The Act of Creation – Kill of the Night, Post #3

It’s time to start pulling the animations.  Actually, I lost a few days in there so I *really* need to get my butt in gear!

I have my own method and rhythm for creating choreography for a dance.  It works for me and because I follow the same general process every time, once I get started it usually moves right along.  Choreography is usually my favorite part of creating a dance – most days!

I’m sharing how I do it here.  As I often say – take from it what you will!  Maybe you’ll be inspired to tweak your method, or you might make a face and go…uhh…lol!

Step 1 – Get the music:  I purchase a copy of the music from Amazon if I can.  Sometimes I’m using a special mix or a version of the song from YouTube that isn’t available for purchase.  I always download it and have a file, no matter where I’m getting the music from.

Step 2 – Get the music player ready:  I open my file in TROFF or whatever music player you’ll be using.  I like TROFF and Audacity.  In both you can add markers (labels) where the chorus is, slower sections, etc.  This helps me when I’m choosing animations.

Step 3 – Get my costume on.  For women especially, dance animations can look very different depending on the costume.  If I haven’t finished my costume yet, I wear something similar.  Flowing skirt – leather straps – hiphop outfit, etc.

Step 4 – Starting picking from my current dance animations:  Time to start selecting!  Most everyone has different ways they organize their animations.  Maybe you have yours in a HUD – one for country, one for hip hop, etc.  Maybe you open animations from your inventory.  Maybe you have pose stands.  I use what’s called a “Boom Station”, which basically has a stand pad and buttons where I can organize my animations.  Mine are organized by store – or for stores where I have a lot I organize by store and type/pack (like Abranimations S2 Ballet).  There’s no wrong way to do it – just whatever works for you.

So, with my Boom Station, I can press arrows to go through the animations loaded in each button, and hit the number if I like an animation for the dance.  I make quick decisions – if I think it might work, I pull it knowing I’ll whittle them down later.  When I hit the number, it gives me a copy of the animation.  When I’m done picking, I’ll load them all into a Smooth Dancer HUD to start working on my choreography.  This is my way – use whatever way works for you to test your animations and collect them so you can put them in a choreography HUD!

After working more with layering animations in the Performance Director, I was surprised to notice I automatically started looking at the animations differently.  For a few, I wasn’t thrilled about the beginning of the animation but it had cool moves shortly after the beginning so I grabbed those too.  We will see!

Step 5 – Load the animations in a Smooth Dancer HUD for choreo:  I put the animations I picked into a single Smooth Dancer HUD.  I rename my HUD to CHOREO <name of the dance> then leave the Smooth Dancer..blah..blah..blah…version number.  For this dance it will be CHOREO KillNight Smooth Dancer..and the rest of the original HUD name.  I find I can copy about 20 animations into the HUD at a time.  Much more than that, and ye old “In-world object creation failed” error pops up – which means at least one of them didn’t copy.  Easier to just do 20 at a time and avoid that.

Step 6 – Buy a few new animations to add:  I try to purchase two or three new animations for every dance I create.  This was an excellent tip passed on to me that I’ve continued – it helps keep my animations “fresh”.  Sometimes a piece of music also needs something that I just don’t have in my own animation inventory.

This is where I go shopping.  I try not to go overboard, limiting it to just a few new purchases.  If I’m not careful, this can become a major procrastination tactic for me – spending my entire day going to the stores looking for the “perfect” animation or trying out all the new animations or checking out their animation sales and events.  On occasion I do need something specific, but most often I’m just procrastinating…

Note about Dance Animation Stores:  Just like dance venues, dance animation stores have their own “vibe” and style.  Abranimations is where you can get mirror animations, they generally have a lot of new releases and their animations are great for smoothly transitioning into and out of other animations.  Sync’ed has a lot of new releases and some that are very expressive.  Some are kind of “clubby” which doesn’t usually work for me, so I know I need to sort through a bit there.  Some stores have great animations but aren’t creating any new ones – like S4D.  MyAnimation has good animations – they’re all sorted by type of dance.  A&M has good animations and comes out with new releases though not as quickly as Abram and S4D.  They have excellent couples dances.  Henmations has some good ones too, although I find the unisex ones are still pretty feminine.  I haven’t seen new ones come out there in quite a while.  These are just some of the dance animation stores.  When I’m looking to add a few new animations for a dance, I keep this info in mind when deciding where to look.


OK, now that I’ve written all of that, what am I doing?  I’m in the process of picking animations from my Boom Station.  Usually I can finish this within a day.  I do find that I need to take breaks periodically, otherwise the animations will all start blurring together or the process becomes something I just want to get done.  When I get to feeling like this, it’s a red flag that I need to stop for a while, then come back when I’m refreshed.  My dance will be a lot better if I take a breather, and I’ll enjoy the process a lot more.

Dance like there’s no tomorrow!  Until next time….

~ Eva

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One Response to The Act of Creation – Kill of the Night, Post #3

  1. I was impressed at how similar our styles are. Rather than TROFF (Hmmmm, need to look into that more), I go basic and use a pen and paper, write down times, lyrics (to tag transitions), the Audacity time and the variations I make to calculate the PD time such as including a two-second delay or starting within a few beats or measures within the music. Further, I calculate the seconds / beat when I want to nudge my choreography– a beat there, a quarter note here (divide the beat by 4),… small but important changes that can be JUST what I needed, tweaked further, or send me cursing back to correct something else to set up my changes more efficiently. -Niecho

    Liked by 1 person

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