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Path Animation look to edit


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Working with Path Animation p, first time in MANY years. Editing the Look To direction manually is, um, a challenge. Path is a NURBS Curve that approaches the model from a distance, then spirals around and dives into the Center. The key frame z values vary up and down.  Goal is to aim each key at a 3d locus near center of the model. 
 

Aiming in 3d perspective skews the aim off to some imaginary plane, or doesn’t change it at all. Tried activating a 2d tool and toggled the Layer/Working plane option to no avail. The camera object preview outline moves around unpredictably. 

 

My work around is to make the edits for each key in 2 steps: top, then side. But only in orthogonal view. Animation Path object implements a perspective view at every view change via current View Menu. Edits require frequent menu switch to orthogonal view. 
 

Any alternatives to accomplish this directly in the 3d flyover perspective views?

 

-B

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Thanks, @Jonathan Pickup - I have all that down and working well, but great to see it here. Problem is wanting to aim in 3d in one step. The key frames are not at constant z. The look to height value also changes. 
 

Thanks, @Pat Stanford - The multi pane is a good suggestion, but requires several steps - transfer to pane, zoom to acquire arrow point, zoom out/in to acquire/click target, zoom out again to find next key, . . . Also, laptop, so small panes. Works with some squinting. (As they say, “sounds like a personal problem”)


Seems that aiming should work by snapping in 3d perspective views. Similar to aiming lights. The camera arrow end point, and the target locus are both acquired snaps, but result direction is confined to some mystery plane rather than a straight line. Might be sliding into wish territory. 
 

-B

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It is challenging to say the least, but it's what we got as they say.  A target object would be very helpful with path or view animation.

 

I struggled with this at first also and found your method worked, but the "activate camera view in new pane" also works to aim the camera.

 

Have you tried that?

 

Paul

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Posted (edited)

@VIRTUALENVIRONS thanks, I thought that might work, but . . .  Aiming with the walkthrough tool in camera view native pane or in a tear off pane is even more of a challenge than the 2 step top/side orthogonal method. The camera view has no snaps, and not even a cross hair, or grid. Aiming is rather imprecise causing jerky output. 
 

So far best for me is the split screen orthogonal edit with only occasional jump into the camera view (switches to perspective). 
 

-B

Edited by Benson Shaw
Singin’ in the rain
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Posted (edited)

Still chewing on this one. Keyframe aim in orthog views seems to respect the snaps, even in flyover views. Split screen is super helpful. So that at least is working for me.

Perspective just doesn't do the snaps. ???

 

Something odd:

Edit the aim multiple times at the key frames (all orthogonal view). Test occasionally with Camera View.

Maybe edit some of the path loci in xyz a few times.  All seems as expected in top and side views . . .

 

Until the camera object acquires a z offset???

 

Not clear when this happens. Maybe after 50 or 60 edits? Interspersed with a few Camera View trials?

I have not found a way to correct or undo the offset.

Maybe it does not matter because the OIP "Play" function shows the wireframe progression as expected with no z offset.

Not clear that it affects the movie output (other things to work out first).

 

Any experience with this?

I can ungroup the path object, retrieve the NURBS curve, create a new animation from that, and reaim all the key frames. No offset, at least at first.

 

OK, Edit

Seems that edits to keyframe duration, or adding additional key, or maybe even moving the path loci might reset.  any of those actions causes a "recalculating animation" progress bar.  After that, the z offsets are corrected. At least temporarily. Oy!

 

-B

 

PathAnimationoffset.thumb.png.e2dcd73413342c151e9712642b905471.png

 

 

Edited by Benson Shaw
glissando
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Posted (edited)

@Benson Shaw—Oy to say the very least. Thought I was going bonkers more than once. Working w/ the path animation tool is incredibly frustrating precisely because of that random z-shift. Your workaround is the only way I know to keep a path I like once it's all gone to heck.

Edited by mjm
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Mostly I can get the camera to do what I want, but that may be because of the size of objects, fairly small.

 

Perhaps the random z shift is not random.  There may be a zone where the system can't handle a camera movement and automatically adjusts to fit within the applications specified parameters.

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On 7/6/2024 at 12:02 AM, Benson Shaw said:

 Goal is to aim each key at a 3d locus near center of the model. 

 

On 7/6/2024 at 9:02 AM, VIRTUALENVIRONS said:

 A target object would be very helpful with path or view animation.

 

¿ Is the above possible in the current VW process ?

 

Path animation in VW once had a simple option to Look At... and select an object. Now this is lost (?) to previous versions of VW.  It was Simple and easy with great results... 

 

 

VW Path animation (as users describe above ...) is like that terrible over blown flop of a sequel that is made based on the original successful movie.

 

 

After much experimentation, the only way to have a VW animation path worth using, is to make test delete  -make test delete - make test etcetera, then any modification is to the entire path. ie: tip, rotate, scale, etcetera. The individual items are impossible to control with any ease & simplicity. Not impossible to control, just not with any ease & simplicity especially true compared to the past Saved View / Look at  versions that existed in VW.

 

 

Attached is one of a dozen + clips that created a single specific project in VW (2019?). This 10 second example is composed of several VW path animations (4 or 5 ?) stitched together in iMovie - some of the VW path animations had added still frames in between to fade path to path (...to get a better transition) or at the end to obtain the correct stop location / angle / frame size - even so one might sense where one VW path animation is ending and another cuts in. Some VW animation paths in this project were 1 second long just to be used as a fill in between. The way to get speed correction / view position / frame size etcetera is to do it in iMovie (...or another similar application)

 

 

Presently it is simple & easier in record the screen - moving geometry with the mouse - multiple takes as needed - editing externally, than adjusting internally the animation path with VW. (ARGH!)

 

Peter

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I am an animator (C4D), but I have made path animations in VW's since its inception in the 90's.

 

Although not like C4D, they have incorporated features that make path animation fairly easy.  I decided to have a look at it again, after a 12 year hiatus, and did struggle to understand its methodology, but then figured it out.  Once that happened, path animation seems fairly simple.

 

Granted the controls are not clear, but they seem to be there.  I could have used the "key frame" slider that replaced the original "velocity beads" to make it a little smoother.

 

Below is the animation.  I also took the time to refresh texture mapping etc.

This was modelled entirely in VW's

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Elite Exhibits said:

¿ Is the above possible in the current VW process ?

Yes! I add 3d loci for target(s).  Class them so can hide for movie saves. At least it works with snapping for the manual aiming method as long as view is orthogonal. I found no snapping or cross hairs or other aiming aids for the walkthrough tool method in Camera View. But the loci would be visible if the class is not hidden.

 

13 hours ago, Elite Exhibits said:

Saved View / Look at  versions that existed in VW

The Saved View animation is still pretty good especially by applying the duration and motion options near bottom of the Saved View dialog.  These with the OIP key frame duration controls kinda take the place of that old interface with the sliding graphic.  I did like that one, but think that has phased out. Or is it still there somewhere? I have not found any option for the Look To Selection you mention. I suppose one could select the object, the zoom to selection, then save view.  The object could be a camera aspect rectangle scaled and centered in the view to create the desired scene (workaround city!)

 

image.png.e1978490f1aff76c4aa399a3acb25887.png

 

I find working with these view tran is a bit unpredictable.  I have not figured out what controls the flight path between views.  It may follow an arc when a straight line is expected.  But results can be quite pleasing.

 

-B

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On 7/8/2024 at 11:10 AM, VIRTUALENVIRONS said:

they have incorporated features that make path animation fairly easy.

@VIRTUALENVIRONS I love the BMW & video !  Though I will tell you,  I can see at least 8 wobbles where (I assume...) the Keyframe changes what it looks at. When the Animation Path was added to VW I spent a remarkable amount of time playing with it, only to find that the videos were not going to get any better.

 

To reiterate, you can easily make a smooth animation in VW, 360° Fly Freely for example, if you do not alter what the Keyframes look at. (Edit the entire path: Height above the layer plane, angle, etcetera.) 

 

The solution would be to control / assign what each Keyframe Looks At .  Especially with path based animations. Steady Cam vs Hand Held 

 

If anyone has ideas it would be good to hear them... (Please & Thank You)

 

Peter

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@Elite Exhibits  I was very impressed with your video also, in terms of the rendering, lighting and texturing, beautiful work.  You should show more.

 

For my BMW, the animation was not the hard part as you might imagine.  I render/animate in CINEMA 4D (C4D), but wanted to refresh VW's as I have some history with their animation process.

 

Full Disclosure.  In the late Nineties, Vectorworks published a chapter in their manual that explained Orbit and path animation.  I wrote that chapter.  The terms like Velocity Beads, etc, were my doing.  Although the Velocity Beads are now a slider, not much has changed since then.

 

During this period, I was also rendering/animating in StratVision, until Maxon offered me C4D around 2000.  

 

I am an Animator, which is why I often come to posts with a different perspective.  Below is a trailer to a movie that I am the sole creator of.  It is one of twelve episodes.  Except for characters, all modelled in Vectorworks.  (F-18's were imported). A Canadian thing.

 

 

Edited by VIRTUALENVIRONS
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On 7/6/2024 at 12:10 AM, Jonathan Pickup said:

after you have made the path, each part has a bule handle, this is a keyframe. at each keyframe, you can adjust the position and angle of view for the camera.

@Jonathan Pickup If you know some secret formula, I would be the first to give your video a thumbs up ...

 

While I agree - you can adjust the position and angle of view for the camera.

There appears to be no logical / simple / works first time way to adjust and have a result that is anything but wonky. 

 

My comments stands...you can easily make a smooth animation in VW, 360° Fly Freely for example, if you do not alter what the Keyframes look at.

 

Played with a simple custom path in VW 2024 today - 1 hr plus - attempted to get all the Keyframes to look at a single 3D Locus - almost did it, just way to much work compared to the past,

 

Even keeping with what @Benson Shaw detailed above (Many thanks for the extra how to ...) I quickly realized why I gave up in (2019 ?) any serious animations when VW switched methodologies.

 

Problem is wanting to aim in 3d in one step. The key frames are not at constant z. The look to height value also changes. 

 

Example - Custom Path, Click on each Keyframe, and snap to a 3D locus.

(So all keyframes at least look at a similar point...) it just does not work, without a remarkable amount of view changing / aggravation.

 

 

Peter

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16 hours ago, Elite Exhibits said:

My comments stands...you can easily make a smooth animation in VW, 360° Fly Freely for example, if you do not alter what the Keyframes look at.

For the most part, this is probably true.  One solution is to use a lot of key frames.  For example, triple/quadruple the number of keyframes. This takes more time to align camera, but makes the jump from each keyframe less noticeable.

 

In order to make things smooth easily with Path Animation, a couple of things that could help..  One is being able to make intermediate points uniform as oppose to adaptive.  There is no option for this in VW's that I know of.  The other is to have a single target object that is also animatable as shown below.  

 

Animatable target object.

 

 

 

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