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Topics - thecolclough

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Finished Works and Works in Progress / Imagined Engines
« on: November 20, 2021, 09:26:33 am »
I've made a couple of posts lately referring to an ongoing film project, and I'm finally ready to show off the results!  it's an experimental collaboration with my composer friend, where we developed the visuals and the music in parallel as a multi-disciplinary creative dialogue.  It took about sixteen/seventeen months total, and involves 5074 frames in a single shot, which stretched our favourite CG animation app to its limits at times.  But I'm very happy with the results, and I hope you'll enjoy them too...

General Anim8or Forum / just to check...
« on: October 09, 2021, 06:54:44 am »
i was recently under the impression that Steve had added the ability to animate an element's parentage.  but i can't find any controls to do so (as of build 1402), and i now suspect i was getting mixed up with the new feature where a figure bone can be set as an element's parent.

so: just to confirm, parentage can't be animated at present right?

General Anim8or Forum / ART thread optimisation
« on: September 30, 2021, 10:46:27 am »
another question for Steve...

the project mentioned in my previous thread includes some light bulbs in the scene, and i can see that the pixels occupied by the glass material take several times longer to render in ART compared to those occupied by simpler materials - which is to be expected.

as a side effect, this means that my 12-thread processor can blast through most of the render in a matter of seconds, but then a small number of threads (typically 2 to 6) get stuck working on the glass pixels for a few minutes while the rest of the CPU goes idle.  not much of an issue when rendering a single frame, but i need to output more than 5,000 of the darn things, so that'll be a lot of wasted core time :P

so here's what i was wondering: ART currently seems to divide up the image into blocks of 100x100 pixels (or thereabouts), and i was wondering if we could achieve more efficient CPU utilisation for bulk renders if that figure was changed to, say, 10x10 pixels per block?  or maybe make it user-configurable?

General Anim8or Forum / lights with too many parents?
« on: September 23, 2021, 12:35:55 pm »
question for Steve...

i've got a scene with several lights in it, and some of them don't seem to have any effect in the workspace.  in particular, i've got two with identical settings, and one has a visible effect in workspace (the greenish light which can be seen in attached image 1) but the other doesn't (image 2).  so i was wondering, is there a theoretical limit on how many lights we can have in a scene?  or is there a limit on far you can nest parent-child relationships between elements before it starts to affect light behaviour?  or maybe something else which i haven't thought of ???

i'm running build 1402 on Windows 10 Pro version 2004

Anim8or v1.0 Discussion Forum / bug: elements going missing during render
« on: January 21, 2021, 10:52:02 am »
i've stumbled across an issue with scanline renders in build 1393, where items at a z-distance of more than a few hundred are getting left out.  they show up fine in the workspace and in ART renders, but go missing if i use scanline, per the attached images.  the scene's z-far setting is still the default 10k units.

Finished Works and Works in Progress / spot the Anim8or bit...
« on: February 02, 2019, 06:19:09 am »
back in 2015, myself and a couple of friends shot an hour-long pilot for a live-action TV series called Unbelievers.  it's had a very long post-production process, and we spent a couple of years trying (without success, unfortunately) to get the full series commissioned by a broadcaster.

so we've decided to recut the pilot as a five-part miniseries and release it online instead.  the first 4 instalments are out now, and the last one will be released next Friday.

the on-topic part here is that there's a bit of Anim8or work in the title sequence - blended in with other elements created in GIMP, Krita and Vegas Pro.  the titles start about 1:12 into the first episode.  can you figure out which bits are .an8 and which bits aren't?


Anim8or v1.0 Discussion Forum / texture tiling edge issue
« on: January 25, 2019, 01:43:18 pm »
i'm working on a few clips of maps as inserts for someone else's documentary project, and trying to use anim8or to let me do a camera move pushing into the map.  to allow for UHD renders, i've had to make the map very high resolution (about 13k x 8.5k pixels!).

anim8or seems to limit texture sizes to 4096 x 4096, so i've had to split up my map into several tiles.  however, despite all the tiles being exactly the right sizes so that there shouldn't be any gaps between them (200 units square, with 200-unit difference in their placement), you can still see grey hairlines in the render where they meet.

i'm using the latest stable release (dated 29 may 2017), with scanline - ART crashes whenever i try to render the scene.

i can't remember if the latest dev builds support higher-res textures, and if not then i'd appreciate any help on eliminating these hairlines because they're a bit of a deal-breaker at present.

sample frame attached - you'll need to expand it to see the problem.

thanks in advance :)

Anim8or v1.0 Discussion Forum / render resolution limit
« on: September 04, 2018, 05:22:28 pm »
as of a few days ago, i'm running a dual-monitor setup, and i wanted to try and create a wide-angle render to use as a wallpaper that can split across the two screens.  unfortunately i haven't got far because current Anim8or releases limit the render resolution to 4096 pixels in each direction, whereas my screens have a combined resolution of 5120 x 1440.

so... once you've finished recovering from your hdd crash, steve, don't suppose you could look into bumping the limit up a bit?

unless it's already possible to change that setting, in which case can somebody point me to the relevant dialogue?

Not a game-changer or anything, but I've noticed a little interface glitch: those orange bounding boxes which appear when you hover over an element in recent versions are very helpful, but when you move the cursor outside the viewport the last bounding box remains visible even though you're no longer pointing at any elements.

apologies if i'm duplicating this one, although i don't remember anyone flagging this one up before.

Finished Works and Works in Progress / 4K logo overhaul
« on: September 27, 2016, 06:31:53 pm »
I know I haven't been posting many WIPs around here for the last few years... sorry about the silence.  I'm still busy making films, but I've mostly been working in stopmotion or live action, so posting the results here would have been somewhat off-topic.  :P

However, I've now found a little project where I can use Anim8or again: my 'film studio' logos need an overhaul.

Between the 24mpix DSLR I bought two years ago, and the Win10 monster rig I built (well, had built for me) last year running Vegas Pro, I can now - in theory - produce animation in any format I like up to cinematic 4K, 4096 x 2160.  I might not be able to push CGI work that far, depending on render times, but it should at least be feasible for stopmotion.  Only problem is, my first 4K Vegas export tests confirmed what I'd already suspected, namely that my current logos, which only exist in 720p, are going to let the side down if I try using them on a 4K production, so they need re-doing.

The current versions have been doing good service since early 2010, appearing on several dozen videos, and one of the two is going to stay basically the same except re-rendered at higher resolution.  The other, however, would be prohibitively slow to render at 4K as the design uses ART refractions (the 720p render was already a killer, and cinematic 4K would have nearly 10 times the pixel count!), and I'm getting a bit bored with the current design anyway and I fancy replacing it with something a bit more colourful and dynamic, so there's a ground-up redesign in the works.

I made the mistake of trying to re-render most of the first logo as a single uncompressed AVI file earlier this evening... despite a mere 6-second runtime (144 frames) it turned out to be a 3.7-gigabyte monster and Vegas point-blank refused to open it, so I'm now re-doing it as a sequence of PNGs.  I've attached a sample frame at full resolution, and I'll try to remember to post the odd update as the other one gets underway too.  Got to say, having seen how this logo is turning out, I kinda wish I had a new CGI short film in the works... well, watch this space, I guess!  8)

Anim8or v0.98 Discussion Forum / Streamlining the Anim8or Menus
« on: April 09, 2015, 07:24:20 am »
Hi all
Firstly: apologies in advance for the rather long (although I hope worthwhile) post :P

We had some new users posting on the forum a couple of months back because they were confused about the Anim8or menu setup, and to be honest, although I've usually been able to find what I'm after eventually, I've always thought it could do with some tidying up as things aren't always in the most intuitive location.

I think Steve mentioned that he had been planning to look at this and try to overhaul the menus (sorry, can't find the relevant post to quote), but since he's currently busy making improvements in other areas (those new bone tools are SO shiny...) I thought I'd sit down and take a systematic look at the menus myself.  No point complaining about something if you aren't willing to help fix it, eh? 8)

Obviously, what follows is ultimately just my personal recommendation; some parts are more likely to find widespread agreement than others, and some parts are more important than others; however, I've tried to think things through as logically as possible, and to always aim for clarity and consistency, so hopefully you can at least see where I'm coming from even if you don't entirely agree...

Problems and recommendations are listed in order of their appearance along the menu bar.

  • Please can we have a keyboard shortcut for ‘File > Save’?  Virtually every other program in the world uses Ctrl+S for this command, and that key combination has become almost a reflex for a lot of us.
  • ‘File > Exit’ should be at the bottom of the menu, because that’s where everybody else puts it.  Or at least nearly everybody else.  Also because it’s the last command you click at the end of your session using the program, so it follows that it should be placed last on the list.
  • Most programs place ‘Undo’ and ‘Redo’ at the top of the Edit menu, probably because they are the most commonly used (or at least among the most commonly used) editing commands.  Would recommend Anim8or follows suit for the sake of making it easier for new users to find their way around the program.
  • ‘Select None’ should be included as a menu item under ‘Edit’ in all modes.
  • The ‘Check for Missing…’ command (currently located under ‘Edit’) operates on the current Object/Figure/Sequence/Scene, so it would make more sense if this was moved to the ‘O/F/S/S’ menu (probably underneath ‘Attributes’).  This is in keeping with the general principle that commands affecting the current O/F/S/S generally should be in the ‘O/F/S/S’ menu to make it clear what they do.
  • The ‘Options’ menu has always struck me as a bit haphazard; some of its contents (especially ‘Backside’ and ‘Tooltips’) seem to control parts of the interface and so would be better located in the ‘View’ menu.
  • Some points relating to the ‘Preferences’ menu item and dialogue:
    • The ‘Preferences’ item isn’t always easy to spot in its current position in the middle of the ‘View’ menu; ideally it should be placed as the first or the last thing on the menu in order to make it easier to find.  Again, this would be helpful for new users, as most other programs place their ‘Options’ / ‘Preferences’ item at the bottom of a menu and newcomers will therefore tend to look there first.
    • Within the ‘View > Preferences’ dialogue, the ‘File Output’ section actually has nothing to do with the view (i.e. program interface) but is in fact part of the rendering setup, which makes it rather counter-intuitive to have it accessed through the ‘View’ menu.  Therefore recommend that the dialogue be split in two: the ‘OpenGL Workspace’ section should remain in its original location (‘View > Preferences’), and be renamed ‘View Preferences’ or ‘Interface Preferences’; the items in the ‘File Output’ section should be removed from the ‘View > Preferences’ dialogue, and instead accessed through the ‘Render’ menu.  Might be an idea to combine with the ‘Render > AA Setup…’, ‘Render > Renderer…’ and ‘Render > MultiThreaded’ items to create a new ‘Render Preferences’ dialogue.
  • The ‘Build’ menus could be made much more consistent between Modes.  In general, any command which adds new elements to the O/F/S/S or performs modifications on existing ones should be located in the ‘Build’ menu (most already are, but there are exceptions at present).  Recommend always starting the ‘Build’ menu with an ‘Add’ sub-menu.  More details in the following sections.

  • The ‘Edit > Select’ sub-menu should be placed immediately after ‘Select All’ and ‘Select None’, so as to group all of the selection controls together for consistency.
  • There’s a lot of stuff in the Object-mode ‘Edit’ menu (i.e. everything below ‘Check for Missing’) which would make as much if not more sense being placed under the ‘Build’ menu.  Will come on to the ‘Build’ menu in more detail later.
  • Like ‘Check for Missing’, ‘Options > Info…’ operates on the current Object, and so would make more sense if it was placed under the ‘Object’ menu.  Two ways of implementing this:
    • Keep the dialogue the same but move its menu command to ‘Object > Statistics’.
    • Or, scrap the separate statistics dialogue, and incorporate its contents into the bottom of the ‘Object > Properties’ dialogue.
  • The aforementioned stuff about the Object-mode ‘Build’ menu:
    • As mentioned previously, the first item under ‘Build’ should be an ‘Add’ sub-menu.  As the name implies, this would contain any command which involves adding a new element into the Object, i.e. the items currently located in the ‘Primitives’ sub-menu, plus ‘Add Text’ and ‘Add Warp Modifier’ (which are both currently missing from the menu altogether, and can only be accessed through the left-hand toolbar!), and also the ‘Reference Image…’ item.
    • Recommend the ‘Add’ sub-menu be followed by an ‘Element Properties’ item, which is enabled when one only one element is selected, and brings up its Element Editor dialogue (the same as if you had double-clicked the element in the viewport).
    • Recommend placing the ‘Group’ and ‘Ungroup’ items next, as there’s nothing to be gained by moving them too far from their previous location.
    • The ‘Locate’, ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ sub-menus should be moved from ‘Edit’ to ‘Build’.  At the same time, ‘Locate’ should be placed above ‘Rotate’ and ‘Scale’ instead of below them, in order to be consistent with the way the Location, Orientation and Size parameters are laid out within the various Element Editor dialogues.
    • It would be useful if, as well as ‘Rotate X 90’, we could have menu commands for ‘Rotate X 180’ and ‘Rotate X -90’, and the same for the other two axes.
    • These sub-menus should be followed by a new one, called ‘Convert’ or similar, including any items which perform other large-scale changes on the current element(s), e.g. the group of five items from ‘Convert to Mesh’ to ‘Join Splines’, plus things like ‘Smooth Object…’ and the various Mirroring commands.
    • Menu items such as ‘Fill’, ‘Extrude’ and ‘Lathe’, which only work on Paths and/or Texts, should be placed in a sub-menu called ‘Path and Text Operations’ or similar, to make it clearer what they do.
    • There should be a ‘Mesh Operations’ sub-menu, containing the various Point-Edit Mode commands which are currently located at the bottom of the ‘Edit’ menu, ideally re-ordered so as to group the Point ones first, the Edge ones in the middle and the Face ones last.
    • The ‘Build’ menu still needs to include the ‘Warp Modifiers’ and ‘Morph Targets’ sub-menus - no change there.

  • Figure-mode ‘Build’ menu:
    • This menu should start with an ‘Add’ sub-menu, with the commands ‘Add Bone’ (equivalent to the current ‘Insert Bone’ item), ‘Add Object…’, ‘Add Cylinder’ and ‘Add Sphere’.
    • As with Object mode, would recommend following this with an ‘Element Properties’ item that has the same effect as double-clicking something in the viewport.  The ‘Joint Limits…’ item seems to do the same job as an ‘Element Properties’ item at the moment, but only for bones, not cylinders, spheres or objects.
  • The Scene-mode ‘View’ menu should probably contain some toggle items to control the visibility of axes, bones, and objects – another case where certain interface commands are currently accessible only through the left-hand toolbar.  The current toggle buttons are great if you know where they are and what they do, but if a newcomer is trawling the menus looking for those commands then they’ll probably get frustrated at not finding them.

  • As with Scene mode, the Sequence-mode ‘View’ menu should probably contain some toggle items to control the visibility of axes, bones, objects, and ghosts.
  • Sequence mode introduces a fundamentally new element which is not present in the previous two Modes, namely the Timeline.  Rather than burying timeline-related operations under the ‘Edit > Frames’ and ‘Edit > Bones’ sub-menus, it would make things much clearer if Sequence mode introduced a whole new menu, ‘Timeline’, to gather together all of the commands relating to frames in general and to keyframes in particular.  Recommend it also includes a toggle item to replicate the function of the ‘Animate’ button.  Should probably be located between ‘View’ and ‘Render’.

  • The ‘Scene > Element’ item doesn’t operate on the entire scene, just on the currently-selected element, and as such, the ‘Scene’ menu probably isn’t the best place for it.  Would recommend moving it to ‘Build > Element Properties’, in line with the other 3 modes.
  • Again, Scene mode should feature a ‘Timeline’ menu, this time located between ‘Build’ and ‘Render’, including all frame and key operations.

So... any thoughts?  Agree?  Disagree?  Bit of both?  :)

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Random robot head experiment
« on: April 19, 2014, 10:38:19 am »
made this just as a random doodle, while experimenting with the latest drop (Build 1086)... i don't even know what it is, apart from the general notion that it's some kind of robot head  ::)

Ongoing Anim8or Development / build 1066: auto-loading cube textures
« on: February 11, 2014, 09:54:57 am »
New to 1066 Texture file search Anim8or now searches sub-directories of the base Texture directory for texture files when loading projects. It also loads all 6 cube faces when the names end in {xpos, xneg, ... zneg}, {posx, ...} or {right, left, top, bottom, front, back}.

i tried this feature, creating a set of .jpg images named "Cube Faces Test xpos.jpg" etc, tried creating a new material in build 1066 using one of the six jpegs, and got... nothing.  Well, the same old cube texture behaviour we've known and loved for years; nothing new, and certainly no sign of auto-loaded alternatives for the different faces, although the files did exist in the same directory.

renamed the jpegs to "Cube Faces Test {xpos}.jpg", in case you'd meant those squiggly brackets to be part of the file names... still nothing.

checked i'd set the default texture library properly, and finally reset the jpegs to their original file names, and... still nothing.

am i missing something, or is this a bug?

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Just because I went all quiet...
« on: November 29, 2013, 04:37:00 pm »
I know I haven't been very active around here lately... but I'm not dead.  Yet.   8)  I've even done a bit of work in Anim8or during my silence.  Probably my best piece of an8 work from the last couple of years is a run of episodes I did for a collaborative cross-continuity webcomic, circa mid-late 2012; the project uses a huge variety of art styles from the traditional to the high-tech, and I've done the odd episode with Anim8or renders, including an entire chapter which revolved around some not-exactly-humanoid robots having a 'political' meeting.

The design for the 'Doorwarden' robots (which make up most of the crowd) goes back several years, but I extensively overhauled my model and created a few new variants in preparation for this scene, and I built the utility-tunnel set from scratch using a modular design.

I've attached a selection of my favourite panels, in the previously-unpublished raw-render versions without the speech bubbles (darn dialogue getting in the way of a nice picture!), and if you'd like to see the entire 8-page run in its finished state, then you can read it at Tunnel (note that the first episode is at the bottom of the page, and the last is at the top).

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Intergalactic Hamsters
« on: November 10, 2009, 03:19:51 am »
*creeps back into the forum, tail between legs*

hello again, long time no post.  my bad.  :P  i haven't been ignoring you all on purpose, i've just been tied up a lot with other work lately.

anyways, i'm now starting work on my dissertation project for by BSc Media course, which is a mockumentary about a couple of students trying to make a sci-fi action-adventure feature film, with psychotic alien hamsters trying to take over the Earth.  although it's primarily a live-action project, there will be a few CGI elements, including big scary hamster battle spaceships, and the interior of the Hamster Parliament, all done in guess which program ;D

i'll try and post WIPs of the project's progress on here over the next few months.  for starters, here's the title graphic (i might do a new version with stars in the background later), and the very much unfinished battleship - please forgive the ghastly psychedelic colour scheme, it's only a temporary thing i'm using while i build the models, to help me keep track of which bits are which.  details such as gun turrets are still to come (plus proper textures, of course).

- colclough

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