loop area. This is useful for audio analysis, and also later when you are looking at the animation and audio together.
The number 0 (zero) key plays and stops the loop area.
The number 7 key toggles the loop repeating.
Page UP key goes to the loop start frame.
Step 5. Zoom in on the audio track
This is useful for longer tracks, or when you wish to have a really close view of the audio wave form.
Left click on the ends of the zoom tool and adjust them left or right as appropriate. Left click and drag the middle part of the zoom tool to move the view left or right.
Step 6. Other zoom tools
You can zoom in using the magnifier buttons . The magnifying effect will centre on the current active frame (the white line on the horizontal wave form).
Step 7. Scrolling
The grid (with the vertical wave form and text entry area) can be scrolled using the right hand scroll bar.
The area you can see is shown on the horziontal wave form between yellow lines. This use of the wave form as a map helps navigate your audio file.
Step 8. Assigning mouth shapes to the audio file
Use the number 5 key to step forward, and the number 4 key to step back one frame at a time.
Step back to the first frame in the animation.
With your mouse, double left click on the "smile" Mouth shape. The "smile" shape will appear in the Preview window, and also be visible in the grid, on Frame 1.
An alternative way of assigning mouthshapes is using short cut keys. In this case, the S key will assign the "smile" mouth shape.
When a mouth shape is assigned, it will stay in view until a different mouth shape is assigned.
Step through to frame number 9 and then double click on the "small_open" Mouth shape. This is when the character starts speaking.
Step through the frames and assign the mouth shapes as appropriate. Use the playback functions mentioned earlier to test the animation as you go along.
Step 9. Moving allocated mouth shapes
Note as you play back, you may like to move a mouth shape few frames forward or back. Right click on the mouth shape in the grid, then select from the menu that appears. Move frames up makes the mouth shape appear earlier, Move frames down later.
Step 10. The final project
It is possible to see how we allocated the mouth shapes to the left. You can use this as a guide, or make changes as you see fit.
Step 11. Using your project for animation - exporting
Using the File | Make Movie option is a great way to use your Lip Sync Pro files in your stop motion and other animation projects.
Export as an AVI, with MJPEG compression, or as a MOV file. These are ideal for bringing into Stop Motion Pro.
Note the options to show the Mouth shape descriptions and comments, you can change the size and position the text is overlayed.
Step 12. The exported movie
Locate and playback the exported movie. You will see the text flashing up as each mouth shape is displayed.
Final step. Using your lip sync in Stop Motion Pro Eclipse.
Open Stop Motion Pro Action! Plus or above edition. Create a New project with a FPS to match the Lip Sync Pro rate (in this case, 12 fps)
From the tools menu, select Rotoscope. Import the AVI or MOV that you exported from Lip Sync Pro.
Click the Sync button on the Rotoscope file, this will lock the Rotoscope footage to the animation as you film it. The Rotoscope will advance as you capture frames. It is then possible to see which mouth shape you should use next.
Nikon DSLR - getting started
Stop Motion Pro actively supports Nikon DSLRs including those with Live View.
(Note, they do not work with Eclipse SD)
Stop Motion Pro can control some Nikon DSLRs directly, allowing control over exposure and focus.
It is possible to capture JPEG images from compatible Nikon DSLRs.
Compatible Live view Nikon cameras:
The D3000 and D3100 cannot be used, as remote control is not enabled by Nikon.
A note about Live view. After a period of time (half an hour plus) of live view being on, a temperature sensor in the camera may switch, disconnecting the live view. The time depends on the camera and the environmental conditions. We recommend setting a short delay time in turning the live view off, to keep the camera as cool as possible.
Information on lens selection can be found here.
Compatible non Live view Nikon cameras that Stop Motion Pro can control:
These older Nikon cameras are not compatible with Windows 7. However some versions of Windows 7 allow you to install Windows XP for free. Follow the instructions here. This will install XP in a separate window, but still allow access to the same hard drive on your PC. You must select the Nikon from the USB menu. More information here.
Some cameras have a communications setting in the camera menus and this should be set to "Normal" or "PC Connection" not "PTP" or "PTP/Printer". Please check this setting is set correctly if you camera shows "Busy" when you try to connect it to your PC.