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Real-Time Lusitania Animation

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Hello all! Thought id make it its own topic but im in the process of making a real-time sinking animation of the Lusitania. This will be as accurate as i can make it and while im making a master timeline, this is being helped through lots o experts in the field to make sure its done right. Down below is a very early rough draft of the final plunge, the model is not done and it still need to be worked on plus better Sky ect.

I originally hoped to have animated water and smoke to go along with this but i think this project is already pushing Anim8or to the limits as having any of those effects for longer than 3 minuets causes it to crash

Maybe i can Frankenstein some wakes through the power of editing but i doubt it
Any help to increase production value is appreciated!

Your project is looking great :)

I use a Pinnacle studio video editor and I found that it's not that stable :), it crashes, a lot.  This means I can loose work or end up with corrupt work.  (to be fair, I have v15, I heard the later versions are better).  Apart from the stability, if I have a long scene - say 10 minutes, if a make a small change near the beginning, it can affect the relative timing of the tracks later in the scene - so if I've synchronised video to image overlays and  to music I can get in a complete mess, particularly if I've spent ages getting the bit at the end right and then muck it up with a change near the beginning.

To a lesser extent, I found the same thing can happen in anim8or, a change at the beginning of the scene can have unexpected affects later - because of smooth keys or by moving the initial position of objects, etc.

For me the solution is don't have long scenes.  Break everything up into lots of short scenes and then compile them in a master project.  It takes more planning but that is a good thing.  If I have a 5 minute video it may have 1 master project that compiles the results of maybe 20 studio projects in a hierarchy.  Each of these sub projects may have 1 or more anim8or scenes (for me they are often chroma keyed overlays). 

The other advantage is that if you are unhappy with a small scene it's much easier to bin it and redo from start.

Your animated scene looks like one scene, you could break it up so that for each of your captions you switch to looking at what it describes.  Your voice overlay commentaries could be linked to individual scenes.

Also you can experiment with different sequences using more than one master project, each one a different version of your production but drawing on the same assets.

Great Ideas! Thanks :)

Great to see Anim8or being used for a serious project, nice work!  There are a few things you can do to improve the quality of the animation, bearing in mind that some will affect render times:

1) In some places it looks almost as if parts of the ship's superstructure are lit from below rather than above.  If you have an overhead light modeling the sun then you may want to check your normals are correct.
2) The lighting appears flat as if some surfaces are emissive rather than illuminated.  Consider having a single overhead shadow-casting distant light as the sun with a bright-ish ambient light level, and ensure the ship model is set to both cast and receive shadows.  This will increase render times but will improve the realism of the scene greatly.
3) Animated water is going to be very tricky no matter how you do it.  Rather than attempting to animate actual waves I would try using bump and trans maps to simulate the effect of waves.  I have had a bit of a quick go at this in the videos below (excuse the very rough ship model, it was a quick job for demo purposes only).

There are three large, square planes in the scene at the water level, as follows:

Planes 1 and 2: material uses bump and trans maps with a wave-like texture, each at a different UV scale and rotation for 'randomness'.  They are on the exact same level (Y dimension) in the scene and are animated to each slide slowly in different directions (+X and -X respectively).
Plane 3 uses a partially-transparent deep-aqua colour to simulate depth, visible through the transparant parts of planes 1 and 2 as defined by their trans maps.  The slight transparency allows the ship to be dimly visible beneath the water.

The an8 file and associated textures are attached, feel free to download and fiddle with the settings, particularly for the water materials.  A lower Roughness figure may improve the wave-top highlights but this will also be very dependent on the 'sun' light's angle relative to the camera.  You might also be able to find a better water bump-map online.

I would also suggest perhaps using bigger, circular planes rather than squares to give a better horizon line, and perhaps they could be rotating against each other rather than sliding (though this would create a centre point that might look odd).

This was rendered with Scanline so shadows could be less than 100% without the need to add more 'fill' lights, using the ART renderer would allow the surface of the water to be reflective which could add to the realism significantly but at the expense of render speed.  Experimentation is the key here :)

Regarding the 'great wake' left behind, this would be really tricky in Anim8or.  Without animatable material parameters (eg. transparency or alpha) it would be difficult to simulate this effectively.  Something to ponder on...

@ENSONIQ5 I really like that effect - we should have a "techniques" / "tips and tricks" / tutorials, etc. section on the forum.

Often when I'm trying to do something I remember a post about it but can't find it.


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