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Moving lights in ProAnimator 4

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life_at_30fpsMoving lights in ProAnimator 4
by on Jun 23, 2006 at 2:37:50 am

When you set up 3D text in ProAnimator and use a reflective material such as gold, the reflections look great as long as the text is in motion.

As soon as the text stops moving, the reflections stop, as well. I assume the lights are not moving, but only creating different reflections as the text moves.

Is there a way to put the lights in motion, the way you can in After Effects? This would allow the reflections to continue to move nicely while the text is stationary.

Thanks,
G2


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Jon OkerstromRe: Moving lights in ProAnimator 4
by on Jun 23, 2006 at 5:08:14 am

Hi G2,

I'm guessing you have ProAnimator 3, based on your question.

The best solution for your question is ProAnimator 4, because it gives you the option of using ProAnimator as an After Effects plug-in... more about that in a moment.

First an explanation. The reflections in ProAnimator are based on reflection maps, which are most often still images. Moving lights won't make those reflections appear to move. Moving the reflection maps or the objects themselves are your options.

Option 1. Moving the reflection maps. The really sweet way to do this is by using the AE plug-in version of ProAnimator 4. Check out the layer map offset option. Essentially, you can make your reflection map a layermap, then animate the offset or position of the layermap. This will make your reflection map move on static images.

Option 2. You could create a movie with what amounts to a moving layermap, then apply that in the reflection channel as you would a traditional layermap. This would work whether you're using ProAnimator as a stand-alone or a plug-in, but wouldn't give you as much control over how the layermap moves.

Option 3. Try rotating your objects a very small amount when they're parked.. say plus or minus 2 degrees. It's enough to make the reflections appear to move, but not very noticeable. This is very simple and quick. It may work in a pinch.

Does this help?

Jon


Oh yeah, about the lights. They can't be animated in the stand-alone version of ProAnimator. (Although adding the ability to have a light animation track would be cool... maybe in a future version.) Anyway, when you use the AE plug-in, you get the option of using animatable comp lights and camera.




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life_at_30fpsRe: Moving lights in ProAnimator 4
by on Jun 23, 2006 at 2:49:19 pm

Thanks, that's a great idea.

By the way, I do have the AE Plug-in version of ProAnimator 4. So I can easily do what you recommended.

One other question, based on your answer...

I know you can choose to have ProAnimator use the "comp camera" from AE. But can you reverse that process and make AE use the camera set-up in ProAnimator?

Thanks,
G2


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Jon OkerstromRe: Moving lights in ProAnimator 4
by on Jun 23, 2006 at 6:25:52 pm

Hi G2,

Glad to help. The short answer is not directly.

One thing you might want to explore, you can save your ProAnimator project and have AE import the camera and object position keyframes from the PA project file. So far as I know, this works with AE 7 and not earlier versions.

Technically, AE and ProAnimator are two separate 3d worlds. The software links them together in a way that it looks like they share the same virtual space,... it's amazing that it works as well as it does.

Have fun.


Jon



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