Animations

Synthclipse makes possible to create complex shader animations by using interpolation of parameters (any uniform variable, e.g. a position or a color) between user specified key frames. The key frames are placed on the Timeline (see screenshot above) where can be easily edited and manipulated. In this section I will describe how to create a simple key frame animation.



Timeline overview

Firstly open the Synth-Anim perspective: from the main menu choose Window -> Open Perspective -> Other... -> Synth-Anim. The perspective will make editing and navigating the Timeline easier. Now open the Timeline View (if it is not already opened). As you can see below it consists of several parts:

The Timeline

  • Uniform variables tree - consists of a list of uniform variables and groups used in a shader. Exactly the same as can be seen in the Uniform Controls View.

  • Timeline table - is used for displaying, adding, removing and moving key frames on a virtual time line

  • FPS and duration settings - A button to the Time Settings Dialog where you can set FPS, duration and frame count of current animation

  • Info / Edit panel - displays the Timeline state. Also, when one or more key frames are selected, it shows their editable parameters like frame number, interpolation method, repeat mode or uniform variable value.

  • Time slider - shows and allows to set current time position of an animation. It also displays all key frames in one-dimensional line.

Timeline

Getting the example

Shader example

Lets start with some real example. We will use a (slightly modified) shader from Inigo Quilez tutorial: shader.stoy. Assuming you have already created a Synthclipse Project, create a new Fragx/Stoy file and paste to it the content of above shader.stoy file. Try to launch it (Shift + F12). You should see a violet ball on a checkerboard plane.

New File Toolbar Item

New File Wizard

The example does not contain any key frame animation yet, but we will add one soon.

Creating a key frame animation

Basics of animation

Lets create some simple camera animation. Open the Timeline View, turn on the timeline (first button from left, above uniform variables tree) and go to the FPS and duration settings. Here set the duration to 10 000 ms, FPS to 30 and press the OK button. Now do the following steps:

  1. move the time slider to the beginning (time 00:00:00 / key frame 0)
  2. Press the “Record current state of selected uniform variables” button. In the Record Uniforms dialog select Eye, Direction and Up from the Camera group, and press the OK button.

Record current state

Record Uniforms dialog
 
3. After that, you can see that there was added 3 blue dots to the timeline table:

Key frames

They are the key frames. Click on one of them. You can see on the Info / Edit panel properties of the selected key frame. We will describe them later. Now it is sufficient to only know that a key frame properties are displayed in the Info / Edit panel.

Key frame properties
 
4. Lets add another set of key frames. Move the time slider to 00:03.000 (frame 90).
5. Go to the Viewport View and move the camera somewhere (drag the mouse and move around using the arrow keys).
6. Repeat step 2. Now you should have six key frames:

Key frames
 
7. Now lets add yet another set of key frames but using slightly different method - Change Detection. Move the time slider to 00:06.000 (frame 90).
8. Toggle on the Start recording changes button. From now on any change you made to any uniform variable will be detected and recorded. Though the results won’t be displayed before you toggle the button again.

Start recording changes
 
9. Move the camera somewhere (like in step 5.)
10. Toggle off the recording changes button (It will now have Stop recording changes” label)

Stop recording changes
 
As you can see, for all changed uniform there was added a key frame to the timeline:
 
Key frames
 
11. Now move the time slider to the very end (00:10.000, frame 300) and add final camera key frames using technique from steps 4-5 or technique from steps 7-9, dependent on which you prefer.

Key frames
 
12. The animation is ready. Now press the Play button and admire your first Synthclipse key frame animation :)