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17.7.3 - Timeline Operations Dialog - Tutorial

This tutorial is designed to familiarize you with some of the controls and options found in the TimeLine Operation dialog, and the flexibility of F/x's operation settings controls. This tutorial will rely heavily on information presented in the previous tutorials. If you have not completed all of the tutorials in the previous sections, please do so before continuing. The tutorial presented here will use a simple operation, but the same techniques can be used with all of F/x's operations.

  1. If you have not already done so, start F/x by clicking on its icon, use the Start Menu Run command with the FX.EXE file selected. If F/x is already running, please close all existing images and TimeLines. Once the program is running, you may wish to open the F/x documentation to this section, and resize both the program and documentation to fit on the same screen. This way you can perform the operations and view the tutorial at the same time. In some cases you may need to use Alt+Tab to flip between F/x and the F/x documentation.

  2. This tutorial will cover setting up two similar animations using static and Trend based settings. Please open the TimeLine dialog, and delete any existing TimeLine objects. You can delete an object by pressing the Delete key with the TimeLine object selected, or by pressing Erase Timeline. Once the TimeLine is completely empty, you will be ready to begin. The first tutorial will use static operation settings and interpolation to create an animated effect. The second tutorial will use Trend settings to create a more complex animated effect. You will want to load the atiger.jpg image into F/x at this time. You will also want to set the Sequence Controls' Total Frames option to ten. This will make the TimeLine and the Filmstrip a total of ten frames long.

  3. We will be using the Color Fill operation for this tutorial. Open the color fill operation dialog by selecting the color fill icon from the Standard operations group, or by selecting the Color Fill option from the Standard group in the Operations pull down menu. This dialog contains three slide bars which allow you to adjust the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) components of the fill color. For this example, you will want to set Red = 0, G = 0, and B = 255. This will make the initial color fill color primary blue. Now, drag the Color Fill icon into frame one of the TimeLine. You have just specified the initial frame for color fill operation.

  4. Drag another color fill operation icon and place it in frame ten of the TimeLine. This will place the exact same operation settings information from frame one into frame ten. The overall result would be no change in the operation. This can be changed by entering the TimeLine Operation dialog for the color fill operation in frame ten. This dialog is accessed just like all of the other TimeLine dialogs - double clicking on the operation, area selection, or image icon of the key frame you would like to adjust. Once the dialog is open you should notice that it is broken up into two major sections - settings information and image file usage. For this example we will be primarily concerned with the settings section of the dialog. Select the Set Current Settings option. This will access the color fill dialog, and bring it to the front of the display. You can then adjust the controls to the settings you desire. In this case you will want to set R = 255, G = 0, and B = 0. This will make the fill color a primary red. Now, click any where on the TimeLine dialog, or close the color fill dialog by double clicking the close gadget in the top left corner of the dialog. This will place the information from the dialog into the operation key frame that you selected. If you were to view the settings information for frame one's color fill operation (click Set Current Settings), you should notice that the original settings for frame one have remained unchanged (it should still be primary blue).

  5. The final requirement for this animation is an area selection. Drag and Drop an Ellipse area selection into frame one of the TimeLine. Now, double click on the area selection key frame, and select Make the area selection now Draw an Ellipse on the atiger.jpg image that is near the center, and takes up about half of the image. Select Generate to create the animation. The resulting animation should have an Ellipse changing from blue to red over the sequence of frames.

  6. The second tutorial will use Trends to set up a more detailed color fill operation. Trends allow you to specify an operation parameter to specific values for each frame in the sequence. For example, the sequence that was just created simply changed color from blue to red using linear settings. If you open the Trend graphs for those operations (select the operation key frame icon and select Set Trends), you would see to linear lines that go from a maximum of 255 to a minimum of 0 for the blue Trend. The same would be true for the red Trend, except that it would go from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 255. The result is an animation that has blue change into red. Trends allow you more control over the animation for each frame in the sequence. If you are unhappy with the result of frame "n" then you would adjust the appropriate parameter's Trend for frame "n". Trends also allow for curves instead of simple linear settings. This animation will start with a color fill that is black, becomes blue, and the goes back to black. You will want to delete all of the objects in the TimeLine before continuing with this tutorial section.

  7. Drag a color fill icon into frame one of the TimeLine. Now, place an ellipse area selection into frame one of the TimeLine, and select a region for the application of the color fill on the atiger.jpg image using the procedure described above. Open the key frame operation dialog for frame one, and select Set Trends This will open the Trend selection dialog. The left hand side of the dialog contains a list of all of the available Trends for the current operation. A Trend graph can be opened for manipulation by selecting the name of the Trend to be opened with the left mouse button, and then pressing Adjust this trend Open the Blue Trend now using the method that was just described. After you have pressed Adjust this trend, you should see a Trend open behind the dialog. You could continue to open all of the Trends that you would like to adjust in the same manner, but for this example you will only need to open the Blue Trend. Th Trend graph will be broken up into ten equal segments including the left and right edges of the graph. Each of these vertical segments represents a frame. You have the option of specifying a point for some or all of the frames in the sequence. In most cases you will not have to specify a control point for each frame. There will always be a minimum of two control or key frames in the Trend. These frames will always be the first frame in the Trend, and the last frame in the Trend. For this example, we will want to set the start and end frame to zero. This is done by clicking on the control points in frame one and ten, and then pulling the point down to zero. There is frame and value information displayed in the At position of the status bar. After you have set the first and last frames to zero, set frame five to 255. This is the maximum value for the blue component. Select OK on the Trend to confirm the Trend and close the Trend graph.

  8. Generate this animation by pressing Generate on the TimeLine. The animation should show your ellipse changing from black to blue, and then back to black again. That is all there is to interpolating effects for an animation. We can create almost any type of animated effect using these simple steps:

    1. Decide which parameters will be altered over the sequence
    2. Decide if the parameter should be linear (static settings) or if the parameter should use a Trend
    3. Make the appropriate changes to the settings or Trends, and
    4. Generate the sequence.

    If you do not get the desired results the first time, attempt the animation again with different operation or Trend settings.

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