Animator and Thea

General discussion about Animator for SketchUp

Animator and Thea

Postby solo » Thu May 19, 2016 5:08 pm

Best to start a dedicated thread on this topic.


I see the new beta has an animator option in the animation render window, however that does not do anything when I tried it, it runs the render and ends with nothing saved in the selected folder.

the other option is using Animator to render with Thea, now that does work, however it stops at frame 7 or 54 (test i'm doing) and I need to interrupt and then continue for it to render next 5 frames, then seems to do the same (gets stuck on a frame, average frame is 20 seconds but the frame it's stuck on just keeps rendering)
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby solo » Thu May 19, 2016 5:13 pm

I see Thea stops rendering (finishes) and Animator keeps going, wonder why Thea stops after 7 frames.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Thu May 19, 2016 6:58 pm

Solo,

I get the same two problems:

1) infinite frame: Animator is actually not notified when the rendering of the frame is finished.

2) Reverse integration: when launching Thea Animation with method "Fredo's animator", I get the panel to select the animation unit, then is prompt for a directory, and then Thea seems to call the API and go through the animation, but very quickly. In the end, nothing is generated.

I guess Tomasz will have a look.

Fredo
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby tomasz » Fri May 20, 2016 6:29 pm

Check the most recent beta version, please.
I have just uploaded it.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 7:11 pm

Looking forward to see what you guys come up with........
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby solo » Fri May 20, 2016 7:26 pm

tomasz wrote:Check the most recent beta version, please.
I have just uploaded it.



Nope, worse now, this time it does one frame and if you interrupt it crashes SU.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby solo » Fri May 20, 2016 9:07 pm

Okay, works well using the Thea render animation, still an issue when using Animator-Thea.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Fri May 20, 2016 9:10 pm

solo wrote:Okay, works well using the Thea render animation, still an issue when using Animator-Thea.

To help the ignorant, does that mean you rendered with Thea and not with Animator? I saw your post in the gallery

Wish I could try that with a couple of my models. I would share them with you for trying but some of them are not as clean as I know your models are. :lol:

Does Thea allow you to set materials, lighting, and etc.?
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby solo » Fri May 20, 2016 9:13 pm

Yes, I used Thea animation tab to do the render, funny thing is it's faster than using Animator option, may just be the time between frames that is shorter but does seem significantly faster.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Fri May 20, 2016 10:52 pm

That's why animator provides support for the two methods, Direct and Reverse, and why Tomasz implemented the Reverse too.
The main difference is that when Animator calls Thea, Thea renders as if it was a standalone request, and therefore build an internal representation of the model. In batch mode from Thea, I guess caching and other optimizations can be done, because Thea knows that this is an animation.

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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:43 pm

Does anyone have any comprehensive examples of Thea with Animator?

Yes, I have seen the one with the fork lift and the couple of examples that Solo posted. I am finding it hard to find some really good examples of Thea with any type of animations done with SketchUp. Would like to see how it compares with animator and some of the other renderers.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:12 pm

Hope someone can give me some advice here. I installed the trial version of Thea to see how it would work with Animator. Well, the results were not very successful.

  • First I tried one of my car wash models and got no where at all.
  • Then I created a very simple animation. Took the default screen and added a box to it. Then I did a very simple animation with Animator by translating the box 5 feet alone the red axis. I set the time of the animation to 2 seconds. Simple enough right. ;)
  • Next step was to start up Thea. I then went to the animation tab and set the Plugin to Fredo's Animator.
  • First render was generated by clicking on the Render Animation button. The render took 32:12 seconds and generated 50 frames. Since Thea does not natively create a movie (it created 50 png images), I then used Microsoft Movie Maker to create the movie with each frame set to a duration of .04 seconds. OK, other than the watermarks (which is standard for a lot of trial versions and I am OK with that).
  • Next I rendered the animation using Animator. This time the render took 34:26 and generated 51 frames (mp4 format). I thought that was fine and then I went to play the animation. OUCH! I got the following error message and cannot play the movie.
    Can't Play.PNG


Hope someone can give me some insight into I might have done wrong and how to move forward.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:02 pm

Dave,

Which video format did you generate?
Can you also check the size of the video file.
Anyway, it look strange that the generation of 51 frames took 34 seconds (or 34 minutes).

If you have time to post the model, I may try to reproduce.

Fredo
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:04 pm

fredo6 wrote:Which video format did you generate?

mp4
fredo6 wrote:Can you also check the size of the video file.

Well - this is the problem which I should have noticed before. It is 0 bytes. I should have checked that. :oops: It went though all of the normal steps and I did not even look at the file size. So then the question is why did I wind up with a 0 byte file?
fredo6 wrote:Anyway, it look strange that the generation of 51 frames took 34 seconds (or 34 minutes).

It was 34 minutes.

Here is the skp file. Again, this is so simplistic that it almost is not a valid test.
Animator Test 1.skp
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:45 pm

I think it is a matter of size. Dimensions in X and Y must be even (due to a limitation in ffmpeg).
Normally Thea correct the dimensions to be even, but there may be an issue somewhere.

Also, when you generate, let a few frames generates and then press the button Preview to see if you get something playable.

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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:08 pm

I tried again and got the same results. This time it took 33 minutes.

I then tried clicking the Preview Video button after it created 3 frames. It did not show me the video but when I looked in the folder, there were 3 images.

Since this is the trial version, it will not allow me to control the size of the image. I tried setting it to 800x600 but it still attempts to create the video at 1301x708.

Hope there is some way to resolve all of this so that I can give the product a fair evaluation. I have tried to email them a couple of times but have not gotten any responses and I cannot participate in their forum because I do not have a license. I have not idea how long the trial will last (that is one of the questions I have tried to ask).
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:43 pm

Can you try to set even dimensions in Thea itself.

Fredo
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:49 pm

fredo6 wrote:Can you try to set even dimensions in Thea itself.

Fredo

I did try that but the trial version generates the images at 1301x708 no matter what setting I attempt. Apparently there is no way around that with the trial version. I think I read something about that in the user manual as well.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:58 pm

Can you demaximize the Sketchup Window to see if the default dimensions do change
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:01 pm

fredo6 wrote:Can you demaximize the Sketchup Window to see if the default dimensions do change

OK - That worked (somewhat). I got the image size down to 960x720 and it took just under 27 minutes. However, my model almost goes off the screen. Other software I have seen it just reduces the size of the image but contains all of the model. I will do some additional testing (maybe tomorrow) to see if I can control this better. This potentially could have a very negative impact on my models.

At least we have some better understanding of what is going on. :)
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:24 pm

I think the issue is just for the trial version where the dimensions are limited by Thea if they exceed a certain size. The problem is that Animator has no control over nor knowledge of these limited dimensions, and since the images are generated by Thea, they may therefore be generated with odd dimensions. FFMpeg has a problem to process such image files, whatever is the command line I use.

Fredo
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:38 pm

Yes, I did some more testing by changing the size of the viewport in SketchUp and it seemed to work OK. This does seem to be a limitation of the trial version.

I wish there was a way to control the viewport size in SketchUp. Would be an interesting plugin.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby ntxdave » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:06 pm

@Fredo, Thanks to your tips in email, I am back on track and continuing to test/evaluate Thea with your plugin. Long way to go though. :|
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby adrihal » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:37 pm


What it is necessary to make that the panel render has appeared
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby mistrik1705 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:48 am

Good afternoon. Question: for the third time faced with such a "bug", when recording the animation somehow miraculously (in this example, the handle, half thread on the facade, and a few facades) pulls back, and not one distance. What I cant? I attach the SU file in the 2017 version of the file of the Animator-a video clip in a little slow, but the staff in the archive + so a couple where you can see the "bug". https://yadi.sk/d/FJDqsrkP3FwHcd
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:03 pm

Konstantin,

There are known problems with Thea when called from Animator (e.g. DIRECT method). From time to time, Thea does not notify Animator when it has finished rendering a frame. There is a timeout set in Animator (3 times the duration of processing for the last frame), but this may lengthen the whole animation rendering quite a bit. The video attached took thus 2h25, while it should have taken probably 1h30 normally (I had to convert the original MP4 of 1540x620 into a smaller GIF file because the file size is limited to 2 Mb in this forum).

Animator - Thea Rendering - Direct - Mistrik.gif


As an alternative, you can use the REVERSE method, that is Thea processing the animation. The small inconvenience is that the animation rendering generates a sequence of image files which you have then to stitch in order to get a video (with VirtualDub (free) or QuickTime Pro (30$).

Basically, do NOT launch Animator, but instead
- open the Thea Render Window in your model
- setup your rendering method (best is IR Presto (AO)
- Go to the Tab 'Animation'
- Select Animator in the plugin combo box
- Press the 'Render Animation' method
- This displays a dialog box (controlled by Animator) where you can choose the Film and a few other parameters.
- Then you are prompted with a File panel to select the directory where Thea will generate the image files. You need to create and select an empty directory.
- When you press OK, Thea will start rendering the animation, frame after frame.

Animator - Thea Rendering - Reverse- Mistrik.gif


On the model, it took 2h30 to generate all images (my laptop has an integrated Intel card, so not a Gran Turismo GPU!)

Fredo
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:04 am

adrihal wrote:

What it is necessary to make that the panel render has appeared

You just need to install one of the supported rendering software.
  • TheaRender v1.5
  • AmbientOcclusion Ex, v1.9.5 and above
  • SketchFX Ex, v1.0.6 and above
  • Twilight Render Pro, v2.5.5 and above

Then the button(s) will appear automatically.

You also need to download and install FFmpeg, following the instructions.

Fredo
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby fredo6 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:59 am

For info, an update of Thea Rende 1.5 is published today.

It should include a fix avoiding or minimizing the timeout situations (many thnks to Tomasz Marek).

Also the next version of Animator, v1.6, will include a more efficient management of time out situation if they still occur.

In the meantime, I could generate the rendered animation of the model by Mistrik1705, here attached as a Mov file.


Film 1.mov


Fredo
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby Treadshot A1 » Thu May 25, 2017 10:45 am

Qucik question: does Thea render support changes to Layer Visibility in animations? It works fine with natural rendering in the example below, but the sword parts don't show in the Thea version.





*For the record, there are 4 swords, positioned for the car mode and jet mode. The sword components are different for each pair (in Outliner, it shows 2x <car_sword> and 2x <jet_sword>), so that each component definition can be on a different layer (main robot model is layer0, then layer_car_sword and layer_jet_sword are turned on/off as needed). Animator starts with [Layer0 ON / layer_car_sword OFF / layer_jet_sword OFF].

Also, Thea or otherwise, is layer visibility able to be faded in/out? I'm not aware of a way to change component opacity with basic Sketchup functions (aside from transparent materials), not sure if that can be achieved in a plugin. Would be nice to have so parts don't just pop in and out of existence.
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Re: Animator and Thea

Postby tomasz » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:52 am

When you render from Animator plugin the visibility will be used, because it re-exports each animation frame. There is no option of fading the visibility in/out though.

If you render same animation from Thea animation tab, then the visibility will not work. This happens, because Thea4SU does everything to convert the animation to Thea's native animation which doesn't support visibility yet.
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