Original Article Date: April 9, 2001
The first in a series of articles - this tutorial introduces you to the fundamentals of animating in MicroStation V7. Follow along as Inga and Sean make a jet fly across your screen! Note: The contents of this article is based upon MicroStation /J.Updated 2001-04-10 for a pretty good reason I'm sure.
To get started with this tutorial, download this zip file: 62.zipExtract the two design files: Animate1.dgn and Jet1.dgn.You can place the files in any folder.Open Animate1.dgn and notice the following:
By the end of this article, you'll have learned how to animate the jet so it flys towards the bottom of your screen, but before we can do that, you'll need to open a few dialogs and tool boxes:The Animation Producer: Utilities > Render > Animation
The Animation Tool Frame: Tools > Visualization Tools > Animation Tools and tear off the Animation Actors tool box.
To begin the process, we need to create an actor which is the element that is going to be animated. Essentially, an actor is a special kind of cell which is created from one or more elements in a design file....(in our case, the jet). Once created, the actor is then given instrucions on when and where to move. To create our actor for the jet, select the jet with the Element Selection tool and pick the Create Actor tool. MicroStation will respond with a dialog that will allow you to enter a name for your actor as well as adjust any movement settings. The default movement settings are normally adequate and will offer your actor a fair range of mobility.Enter any name you'd like ("Jet1")and notice that a compass is positioned on your cursor. This compass defines the 'origin of movement' and should be carefully thought out prior to being defined. In our example, you can set the end of the jets nose as the origin by snapping and accepting that location.
You can now turn off the display of the Reference File and should be left with the Jet1 actor. At this point we can now apply movement instructions to the actor. This is done by scripting the actor by using keyframes, defining a path or by applying a parametric motion formula. For this tute, we'll create a simple script that says our actor will move so far per frame.
Select Script Actor and double click Jet1 to open the Script Actor dialog. The resulting dialog allows you to create a script to position the actor during the animation sequence and we will be using it to instruct the jet to move in the Y direction 0.5 meters per frame over 50 frames.
To define the number of frames to move enter 0.00 in Begin Frame and 50.00 in the End Frame fields. To define the distance to move, key in -0.50*frame in the Y Position field. This is an example of using a built-in variable which tells MicroStation to move the jet 0.5 master units per frame in the negative Y direction. Once the fields are filled in, click OK and we're done. You've just set up your first animation - let's see what it looks like in action!Set View 1 to the Top View and zoom out a few times. Go to the Animation Producer dialog (Utilities > Render > Animation)and click the >> button. You should see the jet moving down - towards the bottom of your screen!
If you're pleased with your results, you can now save the animation as a movie. Select File > Record Script from the Animation Producer dialog. As you can see from the resulting dialog, there are many options and choices to be made for your final output. Sean prefers to create a Targa file which saves each frame as a single image. These images can then be joined together as a movie by using RAD Video Tools Bink Video Editor. This format also provides a bit more freedom as far as frame speed and mixing in music goes. For something a bit simpiler, you may prefer to choose the FLI or AVI formats.
Once you've finished recording the movie, you'll need to save the script for future use. To do this, select File > Save Script As from the Animation Producer dialog. Doing so will cause MicroStation to write the script to an msa file. This text file will contain any script entries you may have including items such as: directions, views, parameter definition settings, actors, animation cameras, and targets.
Well, that's it for this tute...check back again for yet another lesson in MicroStation Animation. Till then, you may want to check out MicroStations Visualization Guide which will keep you reading well past your bed-time.
AskInga Article #62