Original Article Date: April 8, 2002
Sean explores how to use animation to follow the movement of an actor - this technique is often used to pan across a landscape and will prove to be a very useful tool. Note: The contents of this article is based upon MicroStation /J.
So far, so good. I hope that the lack of e-mails means that we’re all going well and have a good grasp. In the last tutorial we had a look at the way we can use animation to mimic the way we use the fixed target style of fly-through. This time we’re going to have a look at how we can use animation to follow the movement of an actor. We often refer to this as panning across a landscape and it's a very useful tool in animation.Open 106_Ergoman.dgn and we’re back with our old mate again, but this time he has a few mates!
Erogoman's companions includes a sphere and a series of lights that we'll use to create our final product. Got you curious?The steps we're going to go through are as follows:
Step 1:For this exercise, the target we're going to use is the sphere. Select Create Actor from the Animation Actor tool box and identify the sphere. Enter the name as Target and define the origin as the center of the sphere. If you’re not sure about all the actor settings, refer back to previous tutorials to refresh your memory.
Now that we've defined the target, we can set it's path to travel which will be along the sweeping curve. Pick the Define Actor Path tool and simply follow the prompts: select the actor from the picklist, and define the end of the path.Tip: Once we've set up the path, we'll be able to move, scale or otherwise modify the path element and the actor will automatically go with it. This is one of the biggest advantages with using animation for better fly-through effects!The last thing to do in this step is to set the beginning and end frame numbers for the movement of the target. For this exercise just set the End Frame to 100 and we're now ready to scipt.Tip: For a completley different effect, you can have the target accelerate or decelerate along the path at different times! Of course we'll look at how this can be done in future tutorials.
Step 2:To script the target, select the Script Target tool from the Animation Cameras tool box and double click the Target actor created in Step 1. We now need to set the beginning and end frame for our target...this means that the camera will only use the target during the frames that we enter. Again, this will be more beneficial when we use multiple targets later on, but for now just set the Begin Frame to 0.00 and the End Frame to 100.00.
To check how our movie script is coming along, go to Utilities > Render > Animation and take a peek at the Animation Producer. As we have learned in earlier tutorials, this is the editing suite of our movie and where we become the director!
Step 3:Creating the camera for this style of animation is easy, as we don’t need to be too careful as to where the camera is facing. All we need to worry about is the level the camera is placed which will be the centre of the arc. Select Create Animation Camera from the Animation Cameras tool box and adjust the settings as follows: Standard Lens: Extra Wide and Cell Scale: 10. Snap to the center of the arc and accept it to define the start point of the camera. As we mentioned earlier, as we're using targets to set the viewing point so it’s not too critical where we have the end point/target of the camera. I tend to use the Top View and simply select a point beyond the elements. If we're concerned about the position and angle of the camera then I would suggest setting up a few construction lines to work from. This also gives you a starting point to go back to in the event you lose the rotation of the view and cannot get it back to the way you had it. Once we've entered the last data point, we'll need to give out camera a name which can be: Camera.
Step 4:Ok, so now that we have the camera set up, all we have to do is script it. Again, this might seem silly with only one camera, but later on we’ll look at how we can use multiple cameras as well as multiple targets to get some great effects. From the Animation Cameras tool box, select Script Camera and double click the name of the camera. Since we're going to to use the camera from Frame 1 we can just hit the OKbutton.
Step 5:We now have our camera and our target ready to be used for the creation of our movie and if we have a look at the Animation Producer, we’ll see that both the camera and target appear with their scripts.
Now we can define a few material assignments and is set the view up to record. I normally use View 8, just be sure to turn off level 63 which contains he construction lines. our movie. Click on File/Record Script and select the format to save to. Give it a name and off we go. If you’re not sure about anything in the recording process, review the previous tutorials. To make life a bit more interesting, I have already included a *.mat file for this to render with. I have use standard MicroStation materials and have produced something a little different with reflective materials.
Now we can record our movie. Click on File > Record Script and select the format to save to. Give it a name and off we go. If you’re not sure about anything in the recording process, review the previous tutorials. While this example isn’t the norm, it’s meant to make you think about the process rather than the subject.In the next tutorial, we’ll have a look at how we can use MicroStation standard targets and see how we can use invisible targets to help us view another object. In this case, the old hotel that's delivered with MicroStation.Till then!Bear
AskInga Article #106