“Designed specifically for camera animation, Craft CameraFx presents users
with a layerbased
workflow that helps them create dynamic sequences in a
matter of minutes.”
-Craft Animations AB Press Release (5/14/14)
One of the major trends in computer graphics software over the last decade has been to simplify the workflow. Part of the reason for this trend is the dramatic rise in VFX needed for Hollywood filmmaking. Time equals money in Hollywood and if it’s possible to simplify something in a software application it will save money and get the job done more quickly.
Craft Animations AB is a company that was created in response to this need for a simpler application with a faster workflow. Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, the company began developing professional real-time 3D animation technology in 2002 and released Craft Director Studio in 2006. Based on years of “cutting-edge research on animation controls,” the application allows the professional to create on-the-fly animation motion paths without having to keyframe, script or rig different kinds of objects like cars or various types of aircraft. Often, input devices like a joystick or a mouse are used to create the animations in real time, thus saving a considerable amount of work and time.
In the last 8 years, Craft Animations AB has attracted A-list clients like Pixar, Disney, Electronic Arts and Ford Motor Company with their Craft Director Studio. The company is now taking the next step in their evolution with the May, 2014 release of Craft CameraFx, a brand new application built specifically to function inside of Autodesk’s 3D character animation program: MotionBuilder. Craft CameraFx is designed to manage 3D cameras with much better flexibility and speed than traditional keyframe-based applications. Developed using similar technology behind Craft Director Studio, Craft CameraFx uses a layer-based workflow that enables the user to create an animation sequence in minutes instead of hours. For example, if you wanted to add camera shake to a camera in a 3D scene at a specific time, you’d simply add a noise effect, set the start/end times, then refine until you are satisfied. You can even change the sequence after it’s been made.
Key Features of Craft CameraFx
“Through elements like recording feedback, precise customization, and a
variety of effects options, artists of all levels can now have unprecedented
control over their animations”
-Craft Animations AB Press Release (5/14/14)
Additional features of Craft CameraFx include:
Craft CamerFx: Real-Time 3D Camera Animation
In a presentation given to me by Craft CameraFx product manager Patrik Martin, I was impressed by the application's interface and workflow. Patrik told me that based on extensive feedback from professional users, Craft CameraFx was developed to provide results in camera animations that were “less uncertain” (more usable) along with the ability to tweak inside of a camera recording.
Finally, what Craft CameraFx does is allow the professional user to create animations without the hours and hours of careful keyframing and scripting. Instead, you grab an Xbox controller, set up your model inside of Motion Builder and start recording your animation in real-time. When you are done, you refine the animation or add special camera effects (like smoothing out your motion path) and you are done. What might take a week using traditional animation methods may take only a day using Craft CameraFx.
The technology of Craft CameraFx saves time and money. Something that many companies promise, but fail to deliver on. Craft Animations AB has certainly delivered with Craft CameraFx. A fascinating application that is only in its first iteration.
Craft CameraFx is a smart, timesaving application that will only get better. Download and evaluate the 30-day trial and you’ll see what I mean.
Complete information on system requirements can be found at the Craft Animations AB home page. Craft CameraFx is currently priced at $1,995 USD for application and license. The application works with Autodesk’s MotionBuilder 2012 to 2015 (Win).
Thanks to Stephen for his help in putting this article together. Particular thanks to Craft Animations for an excellent presentation and a unique product.
Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.
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