MicroStation CONNECT Edition Help

Fundamentals of Animation

Animation adds a new dimension to 3D design. Using the Animation Producer utility, you can create animation sequences that show your designs in action. For architectural models, you can produce walkthroughs with a flexibility not available in the simple Fly Through producer.

Note: If a V8 DGN created in a previous version of MicroStation has animation actors defined, and is then previewed in MicroStation V8 XM Edition or later editions, those actors will not be backwards compatible with previous versions of MicroStation. An Alert box warns you of this, and gives you the option to Cancel if you do not want to upgrade the animation.

Animation Overview

Whether your design consists of a single object, or several, you can produce animation sequences. The Animation Producer provides several different ways to define and control motion. The method used to produce an animation sequence depends on the type of design.

You can animate design elements, including camera and lighting cells. As well, you can animate the settings for light sources, and material definitions. With light sources, you can change the intensity/lumens, color, and the cone/delta angle (spot lights). You can change a material’s characteristics, such as transparency, and the pattern or bump map settings, as well as the associated scale and offset values. Additionally, the material palette file ‘proctext.pal’ contains several animated procedural textures (fire, flame, and fog) that you can use.

The Animation Producer dialog is used to control the Animation Producer utility.

Animation Terminology

The Animation Producer uses terminology consistent with that used in the production of movies. You can create actors and scripts. As well, you can animate cameras, targets, and light sources.

Term Meaning
Scripts Integral to the production of a real life movie is the script. The same applies to producing an animation sequence.

Animation data that defines the motion of geometry or the change of settings, over time, is stored in the DGN file as a series of relationships. These relationships are defined in the script, which contains the information required for the system to create the animation sequence — keyframes, views, parameter definitions, and parametric actor controls. This information is in the form of script entries. The script entries in the open script are collectively known as the open script. The open script displays in the list box in the Animation Producer dialog. Each list box entry corresponds to a script entry.

You can enable/disable script entries by clicking the Enabled toggle for each entry. A check mark indicates that the script entry is enabled. As well, disabled entries are displayed in red. You can resize the dialog in order to increase (or decrease) the number of entries that are visible without scrolling.

As you create keyframes, define an actor’s path, or script an actor, material, camera or light, script entries are generated automatically.

Actors An actor is simply a special type of named group containing one or more DGN file elements that move, rotate, or scale in a controlled manner. Movement, defined in a script, can be controlled by keyframes, or with parametric motion control.
Cameras and Targets Special cells are available to be placed in the design to designate animation cameras and their targets. One or more of these then can be used in the animation sequence, by scripting them to become active from a particular frame number. From that specified frame, the animation view is taken from the nominated camera. Since cameras and targets also are actors, you can script them to move during the animation.
Lights As with rendering a single image, lighting is integral to producing animation sequences. You can script light sources to move, and you can animate each of their settings with script entries.
Paths An alternate method for controlling actors is to specify a path along which the actor moves during a sequence of frames. This method is particularly useful for controlling animation camera and target motion.