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Old 11-17-2005, 01:49 PM   #2
chaleur's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC (home) Calgary, AB (school) San Francisco, CA (work)
Posts: 121
Indeed. An animation programme generally only puts together animation clips. You are definitely not going to want to put together your whole movie in any 3D animation programme. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. It will run out of memory very fast, even if you have an UberComputer.

Put it together scene-by-scene, and render each scene as it is done (this is part of PRODUCTION). To composite the scenes (put them together), and to overlay an audio track you need an editing programme (editing is part of POST-PRODUCTION). I can give you a rundown of what gets used in industry, and point you to some free stuff (but I can't be very helpful there).

Professionals tend to use Avid, but it's probably out of your price range (unless you are very rich -- the full version retails at $5,995.00), and you probably need specialised hardware. There is a free version of Avid (more on this later), but I have no idea what the llimitations are.

A close second (which some would argue is actually better) is Final Cut from Apple, which retails at $1,299 for the studio version. You can get a better deal as a student (around $700 US -- $771 CDN at my university) -- but usually there is a restriction that you can't sell what you produce for $$$ with an academic version. You probably can't sell a KotOR movie for copyright reasons, so no biggie, but consider yourself warned.

Down from there in quality (but not in price) is Adobe Premier, which retails at $1,499.00 US. My university sells it for $980 CDN (~$900 US). You can only use it if you have a Windows Box, though, because Adobe stopped producing a Mac version when they realised they looked like crap next to Final Cut ;-).

There is probably some stuff you can download and use (especially if you have a Mac -- they tend to have better free stuff, especially in any kind of graphics area). Here's an link with some free stuff : (including the free version of Avid I was pointing you at earlier). I can't help you with these, I've never used any of them, but I am sure they are very good (especially anything produced by Apple -- Macs really are the industry leaders in this kind of thing).

An honest assessment -- I think you are seriously biting off WAY more than one (or even ten) people can chew, and I don't think you'll be able to finish this project, but I applaud you for doing it, none-the-less. You will learn craploads, and have a load of fun trying.

Some recommendations -- first, take a look at the production process of some of the major animation houses. Pixar's is here -- a good place to start. If you can catch any of the industry folks doing talks in your area, do it! It's usually not that hard.

Second, pick a SMALL chunk to start with. VERY small. Think about it a second...okay, got it? Now, whatever you thought of, I'm telling you, it's way too big (newbies always overestimate). Pick something smaller!!! A lot smaller. There are two reasons for this, and they are both very practical:
  • if you get a small chunk that you can look at, and that makes you (and hopefully other people) go 'ooooh', it will motivate you to do more (and perhaps some other people to help you).
  • if you discover that you've bitten off way more than you can chew, you will at least have something to show for it, even if you don't finish. You can add it to your portfolio in the future, and when you apply to art college, or film school, or industry, you can present it proudly.

If you get that far, I'd recommend doing some serious PRE-PRODUCTION (storyboarding, etc) before you take on the rest of the movie. However, if you can do that first, test scene, then I think you pretty much have all the tools you will need to do the rest.

KotOR ICON CREDITS: Some people have talent. The rest of us steal stuff.
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