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other ProAnimator questions....

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Rich Leach
other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 12, 2010 at 7:22:03 pm

I've been following the thread for "Animating Logos on a cube surface" and have a few observations:

The window modality in ProAnimator in unlike any other program that I currently own. You actually need to click on the individual windows onscreen in order to activate them - is this the expected behavior? If all of the windows are part of the same application than it seems unlikely to me that I'd have to actually click a second time to render my screen action. I don't have a beta version or a debugging version do I have? I have version 4.5.1.

In the "Animating Logos on a cube surface" thread I have successfully built a cube and 5 text objects, to which I've rotated and placed each text object to each plane of the cube (all but the bottom plane). I've moved all of the selected objects to the same track (I believe this to be true since there is only one remaining track in my scene) and as soon as I Pose Grouping > Make Group all of my text objects disappear and I can not recover them; I have to revert to the last saved version of my file and start again. I don't think the learning curve should be this great on an app like this, clearly I've missed a step in setting up my application or as I asked earlier, maybe I have a beta/debugging version?

Thanks again,

Rich


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Edward Wu
Re: other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 13, 2010 at 6:05:47 pm

Hi Rich,

ProAnimator currently opens up two separate windows. So, you're correct that you have to click each window in order to "activate" that window. In the next version of ProAnimator (coming soon), we are revamping the software so that there are customizable panels into one centralized workspace similar to how After Effects works. Version 4.5.1 is an official release of the software, so what you have is not a beta or debugging version of the software.

As for the "Make Group" issue, I would have to take a look at your project to see what you are running into. Please send the project file to ed@zaxwerks.com with a project where you are about to group your objects. Then, I'll try grouping the objects to see if I can reproduce the issue you are running into.

Best,
Edward


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Rich Leach
Re: other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 13, 2010 at 10:09:03 pm

Edward-

Thanks again for the info.

I'll send my file to you and I really appreciate you taking the time to look at it. Yesterday was a very long day as I spent the entire day working with the ProAnimator app and trying to learn it. Because it's a different tool for a different paradigm progress came slowly....

Regards,

Rich


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Edward Wu
Re: other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 14, 2010 at 9:27:10 pm

Hi Rich,

I took a look at your project file, and sent it back to you. I wasn't having any issues grouping your objects together, so please try it again and let me know what you are running into.

Best,
Edward


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Rich Leach
Re: other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 15, 2010 at 12:49:10 am

Hi Edward-

I did what you said, and I grouped the sides and text together which seems to work. Then I made the rotation work as I expected, great! HOWEVER, when I attempt to delete the second pose farther down the timeline and set a new pose, the original value is applied, not the new one. What I mean is, I did what you said, then set the Y axis rotation to -40 and got the desired result. So I deleted the second pose, double clicked the timeline to create a new pose and then the grouping went away - the cube rotated and the text did not. Frustrated, I did a File>Revert. I tried your instructions again, but when I applied a Y axis value (this time of 270) the rotation only executed a -40. I even closed the entire program and reopened it, started again. I'm really not this dense! I opened your PDF document again and did a Find on "Revert" and it came back empty so I can't say that the Revert operation functioned as expected or not as I can't tell what the real behavior is expected to be.

One thing I did discover which seems to be a MAJOR usability flaw is that, and if I'm wrong please correct me, you can not simply select the pose in the timeline when applying a movement. You have to select all on the screen AND select the timeline pose. My expectation from using other apps is that you'd have one selected if you selected the other, but that isn't the case, is it? Couple that with the 2 box modal screen issue, and the fact that this is not running as a plug-in inside of After Effect but instead as a standalone program, well, I have to admit I'm disappointed.

So, I just finished typing the above details and went back and tried your instructions again. I reopened ProAnimator and the rotation is back to not working again.

I'd be more than happy to provide you with a screen movie to show you what I'm doing, and possibly help with improving the documentation if your other users are as inept as I am in learning how to use the application. I don't know if this is a good thing to admit here or not, but I write software for a living, and the behavior within Zaxwerks ProAnimator is NOT consistent. Let's say for a moment that I'm completely mis-using it. Using the same actions to attempt to execute a simple animation yields different results on different attempts. This includes closing the application (not saving, of course) and reopening and trying again. Is there some kind of caching mechanism in place? And to rule out my own stupidity, is there a log file somewhere I can look at that tracks my actions or keystrokes?

I know I've covered a lot in this posting, and I'm fully invested in this program (I even bought MILG 1 but I don't want to try any of those things if I can't make a simple cube rotation with a grouping work) so I'd like to help solve my own problems with PA instead of dragging anyone else into it. Please let me know how you'd like me to proceed.

Thanks again for your help,

Rich


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Edward Wu
Re: other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 15, 2010 at 5:08:04 pm

Hi Rich,

Did you get a chance to look at the project file I sent you a couple days ago? If you look at that project, you'll see that the rotation was built from one pose instead of multiple poses. If you click on the pose, you'll see that the objects are grouped together, and a "Spin Y" action was applied. I typed in a value of 1080 just as a sample, which will cause the cube to rotate 3 times.

I'll try my best to describe what you're running into. Whenever you create a new pose, it takes the previous pose in the timeline, and duplicates it. Then, as you adjust the position/rotation in the new pose, the object will "transition" from one pose to the other. Thus, if you grouped the objects in the second pose, and then deleted the pose, the group will be deleted as well. Also, since you deleted the second pose, the new pose that you created will use the same values as the previous pose on the timeline (the first pose). It will not use the values from the second pose you created because that pose is deleted and no longer exists on the timeline. The reasoning behind this is based on how poses and transitions work. Poses, typically are stopping points in the timeline. This means, whenever you have a pose, the objects will not move in position. However, you can still apply actions such as rotations. Transitions are used to get the objects from one pose to the next. This means, if you changed the position from one pose to the next, the transition will find a way so that the objects travel smoothly from one pose to the next. You can apply a variety of settings to set up a complicated transition such as changing the position, rotation, scale, twists, or cascades all at once. The transition will still calculate all the changes that happen between the two poses, and create the animation path with all the changes.

Be careful when applying rotation between two poses. Even though you may apply a rotation of "270", the transition actually does not look at the value in the rotation box. Instead, the transition will calculate the rotation of both poses, then apply the rotation. This means, since you applied a Y-rotation of -40 in the first pose, and a value of 270 in the second pose, what really happens is that you are doing a rotation from 320 (360-40) to 270 degrees. So, while you may expect the objects to rotate 310 degrees, it may only rotate 50 degrees instead. In situations like this, it's much easier to create just one pose, and apply the "Spin Y" action, and just type in the rotation values.

In terms of the major usability flaw, it's not the case. You actually do not need to have any objects selected before setting up the animation. You can simply select any pose or transition on your Object Track, and start adjusting the position, rotation, etc... The objects in the corresponding object tracks will start reacting based on the actions you've applied to it.

ProAnimator is pretty stable when it comes to saving and loading. However, I think since you are not completely familiar with how some of the controls work, it may be confusing, and give the impression that things are not working as they should. The program does have a learning curve, but once you get how everything works, you will be able to create animations a lot faster than you may think. Feel free to give us a call if you run into something frustrating again. We may be able to guide you through a frustrating experience in a short amount of time rather than spending hours and not getting the results that you want.

Our number is (626) 309-9102.

Best,
Edward


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Rich Leach
Re: other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 16, 2010 at 12:02:38 am

Hi Edward-

Thanks so much for your detailed reply.

With your explanation I've accomplished what I set out to do, and I've gained a better understanding of how to use ProAnimator. I'm not sure I would have figured this out without your guidance so I appreciate your explanations. Clearly I have some time to spend with this app so I'll keep you apprised of my progress. A few of the things you described weren't fully intuitive for me so I'll have to gain some more familiarity with the docs and hope they carry me through.

Again, I really appreciate your time and help.

Regards,

Rich


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Edward Wu
Re: other ProAnimator questions....
on Sep 16, 2010 at 4:25:24 pm

Hi Rich,

I'm very happy to hear that you were able to make progress with your project. I have to admit, when I dove into ProAnimator the very first time, I was a little lost as to where I should begin too. However, once I got the right information from tutorials and the documentation, everything starts to make sense.

Feel free to contact me if you run into any questions. I'll be happy to help.

Best,
Edward


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