Bryce Animation Brain Dump (Was "Key-Flame: A.M.L. (Basic Intro)")

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  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited November 2014

    GussNemo said:
    @Oroboros: Being new to animation, any information is good to have and helpful. But only if I fully understand how it's applied. My first animated object was created in a way which was easy for me to figure out; 24 frames, 1 quarter rotation, 11 frames per 1/8 rotation. Being new to this area I didn't think about symmetry because I didn't know it was something to consider. Or that it was possible to use fewer frames to simulate an object completing a full revolution.

    I wasn't criticizing your process :) When you start doing animation you want to get away with the least amount of work to get the best result.

    For your cog rotation, for instance, the only thing that moved was the cog. That makes it eligible for using partial turns to simulate full rotations. If the camera was moving too, then this would present problems. If the material was changed, as you did for the second attempt, this would also influence whether or not you could use partial turns for full rotations.

    Have a look at this: Oro's Partial Turn Study

    The bottom line is: your first animation used 97 frames and I can spot the loop point every time. My cog is higher resolution, smoother motion, yet used __ frames (watch the video to find out :) ) The take-home message is: when making animated GIFs, have a look to see if symmetries and continuities are actually helping you reduce filesizes, and plan for smaller sequences.

    I changed the material on my Chain Gear and I think this material looks much better.

    It DOES look much better! But the material now makes the cog unable to take advantage of partial rotations, because the cog is now effectively asymmetrical. This isn't a bad thing at all, it just means you have to create more frames (a full turn) to ensure the illusion of rotation is preserved. Part of your task in creating looped animations is deciding what you think is best.

    EDIT: Attached is my cog in GIF format (I also slowed it down a little, but it still has exactly the same number of frames as in the movie) and is 1280 x 720 pixels. It's 1.2MB. To compare, Guss's first cog animation was 6.1MB. Mine is about 2-3 times the dimensions of Guss's first cog, but Guss's has more colors and detail. As I say, it's all about weighing up pros and cons.

    (My animation may look wobbly in the attachment window - this is a browser window thing. Click the image for wobble-free viewing :) )

    bigCog.gif
    1280 x 720 - 1M
    Post edited by Oroboros on
  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @Oroboros: Please, criticize away, I need it so I can learn more about animation. What is the setup used for the example you showed? If things are symmetrical, how do you determine degrees of movement to get the results shown in your example? Degrees, rotation, and the like are components that boggle my mind any time I work with them.

  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited November 2014

    GussNemo said:
    @Oroboros: Please, criticize away, I need it so I can learn more about animation. What is the setup used for the example you showed? If things are symmetrical, how do you determine degrees of movement to get the results shown in your example? Degrees, rotation, and the like are components that boggle my mind any time I work with them.

    Symmetry

    Rotational Symmetry

    A 'seamless loop' is a sequence where the activity appears to be flawlessly continuous, without any detectable breaks or interruptions. To make one you have to ensure the activity 'maps onto itself' at some point.

    http://i.imgur.com/k9DioMf.gif
    http://media.giphy.com/media/FnnujYxijXoyc/giphy.gif
    http://i.imgur.com/OoqGL1t.gifv
    http://gfycat.com/PassionateLightheartedKodiakbear

    Of special mention are the following two, but I want you to look really hard DURING THE IMAGE LOAD. You'll find that the gif loads slowly for FAR LESS than a full turn of any of the cogs... And then it plays faultlessly. This isn't because of any Internet glitch: it's because the gif only needs a subset of frames from a full turn to create the illusion of a full turn.

    http://www.f-lohmueller.de/pov_anim/engineering/Cog_Wheel_Helical22_5_100_50c.gif
    http://www.f-lohmueller.de/pov_anim/engineering/Cog_Wheel_In_100_51c.gif

    So... what can we learn from these examples (and I encourage you to find more):

    1. Keep the camera still (and if you can't, make the action chaotic so no-one can see the loop point).

    2. Keep the sequence short.

    3. Keep the dimensions small.

    4. Use simple coloring.

    5. Use only the minimum number of frames to create the illusion of continuous and contiguous movement.

    Here's the 'Near-Zero Math' way to create the minimum number of rotational frames required:

    a. Check that your frame rate is 12 frames per second, and that the duration for a full, natural loop is exactly on the second mark, so EXACTLY 1 second, or EXACTLY 2 seconds, or EXACTLY 3 seconds, etc.

    b. Create your sequence.

    c. Using the Scrub tool, move from t=0 forward in time, and see if there are any moments where the action overlaps itself. If the action overlaps at all, you'll probably find these keyframe numbers come up: 0.3, 0.4 or 0.6 (or 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, or 2.3, 2.4, 2.6, etc). Make a note of the frame number.

    d. Quality Check: Check the speed of your entire animation with a thumbnail render: too fast or too slow? Make a mental note of roughly how much faster or slower it should be. Also, does it seem too jerky/ not enough frames? Or too many? Make another note.

    e. Ok, that frame number I told you to note? Here's the only math you have to do. Whatever that number is, subtract one frame off it, and that's your new duration. So if your 2-second animation overlaps action all the way back at frame 0.6, your new duration is 0.5.

    f. Double-click the Scrub tool or use menu navigation: File > Animation Setup... Enter the new second.frame number in the Duration row. Tick.

    g. Save the scene file now: trial and error section coming up...

    h. Remember me asking if you wanted the animation faster or slower, more frames or less? Enter Animation Setup... AGAIN. Adjust the frame rate as necessary. This doesn't affect animation speed, just quality of movement. To adjust the actual speed of playback, change the duration to something you think is more appropriate, THEN CHECK THE 'SCALE' BUTTON underneath the Duration time, THEN tick. Your animation will be sped up or slowed down to the duration you've set accordingly.

    i. Render the animation out, and convert it however you see fit for a GIF animation.

    PS. It's important to do the two Animation Setup... adjustments separately.

    PPS: There is a Math way for this if you know your way around basic geometry which is far quicker.... But lengthier to explain :)

    Post edited by Oroboros on
  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @Oroboros: That's sure a lot to take in in one pull, but good to know about. I copied your post for further study. Ah, no, basic geometry isn't something I ever learn how to apply or do the math. Math and I aren't close friends. I can, however, Google the subject where it pertains to rotation and see what information is available.

  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited November 2014

    GussNemo said:
    @Oroboros: That's sure a lot to take in in one pull, but good to know about.

    It's a lot to know about for one, specific, outdated, low-res, limited-palette feat of animation, yes :) 89a GIFs (GIFs that support multiframe graphics and Alpha transparency) are a creation from America Online. It had its place on the internet for small scale images in the 90s and 2000s.

    But now we have video, HTML5/CSS3 and Flash. All of which are superior to GIF in filesize compression, number of colors and dimension.

    If you were doing a movie, different story: Create your loop, render the loop, use your editing program to multiply your loop out to as many times as you'd like (few people watch a loop for more than 40s anyway) and upload it to a video portal. You get to bypass the GIF restrictions, the entire loop-point management process and the filesize restrictions (I believe YouTube has a 10 minute restriction for beginning YouTubers, but so long as you upload more vids of any duration without incident, this time increases: I think I'm up to an hour).

    GIF89a still has many champions in several Internet subcultures. For instance, there are several Tumblr groups who try to create large animated GIFs that fit under Tumblr's 2MB filesize limit. The challenge is to create large dimension, multiframe 'walls of color' without sacrificing image quality (by dithering) or frame rate through individual frame timing (that's right: each frame of an animated GIF can have its own, unique duration). Although, there are some that deliberately try to limit the color palette for effect. My rotating metaball cog is a 32-color GIF, but because people are focused on the movement rather than the general (lack of a) color scheme, viewers forgive the obvious banding and dithering issues because that's not the focus of the work.

    This isn't to say GIFs are 'bad'. People still paint in watercolors, even though the colors don't accurately represent what we witness in real life. People still take photos of moving objects, even though the images don't move. GIFs are a medium like any other which people may use to express themselves. That said, if your focus in using Bryce specifically has been to produce Near-Photo Realistic results, GIFs will not be very forgiving as a medium.

    Post edited by Oroboros on
  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    I promised I'd link the video when it was completed and I'd got permission from the client.
    As it turns out, I didn't need to upload it myself as they have put it on their YouTube channel.

    Some bits turned out good, others not so much... But here it is, warts and all. :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTA-fpCQh1s

  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 3,616
    edited December 1969

    Wow Dave awesome work thanks for sharing.

  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited December 1969

    For some reason this site re-design is killing posts, so I'll keep this short: great work, Savage :) A joyous project: I'd kill to have this much artistic license on a work project.

    WHO ARE ALL THOSE PEOPLE??? Making up names is one thing, but... why???

    Also... this is how you spell 'helicopter' :D

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited November 2014

    Thanks Mermaid and Oro.

    The names aren't made up. The movie was to show at a corporate party celebrating 20 years of the company.
    The names on the credits are the names of everyone who was at the party :) I suggested the idea before realising how many people they were inviting... But they liked the idea and ran with it anyway.

    Lol... wow all those words and only one typo... I'd say that was an A+ by my standards :lol:

    Post edited by Dave Savage on
  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited December 1969

    Lol... wow all those words and only one typo... I'd say that was an A+ by my standards :lol:

    Correction to the correction: Only one typo that I'll report :) If you want me to proofread the credits, that'll take billable time!

    But seriously, mammoth effort and I'm sure the party rocked :coolgrin:

  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    That was a brilliant work, the tongue in cheek approach wonderful. Real nice work Dave.

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 33,604
    edited November 2014

    I promised I'd link the video when it was completed and I'd got permission from the client.
    As it turns out, I didn't need to upload it myself as they have put it on their YouTube channel.

    Some bits turned out good, others not so much... But here it is, warts and all. :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTA-fpCQh1s

    Thanks for sharing that Dave, it turned out great. I hope you don't mind but I have just sent the link to the DAZ_Peeps to view. :coolsmirk:

    Post edited by Chohole on
  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    Thanks folks, was frustratingly fun to do. I did get an invite to the party too but it's not really my kind of thing. I hear the film was received very well though.

    Sorry Oro, there was no budget for proof reading, which is always a bit risky with my typing. :-)

    And "no problem" Pam, share away... I always feel an extra sense of achievement when I've managed to put Bryce work into my commercial projects and anything that shows DAZ that Bryce is still worth at least one more development cycle can only be for the best. :-)

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 33,604
    edited December 1969

    My feelings exactly Dave. :coolsmile:

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited November 2014

    Today I managed to get back to my "piston" attempt that I started a few months ago and Bryce crashed corrupting my document.
    Today I started from scratch and worked out this way of doing it using only 2 key frames.
    Each of the flywheels has two key frames because of the way I made it but I think a bit more parenting would mean I could get this whole thing going with only 2 key frames in total.

    I'm pleased and hope to find time to expand on it and have more moving parts.

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

    Edit: Ooops I meant 3 key frames :-)

    Post edited by Dave Savage on
  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @Dave: Turned out nice.

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    Thanks Guss

    I've added a bit more to it now, but really need to fix the frame rate or amount of movement between frames so the new bits don't give the optical illusion of going backwards at the outside and forwards in the middle.

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

  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited November 2014

    @Dave: Even with the illusion, that's another neat animation. You said in the previous post you used two key frames. Is that all you're using in this latest version? Oroboros told me about using fewer key frames to do the same action as several key frames, but it escapes me how that would be done. I've a bicycle wheel I made in Wings I'd like to animate using the information Oroboros gave, but don't know how to set up things to use fewer key frames. Since it's a symmetrical wheel, would I be off much in guessing I could rotate that wheel 180 for X length key frame, then rotate it back to 0 for X length key frames?

    Post edited by GussNemo on
  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 3,616
    edited December 1969

    Dave both the animations are very nicely done. In the second there seems be some Shimmer, something Oro referred to in this tutorial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y8cGk1358s&list=PLFCr9K8dbZNwZ981MAdCSoIXwqO3tCk7c&index=4

  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited November 2014

    GussNemo said:
    Oroboros told me about using fewer key frames to do the same action as several key frames, but it escapes me how that would be done. I've a bicycle wheel I made in Wings I'd like to animate using the information Oroboros gave, but don't know how to set up things to use fewer key frames. Since it's a symmetrical wheel, would I be off much in guessing I could rotate that wheel 180 for X length key frame, then rotate it back to 0 for X length key frames?

    Whoa there, Guss. You're confusing 'keyframes' with 'frames'.

    'Frames' are rendered out images in a movie sequence. When played in sequence, they create the illusion of movement.

    'Keyframes' are recorded points in time within Bryce. Between any two keyframes is a measure of time, but it's the software's job to calculate what the frames between the keyframes look like.

    Now... You can loop things in Bryce. And you can loop GIF animations. One is not the other. In Savage's flywheel/cog study several objects might have have partial rotations, or several objects might have have half, or whole rotations. There's no way to tell visually, and Savage's work was a video, not a GIF, so he could have just rendered out one revolution of the flywheel arms and copy/pasted it over and over again within the video editor, or He could have looped a lot of individual bits in the animation and rendered out 10 seconds of it. Either way, no-one knows.

    BUT... If Savage WERE to make an animated GIF out of this work, and make it seamless, the smallest loop must include one full revolution of the flywheel arms. Each of the cogs might only have partial keyframed turns set in Bryce, but those flywheel pistons dictate the overall animation loop duration.

    In fact, I'm not even sure one full revolution of the flywheel pistons will be a loopable point. If you look closely, Savage did a bit of cheating: even though the small flywheels are on the same axles as the large wheels, the small wheels complete a full 360° turn before the large wheels do!

    THOUGHT YOU COULD GET AWAY WITH THAT, SAVAGE???

    4/10, MUST TRY HARDER :-)

    Post edited by Oroboros on
  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    Ah well Oro... There are is a hidden gear ratio of 1:3 that due to the angle of the render, you can not see.

    Actually there isn't, but you are correct that the piston operated flywheels make a full revolution every 1 second while the cogs take 3 seconds to make a full revolution. The axles aren't lined up, only the cog on the left shares a common axle with the pistons. On the right there is room for me to put a gearing cog in, if I continue with the experiment using this machine and next add camera movement (which will of course mean I have to render the whole animation and not "cheat" by only rendering enough to copy and paste several together in my video editor).

    Now, as for reducing the amount of frames to a minimum for a looped .gif.
    It would be possible to render only 1 second of the animation (with a small alteration to the design of the cogs).
    Each full revolution of the two pistons is required, there's no way to cheat that. The cogs on the other hand can be cheated (with the small alteration to their design) and because they are travelling at one third the speed, it could be tricky... However, they each have 60 cog teeth and there are 6 holes in each, so in the time that the pistons have made one full revolution the cogs will have turned one third. As both 60 (teeth) and 6 (holes) can both be divided by 3, their pattern will repeat at one third of a revolution (they will of course repeat at one sixth of a revolution but the pistons will not be back to their starting point by then)... The only thing stopping me from only rendering one second and looping it is that the cogs both have 8 screws in them, which messes up the symmetry as 8 can not be divided by 3.

    It was just a study on parenting and tracking though and I've now got the basics figured out in relation to moving machinery, so I might try and build a more complex machine using the same principals I use when designing crop circles. This is a rather elegant use of geometry that is so simple and yet manages to create some very complex looking designs. As each element of the design is completely dictated by the previous element, it's perfect for machinery as one moving part can be parented to a previous component and tracking the next component and it will create lots of believable and geometrically accurate movement... Now all I need is more hours in the day :lol:

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    GussNemo said:
    @Dave: Even with the illusion, that's another neat animation. You said in the previous post you used two key frames. Is that all you're using in this latest version? Oroboros told me about using fewer key frames to do the same action as several key frames, but it escapes me how that would be done. I've a bicycle wheel I made in Wings I'd like to animate using the information Oroboros gave, but don't know how to set up things to use fewer key frames. Since it's a symmetrical wheel, would I be off much in guessing I could rotate that wheel 180 for X length key frame, then rotate it back to 0 for X length key frames?

    Thanks again Guss.
    As Oro says, key frames and actual frames are different. I rendered out 3 seconds @ 24fps so 72 frames. But all the action was dictated within those frames by only 3 (I edited 2 up to 3 in my original post) keyframes. The only element in my original piston animation that was given parameters was the fly wheel (one keyframe at it's start point, one keyframe half way round and one keyframe at it's end point). All the other movement was dictated by how the elements where parented and what they tracked.

    So for your bicycle wheel, you'd have to figure it's first 'repeat' (the first point at which the spokes are lined up the same as at the start of the sequence). You just count the number of spokes and divide 360 (degrees in a circle) by the amount of spokes. This gives you a figure for the amount the wheel will rotate before the pattern repeats.

    Example: The wheel has 60 spokes in a circle of 360°: 360/60=6
    So the pattern will repeat every 6°

    With your wheel aligned to Bryce's Z axis, set a ROTATION keyframe (do this by by clicking and holding on the + icon where you add keyframes to access the drop down menu and choose your component then from the sub menu choose ROTATION.

    Move the scrubber along any amount (you can fine tune it later in the AML) and rotate your wheel 6° on the Z axis and set a ROTATION keyframe at that point.

    Then with your wheel still selected save your document and then enter the AML (saving your document is really important lol)
    In the main list you will see your wheel (given what ever name you've called it) on a time line and if you click on it's menu name, a bunch of parameters will drop down (as you only set one parameter "ROTATION" you should only have that sub category. Pressing the "Shift" key while clicking on the component name, you can access some options, one of which is "REPEAT". That's the one you want.

    You're done, your wheel will now turn (giving the illusion of complete rotations) for the duration of your animation.
    Now all this presuming that the materials you use allow it and that there isn't a valve cap on the wheel rim etc.

    Next, you want the wheel to move forwards while it's turning.
    Zero the scrubber and set a "POSITION" keyframe.
    Move the scrubber to the end of your animation and move the wheel to where you want it to end up and set another POSITION keyframe at that point.
    Now your wheel moves from point A to Point B while rotating.

    Now all you have to do is to make sure that the rotation rate matches the movement rate because it's possible (probable) that the wheel will be spinning faster or slower than it's moving.
    You can do this by entering the AML and selecting the rotation green timeline's second keyframe (the little white vertical line at the end of the green bar) and dragging it either left or right, which will alter the time it takes to complete it's 6° rotation before repeating.

    Hope this makes sense, I'm sure Oro could have said it better, I'm still not really familiar with what all the functions and options are called.

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    Sorry Mermaid, I didn't mean to ignore your point. :)

    Yes, the second one is a bit shimmery (even though I switched off soft shadows to reduce render time) because the reflections in the metal are a bit grainy. I rendered the second one at a smaller size than the first and at a lower RPP. I think if I'd have rendered it at 1280x720 at 256RPP it would get rid of all the shimmer.

    Sadly, that would have taken a day or two and not the one and a bit hours it took. :-)

  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @Oroboros: Haha, I don't think this will be the last time I get confused or use the wrong terminology. I know Frames are a number of developed images used to create a moving picture. After doing my chain gear I should have realized that Key Frames are markers which indicate something is going on at that particular point in the series of Frames. Hopefully these and other points will become as clear to me as they do to you and those who've created animations for a number of years. Hopefully...

    @Dave: Thank you for that information, it really helps. I've copied your post and will use it to help me when I get back to the bicycle wheel.

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    No problem Guss. Hope you can make sense of it, if not just ask.

    Tonight's experiments are along the same lines as I've been looking at recently with mechanics and machinery.
    This time my objective was to turn rotational motion into lateral motion using only rotation key frames.

    I came up with two solutions (neither of them revolutionary - no pun intended). The first is still an arc, which has it's uses but the second is true lateral motion.

    Created from 2 counter rotating discs with an eccentric axle.

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

  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @Dave: I'm sure I'll have more questions. I usually do. Both of those experiments are neat to watch.

  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited December 1969

    Some inspiration from one of the most influential photographers and filmmakers of the 20th century, Ralph Steiner.

    Ralph Steiner 'Mechanical Principles'

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418
    edited December 1969

    Some nice ones there Oro... I especially like the one at 2.55 which is a variation of the principal I used, though a lot more elegant than mine.

  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 3,616
    edited December 1969

    Sorry Mermaid, I didn't mean to ignore your point. :)

    Yes, the second one is a bit shimmery (even though I switched off soft shadows to reduce render time) because the reflections in the metal are a bit grainy. I rendered the second one at a smaller size than the first and at a lower RPP. I think if I'd have rendered it at 1280x720 at 256RPP it would get rid of all the shimmer.

    Sadly, that would have taken a day or two and not the one and a bit hours it took. :-)

    Did you ignore my post... well I didn't notice that ;) I like your new video does the action speed up a bit at 0.18 or 0.19 then slows down again at 0.29 or 30, or my eyes playing tricks with me.

    Oro- very interesting video thanks for sharing.

  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    That was an interesting short film. While watching it I could see where many of those actions would be used in manufacturing. Besides the large movements, so many little movements were occurring during the large movements. Great examples to follow. Plus, for that time period, a very good film.

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