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Proanimator 7 and rotating lights

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Wade Campbell
Proanimator 7 and rotating lights
on Mar 23, 2015 at 8:07:59 pm

I'm missing something. In Proanimator 7 (AE plugin version)I'm working on a lighthouse scene with an imported OBJ lighthouse. ALL I want to do is put a couple fixtures (Stadium spots) on a small round truss and rotate it so I have a lighthouse beacon complete with flares and beams.

I'm aware that it's going to path the shortest distance (a 0 to 270 degree rotation will just go -90) and should be able to overcome that, but the fixtures will not stay in a locked outward facing position. Is it just not that simple/possible in PA7 or did I miss the ODB (one damned button)?

Thanks!


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Alex Dow
Re: Proanimator 7 and rotating lights
on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:25:56 am

Hi Wade,

Just so I can clarify what you're trying to do, are you saying that you want to rotate the lights on the light house? or rotate the lighthouse itself?

Sincerely,
Alex Dow
Tech Support | Zaxwerks Inc.


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Brent Willett
Re: Proanimator 7 and rotating lights
on Apr 2, 2015 at 5:11:56 am

Hi Wade.

I don't believe you'll be able to get what you're looking for in Version 7. The lights get wonky when you spin the trusses. However, if you are able to upgrade, in the newly released version 8.5, light tracks can be parented to other layers. By parenting a light track to a null (or other object) you can get the rotation you want.

You can set up your ring pipe with two lights and turn on the cones. Then use the rotation controls in the Object Controls panel to position the lights so that they're point outward. Don't use the "Point Lights At" drop-down menu. If you do this, the light won't parent to another track. Now, put the pipe position at 0,0,0 to get it at the center point. Add a new null. The null will come in at the center point, so now you can parent the light track to the null and when you rotate the null the lights should stay pointing outward. Here's the kicker, though, if you use "Show Fixtures" to get your stadium lights, the fixtures won't stay fixed. They will rotate strangely on their own as the truss rotates, even though the actual lights don't. However, you can actually import the fixtures as 3D models. Go to Object --> Import 3D Models. The fixtures are ZXO files that are located in Documents --> Zaxwerks --> 3D ProAnimator AE 8 --> Light Fixtures. Once you import the fixture as a model, position the track so it lines up with one of your light cones and parent it to the same null. Then you can duplicate the fixture track, and position it to line up with the other light. Now, when you rotate your null track, the lights and fixtures should stay pointing outwards.

But, like I said, you have to have version 8.5 for this to work.

Hope this helps.

Brent

Lighthouse Lights Rotation



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Wade Campbell
Re: Proanimator 7 and rotating lights
on Apr 2, 2015 at 1:09:25 pm

Yep. Pretty much exactly what I thought was the case. Had heard parenting finally made it in and am currently tried to find the right arm to twist for the lunch money for the upgrade. Currently trying out putting 8 (maybe more) lights on the ring and just chasing thru in order. Won't exactly be a smooth turn, but maybe... just maybe.

Thanks!


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Brent Willett
Re: Proanimator 7 and rotating lights
on Apr 2, 2015 at 1:58:25 pm

Here's another option that might work for you if you aren't able to upgrade.

You can create a cone primitive, turn off the bottom and apply a light cone material to it. Those materials are all in the material swatches. It won't look quite as nice as the actual light cones, but it might do in a pinch. Of course, you won't get the flares with a cone primitive. But you might be able to parent a couple of cones to a null and line them up with the actual lights. The lights will spin strangely, but flares should stay in about the same spot as they go around.

Good luck!

Brent


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Wade Campbell
Re: Proanimator 7 and rotating lights
on May 7, 2015 at 8:26:28 pm

Just for follow up... The cone idea does work, but because I wanted a lighthouse that had two opposed beams, I took it a little further. Using the lathe tool I created a shape something like a bow tie. The lathe gave me what amounts to two cones joined at the tips, pointing in opposite directions. Then I applied the cone material and broke it up so it went in each direction. A little spin on the Y and I've got lights. Thanks for the help!


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Brent Willett
Re: Proanimator 7 and rotating lights
on May 9, 2015 at 1:13:54 am

That's a great solution, Wade, I hadn't thought of that! I'm glad I could help, and I'm glad you could take the idea farther and make it better.

Brent


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