Original Article Date: March 6, 2002
Here it is! Part 6 in Sean's continuing series on animation. This latest contribution will get you started on creating fly-throughs using simple animation techniques. Note: The contents of this file are based upon MicroStation /J.
Time to change tactics a little bit with my tutorials. I’ve been asked if I can break them down into smaller issues to give people a better chance to get to know each stage better. Now that we have look at creating actors and animating with KeyFrames. It’s time to have a look at the most common use of animation. This involves the use of actors and cameras when doing fly-throughs. The advantage of using the animation tools to do fly-throughs is that you'll have a greater degree of freedom over the flight path. Once you've set the actor path and location, you can edit the paths characteristics (size, rotation, etc) and have the actor move with it. Believe me, once you get the hang of this method, you will never use the FlyThrough Producer again.To get started, download and open 103_Animat_1.dgn and you'll see our old friend the fighter plane again. Basically what we're going to do is fly a camera along an element while remaining focused on the plane and the general steps involved are as follows:
Step 1:To define the plane as an actor, add the plane to a selection set and pick Create Actor from the Animation Actors toolbox. Enter a name and snap to the end of the line coming out of the planes nose. This line is on level 63 and you can turn it off once this step is done.
Step 2:Draw yourself a circle around the plane in the Top view.
You may need to set the active depth to a point about the center of the plane as indicated by the black dot on the image below:-- Pick the Set Active Depth tool from the 3d View Control tool box and enter a data point in the Top view.-- Specify the elevation by entering a data point on an adjacent view such as the Front View.
Since you'll need to be able to select a start and end point when defining the path, you'll also need to make a wee little break in the circle to turn it into an almost closed arc. You can do this easily with the Partial Delete tool and it doesn't matter where you cut the circle..just as long as it has a selectable end points.
Step 3:You'll now have to create a camera: Open the Animation Cameras toolbox from the Animation Tools tool frame and select the first icon, Create Animation Camera. This tool will allow you to create a camera and once selected a camera cell will be attached to your cursor. For purposes of this tutorial, you can use the Wide lens setting and leave all other settings as is. To define the camera orign, enter a data point at the start of the camera path which will be one of the circle end points. Then enter a data point anywhere on the plane to define the camera target. Finally, enter a name and description and you'll be ready to do the scripting.
Step 4:Next step is to make the camera move along the path of the circle. Since the camera is actually an "actor" you can use the Define Actor path tool from the Animation Actors tool box. This tool is used to define the path along which an actor moves and can be an open or closed element. Select the actor to move by double-clicking the "camera" entry in the dialog. You will then need to identify the path element (circle) at it's end point. As soon as you accept this location, you'll be presented with the following dialog:
Set the End Frame to 100 and leave the Begin Frame to 0. The Begin Frame number is fairly important when doing animation involving more than one camera and we'll look at that in a separate tutorial.Step 5:At this point we need to specify the frame number at which to being using the camera. Select Script Camera from the Animation Cameras tool box, and keep the default settings. "Walk before you run" as they say!
Step 6:The last thing you'll need to do is to define the specified frame interval that you want the camera will be aimed at. In this case, you want the camera to be aimed at the plane for the entire duration of the animation. The target, where the camera is aiming at, can be any existing actor in the file and MicroStation will use the origin of the identified target as the 'fixed point'.Select Script Target from the Animation Cameras tool box and double click on the Plane actor. Since you'll want the camera to point at the plane for the entire session, enter 0.00 for the Begin Frame and 100.00 for the End Frame.Step 7:To test what you've done, open up the Animation Producer from the Utilities > Render menu item, set the View to 8 and hit the >> button! Tip: If you need to move closer or further away from the plane, just use the Modify Element tool to change the diameter of the circle.Tip: For a totally different effect, rotate the path element so it lies diagonally across the plane! This gives a really different view of the target. The idea is to use different views to get an affect that catches the eye of your audience while still conveying design in the animation. Be daring!
AskInga Article #103