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Getting Amorphous in Amorphium, Part 3

The basics of animation and rendering By Dave Nagel
We arrive now at our third and (presumably) final installment in our Amorphium abstraction series. Over the last few weeks we've covered the essentials of effects-based modeling, lighting , materials and height maps. And now we move on to animation, where we'll cover some of the basics of keyframing, as well as explain the rendering options available in Amorphium.

Before we proceed, if you haven't already, you'll want to go back and take a look at the previous articles in this series:

And, as always, if you'd like to follow along but do not own Amorphium 3 yet, you can download a demo version from Electric Image's Web site ay http://www.electricimage.com/products/amorphium.html.

Of course, there is no one "right way" to animate your abstract imagery, and I don't propose to tell you how best to create your work of moving art. Instead, we'll cover the technical considerations involved in animation and rendering. For this tutorial, I'll assume you want to create a looping animation, something you might be able to use as a background motion graphic. And I'll assume you'll want to animate the shape of your object, the camera and the lights. In my case, I'll be working toward producing something like this, which involves a single object (the one we created for the previous installment in this series) in a sort of a spinning flythrough scenario.

We'll assume for our purposes here that you already know how to model and texture objects but that you have no background in animation whatsoever.

The timeline and keyframes
The first stage for creating a looping animation (after you've created your scene) is to set the length of the animation. To do this, you have to access Amorphium's timeline, which is located in the Composer workspace in its own floating window (labeled "Project"). This window contains all of the objects and elements in your scene, as well as the timeline for setting keyframes. To set the length of the animation, click on the red out marker at the top of the timeline and drag it to the desired time. I'm setting mine to 10 seconds.

Next, because we want to create a looping animation, we want to set a keyframe for all of our elements at the end of the timeline before making any changes to the scene whatsoever. The will ensure that, no matter what changes we make to the scene, the beginning and end of the animation will be identical. Hence a seamless loop.

To set the keyframes for everything, in your timeline, go tot he Select menu, and choose Select All. This will select all of the elements in the timeline except the World and any cameras you're using. Select these manually in addition to the other scene elements.

Then, with your timeline marker at the end of the timeline (10 seconds, in my case), select the Keyframe menu, and choose Add Keyframe.

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Related Keywords:electric image, amorphium, electricimage, amorphium pro, abstract, animation, motion background


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