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Our scene file for shot 1 for the cameramatic is ready to animate and the process for animating the shark is really straightforward. The Spline Wrap object has a wonderful feature called the Offset and the Offset option allows us to animate the shark along the length of the spline. In the Spline Wrap Object properties, there is an Offset field and right now it's showing 88%. That percentage is expressed as 100% over the length of the spline. So, when the field shows 0%, the shark will be at the start of the spline and when the field is at 100%, the shark is at the end of the spline.
I can tell the direction of the spline using Point mode and selecting my spline and looking at the color. The white color shows the start of the spline; the blue color shows the end of the spline. So that makes it really easy to tell which direction the shark is going to travel when I'd animate that Offset property. Let's get out of Point mode for now and in the Spline Wrap, I'm going to set a keyframe at Time 0. So first, I'll make sure my Time slider's at Time 0 and it is. I'll drag the Percentage slider to 0% and next to the word offset is a black circle and that black circle indicates that this parameter can keyframe.
So if I hold down the Ctrl key and click on that that sets a keyframe for the Offset function at 0% at Time 0. Now I can move my time slider to the end of the shot and move my slider to 100%. Then you'll see that the red dot has changed to yellow circle. That indicates that I have animation on this track but I'm not parked on the keyframe and I just change the value. So, if I Ctrl+click, again that changes the value to 100%. Now my shark animates over the length of the shot, and let's hit Play here for just a moment, so we could see that animation happening.
Now the problem with this animation is that my shark starts off at the beginning moving very slowly and then comes to a very slow stop at the end,and that's something called an ease-out and an ease-in. It eases out of the first keyframe and eases into the second keyframe. So I need to fix that behavior. That's actually a normal behavior for CINEMA 4D. CINEMA 4D always try to create a smooth animation for you and in a lot of cases that's appropriate but this is one where we want to have a very linear movement. So I need to change that behavior using something called the F-Curve Manager. I'm going to switch my layout from the Standard layout to the Animation layout and it's still the same application.
All I've done is rearranged the palettes, so that I can see the timeline and all of the keyframes that I've been setting. Now here in the timeline, I don't see all of my keyframes. I only see the first one and it's cutting off the end here. So I can hit the letter H on the keyboard to frame up all of my keyframes. The next thing I'd like to do is to clean up this left-hand view over here. CINEMA 4D by default shows you everything in the scene over here in the left-hand view of the timeline, but I'll really only care about things that have keyframes on them. So if I go to the View menu and do a Show > Animated, when I let go, it cleans up this left-hand side of the timeline and shows me only the things that have keyframes on them.
And so you can see that my Spline Wrap now has a track on it for Offset. Now this Offset property's animating over the length of the entire shot. I want to see what happens in between the keyframes and that's where the F-Curve Manager comes in. If I hit the spacebar while I'm inside the F-Curve Manager or if I click on this little icon that has an EKG symbol on it, that will take me over to the F-Curve Manager. The Spline Wrap function now if I select the word Offset, that will show me the partial curve here. I want to be able to see the whole curve. So I'll hit the letter H again on the keyboard and that will frame up the entire curve.
Now you can see that ease, there is the ease-out of the first keyframe and there's the ease-in of the end keyframe and that's happening because of these Bezier handles. CINEMA 4D always trys to make a smooth curve. Now, the easy way to get rid of these guys is to simply select one keyframe, so I've done that right over here and I can hit Command+A or Ctrl+A on the PC to select all of the keyframes in my curve. In this case, I only have two keyframes, one at the start and one at the end. If I right-click any place inside the F- Curve Manager, I get a contextual menu and I can go to Spline Types and do Zero Angle/Length and that's going to eliminate these curves.
Now you can see I have a nice linear move for my animation and when I hit the Play icon here, you can see that my shark now animates smoothly over the length of the shot. Now, we've got the shark animating. You notice that we didn't worry about where the camera was or where the shark was moving in relationship to the camera and that's because the next step in the process will be to animate the camera movement and reframe the entire scene. But I wanted to get my shark moving first, so that I could easily use the spline in Point mode to reposition the shark.
Any place I move that shark spline, my shark is going to follow and it's always going to animate along the length of that spline. So if I hit Play, I don't even need to stop playback. I can grab a single point and move it around and have my shark travel along the spline. So this technique makes it really easy to set up the scene file.
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