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Rolling cubes and building

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Tim TetlowRolling cubes and building
by on Feb 19, 2016 at 4:24:27 pm


I'm looking for a little help with a project.
What I'd like it to have a number of cubes roll along and build up into a random stack. Like building blocks.
I have created a rolling cube effect that is keyframed using joints. I cant figure out another way to get a cube rolling. SO if I used this kind of set up, is there anyway of automating the rotations and multiplying the amount of blocks so it building into a larger structure?


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Cassius MarquesRe: Rolling cubes and building
by on Feb 19, 2016 at 6:28:42 pm

how many cubes you intend to end up with? cause to me it seems a lot of manual work for just those 3 cubes.

But unfortunately I can't think of a way to automate that.

Cassius Marques

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Adam TrachtenbergRe: Rolling cubes and building
by on Feb 19, 2016 at 8:02:03 pm

I don't see any way to automate it, but you could make relatively quick work of it by copying and pasting and then offsetting the animation and position/rotation.

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Jim ScottRe: Rolling cubes and building
by on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:57:24 pm

I don't know of a way to automate it either, but you might find Nitroman's MagicPivot and MagicRoll plugins useful as alternative methods of rolling your blocks. They're both under "freebie" on his site:

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Jim ScottRe: Rolling cubes and building
by on Feb 19, 2016 at 10:05:21 pm

Actually I meant that I can't think of a way to automate the formation of multiple blocks into a structure, but MagicRoll will definitely automate rolling a block, and MagicPivot could possibly be used for rolling a block vertically and into position.

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Tim TetlowRe: Rolling cubes and building
by on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:13:43 am

Hi All

Thanks so much for the advice.
There will only really need to be a few blocks - I guess I can get away with only animating a few, and editing it so there appears to be more, or that you don't need to see every one of them animating.

Copying and pasting was the only thing I could think of as well in terms of getting multiples of these. I tried throwing it in a cloner but that didn't work out.

I had checked out nitromans magic roll but figured there arent any options to take more control of it, but I didn't think of trying magic pivot as well.

I might be able to get away with using a combination of all but I had better storyboard this out better first!


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Jim ScottRe: Rolling cubes and building
by on Feb 22, 2016 at 5:15:20 pm

Good luck with your project Tim.

I had not played around much with MagicPivot and MagicRoll until I read your original post and thought I'd experiment a bit. I found some interesting anomalies which might help you avoid some problems if you decide to use either one. I have emailed Lazaros (Nitroman) concerning both of these issues but haven't got a response yet.

MagicPivot: Though the Nitro4D site states that all the plugins are compatible with R17 I found that MagicPivot is not. I can use it as advertised in R13, but once a cube is linked to the MagicPivot object in R17 trying to move the axis also moves the cube.

MagicRoll: I have found a very odd problem where the object animated by MagicRoll will take twice as long to complete its route in the viewport as it does in the rendered movie. For example, using a speed of 8cm and four equal steps of a circuit (U,L,D,R) it will take 165 frames for a cube to complete those moves in the viewport, but in the rendered movie it will only take 83. I did tests at three different speeds (6,8, and 10cm) and found the issue consistent (fewer frames at higher speeds, but always the 2 to 1 ratio). Once I retimed the animations in the viewport I was able to control the look of the final rendered movie, but had to get used to seeing the cubes run over other animated objects as they followed their programmed route in the viewport only to have them render out properly.

As far as greater control is concerned, it can be had with judicial use of key framing the Use Commands control. You have to be very precise as to where OFF and ON keyframes are added so as to stop and restart the sequence at the proper time, and you can only do so by paying attention to the issue I described above. Also, adding extra commas in the Commands box (U,D,,,,R,L,D) adds pauses of approximately 20 frames each (at least at the 8cm speed). While precise control is possible, I don't know if it would be worth it in an intricate animation. I was able to make a pleasing animation using both MagicPivot and MagicRoll on different cubes, but I only used MagicRoll for an initial setup of four cubes, and then used MagicPivot to roll other cubes up and over those, and to create stacks of both.

If you're not using R17 MagicPivot can be used very precisely. And although you can get somewhat fast at animating an object, there are several steps required which does make it rather tedious.

In any case, storyboarding your animation with either of these tools is a definite must.

Hope this helps.

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Jim ScottRe: Rolling cubes and building
by on Feb 23, 2016 at 4:44:07 pm

I just heard back from Lazaros and he seems to have fixed the problem with MagicPivot in R17. The old version (12679) is still up on the website, so wait a bit until he updates it before downloading.

He is looking into the issues with MagicRoll.

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