Tutorial (iv) - Creating a Simple Movie



This short tutorial is intended to guide the user through the process of creating a simple movie using Forester.

For simplicity (and speed of rendering) the scene will be kept very plain, showing an aeroplane flying over a barren landscape, being tracked by a moving camera. I will use the fighter jet from Tutorial (ii) as the moving object, so you may wish to complete that tutorial first, or else use a different object...

The scene will use the landscape terrain file and from Tutorial (i).

Start off by importing this terrain file into a fresh Forester scene and set the Water Level to 5.

1. Create first Trajectory

A movie is created by animating objects (including the camera) along flightpaths. Each individual flightpath is made up of a collection of separate segments called trajectories. Each trajectory is a series of discrete points in space forming a line or curve. Trajectories are created in Forester by placing each point on the terrain map.

Open the Trajectories Window and click New Trajectory. Call this 'Plane1'.

2. Place Trajectory Points

Click the Add Point button (or press Alt-A) to add a new point to the trajectory. By default this is placed at the origin. In the Terrain Window ensure that the 'Trajectory Cam/Tar' option is selected and that 'Fix above Terrain' is set to 2. Left-click on the Terrain map to change the location of the Trajectory point. Right-click to set the points 'target' direction.

Repeat the previous step to create a total of 6 or so points, similar to mine (numbered 1 - 6) on the right (don't worry about A, B and C - these come later):

NOTE: Do not worry about the points 'target' direction - this will be sorted out later

3. Interpolate Trajectory

This trajectory now roughly defines the path of the aeroplane, but for the final movie we need a lot more frames than just six. To increase the number of points the trajectory can be interpolated. Drop down the list that reads '<Select Operation to Perform>' and choose no.4 (Interpolate Bezier - Constant Speed). Click Go. Give the new trajectory 60 points (we will create a movie with 60 frames - good enough for 4 seconds of footage) and name it 'Plane2'.

4. Set the 'Target' Points

In step 3 only the locations of each point were defined - the target directions were not set. Therefore when the aeroplane is animated along the path it is likely to be facing in the wrong direction! To fix this select action no.11 (Set All Targets to the Succesive Points) and click Go. This will now ensure that when the aeroplane is at, for example, location point 9, it will be pointing in the correct direction of point 10.

5. Create the Aeroplanes Flight Path

We can now create the final flight path for the plane based on this trajectory. Open the Animation Time-Line window and click 'Add New Flightpath'. Call it 'Plane FP'.

Select the second trajectory from the drop-down List (Plane2 - 60 frames) and drag the green trajectory marker onto the Plane FP flightpath. ie:

6. Create Aeroplane Object

We can now create the final aeroplane Object in the Objects List Window. Create a new object, set its Object-Type to the F18 Fighter Jet or whichever object you wish to use. Set its Distribution-Shape to 'Flight Path' and select the 'Plane FP' flightpath from the 'Use Flightpath' drop-down list.

7. Create Camera Trajectory and Flightpath

Back in the Trajectory Window add a New Trajectory (call it Camera1) and set the points as in my diagram.

Set the 'Speed' parameter of points 1 and 3 to zero and the speed of point 2 to 10

Select action no.5 (Interpolate Bezier - use Speed Setting). Give the new trajectory 60 points and call it 'Camera2'.

Use action no.10 (Set All Heights relative to Terrain) to fix the height of each point to 4 units above the terrain.

Use action no.13 (Set Target to Look-at another Trajectory) to set each points Target to 'look-at' the corresponding location of the Plane2 trajectory. (Click No until the Plane2 trajectory is listed, then click Yes). Call this trajectory 'Camera3'

In the Animation Timeline create a new flightpath (call it 'Camera FP') and drag the Camera3 trajectory onto it.

8. Render the Final Movie

Open the Render Animation Window. Set the Intended FPS to 15 (frames per second). Select the 'Camera FP' flightpath from the Camera Path drop-down list. The frames list is then populated with the 60 frames which make up the Cameras flightpath. Use the vertical slider the quickly select the frames that you want to render. If you have the DirectX preview window open then click the Preview button to view the selected frames. Alternatively drag the horizontal slider to quickly scroll between frames.