For the tutorial below, I have used a model with a simple forklift and pallet.
Credit to Burckhard Heimlich for the Forklift model
Here is the original model (SU2015)
Here is the final model with the animation (SU2015)
The final animation is shown below
It is advised to watch the video in Full Screen mode, to see the details.
1) Preparing the Model
Animation should come at the end of the design process, so that most of the objects are in place. Note that Animator allows to add new objects, but modifying the hierarchy of objects already referenced by Animator may cause undesired issues.
Note: I use the term Object to designate both Groups and Components. Animator supports both. Note that the main difference is that when you animate objects which are inside a component, this affects the other instances of the component. When you select a Component Instance, Animator always shows the other instances that would be affected.
Here are a few advices to prepare the model for Animation, essentially around
- Verifying the Grouping of objects. Grouping is a nice way to transform objects as a whole (even if multi-selection is supported). For instance, a car should be an object, embedding sub-objects such as the car body and the wheels, so that you can move the car while spinning the wheels.Deciding about Groups versus Components, making unique component instances, etc... are the kind of decisions you need to think about.
- Naming the Objects: It will make it easier when selecting objects in the Movement Editor. Animator selection displays a popup showing the hierarchy objects under the mouse, so that you can pick the right one. If no name is given, then you will see "Group" or "Component", as in the example below:
- Creating Layers. Animator records the layer visibility when recording cameras. So it is better to create them before starting the design of an animation.
- Saving the original object positions. Animator includes a Positioner utility, allowing to save the position of all Objects in the model and later restore it. You can save several positions. As there may be bug or mis-manipulation, it is always good to keep a reference positioner so that you can restablish conistent object positions. This is useful, because Undo will not work (objects moves are transparent)
2) Creating a First Animation
The following tutorial shows how to create a basic animation.
3) Finishing the Object Animation
We can now finish the object animation. The tutorial shows how to re-use existing movements and modify / adjust the animation after it is built.
4) Adding Cameras
You will see how to create travelling views with simple cameras and how they are interpolated (fade-out)
5) Installing FFmpeg (MS Windows)
FFmpeg is an open source tool, free, which is used by Animator to generate video files. The tutorial shows how to do the installation once.
6) Generating a video
The tutorial shows how to generate a video at specified dimensions and frame rate, with several options available.