Digital Fusion Tutorials

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This tutorial makes use of Digital Fusion's new text tool and the new 'Follower' option available with 3.02

Quicktimes: Original Version (663 Kb) or Trails Enhanced Version (2.4 Mb)


  Step 1
Start a new flow with 210 frames. Click the 'High Quality' checkbox next to the start render button.
Step 2
Place a Text+ tool in the flow. Click on the text tab and type in some text. I've left the text at the default of 0.08 Arial. For my example, I've used the following dramatic passage: Oh my god! The bees! They've come back again. Why won't anybody help?
Step 2 Click for larger view  
  Step 3
Right click within the text box and select 'Follower' from the menu. A blue box appears in the 'Modifiers' tab of the text tool.
  Step 4

Click on this tab, then click on the 'Timing' tab. Change the 'Order' to completely random, and change the delay between each character to a value of 0.72

By doing this, you've said that the animation we're about to create will apply itself to a random character, and then another random character 0.72 frames later.

Step 5 Click for larger view
Step 5
Click on the 'Shading' tab. You'll be looking at the variables for 'Element 1'. Click on the 'Transform' button. Go to frame zero. Set a key for the 'Offset Z' parameter by right clicking on the slider and selecting 'Set key'. Set 5 more key frames as follows:Frame 20 Value = 2
Frame 60 Value = -2
Frame 100 Value = 2
Frame 140 Value = -2
Frame 160 Value = 0

What you've done here is moved a character back and forth on the Z axis. Thanks to the new 'Follower' modifier, you only have to animate these parameters once, then the effect takes care of the animation for the rest of the characters.
  Step 6
Go to the 'Spline' view and select 'Follower 1: Offset Z' from the pulldown menu. If you can't see any splines, right click in the window and select 'Show all splines.'
Step 7
Select all 6 points, then hit Shift+s. This smooths out the back and forth motion.
Step 7 Click for larger view  
Step 8
Go to the 'Alignment' tab. Go to frame zero. Pull down the 'Select' menu and choose 'Character'. Set keys for each of Character Angle X, Character Angle Y and Character Z with values of 0.
Step 8 Click for larger view  
  Step 9
Go to frame 160 and change the values of each of these angles to 1440.
Step 10
Finally, go back to the text tool's main menu. Click on the 'Layout' tab. Go to frame zero, and set a key on the 'Angle Y' parameter with a value of 0. Go to frame 210 and change the value to 720. Now all your buzzing characters will swing around twice in unison.
Step 10 Click for larger view  
  Step 11
Right click on the text tool in the flow and preview your animation.
Step 12
For those interested in blowing their minds, add a trails tool to the flow, and connect the text tool to it. Change the 'Gain' value to 0.9, and the 'Scale' value to 1.2
Step 12 Click for larger view