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DFX Tutorial 1 - Building A Flow
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This tutorial will introduce the interface, the various areas in which to create a Flow, and will touch on some of the more advanced effects that can be produced with Flows.

Step 1
Start DFX by double clicking on the program icon (or go to www.eyeonline.com for Digital Fusion evaluation). Maximize the window by clicking on the maximize button in the top right corner. (Fig 1)

Step 2
Identify the Toolbar, a row of buttons at the top of the screen. Identify the Flow area, the grey working area. Place a Loader on the Flow by dragging and dropping the LD icon from the tool bar at the top left corner of the Flow. Notice that a Control Header has appeared in the Control Area to the right called Loader 1.

Step 3
Click on the Loader 1 tool in the Flow. Both it and its corresponding Control Header are highlighted, indicating that this is the currently selected tool. Right click on an empty area of the Flow and select Show Tool Names (if it is not already on from the context menu that appears).(Fig 2)

Step 4
Expand Loader 1's Control Header by clicking on the triangle on the left end of the header. On the File tab, click the yellow folder to open a standard Windows NT file requester. On the tutorial footage that came with DFX (or ftp site), go to the Planets folder and select any one of the files. DFX will automatically load the first frame of the sequence. The icon in the Flow will change, showing the first frame, as well as the controls changing to reflect the information on this sequence.

Step 5
Select the tile immediately under Loader 1 by clicking on it. On the toolbar, click once on the LD icon. This will automatically add another loader to the Flow. Expand Loader 2's controls, and select a file from the Stars folder.

Step 6
Select the tile to the right of Loader 2 and add a Merge tool. To do this, select Tools from the drop down main menus at the top of the screen. Navigate to Composite and select Merge. The output of Loader 2 auto-connects with the background input of Merge 1.

Step 7
Connect the output of Loader 1 to the foreground input of Merge 1 by dragging the red rectangle to the right side of Loader 1, on the green input triangle of Merge 1. While dragging with the mouse, notice the yellow band stretching from the cursor back to the tool. This shows (Fig 3)that DFX is aware that a connection is being made. The small red rectangle on Loader 1 has disappeared to indicate that the output of this tool is engaged. A small red rectangle on the side of Merge 1 shows that the output of this tool is not connected to anything.(Fig 3)

Step 8
Slide the Time Slider at the bottom of the screen to the right until the current time displays 60. This increments the current frame of the Flow forward 60 frames into the sequence. Notice that images on the various tools update to display their current frames in the Flow. Slide the Time Slider to display frame 120. The Merge image now displays the planets of Loader 1 on top of the stars of Loader 2. (Fig 4)

Step 9
Verify that the tile next to the Merge is selected. Add a third Loader to the Flow by clicking once on the LD icon on the tool bar. Depending on how the monitor is configured, you may need to scroll down the Flow layout to see the new tool in the Flow area. DFX has placed Loader 3 under Loader 2 and has automatically added a second Merge tool.

Step 10
Double click on Loader 3 in the Flow. This will also automatically expand the Contol Header. Select one of the files in the E_Ship directory on the CD. See the result on Merge 2. (Fig 5)

Step 11
Viewing the work in the thumbnails on the tool is not a very efficient way to work. DFX allows you to view the output of any tool in an image window. Right click on Merge 2 in the Flow to display the context menu. Select View On, then select Small. Rearrange the work areas by pressing F5. This will also display the Large View area. The tools in the Flow are now much too large for their window area. Right click on an empty area of the Flow and select Tile Size and set this to Half. Select Merge 2 in the Flow and press 1 to display it in the Large View. Step 12 Drag and drop another Loader onto the tile under Loader 3. Select a file from the E_Laser folder and expand the new Control Header. You can see from the clip time start and end in the loader's controls that this sequence is only 60 frames in length. The current time should be at frame 120. DFX will be displaying the default icon in Loader 4. This indicates that the Loader does not have any footage to show currently. (Fig 6)

Step 13
Type the number 165 in the Global In box for Loader 4. This places the 60 frames of the E_Laser clip between frame 165 and frame 224 of the entire sequence. Type 200 in the current time input box to jump forward to frame 200. Loader 4's image has now changed to a space ship with a laser blast. Place this image on the Large View for a better look. (Select Loader 4, then press 1) Click on Merge 1 with the cursor to highlight it. Press the 1 key on the keyboard to send it to the Large View. Pressing 2 displays the highlighted tool on the Small View and 3 will display it on the dpsReality's video monitor, for example. (Fig 7)

Step 14
Drag and drop a Merge between Loader 3 and Merge 2. Connect the output of Loader 4 to the foreground input at the top of Merge 3. If you can't remember which is which, try holding the mouse over the tool connection point until the info box pops up. Notice that the laser is now visible on Merge 2. Expand Merge 3's controls and drag the Subtractive/Additive slider all the way to the right. Notice how the laser's glow changes from having dark edges to having bright ones.

Step 15
Slide to frame 60 or type 60 in the Current Time box. Drag the Subtractive/Additive slider of Merge 2 all the way to the right. Notice how the ship's exhaust changes from having dark edges to bright edges. Subtractive or additive refers to the method in which the merge will handle semi-transparent images.

Step 16
Click on the File menu and select Save As. Choose a name for this first Flow. It will be reused and expanded upon in the next tutorial.

Step 17
Right click on Loader 3 and select Set Render Range. This will automatically set the render range of this project to the in and out points of the clip in that tool. Alternately, you can enter numbers manually into the Render Start and Render End input boxes in the time control at the bottom of the screen.

Step 18
Right click on Merge 2 and select Create Play/Preview On, then select Large View. This will render a preview of the Flow from frame 0 to 224. Once rendered, play the preview by clicking on the play icon on the Transport Controls that appear at the bottom right corner of the screen. (Fig 8)

To remove the preview, right click on the image and select Remove Preview.
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