In order to do some prep work and animation tests for the Dobot story that we have been working on over the past few months we decided to give the program Hype a try. It’s a program that allows you to easily drag and drop various images or elements into several layers which will stack up on the bottom left hand side of the screen. The general layout is a simplified version of the Adobe programs Flash and Photoshop, so anyone familiar with those shouldn’t have too hard of a time adjusting to this interface.
Once dropped into the program there’s a variety of options that you have at your disposal to add attributes to a specified layer. These range from movement, opacity, scale, etc. The only difficulty is that it takes about 30-60 minutes of just pure experimentation on your part in order get a better understanding of how everything works. They don’t seem to give you a very clear indication of what to do or how to do it. Though there are video tutorials available, they have a slightly different appearance than the current version of the program, so certain questions you might have about getting started might not actually be answered fully. Once you do get the hang of it however, it’s relatively simple to use.
The attached video is a demo of a very short sequence I animated, and while it does a good job presenting the general feel of the piece, there is still a slight jitter to the animation. Also, as you can probably see, there’s an awkward couple of seconds after the robot (Dobot) stops rising above the tree level where the animation seems to freeze. I know that this is the portion on my key-frame timeline that I decided to end the motions occurring in the trees, the family, and Dobot all at once, but kept the clouds scrolling for about 15 more seconds.
Since I did this on my laptop I’m not too certain if this has to do with my hardware rather than the program itself, but no matter what I tried this jolted movement persisted.
Sadly, you can’t add sound or music to the animations. At least not yet. Hopefully this is something they decide to include in a later version. The only reason I bring this up is because I specifically crafted music and sfx to be played alongside the animations for this story and ultimately couldn’t include them.
One last thing. They also include the option to preview the animation in your browser, but each time I tried it would take me to a blank screen where the various layers would pop in at random rather than flowing naturally as they are supposed to. This isn’t too big of a deal, but it would just be another nice element to flesh out in future updates in the program.
All in all I’m having a fun time using Hype and experimenting with various animations. It seems like a great tool if you want to do quick tests or studies before diving into the final animation. It’s free to try for 14 days with their trial, so I say if you’re at all interested, just go check it out for yourself.