Nested Animations


This tutorial is written for users of Satori FilmFX and before starting this tutorial it is important to establish that you are able to use file animation with your Satori software. In order to create and manipulate the animations which I will be describing you must have a rotoscoping tool bar which looks like this:-


Some older versions of Satori and some freeware versions do not have full rotoscoping capability. For example, the animate button may be missing.

If you have never used the rotoscoping tool before then it would be a good idea to look at the documentation on rotoscoping which comes with FilmFX before proceeding with this tutorial. You need to be familiar with two aspects of animation using Satori: 1) using the animate button to animate canvases and 2) loading a file animation sequence of bitmaps to layer.

Nested Animations

The basic idea of nested animations is very simple: just as you can nest a canvas containing a picture within another canvas so you can nest a canvas containing a file animation within another.

There are a number of ways of nesting file animations but for the moment I shall stick to two:-

  1. Load an animated canvas to layer.
  2. Load a sequence of bitmaps to layer.

Beware The Animate Button!

I have lost count of the number of times I have accidentally animated a canvas when I did not want to and, less frequently, failed to animate a canvas when I wanted to. If the animate button is on (i.e. blue, as shown below) then anything you do to the canvas will apply only to the current frame.


When the animate button is off (i.e. grey) then any changes you make will apply to all frames. I am convinced that FilmFX changes that button as soon as I look away!

If you use an existing canvas or canvasFX filter in a file animation you may find that it works correctly only on frame 0. In which case whoever created the canvas accidentally animated it on frame 0 which would not have caused problems on a non-animated canvas.   

The Basics

To start with I suggest you create a frame counter: a very simple animation which displays the number of the frame like so:- 

Call that canvas FC Numeric.

Then make two more versions: 1) with the word "Bitmap" instead of "Frame" 2) with the word"Frame" but with text instead of numbers like this:-

Call these canvases FC Bitmap and FC Text.

Render FC Bitmap as a sequence of .rir files. Then create a canvas (Animation) with FC Numeric, FC Text and the sequence of bitmaps loaded to layer which gives you the following animation:-

I have used the "#" symbol to indicate that what followed it is not a canvas but a sequence of bitmaps loaded to layer.

The point to notice here is that the frame number of the top canvas in the structure, Animation, is being used to determine which bitmap and which canvas frame is rendered regardless of where they are in the nested canvas structure.

Detected Filename Sequence Window

When loading a sequence of canvases or bitmap files such as #FC Bitmap the "Detected Filename Sequence Window" is displayed by Satori. This window provides a number of useful options which allow you to change the link between the frame number of the top canvas and the numbers of the canvas or bitmap files which you are loading. For example:-

  1. "Selection appears at frame" allows you to change the frame at which a particular animation starts.
  2. "Outside keyframes...." "Loop to Start" and "Reflect" can be used to produce repetitive behaviour from just one set of frames.

Bug In Satori

If you put more than one filename sequence (i.e. canvas or bitmap sequence) into a canvas with different options in the "Outside keyframes do the following" radio button box, Satori can get confused when it renders the animation. It skips or repeats frames from the bitmaps. This is a bug which hopefully will be fixed in the next release.

Movie Brushes

Despite their name, movie brushes can not be used to animate canvases. A movie brush produces a sequence of images on the current frame of the canvas which you apply it to but Satori does not take any notice of the canvas frame number when it choses which of the movie brush images to use.   

<--------- Back to The Third Dimension

Forward to Part 5 (Layers And Mappings) ----->

 Nigel Sutton