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DFX Tutorial 2 - Inserting & Animating Tools
Figure1 Click for larger view
Figure 2 Click for larger view
Figure 3 Click for larger view

Step 1
Tutorial 2 follows from the end point of Tutorial 1 - Building A Flow. Please load the Flow from the previous tutorial.

Step 2
If the Large View is not currently open, press F5 to open it. Adjust the proportions of the Large View to the Flow area by dragging the splitter bar between them.

Step 3
Drag and drop a Highlight tool (HiL) between Loader 2 and Merge 1. Notice the different cursor icons and how the Flow is moved over to make room for the new tool. The inputs and outputs of the tools are automatically connected. The Highlight tool will only effect Loader 2's image because Loader 2 is the only tool before the Highlight tool. Anything that comes after it will be affected by it.

Step 4
View the Highlight tool on the Large View and Merge 2 on the Small. View different tools on different views at the same time.

Step 5
Expand the Highlight's Control Header to reveal the controls. There are two tabs that organize the controls into related groups. The Settings tab should be visible by default. Slide the High/Low range slider to the left a bit and notice the effect it has on the image. (Fig 1) The Highlight tool adds a star filter effect to a select range of pixels based on their luminance. A range slider represents a range of values, rather than a single value. Modify the range by dragging the endpoints of the slider the entire length of the slider or by entering values into the input boxes.

Step 6
Drag the left edge of the range slider to the left. Notice how the Highlight tools' effect increases. This is because the range's effectiveness responds to pixels with lower intensities. Pixels that have intensities greater than the right edge of the range receive the full effect of the tool. Set the low range to 0.65 and the high range to 0.85.

Step 7
The Curve slider adjusts the falloff of the effect. Slide it left and right to change the Highlight effect. Experiment, then set the Curve value to 0.0. There should be some stars that cast lightly colored rays.

Step 8
The Length slider determines the length of the rays produced by the tool. Sliding this control all of the way to the right may produce extreme results. Set this value to 0.65

Step 9
The Number of Points slider sets the number of rays emitted by the tool. Set this to 7.

Step 10
Look at the Angle control. This screw is used to represent a control that has no set high or low values. This means that it can turn indefinitely in either direction. This controls the angle of the rays produced by the tool. Drag it left or right for the desired angle.

Step 11
Select the Color Scale tab to view the additional Highlight controls. (Figure 2) The Red Scale, Green Scale and Blue Scale sliders adjust the color of the effect. The Alpha Scale slider controls the transparency of the highlights. Set these to R=0.75 G=0.9 B=1.0. This will give most highlights a cool blue tint.

Step 12
Set the current time to 0. Return to the Settings tab of the Highlight tool. Right click on the Angle screw and select Bezier Spline. (Figure 3) Click and drag the screw to about 180. Move the current time to 135 and drag the screw to about 0. This has animated the Angle screw between frame 0 and frame 135.

Step 13
Drag the Time Slider to the beginning of the scene. Notice how the Angle screw moves as well. Set the beginning and ending key frames of the Angle screw, and Digital Fusion has animated all of the in-between frames.

Step 14
Drag and drop a Glow (Glo) tool to the right of Loader 1. This will only affect the planets of Loader 1. Set the Current Time to 120 and view the Glow on the Large View.

Step 15
The Glow tool adds a luminous diffused glow to images. Expand the Glow Control Header. The Glow Size slider determines the size and intensity of the glow effect. In this case, it controls the size of the planet's haze. Drag it to the maximum of 100. The glow now appears to be bright over the surface of the planets but dark around the edges of them. This is because the Subtractive/Additive slider of Merge 1 is set all of the way to Subtractive. Set it to additive to increase the glow around the planets.

Step 16
Select the DFX tab on Glow 1. The Blend slider controls the blend between the original image coming into the tool and the effected image. Set this to 0.3

Step 17
The Glow slider controls the curve, or gamma, of the effect. In this tool, it brightens/darkens the haze around the planets. Set it to 0.75.

Step 18
SAVE. Select Merge 2 and right click on it. Select Create Preview and create it on the Small View to display the results of the tutorial. Make sure to set the render ranges first!

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