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                                                          Animation Module                                                            

  Overview   Variable tree   Parameter panel      
plot module icon Overview  

In the animation module virtually all model and camera parameters can be automatically changed with time. This allows you to produce animated time sequences or movies.

The sequences can be used for parameter searches or to simulate time variable phenomena such as complex expanding nebulae, rotating stars with spots or exo-planetary stellar occultations. Rotating camera views can be produced to help with visualization of the rendered structures. Complex evolutionary scenarios can be explored by varying combinations of variables.

The animation module is divided into six sections: the toolbar, the variable tree, the variable stack, the variable graph, the parameter panel and the timeline.

The toolbar controls general operations, like running an animation, refreshing the variable tree, moving and deleting variables from the stack, or copying and pasting.

The variable tree is a hierarchical list of all variables that can be changed or animated.

The variable stack is the list of variables that are actually changed in a sequence. It also displays the current value.

The graph controls how a selected variable changes as a function of time. It is similar to any other graph in Shape.

animation module

In the parameter panel you set the general animation parameters, like the number of frames, total time, output names and paths, and which data to output for every sequence frame.

The timeline at the bottom is a slider that shows the current time and allows you to interactively move the animation forward and backward. Changes that are visible in the 3D Module are updated in real-time (if you move the slider slowly...).


animate button

Once you have set up your animation, it is started by clicking on the large blue Animate button.

Cancel the rendering of an animation with the cancel button.

cancel button

When you add or change variables in some other module, click on the refresh button to update the variable tree.

refresh button

Use the green and red arrows to move selected variables up or down in the variable stack. The trash button eliminates the variable strom the stack.

toolbar arrows

The copy button allows you to copy the graph properties of the currently selected variable to the clipboard. If you then select a different variable and click on the paste button, the graph will be transfered to the selected variable. It can then be edited independently of the original graph.

copy buttonpaste button

Variable tree :

The variable tree is a hierarchical list of all variables that can be changed or animated. Click on the little handles or double-click on the folder icons to open the corresponding branches. Individual variables have a grey marble icon. To select a variable for animation, click on the marble. When it turns blue, the variable will appear in the variable stack, where you can select it and change in the graph how it will vary with time. When you deselect the variable, it disappears from the stack. The properties of its graph are case you wish to include it again later.

Variable stack:

The variable stack (image below) lists all the variables that have been selected in the variable tree. It lists the parent name (which may be a 3D object or a panel in some Shape module), the name of the parameter and the current value. The current value is for the current time or frame as shown on the timeline and the current frame in the parameter panel. To change the way a variable changes with time select a variable and change its graph.

variable stack

variable tree

The hierarchical variable tree


Parameter panel:


The name of an animation determines the prefix for all output files. Files are further identified by additions parts for the namee and the frame number (# Frame).

Start Frame:
The start frame is the initial frame of the animation sequence. By default it is zero. A non-zero start frame may be necessary if you have interrupted an animation at some point and wish to restart without rerendering the frames that have already been output.

# Frames:
The total number of frames for the animation.

Current Frame:
Displays the current frame that corresponds to the Current Time on the timeline.

Time Units:
Choose the right time units for your animation.

If you animate the geometry of an object and you are using particles for rendering or output velocity vector information, it is necessary to redistribute the particle in every frame. This is done by default. If you are not using particles, then disabling the distribution can save processing time.

Usually the output requires rendering images and spectra. However, there may be applications where you only require information directly available from the 3D Module. In that case or when quickly previewing the changes in the 3D Module, it is convenient not to render saving processing time.

Variable Parameters: ...


animation parameter panel


Here you select the type of output data, their format and output directory. Make sure to provide a suitable Directory.

  plot module icon 16-Jun-2010