[Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

General discussion about Animator for SketchUp

[Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby fredo6 » Tue May 10, 2016 12:02 pm

This thread is dedicated to tutorials on Getting Started with Animator. Beta testers are free to contribute, based on their own experience in making their way through the plugin functionalities.

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)
Burkhard Heimlich - SU15 - Gabelstapler - 0.skp

Here is the final model with the animation (SU2015)
Burkhard Heimlich - SU15 - Gabelstapler - 9.skp

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:
    Animator - Group Selection.png
  • 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.

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Re: [Tutorial] Animator - Tracking Cameras

Postby fredo6 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:42 pm

Tracking Cameras

A tracking camera is a camera attached to an object with a certain viewpoint. This allows to follow the object when it moves.

Tracking cameras supports the Fade-out option, so that you can smoothly switch between two tracking cameras following the same object. Fade out also works to make a smooth transition with other cameras.

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Re: [Tutorial] Animator - Layer Visibility

Postby fredo6 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:48 pm

Layer Visibility

Animator supports two methods to control Layer Visibility
  • STATE: capture of the visibility state of ALL layers. This can be done via the Visual Effect Layer State, or via a View or Scene Camera
  • ON-OFF: Specify the visibility state for given layers
Layer on-off is more adapted to super-impose layer visibility changes since you can control layer by layer.

Note that when these visual effects have a duration > 0, they are ignored when the animation time is after.

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Last edited by fredo6 on Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator - Launching and Stopping Animation

Postby fredo6 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:45 am

Launching / Stopping the Animation

This video tutorial explains the different ways to start, pause, stop and navigate through the Animation in Editor and Player mode.

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Re: [Tutorial] Animator - Kinematic Constraints

Postby fredo6 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:13 am

Kinematic Constraints

This video tutorial explains the concept of Kinematic Constraints to coordinate the movements of several objects.

It only shows the first 3 introduced with Animator v1.1c:
- Same Movement
- Rigidity
- Global Instance

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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby ntxdave » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:49 pm

When will 1.1c be released?

At first I did not see a use for it in my animations, then I thought about it and see where it could be very useful in some of the things I am doing and have planned for future animations. Looking forward to testing/using it.
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby faust07 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:13 pm

Great work, Fredo! That is, in addition to those plugins based on physical laws, the most complex animation tool for SketchUp. I wish I had the time currently for ideas and good examples ...
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator - Visual Extents

Postby fredo6 » Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:04 pm

Visual Extents

This video tutorial explains the concept of Visual Extents which is a visual effect forcing the camera to frame the whole model or a selection of objects. The camera automatically pans and zooms to center the whole model or selection of objects and make sure it is fully visible in the viewport.


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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby pilou » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:53 pm

Spielberg uses Animator for prototyping its movies! :fro:
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby ithil » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:36 pm

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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby fredo6 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:59 pm

ithil,

Good job. Thank you very much, this is a big contribution.

Fredo
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby Migmat » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:50 pm

PROBLEM GENERATING VIDEO with ffmpg.exe INSKETCHUP 2013 (Works Animator for this versión?)

1- Animator Beta Works OK
2- Install ffmpeg.exe in LibFredo6 (disapear the red text to Find the ffmpeg.exe)
3- Make a simple animation that Works fine in preview
4- Try to generate a video with defaut parameters. Push the button "Test Image" and also work
5- Push the button "Generate Video" and NOTHING HAPPENDS. Sketchup continues inside the animator plugin. I can exit and star again the plugin,but nothing happends.

I instal the two versión of ffmpeg.exe, the last and the 3.2 (more stable).

Thanks in advance
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby fredo6 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:28 pm

@Migmat
Your problem may be independent of FFmpeg.

When you generate the video, do you get the progress dialog box ?

Can you open the Ruby console to see if there is an error displayed.

Fredo
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby Migmat » Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:51 pm

Thanks Fredo for your extraordinary plugin.

I answer first and send more data next.

a- When generate Video animation (sketchup2013)I dont get any progress dialog box

b - Te rubi console says this error:

SkETCHUP 2013 RUBI CONSOLE OUTPUT DURING ANIMATOR VIDEO CREATION

-------------------------------------------------------------------
ambient init nil nil
ambient init nil nil
Twilight declare nil
:dimY => 806
:beg_time => 0
:date_modified => 1478294026.547
:reverse => nil
:movie_formats => {
:mov => false
:avi => true
:mp4 => true
} (:movie_formats)
:speed_factor => 1.0
:root_dir => "D:/DISEÑO_DIBUJOS_IMAGENES/SKETCHUP_2013/@_ Animaciones/ANIMATOR FREDO/Animator Videos"
:rendering_method => :natural
:movie_name => "Despegue avion"
:filter => {
} (:filter)
:dimX => 1710
:end_time => 2.0
:movie_dir => "AnimatorPRU_1 - 09-Nov-2016 18-22-13"
:dim_mode => "viewport"
:frame_rate => 25
Error: #<Errno::ENOENT: No such file or directory - D:/DISEÑO_DIBUJOS_IMAGENES/SKETCHUP_2013/@_ Animaciones/ANIMATOR FREDO/Animator Videos>
(eval):944:in `mkdir'
(eval):944:in `movie_create_folder'
(eval):863:in `movie_top_generate'
(eval):1820:in `movie_dialog_call_back'
(eval):379:in `call'
(eval):379:in `notify_result'
(eval):442:in `on_close'
(eval):405:in `dialog_create'
(eval):454:in `call'
(eval):454:in `j_onclose'
(eval):197:in `create_dialog'
(eval):223:in `call'
(eval):223:in `close'
(eval):223:in `close'
(eval):453:in `close_validate'
(eval):1247:in `param_dialog_callback'
(eval):574:in `call'
(eval):574:in `j_action'
(eval):501:in `j_callback'
(eval):491:in `j_dispatch'

END OF OUTPUT

-----------------------------------------------------

Such directory efectively exist.


MORE EXPERIMETS

1- I installa Animator on Sketchup 2014 on the same PC

2- Works perfectly. meke the animation and the final video without problems.

Posible problem: we know that Sketchup 2013 and 2014 have quite differnt folder structure, firsly in the plugin placement.

Could be related with this?


thanks again.
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby Migmat » Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:21 pm

This is a sample of my animation job with a very poor elaborated animation plugin.

With your plugin I hope to get better results

(Is the recreation of a traffic accident seen from two viewpoint)

https://youtu.be/smH45zCrcAk

View From the car

https://youtu.be/t90VGHm8zuo
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby fredo6 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:05 pm

@Migmat,

1) In Sketchup 2013, there is no satisfactory support for non-ascii diretory or filename. So this may be the explanation. In Sketchup 2014, based on Ruby 2.0, non-ascii is fully supported.

2) Your video is quite impressive. I don't know which plugin you used, but I would not qualify it of "very poor elaborated animation plugin".

Fredo
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby pilou » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:27 am

Dead or alive ?
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby pilou » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:28 am

Dead or alive ? (the motor bike guy)

PS Animator has not a French version ?
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby Migmat » Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:46 pm

Thanks Fredo for your acclaration. Now I am using Sketchup 2014.



Fortunately alive!. Thanks again for your care.

You hare good coders but better persons.

Compared with your Animator plugin the used in my video is really poor(frame Animation). The animation that I did is only plenty of tricks, artisan job and posproduction in some videos.

Postproduction i a really important key in most films.

I advice HitFilm. A very unknown and ppwerful software for PostPro.
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby Migmat » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:27 pm

First test of your amazing Animator plugin.

Is only a ten minutes of work animation that shows a minimun part of the power behind Animator.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEU_PbIHSgQ
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby Migmat » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:38 pm

A Little example of mixing Sketchup with some PostPro of HitFilm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsHz7sedwo4

And a funny/mini PostPro.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHjCyM1yKRE

Fredo Animator plus HitFilm could be very good.
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby M3one » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:05 pm

Hi Fredo,

I've been working on an animation lately and it's almost finished. The last thing I want to do is to generate a video rendered with Twilight Render (free version) but I don't know how to do it. Please could you tell me how?

Thanks!
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby ntxdave » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:15 pm

M3one wrote:Hi Fredo,

I've been working on an animation lately and it's almost finished. The last thing I want to do is to generate a video rendered with Twilight Render (free version) but I don't know how to do it. Please could you tell me how?

Thanks!

I am not Fredo but I can tell you that you must have the Pro version to create a rendered animation with Twilight.
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby M3one » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:51 pm

ntxdave wrote:
M3one wrote:Hi Fredo,

I've been working on an animation lately and it's almost finished. The last thing I want to do is to generate a video rendered with Twilight Render (free version) but I don't know how to do it. Please could you tell me how?

Thanks!

I am not Fredo but I can tell you that you must have the Pro version to create a rendered animation with Twilight.


:( That's a pity

Is there anyway to generate a video clip with a decent render for free?

Thanks for your answer!
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby fredo6 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:48 pm

Trajectory

Trajectory is a visual effect allowing to visualize the trajectory of selected points along the animation.

The resulting Trajectory curves are drawn in the viewport. You can then
- generate them as one or several groups in the Sketchup model
- export the coordinates in a CSV file

Since Trajectory is a visual effect, you can insert instances along the timeline and switch them on and off, so that you can visualize trajectory curves when desired.

Note: because the resolution of trajectory is dependent on the progression of the animation, it is a good idea to reduce the animation speed to generate smoother trajectory curves.

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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby pilou » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:09 pm

How is drawn the first curve without the object (s) ?
Seems curves are resulting and not something to follow ?
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby fredo6 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:35 pm

pilou wrote:How is drawn the first curve without the object (s) ?
Seems curves are resulting and not something to follow ?

Trajectory curves reflect the movement of a given point on the solid. So they are always attached to an object.

This feature has nothing to do with Movement along Path. This will come in the next release, when I finish the GUI for it.

Actually, I initially designed the Trajectory visual effect for debugging purpose, in order to follow the movement of objects (since MovementAlongPath has to deal with offsetting).

Fredo
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby pilou » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:31 am

Thanks for the precision! :enlight:
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby John SB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:30 pm

First, thank you for all you excellent plugins!

I'm getting to know Animator and all was well until I started with cameras. Following your video, I tried to zoom out from the model. But when I capture the current camera view, the view jumps (either out or in) to a fixed distance from the model, so I can’t do the close-up view. The point of view of the camera(s) is preserved but not the distance. Panning and movement interpolation is also correct, but from the same fixed distance. Is there a setting in either Animator or SU that I'm missing?
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Re: [Tutorial] Animator Quick Start

Postby fredo6 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:06 am

Do you have already other views or visual effects in your timeline?

The best is to post the model with your current animation, so that I have a look.

There is a small issue with view capture, but related to object movement, not to zoom.

Thanks

Fredo
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