2-Minute Tutorial: Creating an Animated Buffer in Animation Store Creator
August 02, 2017 by Chuck Baker
NewTek multi-camera live production systems include Animation Store Creator (ACS), a software application that allows you to create custom animations and effects for your NewTek production system from images from your favorite 2D and 3D graphics applications. In this tutorial, our demonstrator shows how to create a Frame Buffer animation, and demonstrates the types of such animated buffers. The method depicted works in 3Play, NewTek IP Series and both TriCaster Standard and Advanced Edition software. TriCaster Advanced Edition is used for the demonstration, and has additional capabilities, so you may see functions on the screens not present in Standard Edition.
Also, you may find it useful to view our 2-Minute Tutorial: Creating an Overlay Transition in Animation Store Creator to learn or to refresh yourself on the introductory details for this application, as some items covered in detail there will be covered only briefly or just by mention here.
Exit the live production mode to the TriCaster or 3Play opening screen. Select Add-ons from the carousel menu, and then select “Animation Store Creator” from the list of Add-ons.
On the Effect Type Menu, select “Animated Buffer” as the type of effect you wish to create.
Next, we load an image sequence for our animated buffer. The characteristics depend on what we want to be able to do with the animation. If we want something we can key over video or other graphics, then we need a sequence saved in a format that includes an alpha channel. For this tutorial, our demonstrator loads an animation of a logo in PNG format, rendered in LightWave 3D.
Our demonstrator, VP of training Don Ballance, recommends using about 300 frames when creating effects, in order to be conservative with system memory, as the effects you create with ACS reside in memory (600 frames is the max). If you need to do a significantly longer sequence than 300 frames for a production, rather than doing the animation as Frame Buffer content you can create a video, including alpha channel, for playback from the Media Player at program time.
Our demonstrator also comments that you can conserve memory by creating graphics at the size they are intended to be used. In the video he loads a sequence of a large station ID graphic, centered in view. One could use the sizing and position controls to use that as a lower right logo bug, but that uses many times more memory than doing an animation of a lower right logo bug at the correct size and location in the view. Only active graphics areas of an image consume memory; and while NewTek production tools are incredible at remapping for size and location, not having to do so also saves CPU resources for other live production tasks.
After loading the sequence, to ensure the effect will render correctly, it is important to know if the sequence was rendered for interlaced or progressive video; if interlaced, be sure to click on the Interlace toggle.
Next, we set the icon for this new animated buffer. To do so, we move the timeline slider to a frame of our choice, and click on Set Effect Icon.
The next step is to select a quality level for the render of the effect. Three choices are available on the Quality pulldown menu:
- Normal = Standard Definition
- High = HD 720
- Ultra = Full HD 1080 For the tutorial, our demonstrator selects High.
Next we select the play mode for the animation. Three are available:
- Single: the animation will play once and hold on the last frame.
- Loop: the animation will repeat continuously, from start to finish each time.
- Ping-Pong: the animation plays continuously, alternating forward and reverse playback. As detailed in the previous tutorial, once everything is configured and ready, you should save your work as an Animation Store Creator project file.
Once you have saved the project, use the Export menu option, to render and save the effect to your local TriCaster, 3Play, or IP Series or any other IP Series/TriCasters/3Plays on the same network that are in live production mode.
Our demonstrator wraps up the tutorial by going into the TriCaster UI and showing several examples of animated buffers:
- A looping animation in Buffer 6 is active throughout this demonstration as the background video in Program and Preview
- A looping animation in Buffer 1 is assigned to DSK 1; this is a full-screen animation, and so hides Buffer 6 completely when it is transitioned onto Program output
- A single play animation in Buffer 2 is assigned to DSK 2; when transitioned to Program output, this animation builds up and then holds on its final frame, keyed over Buffer 6
- A looping animation in Buffer 3 is assigned to DSK 3; when transitioned onto Program output, the animation plays continuously keyed over Buffer 6 We hope this video has been helpful for you. If you have suggestions for other topics you would like covered in a 2-Minute Tutorial, please send us a message. We will see you next time.
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