requires the use of a mouse with two buttons. You use the left
one most of the time to select, move, and change objects. When you are
selecting things, the left button always deselects everything
beforehand, so that only a single item remains selected. The right
button, on the other hand, allows you to select multiple items
by adding newly selected items to those already so. As of version 0.7
you can use the middle button to deselect the selection
of anything. If you don't have a middle button, press and hold the alt
key and the right button can be used for these functions instead.
moving, rotating, or non-uniformly scaling something, the left
button changes the X and Y-axis. Moving to the left
or right affect the X-axis, and up and down the Y. The right button
changes the Z-axis.
can often double click on something to bring up an edit dialog
for that item.
has a complete undo command for the
Object, Figure, Sequence and Scene Editors. As long as you
stay in either Editor you can undo and redo multiple editing
commands. A history is kept of as many changes as can fit in the undo
buffer. The default size is 1 MB of memory but you can increase this in
the Configuration dialog. So unless you're editing large models,
you will be able to undo more than one operation.
use the Edit->Undo and Edit->Redo menu commands
to apply undo's and redo's. Or you can use the keyboard shortcuts of
Ctrl-Z and Ctrl-Y.
an alternate to Undo, you can still use the original (rather
simplistic, and to some people annoying) substitute. When you are
dragging a mouse in the main window to change something, say an
object's orientation, and you think "Oops! I didn't want to do that!"
just keep on dragging the mouse until it's outside the active view
window and release the button. This will cancel the operation.
when using this and any other computer program, I still
offer the same advice: "Save Early, Save Often!". And don't always save
to the same file. Keep a recent backup handy.
can turn tool tips on with the Options->ToolTips menu command. Then
if you pause the mouse cursor over a toolbar button it function will be
shown in the status bar.
is a portion of a typical toolbar. It has several sections in it
that control different aspects of its behavior. The first thing that
you will notice is that markings on some of the buttons are in WHITE , some are
in BLACK , and a few are in GRAY . The
white ones indicate that the associated mode or option is currently
selected or in effect. The black ones indicate a state that is not
selected. The gray buttons show options that are not currently
The top group of buttons on each toolbar act as a radio set indicating the current editing mode of the active view. When you click on any one of them, it becomes highlighted and that mode is selected. All of the others are deselected. The meanings of the various buttons in this group, and the other common buttons, are described below.
| The topmost group can have up to
4 buttons in it. When you click on one it set the indicated mode, and
changes the lower part of the toolbar to show the functions that are
in your new mode. The different modes are:
|| This button indicates that you are in the most basic
select-and-edit mode for the editor that you are currently using. You
will use it for most operations, such as selecting things and common
|| This button is used for changing your view or views of your
workspace. With it you can pan, zoom, tilt, and scale each view
|| In this mode you can move and rotate the pivot for objects
in your workspace. A pivot is the point and orientation that are used
when you scale and rotate each object.
|| You use this button to move into point edit mode. It allows
you to add, move, and modify individual points, edges, and faces on
editable mesh objects.
| The next row of three small
buttons shows the three axis of the 3D world. They indicate which
axes are "unlocked', allowing you to move and rotate things in each
direction. You can individually select or deselect them, and thus
restrict the movement of objects that you are changing.
| Below these buttons you will
more small buttons that form a radio group. They show the current
coordinate system you are using. You can use world, object,
or screen coordinates when you manipulate things.
You will find that there are several common toolbar buttons that have the same or similar meanings in more than one editing mode. They are described next.
|| You use the arrow button to
select individual components. When you click on an object using the
left mouse button, you select it and deselect any previously selected
objects. When you use the right mouse button, you leave any currently
selected objects selected, and select additional ones.
|| With this button you can click
and drag to show the corners of a selection rectangle. Any and all
objects that fall within that area are then selected. Again, the left
mouse deselects any previously selection items, while the right mouse
|| This is the move function. You
set it when you want to move your objects around on the screen. When
you press the left mouse button within a view window you can drag
anything that is currently selected in the X and Y directions by moving
the mouse to the left and right, or up and down. The objects will move
along with your
mouse. Similarly, the right mouse button will move them along the
Z-axis, which is usually into the screen.
|| This is the rotate button, used
for rotating things. When you click and drag the left mouse button, any
selected objects will rotate around the X and Y-axes along with your
mouse. You can use the right button to rotate them around the Z-axis.
|| This is the non-uniform scaling
button. With it you can scale most objects independently in the X any Y
directions using the left mouse button, and in the Z direction with the
right mouse button.
|| This button scales objects in
| There is also a VCR style set of buttons for controlling
the playback of your animations. You use its buttons
in the same manner as those on a standard VCR or tape player.
| This is a toolbar that's at the top of the window. You can
use for several tasks common throughout Anim8or.
The buttons on the top toolbar do the following things.
- If this button is enabled you can use it to undo the most recent edit
- Reapply a command that you have un-done.
Deletes any selected components and puts the on the clipboard.
- Changes the working views of your object to Wireframe.
- Changes the working views of your object to Wireframe.
- View objects as smooth.
- Toggles showing the Material toolbar.
Rotate - Enables the Arc Rotate tool. You can easily pan, zoom, and
rotate any view with Arc Rotate. It is described in detail
later on in this chapter.
to Grid - You can toggle Snap to Grid mode with this
|List - Displays a list of the components in the current
view. You may click on individual components to select and
|Graph Editor - Displays a graph of the selected Element's
controllers in the Scene editor. You can use your mouse to adjust
the values of key frames directly in the graph.
| You can use keyboard shortcuts for several common
operations. Some are shortcuts for menu commands, and
they are shown to the right of the command name in the menu.
Commonly used shortcuts are shown below. A complete list of all
the shortcuts is in Appendix A, Keyboard
pressed and held before using the right mouse button, it
simulates a middle mouse button.
All - Select all objects in the current view.
- Copy any selected objects onto the Anim8or clipboard.
view - Show objects as solid instead of as a "wireframe” made
out of lines.
|Ctrl-P|| Graph Editor - Display or hide Graph Editor.
Rotate - Enter and leave Arc Rotate mode.
|Ctrl-S|| Smooth view - Show objects as smooth solids.
- Paste applicable Anim8or objects from the clipboard into the
view - Show objects as lines instead of solids.
- Cut any selected objects from the current workspace, and copy them
into the Anim8or clipboard.
- Reapply an Undo command.
- Undo the last editing command.
change into select mode. This allows you to
quickly select a new object by pressing the Control and Shift keys
simultaneously and clicking on the object, and return to your previous
mode when you release the keys.
key deletes the currently selected items.
Escape key stops along Scene from rendering.
multiple working views to a single large view.
the screen into 4 different views.
("Arrow") - Change into Select mode.
Select - Change into Drag Select mode.
||Frame - Frame the visible objects in the current view.|
Selected - Frame the selected objects in the current view.
- Change into Move mode.
Scale - Change into Non-uniform Scale mode.
- Change into Rotate mode.
- Change into Scale mode.
can use the arrow keys to move, rotate, and scale objects by small
amounts in the Object editor, and advance the view by one frame in the
Sequence and Scene editors.
you press the arc rotate button in the top toolbar Anim8or
displays a special overlay over the focus window. You can then use the
mouse to pan, scale and rotate your view. It may take you a try or two
to get used to how it works, but once you have it can save you
a lot of time over other methods.
To the right is a view of the arc rotate screen. There are six different regions on the screen, separated by the green overlay: the inner, outer, top and bottom, and left and right. Each behaves differently when you click your mouse in them, and each mouse button controls a different function.
can use any Anim8or .an8 project file as a library. Objects,
Figures, Sequences, and Scenes can all be imported to another Anim8or
project with the Object->Import, Figure->Import, etc. menu
commands. You can also export individual Objects and such with similar
| You can set the size of the background grid used in
the editing views, or you can let Anim8or
pick a default size that changes with how much you zoom the view so
that it always shows a reasonable number of grid lines. Use the
Options->Grid command to show the grid dialog:
are two grid sizes that you can set. One is used in the Object,
Figure, and Sequence Editors, and the other is used in the
You can also set snap-to-grid for the Object editor by checking the Enable box in the Snap to Grid section, or with the snap to grid button in the top toolbar. This will position objects you move at locations on a grid, making it easy to align them. Snap-to-grid also controls the size and rotation for many operations to give you more control on other aspects of modeling. You set the size of the grid snap in the Spacing entry.
material editor is used whenever you need to design the color, texture,
transparency, and other visual properties of an objects appearance. An
example is shown below.
are a complex topic. This dialog has several sub-dialogs for
certain functions. There is an entire chapter devoted to describing how
to use the Material dialogs.
can control the quality of the images shown when you edit, as well as
the quality of the images output to files. These are controlled through
the Viewport Parameters dialog that is found under the
View->Preferences menu. It looks like:
last area, Frame Rate, sets the number images
used to make one second of animation. All .avi file output is generated
with this frame rate. If you check the Limit Playback box, then Anim8or
will limit the rate it plays animations in the Sequence and Scene
Editors. Otherwise they will be played at the fastest possible speed.
section controls the appearance of your interactive workspace. You can
view your objects as wireframe models, as flat
faceted solid objects, or as smooth shaded solid objects.
graphics cards display smooth shaded images at the same speed as flat
shaded ones, so you might think that flat shading wouldn't be very
useful. But it is sometimes helpful to see individual facets on a model.
and mipmaps, can sometimes slow the response of your
computer, so use the check boxes to enable or disable them as you see
fit. Also, texturing can hide the structure of your models, so you
don't always want to see it.
can add a general fog to Anim8or Scenes. Objects beyond a
certain distance gradually fade into the color of the fog. Fog is only
visible in the camera view of the Scene editor.
|The "Use Shaders" check box enables drawing higher quality
materials in the working views. It is available only on computers
that support OpenGL pixel shaders. Graphics cards that support
DX9 or higher will usually work. If your graphics card doesn't
have this feature the check box will be disabled.
section controls the appearance of your generated images. File images
are rendered using a software renderer instead of an OpenGL
accelerator, so the speed of your file renderings can be effected quite
severely by the settings that you choose.
helps to remove jaggies
from your final images but takes several times longer to do.
Similarly shadows can increase the realism of your images a lot but
they are often much slower to render.
last area sets the Frame Rate, or the number of images used to make one
second of animation. All .avi files you make will have this frame rate.
If you check the Limit Playback box, then Anim8or will also limit the
rate it plays animations in the Sequence and Scene Editors. Otherwise
they will be played at the fastest possible speed.
can make a quick preview image of any view that you are
working on with the Render->RenderImage command. You can also save
image to a .jpg or .bmp file, or print it, from within this command.
has the usual Print and Print Preview options in the File menu.
But it offers one additional level of control of your printed images,
by letting you control the size and other properties of the
bitmap image used in printing. It is not at all uncommon for a color
printer to have a resolution of 1440 by 720 dpi. But generating an 8.5"
by 11" image at this resolution is not practical! Instead Anim8or uses
a default size of 1024x768 which you can adjust to suit your needs.
keeps track of 4 base working directories. One is used to store
Anim8or project files (.an8) and the others are the default
directories for keeping Textures, importing and exporting objects, and
saving rendered images. You set these directories with Configuration
dialog through the File->Configure command:
you load or save a project file Anim8or uses the project directory as
the initial default. You can change this directory in the Configuration
you load a project file, Anim8or looks for texture files in three
directories. First it looks in the same directory as the .an8 file. If
that fails it tries the Texture directory set in the Configuration
dialog. As a last resort Anim8or uses the full path name stored in the
file, which is where the texture file was initially found.
import directory is the default place for importing and
exporting files of any format.
|The images directory if the default location for saving any images or movies that you render.|
| The scripts directory is where Anim8or looks for scripts to
preload. This is where you keep plug-ins as well since they are
scripts. Scripts are only preloaded if the Preload Scripts box is
can have Anim8or automatically load the last project you
were using by checking the Start in Previous box.
you check the Associate .3DS box then you will be able to
start Anim8or by double clicking on .3ds files in Windows.
|You can change certain aspects of the way that the Anim8or working views look as well with the User Interface Configuration dialog. You can find it under the File->ConfigureGUI command.|
entries have obvious meanings but you might need an explanation for a
few of them.
Focus only applies when you have multiple working views visible at
the same time. It controls what happens when you click inside a
other than the one with the mouse focus. If fast focus is enabled
then the current active editing command will be applied to the new
on the first click. So if you are in Select mode then any object
click on in the new window will be immediately selected. If fast
is disabled then the first click will only change the focus
window. You will have to click a second time to select something.
Faces in the Wireframe Views section controls the drawing of a
transparent skin on the faces of a model in wireframe viewing mode.
is on by default but you may sometimes find it easier to edit a
mesh with it disabled.
can show the wireframe outline or the vertex points overlaid
on your solid models in both the flat and smooth viewing modes by
the appropriate boxes in the Solid Views area. You may find that
showing all this information can slow your computer down, especially if
editing complex models. If this happens try disabling these
to improve performance.
|When you render an image Anim8or normally updates the screen
to show the progress of the render. Some graphics cards are very slow
when updating the screen and this can increase the time it takes to
render an image considerably. You can disable these partial image
updates by unchecking the Show Progress box in the Render
Preview section. Anim8or will still display a progress bar so you will
still see how far the render has progressed. The final image will still
be displayed when it is finished.
|This page was last updated on May
||Copyright 2006 R. Steven Glanville