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Movement and Timing

When it comes to broadcast-style animations, your goal should be to keep everything moving. Watch any of the major television productions—the titles are always moving. Perhaps the main title flies in and sits, but the background or foreground elements are in motion from the time the animation fades in from black, to the time it fades out. This is easy to do, especially on the animation you’ve created in this chapter.

Exercise 17.12 Putting Elements in Motion

Earlier in this chapter, you adjusted the positions of the objects in Modeler so they’re viewed correctly when rendered. You also increased the size of the flat letters and left them far back into the scene so that they blend into the background, without being affected by the shadows of the 3D elements. Start by putting those two elements in motion.

Select the WDMA object in Layout from the elements and scene you’ve created in this chapter.

Press t on the keyboard to switch to Rotate mode. Move the WDMA object to the right, on the x-axis only. If Show Handles is turned on under the Display Options tab, you should be able to click and drag the red handle to constrain movement only on the x-axis. Create a keyframe at 0 for it.

Next, move the WDMA text to the left of the screen only on the x-axis, and create a keyframe at frame 450.

This makes it move over the course of 15 seconds. Your animation might not be 15 seconds long, but the object will stay moving, so if you render 300 frames (10 seconds at 30 frames per second), your object will still be moving as the animation ends.

Select the flat NEWS text object. Move it to the left side of the screen and create a keyframe at 0 to lock it in place. This text object can hang out of the frame as well—remember, it’s a background element. Move it to the right of the frame and create a keyframe at 500. This will change speed from the WDMA motion.

To add more elements to the scene, clone this object and move it to the top of the frame. Feel free to make it larger to add variation to it.

To continue adding movement, select the first 3D NEWS object, the N, and move it up close to the camera. Rotate it on its heading about 60 degrees, and rotate the pitch about 35 degrees. Create a keyframe at 0 for it, as shown in Figure 17.48.

Figure 17.48. The first 3D element is rotated up close to the camera.

Rotate the N object to its original state and create a keyframe at 45. Then move it back into the scene at 120 slightly to the left, leaving room for the rest of the letters—E, W, and S—to come in, and make sure rotation stays the same (see Figure 17.49). Create a key to lock it in place.

Figure 17.49. The 3D N object rotates in front of the camera and pulls back into the frame over 4 seconds.

Now for the E. This letter will perform the same move as the previous one, but instead of starting at frame zero, it will begin rotating at frame 45, right when the N object pulls back. Rotate the E about 45 degrees on its heading and 20 degrees on the pitch. Create one keyframe at 0 and one at 45 to lock it in place over those frames. Note that the letters should be in front of the camera when you create these initial keyframes.

Rotate the E back to 0 heading and pitch, and then create a keyframe at 85. Then, move the letter back into the scene, resting to the right of the N, at frame 150. Figure 17.50 shows the resting position of the E.

Figure 17.50. The 3D E object rotates in front of the camera and pulls back into the frame over 4 seconds, but doesn’t start until the N performs its move.

At this point, create the same motions for the W and the S, offsetting each about 44 frames or so.

Before you move on, there are a few things you can do to smooth out the motion of the letters. Select the N object and open the Graph Editor. Using the right mouse button (hold the Apple key on the Mac), drag out around the last keyframes at 120 for all channels. Set a Tension of 1.0 to make the N ease into its resting position. Figure 17.51 shows the panel.

Figure 17.51. Using the Graph Editor, you can tweak any or all of your channels’ motions for your objects.

Add another style element to the letters. Make them dissolve into view. Select the N object and press the p key to open the Object Properties for it.

Click to the Rendering tab, and then click the E button for Object Dissolve to enter the dissolve channel into the Graph Editor.

You don’t want the object to dissolve (or fade) on, rotate, and then move back. Instead, you want the dissolve to come on and see that the object is already in motion. So, set one keyframe in the Graph Editor at 10 and another at 45.

Set the Value at frames 0 and 10 to 100 percent, so the object is 100 percent dissolved for the first 10 frames of the animation. Give frame 45 a Value of 0 percent, so that the object is not dissolved at all at frame 45. (If you recall, it’s at frame 45 that the object starts to pull back from the camera and move into position.) Add a Tension of 1.0 to all frames to ease in and ease out the dissolve. Figure 17.52 shows the Graph Editor at this point.

Figure 17.52. Create a dissolve envelope in the Graph Editor to make the N object dissolve as it is rotating.

Once you’ve set up the keyframes for the other letters, also set an object dissolve for them, but offset it 45 frames, just like the motion.


If you’d like, you can use the Graph Editor to copy and paste all the motions of the N object to the other letters. From there, simply select all frames in the Graph Editor’s curve window, hold the Ctrl key, and drag to the right to offset the motion. You can do the same with the Dissolve envelope. Read more about the Graph Editor in Chapter 5, “LightWave 7 Graph Editor.” You can use expressions or the Follower plug-in to easily automate a single movement for multiple items.

Put one more element in motion: the abc logo. As the N, E, W, and S letters are rotating, dissolving, and animating in the scene, the abc logo has been waiting quietly in the background. Once the NEWS letters have been revealed, the abc logo can perform a similar move, by dissolving and rotating in place.

Move the abc 3D logo back into the scene next to the N object. Rotate it –90 degrees on its heading. Create a keyframe at 0, and another at 300. The object won’t be revealed for 10 seconds, which allows enough time for the other elements to enter the scene.

At frame 370, rotate the abc logo back to 0 for the Heading. Create another keyframe in this same position at 400, so that the logo sits for 1 second. Then, rotate it 180 degrees on the heading, and move it up toward the camera so that it fills the frame.

Create a key at frame 450 for the abc logo.

The back of the abc logo is 100 percent luminous white. By filling the frame with it, the client can use this animation as a wipe or transition to a video clip, using the bright white backing of the abc logo as a window or mask for the video.

Lastly, create an object dissolve for the abc logo similar to the N, E, W, and S letters, that stretches over 40 frames. The dissolve should start at frame 0 as 100 percent dissolved and then end 0 percent dissolved at frame 40. Save the scene. You can load the NewsLogo scene from the book’s CD to see the final motions in place.

What’s important to understand here is that simple motions with object dissolves can create an appealing look for your animations. The trick you need to remember is to overlap the motions. Have the dissolve happening as the object is already in motion. As soon as one object is almost 0 percent dissolved, bring in the next object, and then the next. Make your animations flow. And then during all of this, the background animation is moving slowly, with a nice soft glowing look.

As an additional element, slowly rotate the ring object during the animation as well. In addition, you can move the main null object, the NewsMover object, slowly back into the frame as an added element.



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