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Reference: Tutorials: Animation 101 - Simple Movement: Object Movement

Animation 101 - Simple Movement: Object Movement
By: Ahui Herrera

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This tutorial will assume that the reader knows how to create 3D still models using the LDraw system of tools. Additional information of the software talked about in this article can been obtained in the appendix. Furthermore, the reader may wish to download the following files to help them when going through the tutorial.

    4565_Engine_A.pov (Complete file ready for animation)

There are four basic steps to creating animations.

    Step 1: Planning or creating storyboards
    Step 2: Creating a 3D still model
    Step 3: Rendering the 3D model
    Step 4: Creating a video file of the animation

Step 1:
Planning or creating storyboards
Before touching the computer, one must have an idea of what the final animation should look like. At the basic level a series of rough sketches on paper showing the major transitions or changes in the animation. In this tutorial we will be making a train engine move across the screen from right to left. Below you can see the storyboard for our animation project.

Storyboard 1 Storyboard 2
Storyboard 3 Storyboard 4

As you can see the first board shows nothing moving just a static background that will be in the entire animation. The 2nd board shows the introduction of the train engine and the direction it will go. The 3rd board appears to be the same as the 2nd but has been added because the engine will make a stop halfway through the screen. Since this is a change in the animation it should have itís own storyboard. The 4th board shows that the engine is about to leave the screen from the left hand side.

Note that these storyboards are very, very crude. One does not need to be a professional artist to create storyboards. The whole purpose of the storyboards are to show the major changes in the animations (stop, go, turns, etc.) During the rendering Step these critical changes will become key stops/go for the rendering. It is much easier to catch mistakes during the production of storyboards than after you have spent 10+ hours rendering only to find out that you forgot a major event and must re-render and spend another 10+ hours.

Step 2:
Create a still 3D model
The final result from this Step is the conversion of the .ldr file into a .pov file. Note that if you use L3P Add-On to do the conversion use only the following switches:

-bu (bumps)
-sw (seam Width) .05
-q (Quality Level) 2 
-o (Overwrite existing .POV)

By default L3P Add-on uses the cg camera Globe Position, -lg (light Globe Posotion) and adds a floor. Remove these options as the camera, lights and floor will be hand coded in step 3.

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