Trying Out Ebsynth

What is Ebsynth?

Ebsynth is currently a free program whilst it is still in Beta which allows you to stylize videos with different art styles. The developers are working on a final professional version which will be licensed and paid.

The basic usage is that you paint over a key frame (or several key frames in a more complex video) with the style you want transferred to the rest of the video or animation and the Ebsynth software makes all the frames look like the style of the key frame you customized.

It works best on fairly simple movements. If you have different scenes or wider variance of moment in the video (say big head turns or dramatic movement) you would need to make more custom key frames to help the Ebsynth program transfer the style to the whole sequence without going  a bit crazy.

I saw a few examples of what Ebsynth could do on their website last year and thought it might be interesting to give it a go when I had some time available.

Why Use Ebsynth?

Nate (Nate Does Art) asked me to give a reason why I made the example I’m going to show you and honestly the reason in my case was mostly just curiosity and experimentation.

I can see potential in this technique for artists to show their art in a different form of media other than just still images and I’m sure it will be of interest to animators and film makers who want to mix live footage or 3D with other 2D art styles. You can use this program like a style / effects rotoscoping tool.

The video by Gleb Alexandrov helped me get started. I recommend you watch that one and the basic tutorials on the Ebsynth website as well to get an idea of how to use the software.


Process

I’ll go over how I made the turtle animation in this section of the article.

This video shows the original renders for a turnaround animation I made using one of my recent 3D models of a turtle, the hand drawn key frame inputs made using Krita and the final outputted frames using Ebsynth.

I used a turnaround animation I had rendered out as an image sequence in Blender  for the Video setting in Ebsynth.

I selected key frames from the sequence that I thought I would need to use to create a good consistent result with the style transfer using Ebsynth then I got to work creating hand drawn versions of them using Krita. You could use any digital art program you like for this by the way, I just like using Krita for this particular style at the moment.

I did the drawings twice the size required then resized them to 1920 by 1080px. The customized key frames have to match the size of the video image frames for Ebsynth to work with them. I always do artwork at least twice the size it will be re-produced as a general rule, it helps get more detail in.Hand Drawn Key Frames for the Turtle animation

After I had the key frames I needed I dragged and dropped the locations of the folders into the Ebsynth program and it automatically worked out the output folders needed. I tweaked the advanced settings to reduce flickering and I put the synthesis detail to high.

Ebsynth Settings

After clicking “Run All” it takes a while and creates all of the stylized frame sequences in the folders for you.

I used Blender to composite the sequences and create blends between them and then outputted them as a video. If you need more information on how to do this bit you should watch The video by Gleb Alexandrov toward the end where he describes exactly how to do this.

turtlevideotest

I thought the result worked very well. I may tweak it in the future if I have time to do so and add a few more key frames here and there. I could also have added the first key frame from the Ebsynth result as the last key frame to create more of a looping result.

Thanks for reading this article, I hope it was interesting.

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