Join Dave Schultze for an in-depth discussion in this video Principles of path animation, part of Animation with Rhino and Bongo.
- In this video, we cover some basic rules of path animation, which is where we attach our camera to a curve or path. This curve path will guide it on a walkthrough around our building. Now, aeropath are sometimes called flythroughs, but the terms are interchangeable. So one of the first rules you wanna look at is any path used should avoid sharp turns, or if it has control points, have the fewest possible. In this example, I've got a straight line here, it's going across this terrace, if we turn on the control points, you'll see, with an F10, that truly is a simple straight line.
Turn the control points off again with F11, so keep that in mind when having a path, it should be short and also free of any sharp turns. Another thing I recommend when drawing is try to keep the minimal number of layers on, so you don't wanna have your cursor snapping on stuff, so in this sample here, I've actually turned off my tree layer, but I would probably turn off more layers still just so I can draw a simple clean line and not snapped too much other stuff in the scene. Something I find really important is that that line should be drawn typically at eye-level.
Let's go over here to the right side. We can see this blue line here, I'm gonna select it in the top view, you should see it highlight here in the right side. So that is actually on the terrace at eye level, and just to verify, you can see there is a guy back there, it's roughly somewhere inside of his head. Lot of times in product renderings, I'm always trying to get really low and kind of look upwards, like it's monumental, but in architecture, you're simulating the human visit, or experience in the scene, so you typically wanna have a human eye level as to not destroy that illusion.
Let's go ahead and highlight the perspective viewport here, we've already got the animation set up, and we'll be covering how do that exactly in the following videos, but let's just take a quick preview of how this scene looks animated, so let me go ahead and just start at the beginning by clicking on the Stop button, and then hitting the Play button. So you might notice it's a little bit jerky, it all depends on the amount of geometry in your scene, we'll talk about that a little bit later, also, the other viewports are not being updated, which is typically what you want, just so that it goes fast as possible.
Go ahead and stop that, click on the Stop button, should bring it back to zero frame. Another thing you might notice, and I highly recommend, is the path should be relatively short, and the travel along those paths relatively slow. Now, the reason for this is pretty simple, you don't want to be going so fast that you can't absorb the detail. Otherwise, once you render it, the scene is gonna fly by or just appear really jerky, so you wanna go in a relatively slow walking pace, and then not be looking to the left or right too much, but just the right amounts, you can absorb the detail as I mentioned.
So, one mistake I see a lot of beginners doing is they make really long, complicated paths, so they'll go outside, inside, and then take a tour, even going upstairs. That typically is not a good way to do it. First of all, it can take forever to render that. Secondly, it can actually get a little bit boring, there's not a lot of dynamic stuff happening every second, so really, you wanna simulate what you've seen in either movies or TV shows, that's a lotta quick cuts, anywhere from two seconds to five, six, seven seconds should be fine, and therefore you can just focus on the best of the best stuff.
Just jump around, and when you go into post-production, then you can really tighten it up and make it even more compelling. Kinda related to this, is another recommendation I make is either stay indoors or outdoors, don't try to walk from one to the other, that's very problematic with the camera exposure, so if you ever photographed somebody in front of a bright window, you know they're gonna be either a silhouette, or if you exposed for the person, you'll see nothing but like white behind them, so I recommend you're outside for the same short paths, then you could just cut to another short path inside.
Now, the 'nother thing you might not have noticed is we can separate the camera and the target that it's looking at, that's exactly what we've done in this sample scene here, I'm gonna zoom out just a little bit, I've still got the path highlighted here red, that's where the camera travels, but instead of just looking straight ahead, which might not be as interesting, the camera is doing a slow rotation from this point, and rotating to its right. So I'm gonna go ahead and go to the perspective viewport here, just click on the label, and that way I can click F6, that highlights the camera, turns it on so we could see all the control points, and I'll zoom out just a little bit.
You'll also notice that it's a pretty wide angle, that's typical for architecture, I'm always at 30 millimeters down to about 20, 22 millimeters. Fairly wide angle, gives you the sense of being there, and seeing all the detail around you. Anyway, the point is, this camera's traveling a straight line, but it's slowly turning from one direction to the other. Let's go ahead and hit the Play button, we could watch it move in top view, and you can see it tracking that target in the perspective view, that's a little blue box right in the center. So that could make a simple straight path way more interesting and dynamic.
Okay, a few more tips on what to expect when architecturally animating in a scene, you'll notice we have key frames that are different than the object animation, by the way, let's turn off the camera with an F6 here in the perspective viewport, okay, so I wanna point your attention to the timeline, notice we have key frames, these are the same shape as the object key frames, but these are view key frames, and therefore they are yellow. So when we're in perspective, which is the view that is animated, they will be editable, you can actually click and drag them around if you want to, gonna put mine back at the original spot, however, when you're in other views, that are not animated, let me just go ahead and click on the right viewport here, those key frames disappear or become dimmed out, you cannot grab them.
So keep that in mind about how they're accessible and when. Now, another little bit of confusion I have all the time is when I'm in my perspective viewport, which we just said was animated, and I do something different, like a pan or zoom, I move it around, we get this error message, it says this view is animated, I've taken it off the path. So we can go ahead and disable the animation, or, if we hit No, it'll go back to the original spot wherever we are at that frame. I'm gonna go ahead and disable it so I can show you how to reenable it.
So see here, we can just move around, we can do any navigation we need, but we're not animating any longer. So let's get that turned back on, I'm at the Properties tab here, I'm gonna click on Bongo, and then just select Animation Enabled, and as soon as I select that, it should jump back to the path, which it did. So just be aware of any time you're moving an animated view, you might get that message and how to get back. Another cool feature of Bongo 2.0 is multiple animations.
In Bongo 1.0, we could only have one animation in the entire file, which was very limiting. So in Bongo 2, we get to have multiple animations, and here's where to access it. We're gonna go to the Bongo animation manager, which is right up here, it's the Bongo tab. Now, I've got a single animation right now that we're working on, I've just named it Terrace Exterior, and you can see that all the other views are disabled, except for Perspective, which we've already talked about. If you double-click on this one, Terrace Exterior, these are the other animations in this file, even though we're only seeing one at a time.
So if I move this out of the way and just click on Interior, that would jump over to whatever animation had been established, I'm gonna put it back at Exterior, but this little interface is how you would add or edit your animation sets. Let's go ahead and and click OK to close it. Finally, let's talk about scenarios where you wanna get rid of all your animation, maybe the design is changing so much that this animation's no longer usable, so you just wanna clear it out. So we're gonna go to the Properties, I'm gonna go to the Bongo View Properties, which is already selected right there, and then I typically will do two things, remove all key frames, and then destroy all animations, so just wipe the whole file clean, and you can just focus on other stuff or start your animation again.
The basic strategies I just covered will provide consistently good results. Of course, all rules are meant to be broken, but it's usually best to wait until you've mastered these basics.
First you'll learn how to do a simple product design "turntable" animation. Then you'll create a path-based "walk through" animation of an architectural design. After the animation work is done, Dave will demonstrate how to import the sequences into After Effects and edit them into a seamless video presentation with high-quality audio. The last few chapters focus on optimizing the final video for flawless playback on any computer or website and sharing and distributing your project.
- Installing and setting up Bongo
- Planning your workflow and storyboarding
- Creating the turntable animation
- Setting up a camera path
- Animating a sequence of stills
- Compositing in After Effects
- Exporting and sharing your animation