PI7 Crystal Filter Animation

New to PI7 is the Effect, Creative, Crystal filter. This tutorial shows you how to make animated "bubbles" using key frames with the Crystal filter. You can see the animation here.  The image in the animation is made from a photo object and a background fill. You can right click and save it to your hard drive to follow along.

image for animation

Choose Effect, Creative, Crystal to open the Crystal dialog box. From the Effects, choose Sphere.

sphere effect

In the left side preview window, you'll see a big crystal sphere (the default) in the middle of the image. If you look in the upper right corner, you'll see that you can edit attributes of the model and its lighting from their respective tabs. If you're not sure about an attribute, click the Help button to get context-specific help and descriptions.

edit attributes of sphere

On the bottom right side of the dialog box are the key frame controls. Each Effect is associated with an animation time line with two key frames. The key frames are represented by diamonds. If a diamond is blue, it's the active key frame. If it's not active, the key frame diamond is gray. By default, the animation will consist of 10 frames. You can edit the number of frames to a higher number for a smoother animation, just keep in mind that more frames equals a larger file size.

key frame controls

All of PI's other key frame animation effects come with defaults, ready to play by clicking the Play button. The Crystal filter animations don't work as is, however. Go ahead and click Play and you'll see that nothing happens. You have to select the  second key frame and edit the model and lighting effects to create an animation. You can also change the animation by clicking anywhere on the key frame animation time line and adding or subtracting a key frame (then editing).

To start the animation, click on the first key frame's diamond. It will turn blue, indicating that it's the active key frame. From the Model tab, edit the Width of the sphere to 10. It will look a lot smaller. In the Preview window, move your cursor over the sphere until the cursor looks like crossed, double-headed arrows. Position the sphere over the red bubble jar the little girl is holding on the left, just at the end of her bubble wand (arrow).

drag sphere over here

In the animation time line, click on the second diamond to make it active. Edit the Width of the sphere to 38 then, in the Preview window, drag it above the little boy's head on the right.

drag sphere up to top right corner

Now click the Play button and watch the animation. It will only play one time. The small bubble will grow larger as it moves to the other side of the image. To make the movement more like a real bubble, let's add some key frames and vary the size and path of the sphere from one side to the other. In the Key frame controls, go to "3/10 Frames" and click the "Add key frame" button (it has a plus + sign on it). That will add a key frame at frame 3.

go to 3rd frame and add a key frame

Edit the sphere's Width to 26. In the Preview window, drag the sphere slightly upward and to the right (arrow).

key frame 3 editing

In the Key frame controls, go to "7/10 Frames" and click the "Add key frame" button (it has a plus + sign on it). That will add a key frame at frame 7.

add key frame at frame 7

Edit the sphere's Width to 31. In the Preview window, drag the sphere slightly downward and to the right (arrow).

drag sphere for frame 7

Now click the Play button and watch the "bubble" travel across the image. It will bobble up and down a little and change size, just like a real bubble might. Now all you have to do is save your animation. Click the Save button to open the Save As dialog box. Browse to the desired folder and give your file a name. Note the GIF Animation Options at the bottom of the dialog box, all of which are selected by default. The Frame Delay Time is 10/100th of a second by default. This makes for a very rapid, almost jerky animation when you're only using 10 frames. To slow things down a bit, edit the Frame Delay Time to 20/100th of a second (arrow).

save as dialog box

Note also that you could choose the "Open with Ulead GIF Animator" option to tweak the animation further. For now, just click Save and save your animation. Here's mine, which weighs in at 320 kb.

Now that you know how to create key frame animations, you can try all sorts of Creative Crystal animations. These principles apply to the Creative Lighting animations, too.

This tutorial uploaded 3/01/02

Do not duplicate, translate, copy, archive, appropriate or redistribute this document.



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