Making an Animation (Studio)

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In this tutorial we will make an animated metallic surface that looks as if lights are moving around it.  The features discussed here require the Studio edition of Genetica.  If you don't have the Studio edition, proceed to the Extending the Library tutorial.



Step 1


Create a new document by clicking the New button in the main button bar along the top of Genetica's interface or by clicking File > New in the main menu.  Then switch to the Nodes tab.



Step 2


In the Nodes tab drag a new Substance Lab onto the empty slot.



Drag on a Substance Lab



Step 3


Click the Substance Lab's "Edit" button in order to switch to the node's extended properties page.



Click the Lab Button



Step 4


In the Substance Lab tab, select the Environment section and switch the Use Environment property to "Yes."  Finally click the "Edit..." button found to the right of the Environment property, which will bring up the Edit Environment Map dialog.



Modify Substance Lab's Environment



Step 5


In the Edit Environment Map dialog select the Metallic preset category, choose the Flash Point preset, and then click OK.



Select Flash Point Environment Preset



If you've faithfully followed the tutorial up to this point the texture preview should resemble the following illustration.



Animation Tutorial Verification



Step 6


Our texture now gives the impression of a shiny surface that is reflecting the lights surrounding it.  Now we'd like to make those lights look like they are moving.  This is accomplished by rotating the environment map that is responsible for the reflections.  "Heading," "Pitch," and "Roll" are the technical names for rotations around the three spatial axes.


We could rotate the environment manually by modifying the "Enviro Heading" property, but we would like Genetica to automatically modify this property for us as the animation progresses.  To accomplish this, click the clock icon appearing to the right of the "Enviro Heading" property.  This will bring up the Edit Animation Curve dialog.



Click the Clock



Step 7


The Edit Animation Curve dialog allows us to specify a curve that tells Genetica how to modify a property during an animation.  The horizontal axis of the curve represents each moment in time over the course of the animation, while the vertical axis represents the value that the property will be given at each moment.



Animation Curves Explained


This curve would move a property back and forth in a smooth wavelike fashion.



We would like the environment to rotate in a smooth and continuous manner.  In other words, during the course of the animation the environment should make one complete rotation so that it ends up back in the same position where it started, ready to rotate again the next time the animation is played.  This can be achieved by smoothly moving the Enviro Heading property from a value of 0 to a value of 100. Select the "Ramp" preset category and then single-click the "Ramp" preset curve.  But don't click OK just yet.



Select the Ramp Preset Curve



Recall that we wanted the property to move from 0 to 100, but if we check the "Min" and "Max" controls at the upper left corner of the dialog we can see that the animation is currently set to go from -100 to 100.  To correct this, set the Min control in the Property Mapping box to 0.  Then click OK.



Animation Curve Min Max Settings



Back in Genetica's main interface we know that the Enviro Heading property is being animated because its clock icon is yellow and green.



Active Clock Icon



Step 8


The texture preview should now be animating the way we wanted.  To render and export our animation, click the Render Animation button in the main button bar.  This will bring up the Render Animation dialog.






Step 9


In the Render Animation dialog go over each setting carefully and make it match the following illustration.  Note that your dialog may not display all the same options that are shown below until you set the "Render To" option to "Hard Disk" and the "Export Type" option to "GIF."



Render Animation Dialog



When you are satisfied that all options have been set correctly, click Begin. In the dialog that appears enter a desired file name and click Save.  The Render Animation To Disk dialog will appear while the animation is rendered and exported to keep you updated on its progress.  Wait until rendering is finished before proceeding to the next step.  The Render Animation To Disk dialog will automatically close when rendering is complete.



Render Animation To Disk Dialog



Step 10


Our animation has now been saved to disk.  To admire our creation, open the saved animation in a web browser, or any other application you have that is capable of playing animated GIFs.  Once you've brought up your web browser you can use it to open a file by hitting the Ctrl+O key combination.


To explore more complex animations, check out the preset animations that come included with Genetica.


Next: The Extending the Library tutorial walks you through the process of extending Genetica's library so that you can speed up your workflow by reusing parts of your work in multiple textures.



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