Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Adding Framecounter in quicktime

Someone at AM gave the link to a helpful tutorial on 11 Second Club on adding framecounter to your animation in quicktime, which is very cool when you don't have a shot mask...


Animation is a frame-by-frame art form. It's important to have control over each and every frame that's in your animation. And when you're critiquing someone's work, it can be invaluable to be able to be able to refer the animator to a specific frame or range of frames in their animation. Instead of trying to talk in a roundabout way, vaguely referring to an area of someone's piece by mentioning a bit of the dialogue near the frame in question, or a gesture that occurs slightly after the note you're trying to address, imagine if the previous video had actually been posted like this:

Hey hey hey! Now I can happily frame back and forth through this animation, and get down and dirty with my critiques. With the addition of a framecounter, I can now post a response something a little more like this:

Hi again. Thanks for including a framecounter this time--that's a huge help! Okay, so that eyebrow pop I was talking about is happening between frames 142 and 143. See how the eyebrows come right back down on frame 144? I think you might get a little bit of a more appealing motion if you hold those eyebrows up for 3 or 4 frames, and then ease into bringing them back down to their normal resting spot by frame 150 or so. (and remember to ease back into the resting position for a frame or two, so it won't feel like an abrupt stop). Also, now that I can see the exact frame numbers, I can tell you that the spacing on the body between frame 134 and 135 seems a bit big--not that you can't get away with that, but you drop down so quickly on frame 137, without easing into the top of the move at all, it feels a bit like a pop....

See how much easier it is to critique once we can identify specific frames by their exact numbers? And I'll tell you a secret: for me, it's a lot more fun, too!

Now, I know what you're saying "But Eric, my software doesn't have a frame counter, and I don't have access to any kind of fancy editing packages." Well, fear not. First of all, most major animation packages allow you to include a framecounter when you save a playblast or a preview render. Look in your software's help file to find out how to access it.

As another option, you can use Quicktime Pro to help you add in a frame counter in a few relatively simple steps. Here's how:

# Step 1: Right-click and choose "Save As..." to download the following Text file:


# Step 2: Open your animation file in Quicktime and press Control-I (Windows) or Command-I (Mac). This will bring up the movie's Information Panel. The third item should be FPS, or Frames Per Second. Remember the number displayed here, as you will need it in the next step.
# Step 3: Open QuicktimeFrameCounter.txt in a text editor. On the second line of the file, you should see {timescale: XX}. Replace the XX with the FPS number from Step 2. Then save the text file.
# Step 4: Using Quicktime (not a text editor), open the QuicktimeFrameCounter.txt file on your local machine, along with the playblast of your animation. You should now have two Quicktime windows open.
# Step 5: With the QuicktimeFrameCounter.txt window active, press Control-A and then Control-C. This will select all the frames of the movie and copy them into Quicktime's buffer.
# Step 6: With your playblast's window active, choose the following from the Quicktime menu: Edit > Add to Movie. This will place the framecounter over your animation in the upper left-hand corner. Next comes the slightly tricky part--follow along closely.
# Step 7: At frame 1, press "i" on your keyboard. This will set the "in frame" for your animation.
# Step 8: Find the last frame of your animation, the last frame before the screen goes black. Once you're on this frame, press the "o" key on your keyboard. This will set the "out frame" for your animation. You're almost there. (note: if you find that you need frame numbers past 300, you will need to edit the .txt file, adding new lines to follow the pattern of the frame numbers that count up to 300, ending with your desired frame number)
# Step 9: Press Control-C to copy this movie, along with the frame counter, into Quicktime's buffer.
# Step 10: Press Control-N to open a new Quicktime document, and then press Control-V to paste your movie plus the framecounter into the new document.
# Step 11: Export your new movie. (note: the Export function is different from the Save and Save As... functions. For more information on exporting your movie, follow the instructions in Helpful Hints - Encoding) This will give you a brand new, perfectly usable Quicktime file of your clean animation, plus a frame counter, all set for your peers to watch and critique!

Original found here.


Rob Tighe said...


The latest Quicktime (7.6.2) has a handy frame counter built right in. It's in the lower left corner, just click on the time code and select "frame number".

Isn't that the coolest?


hahaha yeah totally that's great but it doesn't build it in the video =o(... so when you upload it to youtube or blogger it is played by other players and there is no framecounter anymore, I found those instructions @ 11Second club and pretty sweet for people without shot mask... =oD

But man you are right! the framecounter in quicktime is the coolest thing ever, I use it a lot and I looove it!