Automatic Writing by Tony Carretti (http://www.primagraphics.com)
Here's a simple tutorial for Newtek's Inspire 3D program that will show you how to model a pencil and then animate it to create an effect of "automatic" writing.
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When you get to about frame 200 you're going to stop writing and get ready to put the pencil to rest on the paper surface. Turn on the Y button when you are using the Move tool and you will now be able to "raise" the pencil up into the air. Create a keyframe for it as it begins to rise. Add some rotation and some more movement and keyframe again. Bring it down so that it is "resting" on the paper.

Click image to view QuickTime 113K movie of animated pencil

This will be easier to do if you are using the Front view so that you will be able to see exactly when the pencil comes in contact with the paper. Now that you have completed keyframing your animation you can render it. Choose your resolution size and anti-aliasing quality under the camera menu. Then go to the render menu and make sure that you change the Render Last Frame value to 300. Also make sure that you check the box for Automatic Frame Advance. Select the Save Animation button and give it the file name pencil.avi Under animation type, choose Newtek_AVI and choose the compression format that you prefer. Just for reference, I used the Cinepak codec with 50% compression. Now just let Inspire render the animation. There you have it! If you wanted to dress it up a little bit, you could create an image map for the pencil in a graphics program like Adobe Photoshop and map it to the "body" section so that your pencil would have a more realistic look. You could also map an image of a blank lined piece of paper to your "paper" object for a nice touch also. I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial. Remember, if you break down your project, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to come up with a nice finished product. Happy rendering!

Now we have to "sharpen" our pencil.

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