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P Retondo

Animation module improvements

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The animation tool, which I use frequently, seems not to have had any real attention for 15 years or more. I note that the progress information is now more stable, and persists throughout a multi-hour process, and that's good, but much more could be done. The following are my suggestions for revamping this tool, which does so much to leverage the value of 3d modeling for clients:

1. Greater speed, speed, speed. From my perspective, it seems that greater efficiency in various algorithms could improve speed greatly. For example, it seems to me that the process begins to drag as the number of frames piles up, and other clues lead me to believe that the entire movie is being periodically saved to the hard drive. Instead, if the frames were individually saved and then assembled at the end of the process, a lot of redundant and time consuming processing could be eliminated.

2. Better management of RAM. The program often stalls and crashes after 100 or 150 frames (even though with 6GB RAM and 1 TB hard drive, I never reach or come close to any hardware limits). I believe these crashes might have to do with memory management and if RAM were cleared of frame batches periodically, and that stuff written to the hard drive for later assembly, things might be more stable.

3. Ability to pause an animation and take it up again from the pause point later!! This would be a tremendous boon.

4. Fix the interrupts so that mouse input is accepted at any point in time, especially for systems where multiple processors / cores are being used, as is true for anyone who is seriously doing this kind of thing. We should not have to wait for some mysterious split second to cancel an animation.

5. Improve the user interface for "along path" animations. It's odd, for example, that the total movie time is set in the initial window, and can't be modified when editing the path. Also, it's not good that the initial speed of movement for the first view point has to be zero. When patching together segments into a movie, that means that when you add a segment, your motion always jerks to a stop and accelerates from zero as you move into the next segment. We should be able to set the initial speed at any reasonable rate.

6. Add the ability to rotate view in the "along path" setup. In other words, I want to be able to move to a point, look around, then move on. That is currently impossible, since if you go from a viewpoint looking one direction to another looking in another direction without translational movement, crazy things happen.

7. Add the ability to capture a realtime walkthrough as an animation path.

8. It drives me crazy that one has to render the initial scene in the desired rendering mode (taking many minutes in most cases), otherwise the movie won't be generated in the desired mode. That is something that we should be able to set as a preference, like in a sheet layer viewport. Also, it drives me doubly crazy that after doing that rendering, and selecting "create animation," the rendering process has to be done again! Wasting yet another set of minutes unnecessarily.

9. When previewing a movie, get the animation setup windows out of the way so we can see the preview.

10. Allow the user to save settings preferences (video codec, frame rate, etc.)

Edited by P Retondo

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