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obtusity

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About obtusity

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  1. Thanks Jon! Appreciate the heads-up on the changes in version 4. Agree, good to see continued development.
  2. Ooh, nice, also sounds useful for emulating perspective. Thank you, jon13! Hopefully I can try this tonight when I get back to my own computer. Will also try the zoom feature to see if I get the same results, and will report back.
  3. I applaud your suggestions for an update of the primitive interface, but the current functionality is not bad for a free motion graphics editor. Once you've created a multi-composition project, as described above, you can see multiple compositions (by name, rather than thumbnail) and quickly modify composition order, in both layer order and time order. It is nowhere near as pretty as thumbnails, but it works (especially if you give your compositions meaningful names). What's more, you can animate compositions on the canvas and timeline, giving you movement within movement.
  4. 1. Each composition is an animation, so each composition might start with an empty background before objects come into view, then go out of view later, so it might not be useful if the software simply picks an arbitrary frame (first, last middle) as a static composition thumbnail - depending on your project, you might end up with several identical thumbnails. The software would need to generate animated thumbnails to be particularly useful If you create a couple of compositions (let's say, scene1 and scene2) and create a new composition (mymovie) then add the other 2 compositions to it, you already get a hierarchy with compositions instead of object layers, and a timeline with both compositions, and draggable bars to set the start time of each composition, like a simple video editor but with compositions instead of video clips. 2. If you change to the Object tab at the top, there is something similar (fairly primitive, and the interface for clipart and sounds is a separate dialog box with text groups and lists and individual item previews rather than a visual selector in the main interface).
  5. From the animation aspect it is sometimes better to think of it as a parent object rather than a group of objects. Compared to more complex animation software, it is the equivalent of a bone rather than a group. You can visually move/rotate/scale the Dummy object, move its anchor point, edit its path, keyframe it, etc, exactly the same as you would do to any other object. You can, for example, solo it (show only the Dummy object) for animation - I don't think Photoshop has an equivalent to "show group but don't show any of it's contents". You can build more complex hierarchical structures. For example, you can have a torso shape, a Dummy shape as a child of the torso which acts as the shoulders, and 2 arm shapes which are children of the shoulder Dummy. This enables you to animate shoulder movement (shrug, tilt, droop) without affecting the torso. Thinking of the Dummy as a group in this circumstance is a lot less intuitive to animate.
  6. I see the top menu bar has disappeared (File, Edit, Object, and Help menus) - that's OK, all of it is available through other controls and it adds a little more screen space. The online manual is currently missing (re-directs to the NCH home page) - hopefully a temporary measure. The Save Video dialog has been significantly improved - separation of file and folder choices, more presets, extra options. Has anybody spotted any other changes?
  7. Provides an invisible parent object to allow for group animation. Suppose you have two pieces of text, a circle, and a custom shape, and you want to move and rotate them all together - make them all "children" of a Dummy object , then animate the Dummy object - all the attached child objects will move as part of the single combined group.
  8. Hi Peter Express Animate is not a slideshow or frame-by-frame animation program. It is more a "motion graphics" animation program. Think of it as "I have a bunch of shapes (or images). Now I want them to move around (move, resize, rotate, or change colour)". It is more like directing a movie or play than creating separate animation frames or a slideshow. So, create an ellipse at frame 0 (or you could import an image), move the timeline marker to 1 second and drag the ellipse to a different place (you will probably be asked if you want to enable animation for this parameter. Yes, you do). You will see a movement path. Move the marker to 2 seconds and drag the ellipse to a different position. Now use the play controls to go back to frame 0 and play the animation you just created - the ellipse will move around the canvas. Be sure to watch the two tutorial videos: http://www.nchsoftware.com/animation/support.html You can also move the timeline marker and click one of the diamonds at the left-side of the timeline to set a new key(frame) for any property (at the point in time I want the property to have this value). Movement happens between keys/keyframes for the Position property (at this point in time I want the Position to be here. At a later point in time, I want the Position to be there). Position keys are automatically set when you drag the object (drag your object/actor by the collar to a different part of the stage "at 2 seconds, remember, I want you to be here"), but most keys require setting manually ("hey, rectangle, I want you to start changing colour after 2 seconds [set a key at 2 seconds], and be completely blue by 3 seconds [set a key and set the colour at 3 seconds]"). Objects (actors) can be invisible, or off-screen, and they will have a duration with a start and end (the object/actor's entire part in the animation, after which they can go get a drink even if the animation is still going with different objects), but initially think of them as all being present in your project "green room", whether they are showing on-screen at the moment or not. You can use object visibility or duration to create a slideshow-style frame-by-frame animation, but Express Animate is really not the best tool for this style. Way too much fiddling around for each frame to produce that style of animation. Note: you can also have multiple compositions, although it gets trickier. In theatre terms: The curtain goes down, new set of furniture and props, possibly with completely different objects/actors, curtain goes up, acting (animation) resumes. In movie terms: stop filming, move to a different set or location, maybe different actors, start filming (animating) again.
  9. Four (and a half) tips: 1. Make sure you have plenty of disk space available, including enough for temporary files several times the size of the video as well as the video itself. 2. Never save large or complex files (including video files and layered image files) directly to a folder that is being synced with an online service (e.g. Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc). The files will have a high chance of being corrupted. If you want these types of files in your synced folder, save to a non-synced folder first then copy them to the sync folder after the save is complete. (Half tip: Also be wary about auto-backup programs or network drives which can both run into similar problems.) 3. Before saving video, close down any other programs running (web browsers, instant messengers, office programs, games or game frameworks). The best situation would be to restart your computer and only run Express Animate. Note: the more physical memory available the better. Ideally you should have at least an 8GB memory computer. 4. Be wary about Windows path length limits. Try saving to a short path such as C:\myvideo\this.mp4 (or .avi or whatever)
  10. I see a rather nice repeating linear gradient fill has been added to shapes and to the background. Anything else that I've missed? (Apart from the updated tab interface - no separate Edit tab, the new Suite tab, etc)
  11. Hi Graham/grazzaloptus If you are still interested and haven't already solved it, Path allows you to keyframe changes to a shape outline - you can move vertex positions to animate the "shape of the shape", so to speak. No way to change multiple durations that I can see.
  12. Tsam, are you perhaps referring to VideoPad or one of the other NCH Software programs? Neither of those features (backup project files nor split track) appears to be present in Express Animate. bty, I don't think you can directly choose a portion in Express Animate - you would have to either edit your project output afterwards in a video editor (which I think Tsam is talking about) or make a copy of your project, delete any earlier or later keyframes than the portion you want, change the duration of your project and, if necessary, move your keyframes into position to suit the new reduced duration. If you only want the first part, you might be able to simply change the project duration. Another option would be to render to an image sequence, delete those images you don't want, then convert those frame images into a movie (possibly re-adding any sound) in a video editor. If your project makes use of separate compositions (like scenes) for each portion (with or without including compositions into one main composition), you can select and render only the appropriate composition. Until NCH adds a feature to reset directories, if you keep a similar directory structure on the two computers, you should be OK - e.g. keep your project and items in C:\myprojects\thisproject or in C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\Express Animate Projects\thisproject (where the USERNAME is the same on both computers).
  13. Hi John If you are still interested, it looks like NCH Software are starting to put up some tutorials for Express Animate here: http://www.nchsoftware.com/animation/tutorial.html I've started playing more with Express Animate for a recent motion graphics project, and it has more functionality than I originally thought. Regards, Obtusity.
  14. I haven't looked in on this forum for a while, so my apologies for such a late reply. I don't think there is any one-button loop functionality, but you can easily cut and paste keys in the timeline to create such a pulsing effect, or even a walk cycle.
  15. The first important question is what format is your output? A movie might not play back in simple .swf output, for example (no ActionScript playback control), but would play back fine in .mp4 output. What format are the included videos/media files in the project? There might be some problem re-encoding it which does not show in the playback, only on export (and again, .swf problems - a great format for handling its own vector content and simple raster images, but not a good choice for general movie manipulation).
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