Week 5 – Introduction to Compositing / Rendering Animations

124B 2013 Summer

Course 124B
Date 2013/07/24
Learning Objectives This session will build up on the introduction to animation session, finalizing the animation production process. We will set up a process for rendering and final production of animations. The session will have an introduction to cinematic concepts and techniques. Finally we will introduce Adobe After Effects to post-process the animation results, and techniques for file compression and distribution.
  • Rendering the Project
  • Introduction to cinematic concepts
  • Introduction to After Effects
    • Import Footage
    • Cameras, Light
    • Animations
    • Paths, Masks
  • File Manipulation
  • Exercise: Experiment with a number of types of camera movements in the scene. Experiment with cameras inside and outside your Sukkah project.
Uses Tool(s) Rhinoceros , VRay , [[Tool:After Effects|]]

Bongo Animation

During the previous session we learned how to animate objects, layers and views with Bongo, a keyframe editor plugin for Rhino.

Bongo also gives us the ability to animate lights (including solar systems), and constraint cameras to more specific paths or objects.

Bongo Additional Features

Bongo has a number of features that help us animate objects in more complex ways.

  • We can create animation loops to repeat an object transformation a number of times.
  • We can animate a number of geometries from a given proxy point, keeping the animation cleaner and lighter.

Contraining a Camera

In a similar way to constraining an object while animating, we can constrain a camera. A camera can be constrained to either a path or an object.

  • Types of Constraints
    • Look Along: Camera looks along normal of the curve at a given point
    • Camera to Object: Camera inside the object. Camera moves if object moves.
    • Camera to Path: Camera moves along path
    • Target to Object: Camera targets an object from its current location.
    • Target to Path: Camera targets a path from its current location.

Rendering an Animation

The final step in the Bongo animation process is rendering the animation. Bongo can use a number of rendering engines supported by Rhino, like VRay, Brazil, Flamingo and Rhino Renderer.

It is when you render the animation, that you define the length and quality of the animation. To do this, you can modify the Frames per Second and the number of Frames. It is also possible to render only part of the animation process.

These are some of the animation features that we can find in Bongo:

  • Start Tick/Stop Tick : Controls the range of ticks included in the output animation from the timeline. The start and stop ticks are the same as the animation limits and are represented on the timeline by animation limits markers.
  • Make Loopable : If you have set your animation up so that the positions of objects are the same at the start and end, use this option to ensure that two identical frames are not output causing a glitch when the animation is displayed looping.
  • Viewport To Render : Controls which viewport will be rendered.
  • Target Renderer : Determines which installed renderer will be used to produce the output. When this is set to Viewport Display, Bongo will output frames using the current display mode of the selected viewport in the input section.
  • View capture delay(s) : determines how many seconds Bongo will wait before capturing the view. This is recommended to be used for example when you use Neon in the viewport.
  • Resolution : Controls the size, in pixels, of the output image. If this is set to Viewport, the output will be the same size as the selected viewport in the input section.
  • Frames to Render : Determines the actual number of frames to be output. This is initially the same as the number of ticks between the start and end in the input section, but as ticks do not equate to frames, this value can be anything you like. Changing this value will alter the Speed (fps) value.
  • Length in Seconds : Use this edit box to set the length of time that the animation will run for. Changing this value will alter the Speed (fps) value.
  • Speed (fps) : Determines the frame rate of the output video in FPS (frames per second). This value is linked to both the Frames to Render and Length in Seconds values. For an animation destined for local or CD playback, 25 fps is a good choice. For the web or email, use a lower frame rate, for example 15 fps, to save file size at the cost of smoothness. Any value can be used. The value is not restricted to those on the list.
  • Active time segments : Use this options to render all the frames you have specified in the frames to render under the Output option.
  • Range : Renders frames between the range that you specify.
  • Frames : To render specific frames, use this option.

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is primarily used for creating motion graphics and visual effects. After Effects allows users to animate, alter and composite media in 2D and 3D space. After Effects is layer-oriented, meaning that each individual media object occupies its own track.

After Effects Interface

  • Project panel - acts as a bin to import stills, video, and audio footage items.
  • Composition panel - The items visible at the current time marker are displayed in the Composition panel.
  • Timeline panel - Footage items in the Project panel are used in the Timeline panel, where layer order and timing can be adjusted.

Compositing an Animation

Compositing an Animation from a number of rendered frames is very simple. In a similar way to Photoshop or Illustrator, we need to define the document properties, such as width, height and resolution.

In After Effects, the document is called composition. When creating a new composition, we need to make sure that the composition properties match my animation properties. The most important value is the Frames per Second Value of the composition.

Once we create the composition, we can import a number of types of media and combine it together on the composition panel.

We can then modify and add effects to the different imported layers, and we can even create new layers from scratch. We will be modifying all these layers on the Timeline Panel. The timeline panel works in a similar way to Bongo's timeline, but it also has layers.

The layers in the timeline work similarly to Layers in Photoshop or illustrator. The order of the layers matter when visualizing the animation.

Project 1