Animation with Cues
Okay, so you have a beautiful composition on your hands, but it is lifeless. What can you do ? Well, there is a solution for that: animation.
Animation in Smode can be done in two major ways: using cues, and using timelines. Both of those are stored in an Animation bank.
Cues are used to create an animation system that's targeting live shows. They are building blocks, which when assembled together create a big interactive and dynamic animation. That animation is semi automatic, meaning it will wait for the input of a technician to continue its execution, or to bypass part of the animation.
Using cues, you can create very powerful animation setups to use in a live event or in installations. You can also use them to create short and independent animations in your compo. If you want to animate content in a more linear and standard way, like a movie (where only one timeline exists and the animation looks exactly the same when you play it a second time), you should read about how to do Animation with Timelines.
This first step into animation is avaiable only on smode Studio / Station, but video streaming is disabled on Smode Synth.
When you select a video layer inside smode, you can either seek into it with the mouse on the transport row, or click on "Create Local Player" to play it as a loop.
Once the local player is created, you can select it to get animation parameter (such as playing it back and forth inside the "playing mode" row). Note that a local player can be drag and drop into any other video layer.
By default the local video player will loop, but you can play it once also if you want.
If you want to put your video inside a Timeline of course you can but we'll see that later.
What we'll first learn is how to simply animate parameters with cues. We will create simple and independent animations that run in parallel of each other, without interacting together. This is both an introduction to the next topic (how to create composite cue animations), and a way to very quickly bring life to a composition by creating generative animations that never look the same from one frame to the other.
A cue can be created by right clicking an animable parameter. Here are 4 commands you can use to create cues, found in the right-click menu of a layer's opacity:
Some parameters are not animable (like some layer's resolution), because that would introduce weird behaviors.
Let's create a Function cue.
There now is an Animation Bank in your compo, if there wasn't one before. In that bank, you can now find your first Function Cue. Good job !
If you expand the cue in the element tree, this is what you'll see:
The cue's target is the same as a Link's or a Parameter's target. Therefore, Advanced Link Logic can also apply to cues.
The value column of the element tree contains the cue transport. A transport is the combination of event triggers (play, pause, etc.) and a progression state. The transport contains the following elements, from left to right:
|Reset||Rewinds the Cue to its initial state and stops playback|
|Play||Launches the Cue playback, re-launches finalized Cue|
|Pause||Pauses the playback|
|Finalize||Sets the Cue in its final state and stops playback|
|Looping||Defines what the cue should do when reaching its end, restart or simply stop|
|Position SMPTE Timecode||The current progression of the cue, can be modified by clicking and dragging, or clicking and typing the length|
|Length SMPTE Timecode||The duration of the cue, can also be modified by clicking and dragging, or clicking and typing the duration|
The end of that topic is in the process of being updated. Everything might not match the latest version of Smode.
Play a Fade In Cue on a Layer opacity will make it evolve progressively from 0% to 100% .
When finalized, the Layer opacity is set to 100%, if we reset the Fade In Cue, the Layer opacity will be set to 0%.
We can now explore deeply the Cue General Parameters:
As for all Elements, the Cue Activation ensures that the Cue is not played when deactivated.
The cue will also not be played if one of its parent is deactivated.
Cues are like Variable Element: when dragged at the top of a Document, the Cue is automatically visible outside the Document.
A top level Cue can be hidden from outside the Document if you uncheck the Expose parameter.
When Launch At Activation parameter is set, the Cue is automatically launched when it retrieves an activated state.
This can occurred when its Activation parameter or one of its parent is toggled.
This can also occurred when the Document is loaded, if all Cue ancestors are activated.
In our case we can toggle the Activation of the parent Layer, this will play the Fade In Cue.
Description is a free text zone that could be reported into Sequence Animation Table.
Fade In Cue and Fade Out Cue are the only presets of Function Cue.
Each Function Cue owns a Function with time in abscissa and outputs value in ordinate.
By default Function Cue uses Parametric Function with Linear Ramp Shape.
All these parameters can be freely modified:
Note that modified Function Cue does not look like Fade In anymore.
Note that a Parametric Function Cue duration is its Period.
That topic is in the process of being updated. Everything might not match the latest version of Smode.
Complex Cue orchestration can be performed by composing Cue. This can be done with Loop Cue, Sequence Cue, Simultaneous Cue and Sequence Animation.
The Quickest way to create movement in Smode is to create Loop Cue on animatable parameters.
For instance, create a Loop Cue on the Mid Point parameter of a Radial Gradiant Layer, you just have to right click on this parameter and select the Cue > Create Loop contextual menu :
This will create a Loop Cue owning an internal Function Cue:
The Loop Cue is created with Launch At Activation set by default, so it's playing directly.
The Internal Function Cue can be fully customized. For instance, to have a nicer animation, you can change the Shape to a Sinus.
The Loop Cue has the additional parameter Loop Mode. By default Loop Cue has infinite duration, but you can set a limited number of Repetitions of the owned Cue, or set to a Total Time duration.
Changing the Loop Mode allows to enable the edition of Loop Cue Length parameter or Repetitions parameter.
You can group Cues in Sequence Cue in order to play Cues sequentially.
For instance, you can create a Fade In Cue and a Fade Out Cue on the same opacity parameter of a Layer. This by selecting the two created Cues in the Element tree (with Shift key down).
Then right click contextual Menu will propose a Sequence Group:
This will group the select Cues into a Sequence Cue. The Sequence Cue Length is not editable: it's the sum of the owned activated Cue length.
To play Cues simultaneously, you can also group Cues on different parameters into a Simultaneous Cue with Simultaneous Group contextual Menu.
The Simultaneous Cue Length is not editable: it's the greater activated Cue length.
Note that like with Rule and Variable, if multiple Cues are playing simultaneously with the same target parameter, the last Cue in the tree order will set the final parameter value.
That topic is in the process of being updated. Everything might not match the latest version of Smode.
In show control condition, some Cues need to be manually launched by the Smode user. Previously to the show control, during content encoding, Cues were created but their order must also be prepared.
These two needs can be answered by the Sequence Animation Element.
Sequence Animation allows to mix Sequential and Simultaneous launch. Sequence Animation also allows to mix automatic Cue and manually started Cue.
Big Show should be organized in Project owning multiple Documents. Multiple documents Cues can be orchestrated in the unique Project main Sequence Animation. For pedagogical purpose we will use a simple document owning its local Sequence Animation.
You can create a Local Sequence Animation by grouping a set of Cue.
For instance, create an 2D Layer Uniform, expand the Color parameter and create the following Cues:
Fade In Cue on 2D Layer Uniform Color Red,
Fade In Cue on 2D Layer Uniform Color Green,
Fade In Cue on 2D Layer Uniform Color Blue,
Like we did previously with Sequence Cue and Simultaneous Cue, select the three cues with shift key down, right click on the selected Elements and use the Group menu.
Group menu is accessible with Control+Shift+G keyboard shortcut.
Note that Group Element created depends on the type of the selected Element. With Cues, the Group Command creates a Sequence Animation.
If you select the newly created Sequence Animation, an Animation Editor tab will appear at the bottom of Smode Window:
As in all Animation, Pause and Finalize Triggers exist. Here Play Trigger only resumes paused cues and does not launch reset or finalized Sequence Animation.
The new Go Trigger just launches the current Cue and updates Next Cue to Go.
You can modify the Next Cue to Go without playing them by using the new Previous or Next Trigger around the Go Trigger or by changing the value 1/3 into another one directly.
Modifying the Next Cue to Go will finalize all previous Cues and reset the following ones.
Trig Go on a finalized Sequence Animation resets the Sequence Animation and launches the first Cue.
The last button of the Sequence Animation Transport is the Looping state. If active, Go on a last Cue will launch the first cue without resetting the Sequence Animation.
This new Sequence Animation Editor tab allows you to view and edit Cue Sequence more easily.
The current Cue is framed with a blue rectangle.
The Next Cue to Go is display over the first column Cue number with a white round play icon. You can change it by double clicking on the Cue number.
You can also create new Cue more easily, for instance by dragging the 2D Layer Uniform at the end of the Sequence and select Opacity > Fade Out.
This will add a fourth Fade Cue.
With the current Sequence Animation items settings:
- Go needs to be trigged four time to play the four Cues. (This will do a fade from black to red, to yellow, to white and finally, transparent.)
- You can trig Go before the playing cue is finished. This will play the end of the previous playing Cue simultaneously with the beginning of the current one.
- When a Cue reaches its end (finalized), the next Cue is not played.
We can now try to play with Animation Items settings, for instance we can uncheck the pause icon of Fade In (Green) and Fade In (Blue) in order to make them automatic.
The cues without pause icon are stated automatically.
In this Sequence Animation Items settings we only need to click on Go two times.
The first go will launch Fade In (Red), Fade In (Green) and Fade In (Blue) simultaneously.
If the length of these three Cues is the same, it will result with a nice fade between black to white.
Then the second Go will fade out to transparent.
The launch of the three Cues is simultaneous because Sequence Animation Items are created in No Follow mode by default.
You can activate the Follow mode by clicking on the dual arrow of the Fade In (Green) and Fade In (Blue) :
With this new Sequence Animation Items settings, Fade In (Red), Fade In (Green) and Fade In (Blue) will be launched sequentially without the need of clicking on Go.
Note that Go can be trigged during automatic Cue to prematurely start the next Cue.
Follow mode is also interesting for the non automatic Cue:
In this last Sequence Animation Items settings, trig Go during a Cue playing will finalize the Cue before launching the next One.
In opposition with the first Sequence Animation Items settings, when Go starts, the next Cue will be played simultaneously with the current one.