Topic: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

I've started down the long "journey" of saving for dragon frame. But as you can see on my channel, I don't have many pieces for set making. Sure I have a bunch of random rainbow bricks, but that would make it look tacky. I have enough on me that I could buy all the set pieces I would need. But, is dragon frame worth getting enough that I should continue saving  for it?

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

While I am definitely not as equipped as others to give advice, personally I would buy more Lego.

"Of course I'm lucky, I'm a leprechaun!"-Fred the Leprechaun
I hope no one has realized I like emojjies mini/shifty

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

Depends on the rest of your setup. Do you have a webcam or DSLR? Are you on Mac or Windows? It sure seems like Dragon Frame is one of the only viable options for live view for an SLR on Macintosh. I have a Canon T3 and it isn't supported by iStopmotion even. If you have Windows there are many cheaper options then Dragon Frame. Building up pieces should come first.

Life is like a box of LEGO, you never know what you're gonna build. - mrgraff

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

I think the general consensus here is that Dragonframe is one of the best stop motion programs around. However, I would say unless you are using it with a D-SLR and will use its advanced features it probably is not worth the money for you right now. While most free stop motion programs are far from perfect, they shouldn't stop you from being able to make some amazing films.

So I'd say buy more LEGO first! mini/smile (and then maybe save up for Dragonframe if you find yourself craving its features later on)

Edit: Dragonframe has free trial so you can see if it would be at all useful to you.

Last edited by BoatsAreRockable (April 20, 2017 (02:07pm))

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Free stop motion software with 1080p support!
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Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

I use windows 10 and a C920. Thanks for your help!

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

LEGO, unless you've already invested in a DSLR.

Loosely think of Dragonframe like a set of really nice pencils for a sketch artist. To a professional who has been drawing for thousands of hours, those pencils are going to be borderline necessary to do work at the standard the artist is used to. But if you haven't developed your drawing skill, the pencils aren't going to make you draw better- you probably won't know how to get the most out of them in your work.

In the same way, Dragonframe offers lots of helpful features for animators (and for those with DSLR cameras, it's currently the one of if not the only really well-supported animation capture software that will work for them) but it's not going to make you a better animator if you're still at a stage where you don't know the basics and don't have workflow preferences .

I'd really discourage anyone from investing a lot of money into brickfilming before they've got a few films out and have been going at it for a while. It's hard to honestly evaluate your skills in the early stages of any sort of hobby (you don't know what you don't know, etc...) and so it can be tempting to imagine that if we just had industry-standard software, studio-grade lights, or a thousand dollar camera we could really improve. In truth though, learning to work with limitations is a big part of developing as an artist, and staying in a reasonable budget is just part of being a responsible person, so we have to keep those things in mind whenever we're deciding whether we really need that solid gold plated tripod just yet. Which isn't to say "never invest in your work" or "buy junk"; just make sure you're investing in things you absolutely are going to need. I suspect LEGO is more likely than Dragonframe to be something your films need, but only you know for sure.

That said, y'all can see that I'm by no means the most qualified brickfilmer here so take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

Thank you very much. You helped a lot. I think I'll take a look on Pick A Brick soon. Maybe 100 2x4 bricks would be a good start.
I've technically been filming for 4 years now, but I'm new to filming in high quality.
What's the best inexpensive software? Ikitmovie didn't work.

Last edited by Alaberria (April 20, 2017 (03:15pm))

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

I think that we can all agree that this is better than this, although a lot of that is just plain experience, imagination, and presentation.

However, Raiders of the Hawaiian Box was filmed with a webcam (using onion skinning and the play last 5 frames buttons to help with animation) while De Mortem was filmed on a canon powershot that couldn't remote capture. And, while the animation in both is pretty rough, it's pretty obvious that one shines over the other.

If you've been saving up for Dragonframe for a long time, then I'd recommend you keep saving up for it. Although, while I'm not too interested in Lego MOC's generally, I do believe that presentation (sets, lighting, story) almost always trumps animation (and software/hardware).

I still love to watch older brickfilms, before HD was widespread, and the camera quality only rarely gets on my nerves. (And even then, this only happens when it outright makes everything harder to understand/see). However, if you're wanting to step up your game, go ahead and improve your equipment & software.

That's kinda the Brickfilmer's greatest dilemma, isn't it? - Whether to buy camera's and software, or pick-a-brick and sets? mini/confused

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

Well, the biggest step up for me was buying the c920. This was the last thing I did before getting my c920 for Christmas , and this is the first proper film I did with the c920 . Of course I did do a THAC 2016 entry between those two, but I don't really think my THAC entries are a good example of my work.

But yeah, I don't think App Man Episode 1 would look half as good as it did, had I still had the same equipment I used for Lego Shaking Stevens. However, App Man Episode 4 was probably my best looking film yet, as I put more effort into building better sets. You do need a combo of both, but the thing that is going to make the most difference is the equipment.

I think you can make a pretty great brickfilm with a cheap stop motion software and a c920. Because unless you have a lot of money, or even have brickfilming as a career, you're probably not going to be able to get Dragonframe. If you were unsure whether you should get better software or a better webcam, go and get yourself a c920, as that's going to make more difference.

Sure, I'd like Dragonframe, but I'm a teenager, getting ready to start studying, so yeah, go figure. I honestly don't think Dragonframe would help me improve my animation enough to make it worth me having to empty my pocket!

Last edited by William Osborne (April 21, 2017 (02:09am))

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

I am still using windows movie maker, and have spent more money on bricks. I think a good set makes a lot of difference. I would like to get dragonframe at some point too but I think it is not my priority yet.

Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

Well, having collected Lego for 4 years before I made my first animation, I already had a fair amount of useful pieces for set design, however even though I have been animating (or doing animation tests) for 4 years with just a phone and a few apps which total to roughly £15 I have spent most of the rest of my money on Lego, which has allowed my range of pieces for set building to dramatically increase over the 9 years to 100,000 pieces (yeaaa... I don't know how either). Now, if you have got a DSLR, then I would recommend Istopmotion so long as you have a Mac and it supports your camera. Otherwise (unless you are happy with some of the free softwares which mainly just let you capture the image and use onion skinning etc., in which case I would recommend starting with those) then Dragonframe in my opinion would be the next option. What you need to keep in mind though is that there is a 99.99% chance that once you have Dragonframe you won't need to save money for something to replace it, so it's kind of the final stage, if you like. While set design isn't an area I usually criticise brickfilms on (usually it is animation quality, cinematography, storyline, SFX - including voices and music - and VFX), I do award extra points for amazing sets and deduct points for bad sets, and at the moment I would say the sets in your animations aren't great. As of right now I would definitely recommend spending some money on pieces. 2x4 bricks would be a good start, but I would also recommend flower stems for grass, transparent blue studs for water, and also any other pieces that could be used for making props. I have a lot of pre-made props, which saves a lot of time for building the sets, so it might be a good idea to do the same. Just make sure to create some new ones every now and again so that they don't get repetitive! mini/smile

So my overall answer is that until you cannot improve any further (or much further) with your brick films, spend money on sets rather than software. Of course, in some very rare scenarios you don't need to have an amazing set, but still mini/tongue

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Re: What's More Important? The Set, Or Program?

Thank you! that really helped!