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CU AMIGA and when he otten II And hora ¦ la! Tha llni«h d pleturt look Jkn Thogratocomploteandio H lo Matoft pointed artvofk. In,.rinii prefers more traditional methods ol constructing his pictures. 'As you might gather Irom my nickname. I usually paint with airbrush instruments and spraycans m the Stockholm area Last year I was minted over to Ibiza where I worked lor the summer, selling my pictures lor obscene amounts ol money.' 'I preler working with 'real' paints instead ol computer GFX. As I leel very restricted with the low resolution and the amount ol colours available to use. I really don't have the patience to spend more than 10 hours on one picture, although I’d like to try painting on a Paintbox system or at least the Coiourburst system lor the Amiga.' Whatever his preferences, there's no denying that his work is stunning. To help other artists. Jim has drawn up a list ol special tips and tricks drawn Irom his years using graphic packages on the Amiga. I Draw in Magnify mode with the lowest magnification possible This will make mouse control easy Use the zoom gadget until you get doublesized pixels.

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Document sans nom 120 of SOFTWARE on disk PLUS IN-DEPTH TUTORIAL INSIDE!
ASK YOUR NEWSAGENT '63"009020 III MAGIC BOY PACIFIC ISLANDS NINE Pal “This is probably the best games creation utility available... X RATING: XXXXX” GAMES X “It takes just minutes to learn and the results are superb.... It’s packed with features and frankly, never has game-making been so easy. You’d be mad to miss this opportunity!... ” ITV ORACLE C4 “For a total package of all-round fun and entertainment, the 3-D Construction Kit is an absolute must for the price... 98%” AMSTRADUSER “3D Construction Kit is one of the best 16-bit utilities to appear - ever!... Whether you’re just interested in
Welcome lo the third free supplement to be bundled with CU AMIGA. Most of this issue is devoted to an in-depth tutorial on our superb coverdisk giveaway, Sculpt Animate 4DJnr. Inside we’ll show you how to get the most out of your tree animation program as well as detailing the many options that are under your control. Not only that, but we’ve also included a Buyer's Guide to all the most useful graphic and animation packages and an interview with Eric Schwartz, the man behind Flip the Frog and the Anti-Lemmings Demo. Rounding off the issue, Peter Lee reveals some clever animation
short-cuts and Steve Merrett asks are game intros really necessary?’.
Has been devised that allows the user to produce a fully fledged 3D environment.. .90%" AMIGA ACTION EDITOR Dan Slingsby ART EDITOR Andrew Beswick DESIGN Andrew Beswick.
Michael Jordan and Partners 0462 4367671 CONTRIBUTERS Peter Lee. Steve Keen. Steve Merrett. Sarah Hibbert. Tony Dillon PUBLISHER Garry Williams CU AMIGA EMAP Images Priory Court 30-32 Farringdon Lane London EC1R3AU Tel: 071 972 6700 Fax: 071 972 6701 This guide is a tree supplement to CU- Amiga and is not to be sold separately £ 1991 EMAP IMAGES All rights reserved. No pan ot this publication may be reproduced in any form without the poor permission or the pubksher nfiiimn it 4 TOOLS OF THE TRADE Peter Lee casts his critical eye over the many graphic and animation programs currently available
and selects his favourite packages.
7 NEW AND IMPROVED With Dpainl IV, EA's acclaimed graphics package got even better. Peter Lee takes a look at a couple of the stunning new features.
8 SCHWARTZ UP DOC Animation maestro. Eric Schwartz, reveals some of his animation short-cuts and chats about his work in our exclusive interview.
10 SCULPT ANIMATE 4D Jnr Tutorial Our massive Sculpt Animate 4D Jnr tutorial gets underway. Join Tony Dillon as he explains the do’s and (font's of computer animation as well as hints and tips on getting the most out of this amazing program.
19 OFF THE SHELF The RealThing’s collection of animation brushes can be incorporated into your own stunning demos. Sarah Hibbert explains how.
20 STEP-BY-STEP In the first of an on-going series, Peter Lee reveals some essential hints and tricks to creating better animations.
22 INTRODUCING... Often neglected or criticised, game intros are an artform unto themselves. Steve Merrett takes a look at Eighth Day's stunning intro to Core's Heimdall game.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO YOUR AMIGA N T Since Dan Silva unleashed DeluxePaint into the world, it’s been the yardstick against which all other graphic packages have been measured. Peter Lee takes a look at Arts’ award- winning package and its many contenders.
TOOLS OF THEIRjUME With almost as many sequels as the Star Trek movie, Dpaint is still the program professional Amiga artists turn to first.
Version IV's biggest leap was to incorporate a Hold And Modify mode into its vast repertoire - and a great piece of software suddenly became greater still.
Other programs have things to offer, but none _ seem strong enough to topple the Electronic Arts best-seller. Having said that, there's still some healthy competition out there. To help guide you through the pros and cons, we've taken a look at some of the most popular graphic programs and drawn up a handy comparison chart to help decide which package is for you.
DPAINT DOES... DISNEY DOESN'T Eagerly-awaited with a solid-gold name to back it up, Disney Animation Studio promised the world to animators.
Judging from its mixed reception, though, it failed to live up to some expectations.
I was initially disappointed with the package - a none-too robust art program and a separate colouring program
- but I have to admit it does grow on you.
When Disney started his massive entertainment empire, labour was cheap and plentiful and animators worked on individual cells, painting images (initially black and white, later colour) a frame at a time to build up the illusion of movement at the movies.
And so it is with the Animation Studio.
You create each individual frame (with the benefit of onion-skinning - a technique similar to DpaintlVs light box for ghosting multiple frames on the same screen) and then play the sequence back. Clumsily, colour has to be added later - but that's how it happens in real- life cinematic animation.
The real nub of Animator's problem for me has been the lack of brush animation, which for the kind of work I do, is essential. In Dpaint, for instance, you can have a brush twist and turn in 3D simply by entering numbers in a requester. To do the same thing in Studio would take an age, as each move in space would have to be done by hand.
M the polygons re-shape themselves to the Imthed Image.
This leads me lo the conclusion that Studio is an interesting oddity in the current wave of animation programs for the Amiga - it is an historically accurate transition from the world of movie cartoons to the Amiga, but it won't pay the rent in terms of special effects (negligible) nor speed of use.
VECTOR GRAPHICS Leaving the popular world of bitmap animation aside for a moment, the other kind - vector movement - has thrown up a couple of very useful programs.
Vector animation differs from the bitmap variety because it uses lines and polygons as its raw material instead of individually-coloured pixels. To use a simple analogy: if you move a rectangle of colour in a Dpaint animation, the block’s entire area is shifted about in display memory but in an animation package based on vector graphics, the actual shape and perimeter of the polygon is re-calculated and filled in. This leads to very fast and fluid metamorphing, but obviously restricts the kind of subject you can tackle effectively.
First on the market, not long after the Amiga itself, was Aegis Animator, which can blend bitmap animation - galloping horses for instance - and vector animation. As far as I know, the program has never received the kind of overhaul it needs for today’s sophisticated users.
For instance, in accessing expanded memory. But you should be able to pick up a copy fairly cheaply, and it is fun to build up animations and tween them (watch them bend and stretch into other shapes in successive frames). In fact, Aegis were bundling it along with some other programs from their back catalogue in a value-for-money starter kit not long ago, so there's still some mileage in the program.
A nice feature, which would be welcome on bitmap animations, is the ability to change the palette on the fly, so polygon-based objects can fade in and out with ease after you have subtly altered their colours.
Probably the best-known vector animation package currently available is Fantavision. And while it’s not as popular as Dpaint, is does feature a big plus: sound. The user interface is comprehensive, if a little daunting to first-time users unfamiliar with cell animation, but it produces very smooth and useful transitions.
Timing and integration of bitmap backgrounds is handled superbly.
Main uses for this kind of program - apart from a sizeable fun element - is for rough and ready cartoon strips and angular video transitions. Dpaint has pushed these poly-morph packages into an unfortunately small niche, but they are still valuable to animators. However, I don't believe PAL versions of either program are currently available, so your displays will be restricted to the shallow- depth NTSC format.
SETTING THE SCENE Many animation packages have come and gone in the Amiga’s short life, but worth picking up are a couple of animation packages which still do a good job, despite their age. A favourite of mine is Movie Setter, from Gold Disk.
Released in 1988 it actually outdoes the Disney Studio in a number of key areas, including ease of use and editing. Basically it’s a cartoon studio in which your sets of animated brushes can move around IFF backdrops. Inbuilt horizontal scrolling is a welcome feature for backgrounds, and both the editing and design elements of the program come together very well. Fun to use and capable of professional-looking sequences, it also features sound.
Occupying a cult corner of the market is The Director which is not so much an animation package as a programming language. Still, it has some powerful graphic manipulation features, including the ability to blit objects from one screen to another - enabling you to load in a single screen containing multiple drawings to be 'cut and pasted' onto the display screen. Anims and sounds can be played, and your extra memory can be used for storing in screens to make very fast transitions. Ifs similar to AMOS, another program on the fringes of the serious animation world, because before anything
useful can be done, you have to learn how to write controlling programmes. If you're up to the challenge, then the rewards of both items of software can be enormous.
Another useful animation package, which has had a lot of its thunder stolen by DpaintIV is Spectracolour, a HAM drawing package which proved a natural successor to Photon Video.
Spectracolour had the 4096 colour market sewn up for a time, and deservedly so. Its brush transitions and colour manipulation far outdo Dpaint. But it’s not the all-rounder of its rival, and in any event, the resolution and fringing difficulties inherent in hold and modify mode prevent widespread use. The animation facilities it offers are not as powerful as Dpaint's either.
PLAYING AROUND Although Dpaint has a wonderful player of its own, and version IV has passable editing functions in its light box tool, there still comes a time when serious editing or amalgamation are called for.
Deluxe Video is, again, almost as old as the Amiga, and the current version giyps you total control of your animations. Not only can you load in animbrushes and backgrounds, you can add sound and special transition effects too. Primarily a tool for video users, it is a sophisticated presentation package which offers pinpoint timing and a dream of an interface.
New this year is Take 2, Rombo’s animation editor with in-built digitising software for their Vidi video digitiser. We took this full-feature package through its paces in our February issue. Since then the program has been upgraded to provide a more complete product, which really does make it even more useful, especially to Vidi Amiga users.
Animation frames from sources such as Dpaint can be loaded in and edited precisely, and the plus is that you can synchronise sound too. The user interface is still daunting, but the benefits of cutting and splicing, and actually editing sequences of frames makes up for this.
Tooisofthehiade GRAPHIC & ANIMATION PACKAGES: WHAT'S GOT WHAT AND WHAT'S NOT PRODUCT DESCRIPTION EASE OF USE FEATURES COMMENT DeluxePaint IV All-modes bitmap art and • • • • • • • • • • The all-round all-time animation package. Favourite.
Disney Animation Studio Cell drawing, colouring and animation package featuring sound and excellent editing facilities.
• • a a a Long-winded but a faithful recreation of how the pro
animators get on with the job.
Fantavision Poly-morphic animation and sound with 2D bitmap brush animation feature.
• • • a a a Great for cartoon-style presentations; tough
interface to master.
Aegis Animator Poly-morphic animation, no sound, 2D bitmap brush animation.
• • • • a a Old, past its sell-by date but a nice introduction to
vector animation.
Pathetic inability to use extra RAM.
MovieSetter Cartoon-style animation presentation package with sound functions plus great editing interface.
• a • a a a a Multi-option animator with a big fun factor.
Director Script-driven image manipulation program.
A a a a Will repay a lengthy investment in time. For those unafraid of hands- on programming control at text-entry level.
Deluxe Video Animation presentation package with icon-driven control of scene editing.
A a a a a a One of the best ways to showcase your own animations. No drawing facilities, so you’ll need a graphic package too.
Take 2 Animation editing suite; a complement to Vidi Amiga digitiser.
Aa aaaa Hard slog to master, but worth it if you intend manipulating your anims Spectracolour HAM only art and animation package.
A a a a aaa A well-rounded HAM programme which still has a few things to show Dpaint. Only working in HAM is a major turn-off.
NEW AND IMPROVED While DeluxePaintlll was a landmark art package, it took the release of version IV for it to realise its true animation potential. Here’s a quick guide to some of the best new options.
Might not always be accurate, and its sometimes clumsy with complex shapes and colours, but it's also a joy to watch whatever the results. It's just so damn cleverl The main problem with it is the restriction on the size of brushes to be changed. These can be quite big - but you’ll find that they're never quite big enough! But size isn't too important and having the feature is.
Things to bear in mind are to keep brushes around the same volume, have matching colours in the brushes and give the brush metamorphing process enough frames to render a smooth transition.
And forthcoming cells ghosted on the current screen is worth the overheads. Not that every animation will need this heavy-duty technique, only those that primarily have objects easing in and out of key frames.
New to this now classic graphics package came the lightbox, lor previewing movement, and the brush metamorph function.
To get the most out of the lightbox, you will need plenty of memory and should be prepared for some time-wasting delays on complex animation screens. But the benefit of seeing previous For quick, easy and stunning animations, you can't beat the metamorph option. It BRUSHING UP ON TECHNIQUE ?
Once you have an anim brush, such as a metamorph transition, you can paste it into your animation automatically by holding down the left ALT key and pressing the left-mouse button whilst drawing with the line tool. This lets you draw a path across the screen lor the anlm-brush cells to follow.
To ensure your brush doesn't re appear midway through the procedure, make the N total in the line requester control boi the same number as their are frames, and make sure N Total is the activated option (It's usually continuous which is highlighted). Access to the line requester panel is achieved by clicking with the right button in the line tool from the menu palette.
Spat Smr Umng Opnnt IV’» bruan motomorptr Imlur. Ml you mMd oefMU Into wen oUm Her. Ten lr.nilo.mi Mo • arming.
Bruiti Una cmt to too big tor M. (MW*. «nd a htgn numMr or cot* hoo » bo mod !o arwur. Fluid tranMMno.
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Without a doubt, Eric Schwartz is one of the giants of Amiga animation. Here he talks about his latest creation, A Day at the Beach, and tells us how it was done.
ANIMATED ANTICS An animation supplement without featuring the work ot Eric Schwartz?
Unthinkable! So unthinkable, in tact, that we got on the Trans-Atlantic telephone to quiz the teenage animator about his work and, in particular, his latest demo.
A Day at the Beach is undoubtedly his most accomplished work to date. It’s certainly the longest and runs lor over two-and-a-halt minutes with no noticeable gaps in the entertainment. The story concerns two of Eric's all time favourite characters, Flip The Frog and Clarissa the curvaceous cat. In an unlikely coupling, the amorous amphibian has taken his giri tor a relaxing day in the sun at the local beach. In true Schwartz style the feline peels otf her track suit to almost explode trom its constraints to reveal a tiny bikini that sends the trog running into the sea to calm his ardour.
On his return, the local life guard has already scoped his giri, and is well into his Charies Atlas routine as the babe nonchalantly gives him a cursory glance and shoos him away.
Flip sees red, and in a blazing trail of fire, speeds to the damsel's rescue only to find that the bulldog's legs are as hard as rock and proceeds to break all his teeth before being dispatched once more into the sea. Clarissa has now had enough and so finally stands up and.
With a single punch, sends the dog flying through the air to land buried beneath a ton of sand. That's the basic story, but the 3Mb demo is packed full of laughs all executed with Eric's own distinctive and expressive style.
BACK TO THE FUTURE We asked Eric where he got all the ideas from for his latest epic. 'I've always wanted to do another cartoon with Flip the Frog,' he says. ‘The character initially came from a cartoon that was shown in the 30s which I'd caught on a rerun. I loved the frog's adventures and thought it would be great to introduce him to a new generation.'
So how did you decide on a suitable story to do him justice?
Well the story came soon after I’d finished The Dating Game (another Schwartz classic starring Flip The Frog completed in 1991). I started putting together the demos in January and finished it about the middle of February, four or five weeks later. I worked pretty hard on that one, putting in one to five hours work a day on it. I usually start with a few sketches first and take it from there.'
Eric has a hardware set up that would make most people green with envy, but surprisingly the software he uses is well within most people's grasp. ‘I do everything on a 3Mb Amiga coupled with a 45Mb hard drive. After a great deal of thought, I draw preliminary sketches and scribble down a story-board. In this particular instance, I then used the Disney Animation Studio and worked for about three hours on some experimental animations. Once I’d got something that was just about right, in black and white, I brought it into Dpaint and put some colour in. Then the really hard work started as I
began to draw the backgrounds that I'd use later, still using Dpaint.
» ¦ !
After I'd fin- ther The Frog putting y and fin- ebruary, ed pretty ie to five lly start ake it from i that would envy, but ses is well do every- d with a t deal of etches and n this par- le Disney for about ental anting that ind white, I some I work i back- uslng IN THE MOVIES I then switched to Movie Seller which I think Is the best animation tool on the market, even if it Is getting a bit long in the tooth. The package is incredibly useful as you can split your drawings up into separate folders and move them about individually. It’s here that I piece together the backgrounds with the
animations and then add the sound. I've got a huge library at home with over 100 sampled sounds of all sorts of things that I delve into for most of the effects. If I need any speech, I either supply it myself (Clarissa's voice is actually Eric's speeded up), or get whoever's passing my room to do the honours. The old man in the bathroom in the Late Night animation is my father and the female Lemming's voice at the end of the Anti- Lemmings Demo is my mother's speeded up. The real difficulty comes in trying to sync the sound and animation together. Movie Setter only allows you to work in
Hi-Res and 32-colours and it’s quite slow, so anything that needs to be faster than 10 frames per second I tend to use Dpaint 4 . To be honest, it’s all a case of trial and error, but well worth it when you get it right.'
Eric hasn't always been animating on a computer and before he discovered pixel perfection he was doing elementary clay stop-start animation and cut-out stop-frame films with his own admirable drawings. 'This summer I might be doing a film,' says Eric. ‘It'll be with Amy and all the animation will be on the Amiga, but distributed on video.’ Eric usually gives his demos to local user groups when they're completed and is amazed at the speed in which they're available over here, on our own PD circuit, about two weeks later.
RAINING CATS AND FROGS The last time we spoke, Psygnosis had approached him to discuss the possibility of producing an intro for one of their games. ‘I haven't heard from them recently, but they were very complimentary and the American division actually paid me lor the use of a Lemmings animation I'd done for a show.’ Team 17 were also rumoured to be after his talents. Once again, the distance between us has meant a slight hiccup in communications. Initially I was working on a Super Mario- type game called Super Frog and Friends. Then they switched me to a racing game called Joyride and
now I'm supposed to be on a new project, so I'll just have to wait and see what happens next.
I'd heard that Tobias Richter had done some work for them also for a game called Alien Breed. He's one of the people I admire most in the demos field so I'm looking forward to seeing that.'
Asked about his next project, Eric Is naturally very cagey. 'I find it very difficult to talk about what I'll be doing next because, in all honestly, I don’t know. The last couple of Aerotunes, Shuttle Cock and Vietnam Contlict. I did in a couple of days, the later only took five hours so I'm getting an itch to do one of those again. I was thinking of including a cameo appearance by Amy the squirrel in A Day At The Beach, but what with memory restrictions, it became impossible. The Stealthy animations are a lot less restricting. I basically work on them pretty much as you see them, from
beginning to end. One idea I have is for an A-10 Thunderbolt skit, a huge military aircraft known over here as the Wart-hog. It’ll home in on a tank and have a wild chase through the mountains before the final show down. Yeah, that sounds like a fun thing to do.'
‘I’m also thinking about doing another female juggler animation called Juggiette and I'm itching to do a sequel to the Anti-Lemmings Demo, so that'll probably come first.’ Phew! With that work load, it's enough to make you glad you're a talentless creep!
SCULPT You’ve got the free giveaway program, you've read the quick user guide printed on this month’s Coverdisk pages, and now you want to take a closer look at Sculpt Animate 4D Jnr. Rest easy, as over the next 4D JUNIOR SIX pages, Tony Dillon explores the finer points of this superb 3D graphic and animation program.
BASIC PRINCIPLES Scuhat Annate 40 Junior has Wen designed to let you. The user, create and animate complex 30 scenes with a simple entry method and the minimum ot mathmatical or technical knowledge.
All oOiects are Broken down Into thiee components The smallest is the vertex, which Is a single pomt anywhere on a shape.
Vertices are usuelly comers ot ob|ects. And are connected by edges. These straight lines give the shape a wire frame appearance, But won t actually register anytfung until you turn the spaces enclosed By edges into laces. Faces are always tnangular, and tell the program to display that particular area as a solid block. Triangles can be placed together in any way and to lorm any shape.
Here's an example ol how a cube would be Broken up nto triangles THE TRI-VIEW WINDOWS All objects and scenes are displayed in these three windows which represent your view on the object it you were (a) above the otyect looking directly OBJECTS, IMAGES AND SCENES Throughout the urogram and then pogM, too trill hear things referred to as either an Ob|ect, an Image or a Scene. To aiplain, an Oblect la a collection ot highlighted connected vortices, an Image is a rendered picture and a Scene Is the entire highlighted area you are creating In, Including lamps, observer positions and ob|ects not
currently in the trt-vtme windows.
Down at it, (b) south ot the object looking north and
(c) east ot the object looking west. When cross-rel- erenced.
These three windows give you an instant impression ol the 3D
shape, and give you complete cursor control in a 30 area To
place the cursor (n a particular position, lirst lelt click
in the Down window to position the X and Y co- ordinates ol
the cursor, and then dick in either ol the two remaining
windows to position the height. Simple Isn't it.
CREATING SHAPES To create a shape, lirst vertices have to be created Position the cursor in the way just descnbed, and then dick the right mouse button with the lelt held down A small yellow dot wil appear at the cursor position Vertices can be either selected (ye«ow) or deselected (black) To change the stale ot a vertex, double dick on it with the lelt mouse button.
Next, edges have to Be placed. When you have more than one vertex on screen, dick on the edge builder gadget, which looks kke a small triangle in the bottom lelt ol each ol the tri-view windows ThU. will connects groups ol two or three selected vertices with straight black lines. II you have more than three or less than two highlighted, the gadget won!
Every triangle formed is a lace, and wil be dm- played. Any other shape won't, so remember to break up other shapes into triangles by using the Edge Builder option tram the TOOLS menu in the bar at the top ol the screen I I b=k==Lx£ L + e I T fl P ’ n ?REVERSE THE MENU BAR The menu bar at the top of the screen is full of all sorts of exciting options. A full guide to all these options follows, with the menu heading marked with a number, the name of the option in capitals, and sub-options in normal case.
a) Load Scene
b) Load Image c| Load Object These three options toad previously
saved files into the current tri-view window.
THE TRI-VIEW GADGETS EXP1AINED On each tri-view screen are positioned a number of gadgets icons which perform different functions. Her: we list the most important and explain what function each one performs.
This changes the view direction of the current window to its opposite. For example, in the north window, selecting this places you north of the object looking south.
MOVE TRI-VIEW These scroll the view in the tri-view around the scene, allowing you to work on other parts of your picture, such as different objects.
. : EXPAND TRI VIEW This increases the size of the view in aflSfi the Td-View window, letting you see more of your current scene.
I&tMi C0NTRACT TRI VIEW CIS This decreases the size of the view, zooming in on the centre of the view.
Wg CENTRE TRI VIEW This centres the viewpoint on the cur- ® sor position, and is a faster way of making an object the centre of attention.
GRABBER This gadget is used to move Iump selected Points around the scene.
~ Select the vertices you want to move, and then click on this to activate the grabber. All selected points are moved at once with the left mouse button moving the points in relation to the new cursor position. This can be used to move whole objects, by selecting all the points in the object, or to stretch and deform objects by pulling some of the vertices. Click on the icon again to deactivate it.
FvW3 EDGE BUILDER ?|WI| Not to be confused with the tool in ILJ the TOOLS menu, this automatically connects pairs or groups of three selected vertices.
| SELECT DESELECT This icon either selects all the vertices in the tri-view or deselects them, dependant on the state of vertices in the window.
ROTATE These two gadgets rotate all Hi selected vertices about the current cursor In steps of five degrees. If used in conjunction the left ALT key, the rotation is only 0.1 degree. Used with the left Amiga key, the rotation is 1 degree. If the rtght Amiga key is used, it's 45 degrees and with rtght ALT it's a whopping 180 degrees.
D) Load Take This gets animation files from a selected disk. If
you name a file that isn't present on the disk, a requester
will ask you if you want to create a new take. Click on Yes to
start a completely new animation.
E) Load Code Loads the program code back into memory. For more
information, see UNLOAD CODE.
F) Load Workbench Loads the Workbench screen and places it behind
the Sculpt screen. For more info, see UNLOAD WORKBENCH.
a) Save Scene
b) Save Image
c) Save Object These save respective files to disk. Remember to
highlight objects before you save them!
a) Show Image Shows the last image generated. If any has.
B) Show Preview Loops through the last generated animation, if
one has been. If no Takes have been set up since boot-up, then
this option will not be accessible.
UNLOAD: When memory is running low. Sculpt 4D Jnr may not be able to function fully. The four Unload options give you a chance to recover some of that much needed RAM space.
A) Unload Image Clears the currently stored image. Don’t worry,
it only removes it from memory, so make sure you have it saved
to disk before you unload it.
B) Unload Preview Removes the currently stored wire frame ani
mation. Animations can take up massive amounts of memory, even
when compacted, so keeping this area clear is sometimes
C) Unload Code Sculpt 4D Jnr is a massive program, that uses up a
lot of space in itc-elf. However, no one can be SCULPT AMMJOI
common expected to be using all ot the features and tools all
ot the time, and this command clears all the unused features
from memory, creating masses ot space for all your work. You
can still access all the features, just wait for them to load
from disk.
D) Unload Workbench Once loaded, you probably won’t find the need
to keep Workbench running, so this option empties the memory
Workbench occupies, ABOUT!
Gives details on your version of Sculpt Animate 4D Junior.
Q UITS Exits the program and returns you to workbench.
2) Under EDIT SELECT DESELECft (All deselect options have the
opposite effect to select optionsl
a) Select All: Highlights all vetrices In the Iri-vlew windows. A
lot easier than double clicking everywhere!
B) Select Connected: This only highlights the vetrices that are
joined by edges
c) Select Indicated Vertex: This is the equivalent of double
clicking the left mouse button over a vertex.
D) Select Swap: This reverses the state of all vetrices in the
current window. Selected become deselected and vice versa.
This comes in handy when you have a large, complicated object
with only a couple of other vetrices on screen. Select the few
free vetrices then perform a Select Swap to highlight your
more complicated object.
E) Select Indicated Edge: Place the curser on an edge before
using this command. When performed, it selects the two
vertices at either end of the line.
a) Erase Selected Vertices: This is used to remove all
highlighted points. All edges leading from these points are
also erased.
B) Erase Selected Edges: This just removes the edges between
selected vertices, not the vertices themselves.
C) Erase Indicated Vertex: Place the cursor over a vertex and use
this to remove It from Ihe scene.
D| Erase Indicated Edge: To remove a single edge, for example one you placed by accident, place Ihe cursor over It and use this function.
Ej Erase Indicated Lamp: To remove a lamp from your scene, place Ihe cursor over it. And then Ihe mouse pointer over this option.
T| Erase All Lamps: Places scene in darkness.
Gj Erase All: Clears everything from the scene.
If you have a take In memory, the program will ask you if you wish to erase that as well. Erase only dumps if from memory, not from the disk.
a) Do Expand: Using this along with a set of selected vertices
allows you to expand the set. I.e. move them all apart a
specified distance. This is useful in the case of a sphere or
a hemisphere that has been subdivided, yet Its appearance
hasn't changed.
Selecting all the new points, and then expanding them slightly using the slider bars gives Ihe sphere a more rounded appearance.
C) Modify Wire Frame Colours: This option lets you change the
colours of wire frame images from boring but clear two-tone
grey to more exciting brown and purple.
D) Modify Take: This is the heart of the animation programmer.
It contains two separate requesters. Global and Frame. The
default is Global, but you can change it by clicking on the
requester name at the top of the box. For more information,
see the Animation Box.
D| Do Reflect: Highlight an object and place the cursor next to a Using this option places an identical copy ol the object on the opposite sate ol the cureor
e) Do Make Tn-Vlew Small: This eets the sue ol the tri-vlew
windows (not the area they show) to default.
T) Do Make Tn-Vlew Big: This Mows the Tn- Vlew windows up so they
till the screen.
a) Add Duplicate: This makes an unsetected copy ot a selected
object or set ol vertices The copy won't be visible until you
move the selected original with the grabber
b) Add Sphere This creates an approximation ol a sphere and Ms
the current tn-vtew window with H A requester wil appear
asking you how many subdivisions you want The mors you have,
the more detailed the shape wW appear, and the more memory it
will consume.
1=1 Afa “ I
d) Add Cube: Adda a cube to Ml the tn-view
e) Add Prism: A triangular prism appears inside the tn-view
t) Add Disk:
g) Add Circle:
h) Add Cylinder:
1) Add Tube: |) Add Cone; All these options creates an
egualiteral shape with a requested number of vedices lor the
bottom lace. The shape created almost tills the current trt-
view window
k) Add Lamp: Creates a lamp at the current cursor position.
0 Add Vertex Places a highlighted vertex at the cursor position.
M) Add Edges: This has Ihe same ettect as clicking on the
edgo-bullder In the trt-vlew window.
3) Under T00L8 CURVIi The curve tool allows you to plot curves
and shapes without all the hassle ol placing vertices and then
placing edges Place a vertex m the normal way and keep the
lett button held down A rubber band will be drawn Irom the
last placed veilei to the cureor. Place another vertex and the
same will happen again This WIN keep on happening until you
cllok the right mouse button to exit this tool.
SCULPT AMMJUI CDJUMKHt ? EXTRUDE: The extrude tool is used to turn a 2 dimensional lace into a 3 dimensional shape When selected it makes a highlighted copy ot the currently selected oOtect and activates the grabber Moving the cursor around places the duplicate and connects all matching vedtces with edges, thetelore creating a Nocked out' shape When finished, dick on the grabber to deactivate.
a) Mode Wireframe: Ttvs tenders me ament mage «t wee- Irame with
only edges displayed. This mode a lest and ideal lor quick
checks on yout scene.
D) Mode Sketch: This quddy tenders a cotout version ol yout scene
Faces era al decayed. Rear ones first and etenl always hrtden
property This mode is really just another way ol checking yout
c) Mode Scanline: This draws the endure properly, widi tun
bght-soutce shading and hxiden laces This e the mode you
dspley your finished image m. so 4 will take a Nwe mote nme
than the other two modes
I) Mode No Interlace:
g) Mode imertace Selects between dsptayng with or wehora vertical
xeertece LOCATION: Has places me viewport ol »w pckn at M
otrrart cursor location.
TARGET: Using this sets die target ol itie camera at the current cursor position.
a) Lens Normal:
b) Lens Wrteangle
c) Lens Telephoto: Selects the camera lens. Used lor seeing more
or less of a scene Once you’ve got to grips with the basics,
it’s then time to experiment with the animation facilities put
at your disposal.
Again, it’s not that difficult, and merely requires a bit of experimentation to get things right.
Sculpt 40 Jnr allows you to create animations with your scenes, moving and changing yout odtects all the time This it does using a system called Key Frames. Key Frames allows you to only entet the most important (tames ol a
P) Lens Special: This asks yog lot non-standard lens type A low
rerper (below 30) specifies diflereni wideangle lenses,
whereas a rwgh number (over 70) prompts lor a lete- photo
a) Exposure Auto; This sets the screen brightness to a standard
level, regardless ol Ihe number or brightness ol any lamps
b) Exposure Manual: Using tats you set the overall brightness ol
Ihe picture 100 is the standard level, with the image getting
brighter or darker dependant on how tar above ot below 100
your exposure is EDGE MAKER: This rubber band tool lets you
join vertices freely, and is especially useful lor filling in
outline shapes The left button is held down, aid the right
button selects Ihe start and end vertices tor the edge.
When the end vertex is selected, the line is automatically drawn RigW button on its own drops the tool.
a) Image Size Medium: With this selected, all images created are
displayed m the bottom half of the screen
b) Image Size Full: With this, images are displayed fullscreen
c) Image Size Overscan: All images displayed are larger than
screen size.
5) Under WORLD SKY: A colour slider requester appears. This
allows you lo select the colour ol any sky in the picture A
box al Ihe top ol Ihe requester lets you choose whether lo
have a solid sky colour, or no sky at all.
GROUND: This brings up a similar box to (he sky requester, and again you can choose lo have a solid colour ground ot none at all. If a colour is selected, a horizontal line appears in Ihe north and west tri-view windows to display ground level Anything below this late Is hidden when rendered.
ILLUMINATION: This allows you lo set background rflumination through slider bars. This prevents jet black shadows and helps bring depth to your pictures.
STATUS BAR: While the menu bar is hidden, a status window is displayed at the top of the screen. The stats mean, from left to right: allows you lure. A box se whether
Amount of Chip Memory remaining Amount of Fast Memory remaining Number of Selected Vertices Number of Unselected Vertices Number of Edges Number of Faces Number of Lamps iquester, d colour ted. A hori- t tri-view ig below nation ck shad- INIMAIED sequence, and the program works out a the Irames in between automatically. To create an animation. Select Load Take from the PROJECT menu, enter the name ol your animation to create a new tile, and then go to the Modily Take option, where you can switch between Global and Frame Requesters.
Irips then with ies iffi- uires tion In the Global box, you set all the information (or the entire animation Most ol the information boxes are sett explanatory, but here's a quick run down.
The Number ot Frames gadget is where you specify how long the arkmabon sin frames. The RAM animation gadget cycles when ckcked upon between Regular, Economy and Arum 5 Anim 5 provides the best compression, but RAM animation gives the fastest playback The loop mode lets you choose the style in which the animation is played, and is a cycling gadget ’None’ means the animation will play once and stop. 'Loop' means the animation will play in an infinite cycle and Oscillate' means the aramabon will bounce backwards and lorwards. End to end Preview Sue chooses the size on screen of the
wire-frame animation preview, and ctcking on preview lets you see a wve-lrame version of your arkmabon This renders much taster than the scanhne images, and therefore is tar more convenient lor the sake d speed The Save Images toggle selects whether or not the program stores each image on disk as It renders them, and the Save Load Global Scene requesters save or load a global scene to use as a background to your animation.
Your system you to T3I3H The Frame Box allows you to work on individual frames. At the bottom ol the window is a strip ol lilm to the length ol Irames you specified The first thing you need to do is select which ol the Irames are your key Irames This you do by ckdung on the frame with the left mouse button, and then ckcking on the Key Frame7' gadget, to turn it from "NO" to "YES' A letter K will appear in the frame to signify this is a key frame.
Once done you have to create all your key Irames. And this is very simple. Exit the requester and create your key Irame. Then return to the mod-
• ity Take box and click on the current Key Frame, and then on
'Save Key Frame'. Repeat this process until all Key Frames
are filled. Then cut back to the Global screen and dick on
preview to create a wire-frame animation.
While the preview is playing, keys 0-9 change the arkmabon speed and ESC exits the arkmabon To create and save your ful arkmabon. Ckck on
• Render Air.
And that's all there is to it.
Don’t worry if it all sounds like a foreign language. Once you've loaded up the program and worked through our Coverdisk tutorial it should all become a lot more obvious. If it's still double dutch, keep reading CU AMIGA, as we'll be giving an even more in-depth tutorial in an upcoming issue.
SCULPT ANIMATE 40 Jnr Sculpt 4D Jnr is a copy protected program. When the program starts to run, you’ll be asked to type in a word from a specific place in the manual. Of course, you don't have the manual, so we’ve listed the key words together with the pages on which they appear. So, all you have to do, Is to type in the required word and away you go. Don’t worry about the weird colours we’ve used to print them on - we know it makes them difficult to see but it prevents the list from being successfully photocopied and thus stops piracy.
STEP BY STEP SF Hi G3DS When Renegade released Gods last year, they had the gogd taste to package it in a stunning hand-painted cover by top comic book artist, Simon Bisley. Taking that cover as his inspiration, Jim Studt, of ACME shows how to replicate the image using Dpaint and several hours of extreme patience.
CU AMIGA and when he otten II And hora ¦ la! Tha llni«h d pleturt look Jkn Thogratocomploteandio H lo Matoft pointed artvofk.
In,.rinii prefers more traditional methods ol constructing his pictures. 'As you might gather Irom my nickname. I usually paint with airbrush instruments and spraycans m the Stockholm area Last year I was minted over to Ibiza where I worked lor the summer, selling my pictures lor obscene amounts ol money.'
'I preler working with 'real' paints instead ol computer GFX. As I leel very restricted with the low resolution and the amount ol colours available to use. I really don't have the patience to spend more than 10 hours on one picture, although I’d like to try painting on a Paintbox system or at least the Coiourburst system lor the Amiga.'
Whatever his preferences, there's no denying that his work is stunning. To help other artists.
Jim has drawn up a list ol special tips and tricks drawn Irom his years using graphic packages on the Amiga.
I Draw in Magnify mode with the lowest magnification possible This will make mouse control easy Use the zoom gadget until you get doublesized pixels.
2. Try to find photographs or other pictures lot your reference I
know some people think you shouldn't do this, but artists have
to have some point ol reference The only reason why
Michelangelo didn't use photographic references was because
there weren't any!
3 The more time you put into a picture, the better It's going to be Don't be lazy using the shade' and smooth' tools Try to make the Anyone lamiiiar with the demos scene will probably be aware ol the work ol Jim Studt. No? II not. Perhaps its because he works under the name ot Airbrush' tor most ol his work Only 20 years old. Jim has produced a massive portfolio ol computer artwork even though it isn't his favourite means of expression.
He's a member of crack demos team. ACME, responsible lot a number ol cracking slideshows over Ihe years. Based in Sweden, the group have a growing reputation lor lantastically detailed artwork, and Jim is delmitely one ol their leading talents He's also an avid reader ol CU AMIGA and when he otlered us a series ol tutorials detailing the liner points ol constructing a picture, we lumped at the chance.
Although his computer artwork is otten stunning. Jim effects by hand This will improve your picture and leach your new techniques at the same time.
4 Take a break1 Alter sitting at the same screen working on the same picture lor hours on end. You won't be able to see any mistakes. Go and have a cup ol cotlee and then come back to the screen - things will be a lot clearer
5. Be patient.
6. Detme your palette: use one or two colours in varying shades.
For example, Irom white to light blue to dark blue to black.
7. Become as lamiiiar as possible with the graphic package you're
using. Get to know all the etlects and instruments, even il
you never normally use them yourself loads of time, your
animations, however humble, have a stamp of professionalism
about them. The horse-rider was just one example; in the Sea
Life volume, you could have one of the menacing sharks
trailing a scuba-diver, and the Safari disks abound with
One trick about cartoon animation is to make life as colourful as possible.
Emphasise the fact that this isn’t meant to be real-life by using primary colours. And the effect can be enhanced by ensuring each item has an edge of black. This makes them stand out against each other, and is achieved from within Dpainl by pressing the 'o’ key once with black selected as your drawing colour. (By the way, pressing the capital O strips an edge of pixels instead of adding one).
Amiga artists aren’t proud - they can’t atford to be.
Anything which speeds up the job has got to be a plus.
And not all computer animators are good artists either - so it someone else has done a bit of spadework, they don't mind using it in the least.
Which brings us to readymade graphics - the had already been done - the horse was just cribbed from the RealThings disk. All I had to do was add the rider in various poses, draw in the tack and add the background.
By utilising ready-made artwork you not only save OFF THE SHELF Ready-made graphics and animation sequences can help spice up even the most mediocre of work and save an artist a great deal of time. Sarah Hibbert takes a look at the RealThings art packages which offer visual short cuts to help add extra pazazz to your animations.
Off-the-shelf kind which you can use to pep up your own work. Of particular importance is the RealThings collection - a series of projects which range from sea-life to human figures, all created as anim-brushes for use in Dpainl.
In themselves they are pretty to look at, but they only form the springboard to your own animation projects. Take, for example, the first set of animations unleashed onto the Amiga world: horses.
You’ll soon tire of having the brushes galloping across your screen, beautifully drawn though they are. Where your skill comes in is to make use of them for your own ends.
In my case I used the package to help create an animated picture of the Old West in which an admittedly garishly-coloured cow-poke gallops across the frame as cacti pass by. The hard part Hl-ho silver - awayyyy.... Part of a western scene which comes to life courtesy of Dpalnt.
The horse and rider are part of a 15-frame anlmbrush which has been stamped down on a static background lo move from right to left. The cacti move left to right at different speeds to give some semblance of parallax scrolling (nearer objects moving faster relative to objects further away).
ANIMBRUSH TIPS Once you’ve decided on now best to use the various images contained within the RealThings collection, it's then up lo you to implement your creative ideas. Of course, it's not as easy as it at first looks, so we've drawn up a list ol handy hints and lips tor both novice and pro alike.
N Tlle RealThings animbrushes come ready-made, but like your own animbrushes they can be re-sized by painting each animbrush cell down individually into blank animation frames, then re-sizing each individual image as a normal brush. Paste these re-sized brushes back into their frame after erasing the original, and having made sure they all register (they are centred on screen in each frame), cut the whole lot out as a new animbrush.
? If you intend adding a new element - such as the cowboy in our example - just use one frame of the horse animation, and fix the background. You can now draw the character without affecting the original horse image. This means that if you make a mistake, you can erase in safety, leaving the main image unharmed.
By pre-planning, you should be able to use colours for your additional character which are not used in the original screen; the horse in our example is white and black, and Ihe cowboy uses primary colours. By doing it this way you can make a stencil of the original colours so that when you clip the brush of the rider, none of the horse will be picked up. And you have a brush comprised solely of the new drawing you've made.
You can then make animated alterations to successive brushes of the rider - a leg movement here, a curt of the hat there, and then paste them down on the original animation.
0 Remember, the stencil tool is ideal for having animbrushes move in front of and behind already drawn backgrounds. Protect items the animbrush needs to be painted behind by making the item’s colour part of a stencil, then draw away... How Ure west was won - using olt- tho-sHelf antmOfushos tor your own ends makes sense; here’s how a wild RealThings horse was ’’ lamed by our artist.. STEP JY STEP In the first of an occasional series, Peter Lee shares some of his graphic short-cuts to help you become a better animator.
WHO KNOWS THE SHADOW... It’s possible to use Dpaint to mimic a number of animated effects that are commonplace on professional systems. One such effect is the casting of an ever-lengthening shadow. Peter Lee explains how it's done.
Dpaint's reputation as the premier graphics package is not undeserved. As well as providing more options than any other art package, it can also create elaborate special ettects that have only been possible before on expensive graphic workstations.
One such effect is the lengthening shadow in which an object casts an ever- longer shadow. This can be either because the assumed light source is being lowered or the object itself is rising out of the background.
In our example we've used a wire-frame drawing of Ihe world. Here's how it's done: ¦ Cut out your brush and fill the background with a midtone colour.
¦ Create six animation frames (each with the midblue background colour).
¦ With black selected as your background, click the right mouse button and drag the brush 5mm up screen then click the left button. This will draw a small black shadow with your brush painted on top. This is frame 1 of the animation.
¦ Swap to the spare screen (keyboard J) and store the original there for safe keeping and move back to the first screen.
¦ Adjust the gndlock function so that there is very little room vertically, but plenty horizontally. This is so lhat we can move up the screen in a fluid way whilst making sure that the brush is actually anchored in a set position. Ensure the gridlock is on, and use the picture from frame t as a brush (the shadowed image), and select black as Ihe foreground colour.
¦ By pressing F2 on the keyboard, the entire image takes on the foreground colour, regardless of which colours it's actually drawn in.
¦ Position your by-now chunky black brush exactly over the original artwork, and press the number 2 key: this advances the animation to frame two (which is blank).
Now, using the same technique as for the first shadow, draw up-screen in a continuous motion for about half a centimetre.
¦ Use this new, deeper image as your next brush, and move on to frame 3, repeating the process until you get the desired length of shadow.
¦ To finish off the job, go back to the spare screen, pick up your original artwork, and stamp it in the correct place of each of the frames you have drawn shadows on.
Once you've grasped the idea, you can make your shadows more subtle, and from any angle - the technique is exactly the same.
GOING FOR a SCROLL One of the best new tricks on offer in the latest batch of demos is the screen unwrap where an image peels down the screen. Peter Lee tells you how it’s done.
WORKING OUT One of the mote stunning effects which demo-makers use is the screen unwrap where a rolled-up image unfurls down the screen, giving you glimpses of what's to come on the reverse of the roll. Luckily you don't need to be a programming genius lo simulate this effect - all that's required is DeluxePaint III or IV and a little work.
It's a double trick really.
The main magic is in fooling the eye into believing what isn't there, but the nuts and bolts of this effect is in simple brush manipulation.
STEP BY STEP ¦ Draw or load in your image, and then Hip to the spare screen (J on Ihe keyboard); this will be the start of creating the unfuriing animation. Create 20 frames of animation, all of which will be blank at this stage.
¦ Fill the screen with a midblue colour, and copy this frame to all other frames.
Now create the roled up piece of the scroll by drawing a wide rectangle 3cm deep in dark blue. Cut this out as a brush, leaving the screen blank.
¦ Now bring up the line requester (right click the screen is the image you actually want to display. Cut it out as a brush, and move back from the spare page to frame one of the animation.
¦ Call up the stencil requester (SHIFT TAB) and make everything except the background colour a stencil.
Effectively this means that the only place you can paint y key, and go to the animation frame.
¦ Using the stencil function again, make the dark blue rectangle you drew to start with the only unprotected colour. Now you can paste the flipped brush onto it, to simulate a rear-view of • what's about to be unfurled next.
You have to show what’s about to be unfurled, remember.
¦ All that's left to do now is pat yourself on the back, gather a small audience and play back the animation - a masterpiece of an effect!
Mouse button with the pointer in the line tool icon), and in the N Total box, enter 20 and activate that option. This will draw 20 images for whatever length of line you now draw.
¦ Select the line tool now, and with your finger on the left Amiga key, start 2 cm down from the top of the screen and draw a vertical line fo around 4 cm from the bottom with your finger on the left mouse button. Let go of the button, and watch as your rectangle is drawn on successive frames gradually moving down the screen.
¦ Then, working a frame at a time, preferably with the gridlock enabled to help position your starting position, draw a rectangle in the background colour (usually black) from 2cm down from the top, to the start of your roll rectangle; you are creating the top portion of the scroll, which is gradually uncovered as the roll drops down.
¦ Do this on each frame (the rectangle gets deeper on each frame, but the width remains constant - the width of your initial bottom rectangle).
¦ Play the animation now just to make sure all's well - it should appear as if a roll of black paper is falling down screen, uncovering more and more.
¦ That's the hard part - now the fun begins. Remember that lurking in the spare on your animation now is in the rectangle drawn in the background colour - provided your brush is still active, you should be able to see it peeking through.
Going lor a acrolL. Unravel Ihe secret* of this stunning effect by following our guidelines. As the animation progresses, the scroll opens to reveal your message, whilst what’s to com* shows through on the scroll's reverse.
¦ Position your brush image where you want in relation to this 'window', and now stamp it down on each frame in turn.
More and more of your brush will be visible as the frames progress and larger rectangles are exposed.
¦ A quick way to do this without resorting to the gridlock is to let go of the mouse once the position is correct, and keep your finger on left Amiga key and then keep your finger on the left ALT key (it is important which order you hold the keys down, incidentally); the frames will progress, and the image will be stamped down.
¦ Play the animation again and enjoy the sight of your image being 'uncovered'.
¦ Now the finishing touch - to create an underside on the scroll portion.
¦ This is where the eye's willingness to be fooled is used to good effect. We can't waste time curving the image to fit the supposed curved shape of the roll. Instead we use a straightforward brush.
¦ Flip to the spare screen, and make a brush out of a portion of the image just below the bit which you can see on the animation frame.
Flip the brush by pressing the ¦ Do this for each frame, flipping back and forth between the next animation screen and the spare screen with your image on it, moving down the spare-screen image a little at a time, remembering not to include any part of it which is already displayed on the frame you're working on - SIX OF THE BEST With five years*worth of Amiga animations behind him, Peter Lee offers some of his top hints and tips on ways of becoming a more accomplished animator.
D Animations are hungry for memory. Use the lowest possible resolution and the fewest colours necessary unless you intend to videotape the sequence, where higher resolutions give sharper images. Bad news is that animations at higher resolutions are comparatively slower because of the additional amount of data to be shifted by the Amiga.
D If you are animating for video work, tone down the red and blue elements of the colours to minimise any colour bleeding into surrounding areas.
Q If you have an anim brush active, pressing the 7 key will move the animbrush back a frame, 8 will move the sequence forward, which can also be held down to see a running preview of the brush.
? Providing you have the time, using the anti-alias function while rendering rotational brush animations will give smoother-looking results on playback ? Using the movement fill option with an animbrush - especially a digitised one - with the brush tilted backwards in the Z plane using the perspective option, gives outstanding results when played back. The screen fills, in true perspective, with individual brushes, which spring to life like living floor tiles when played back. By also moving the tilted brush down screen a couple of dozen pixels as well, you can create a moving carpet of
multiple moving images.
Q If you want an animbrush to begin life off-screen, then ease in, you will have to reposition the brush handle to a point outside the brush image.
Use the ALT Z left mouse button combination to place the brush handle - where the mouse pointer holds the brush - in an appropriate place.
INTRODUCING... Love them or hate them, there’s no doubting that intro sequences can show off the Amiga’s incredible graphical prowess.
Steve Merrett finds out what exactly goes into setting a scene... SETTING THE SCENE The argument for scene-setting introductory sequences is one that has been going for years. Some, like me, think that they are fine, providing they can be skipped and don’t unnecessarily slop the player from getting into the game, whilst others feel they are integral to getting the player In the ’mood’ for the forthcoming events.
Some can be quite stunning in their effect and defintely enhance the perceived value of a game. Take Shadow Of The Beast II, for example. As the player booted up the first disk, the screen showed a small cottage which was isolated in the middle of a raging storm. From here, a mystical creature is shown mutating into the Beast which would snatch the game’s hero from his family. As the creature swooped down on the cottage, smashing through the roof and grabbing the baby, it was hard not to be impressed. But where do the coders start when they get the ideas for such sequences?
Always plan everything meticulously, as this allows us to allocate memory early on and allow for any unseen problems.
We came up with about thirty sketches which were obviously too many, but by tightening up key areas, we managed to get it down to a feasible fifteen.' Jerr admits that it’s very easy to get carried away when putting such a sequence together, and this was a trait which used to afflict Psygnosis games. He says that it's integral that the plot of your intro ties in with the game or it’s rendered virtually useless - a perfect example of this was with Psynosis's Sfryxa few years back. I remember booting it up for the first time and being blown away by the stunning monochromatic images of the intro
sequence. A ray-traced car whizzed towards me, lights reflected from its shiny bonnet, only to give way to a trashy platform game with absolutely no car-based content at all!
‘Putting an intro sequence together is akin to directing a film,’ offers Jerr. ‘It’s all very well having loads of good ideas, but cramming them all in to a limited space can only be done if comers are cut. With Heimdall, we opened with a God crouched over something which, in another frame, was revealed to be the Earth. From here, we cut to Thor holding Heimdall in the palm of his hand, and then to the giri’s hut. We managed to save loads of memory here with sly palette swaps for the lightning, and then we simply drew the interior of the hut and added roughly six frames for the girl’s rude
awakenening. In all, it took just eight full bitmapped screens, and a few anims for the sprites which we over- layed.'
OLD FAITHFUL Whilst some animators prefer the more complex Movie Setter. Jerr relied on good old Dpaint III for all his Heimdall work. ‘It’s excellent,’ he enthuses. ‘Everything in Heimdall was drawn using Dpaint - even the walls of the rooms - and it was its brush utility that made it so useful.' He continues: 'When it came to, say, the scene where the God has the World revolving on his finger, I simply drew up the God and the Earth, and cut out the Earth as a brush. From here, I simply changed the detail on the planet a little, and played it through a sequence of roughly eight animations.
The result as the countries scolled by was one of the planet revolving - exactly how I envisaged it, too.'
So where does Jerr stand in the for or against’ argument regarding intro sequences? I have to admit,' he says, ‘I'm all for them. They add a little extra to a game and certainly add to the scenario if used well. However, and I know this is sitting on the fence somewhat, but I also think that they should be able to be bypassed if necessary - there's nothing to put someone off a game more than having to sit through the same sequence time and time again.' Jerr is currently working with Core again, this time on the long-awaited sequel to Heimdall. Detailing the epic Battle Of Ragnorok that the
last game preceded, he is up to his arms in game design at the moment. Will that have an intro? 'You bet!' He laughs, and gets back to creating worlds... Starling on an astral .sland. the scene swaps to one ol the Earth spinning and then lo Earth itself. All in all. A mere live pictures make up Ihe sequence, but such is Ihe clever cutting between the scenes thal it seems that there are many more.
In addilMjn. 8»h Day also added le«t-based screens between Ihe graphical interludes and these lorm a narrative aid which helps detail what s going on.
Alter getting everything down on paper, the nest stage was to draw it all on Opaint. Alter outlining the ideas, the p*s were then filled section by section using 16 colours.
TOP TEN INTRO SEQUENCES ng The last few years have seen some corking intro sequences to games. Core Design appear to place great store on game intros and nearly every one of their games has a mammoth intro. Nor surprisingly, three of their games make the top ten, as do two games from Canadian-based Readysoft. The latter are famous for their conversions of the Space Ace arcade games and feature some of the best graphics you're ever likely to see on the Amiga. Bullfrog's Powermonger also makes the grade, not for its brilliant intro graphics but for the superb soundtrack which accompanies it
- an aspect of animation that is often overlooked! One other
entry worth a mention is Team 17's Alien Breed intro which
begins with a comic-strip progression of mono panels
detailing the storyline and then cuts to a stunning ray- traced
animation by the prolific Tobias Richter.
1. Thunderhawk (Core)
2. Heimdall (Core)
3. Shadow ot the Beast II (Psygnosis)
4. Super Space Invaders (Domark)
5. Wrath of the Demon (Readysoft)
6. Space Ace II (Readysoft)
7. Wolfchild (Core)
8. Alien Breed (Team 17)
9. Another World (Delphine)
10. Powermonger (Bullfrog) HARD DRIVE CONTROLLERS
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IDE SCSI Interface Cards WORLD CLASS INTERFACES AT AN OUT OF THIS WORLD PRICE The DataFlyer line ol hard drive controllers otters great performance and versatility at a cost attractive to the price conscious customer The DataFlyer provides a choice ot SCSI.
IDE or both on the same card Each card can accept the DataFlyer RAM 8 Megabyte plug-on memory card. Each controller features easy lormalling prep programs, driver software and all hardware and cables The drive installs in a standard expansion slot ot the chassis provided Both the controller and memory cards in the A500 1000 chassis' can be removed and installed in an A2000. It is compatible with Workbench 1.3 and 2.0 Install the DataFlyer onto any Amiga and your off to the races.
• AiAo-lnstalling sothvare means super easy formal
• Fast File System compatible with KickStart 13 or higher
• Special driver provides Amaxll compatibility SCSI Only
• Optional DataFlyer RAM 8 Mb memory board plugs onto interface
• SyQuest compatible with auto-diskchange SCSI Only
• Holding down mouse button deteals Auto-Boot tor games
• Includes all cables and hardware.
• Compatibility with all major hard drives.
• External hard drive activity light IDE, SCSI and IDE SCSI Data
Flys rs
• Non-OMA
• Optional SCSI pass through cable
• 480.000 byte per second data transfer rate using Diskspeed and
a Quantum drive
• Add up lo two IDE or AT drives
• 800.000 byte per second data transfer rale using Diskspeed and
a Quantum drive.
• Operate both kinds ot drives at the same time.
• • LONDON NT 3QP TEX: 071 704 1614

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