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starting a new time frame

Pete S

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I'm new to Express Animate and just feeling my way.  I haven't understood yet exactly how to start a new time frame and link it to an existing one so that one image will follow another in the display.  Can someone explain in detail (for an absolute beginner) exactly what steps I need to take and in what order to achieve this ?

Peter Swain


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 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.


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