Digital Fusion Tutorials

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The following tutorial barely scratches the surface of DF3's incredibly flexible new text tool. It makes use of the shading elements and their hierachical relationship to the main text layout, as well as calculations.

Quicktime: View the movie. (1 Mb)

  Step 1
Start a new flow with 240 frames. Check the high quality box next to the start render button.
   
Step 2
Place a text+ tool in the flow. For this example, I left the size at 640 by 480 with the default 1 by 1 pixel aspect ratio.
Step 2 Click for larger view  
  Step 3

Copy these capital 'I's into the text box under the text tab. The font you're using should be the default: 0.08 Arial. Once they're in there, get rid of the returns to make one long string:

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
   
  Step 4
With the playhead on frame 0, slide the right hand 'write-on' handle to a value of zero. Right click on the word 'end' and set a key. Your 'I's will disappear. DON'T PANIC.
   
  Step 5
Move the playhead to frame 60, then move the handle back to a value of one. Now, if you play your animation, the string of 'I's should reveal themselves over 60 frames. Don't worry if you can't see all of them, we'll fix this in a minute.
   
Step 6
Go to the 'Layout' tab of the text+ tool. Change the 'type' pulldown to 'circle'. Go to frame 0. Set a key on the 'Angle Y' slider, with a value of 0. Go to frame 240 and change the value to 1440. Your text will eventually spin around 4 times over the length of the flow.
Step 6 Click for larger view  
  Step 7
Go to the 'Alignment' tab. Select 'character' from the pulldown menu, and change the character spacing to a value of 0.8498. This should pull your 'I's together to make a circular band.
   
Step 8
Go to the 'Shading' tab and enable Element 2 through 7 by checking their enable boxes. Element 1 will already be enabled.
Step 8 Click for larger view  
  Step 9
Go to frame 60. Select Element 2, click the transform button. Set a key on the 'Offset Z' slider giving it a value of zero. Change the 'Angle X' value to 90.
   
  Step 10
Repeat this process for each of elements 3 through seven. For Element 1, change the 'Angle X' value to 90 like the others, but you can leave the 'Offset Z' value alone.
   
  Step 11
Go to frame 120 and change the 'Offset Z' values of the various elements as follows:

Element 2: 1.0
Element 3: 2.0
Element 4: 3.0
Element 5: -1.0
Element 6: -2.0
Element 7: -3.0

Now that we've got these 'I' rings spinning around, we'll fade them out one by one. Rather than just keying each of the elements to fade out in sequence, we'll use calculations based on a single opacity change. We'll start with element 4, because it's at one end of our cylinder.
   
  Step 12
Go to frame 180. Click on the Shading tab. Select Element 4. Click on the colour button. At the bottom, right click on the Opacity slider and set a key with a value of 1.0.
   
  Step 13
Go to frame 190, and change the opacity value of Element 4 to 0.
   
 

Step 14
Go to Element 3. Right click on it's opacity slider, and modify it with a Calculation. A blue box appears in the modifiers tab.

   
  Step 15
Go to modifiers and you'll see a calculation box. Right click on the box and rename it to something related to element 3. I called mine 'element 3 calculation'. This saves confusion later.
   
  Step 16
Under the 'Calc' tab of this modifier, right click on the 'First Operand' slider, and connect it to Text + 1 > Opacity
   
Step 17
Under the 'Time' tab, set the value of the 'First Operand Time Offset' to -4.

What you've done here is told Element 3's opacity to match what Element 4's opacity was 4 frames ago.
Step 17 Click for larger view  
  Step 18
Go back to step 13 and repeat this process for each of the other elements using the following First Operand Time Offsets:

Element 2: -8
Element 1: -12
Element 5: -16
Element 6: -20
Element 7: -24

The rings should fade out roughly around frame 215. Right click on the text tool, and create a preview. BOOYA!
   
 

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