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The keyframes types in HFX

The keyframes types in HFX By Le Papy - Last updated on Sunday, January 15, 2012
12188 Views :: 0 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 9)
Category: Hollywood FX Tutorials / Theory  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Sunday, November 21, 2010
Created on Friday, September 10, 2010 2:20 AM
 

The keyframes in HFX allow animation of the different objects in the effect. There are three types of keyframes :

  • the linear keyframes;
  • the spline curve keyframes;
  • the value jump keyframes.

These different keyframes are grouped in one or more envelopes materialized by a file that contains settings related to the duration of effect. This file with extension .env can be saved to be reused in another effect. The user guide of the software describes very well these types of keyframes, their use, saving and using of different envelopes with single value or multiple values. Furthermore, our tutorials already published on this page have already explored some concepts around keyframes and envelopes.

This new tutorial after a quick reminder, tackles one particular undocumented aspect : the parameters of curve keyframes.

Step 1 : An example of a linear path to understanding

I suggest you create an effect, made only for you to understand the principle. Here's how. To refresh your memory, you may see our tutorial "Tuto-5 Creating effects".

Inserting anew object in the effect
  1. Create a new effect with the menu "File / New" or Ctrl + N;
  2. Search in the library the folder "Objects" and click on the subfolder "Simple";
  3. Drag and drop and object "Flat01" under the camera.
  1. The object Flat01 is displayed fullscreen;
  2. Resize it with the mouse using the "Scale" button.
Resize of the created object Flat01
The object Flat01 is almost halved
Reduce the object Flat01 by almost half the size depending on the values X, Y and Z of resize (0.563 on the screenshot).
Displaying the envelope of the object Flat01
  1. Select the object Flat01;
  2. Use the toggle button "Show / Hide album" to open the envelopes editor (See our tutorial"Tuto-2 General tutorial / Easy FX Editor" ;
  3. Click in one of the three fields "Position" to display the multi-valued position envelope of object Flat01;
  4. Place the time cursor to 0 %;
  5. Click the "Create a key" button".
Envelopes editor

As the object Flat01 had no envelope, by clicking on the button "Create a key", you have created a multi-valued envelope that contains at least 2 keyframes (one at the beginning and one at the end of the effect). If your cursor was positioned at 30% for example, you would have created three keyframes respectively at 0, 30 and 100% of the time effect with the settings corresponding to that indicated in the fields position, rotate and resize.

By default, HFX offers a curve type of keyframe which seems to sound more natural : it is not always the case ... By being positioned on a keyframe (selected in blue) you can change the type of keyframe. From left to right you have the buttons Curve, Linear and Jump. Set keyframes 1 and 2 to linear.

Create three additional keyframes at 24, 48 and 72% of the time of the effect. Then for each keyframe, assign settings following the table below. For more details on creating new keyframes, you can see our tutorial "Tip-6 Alter the text and position of text in the transition 191-france".

Time 0 24 48 72 100
Position X -0.900 0.900 -0.900 0.900 2.900
Position Y 0.700 0.700 -0.700 -0.700 -2.200
Type Linear Linear Linear Linear Linear

If you select the object Flat01, you can see in the preview window, the path that the object will follow when you click the play button to see this :

You can see that the four visible keyframes (the fifth is off screen so you can observe the trajectory) are interconnected by straight trajectories.

Step 2 : curve keyframes
  1. The default curve keyframe proposed by HFX :

If you keep the default type "curve" proposed by HFX, keyframes will be interconnected, either by a straight line but by a slightly curved line. The shape of this curved line depends on three parameters that we see in more detail : Tension, Continuity and Bias. By default HFX offers a slightly curved line with these 3 parameters set to zero: the preset "Smooth Curve".

If you keep the envelope that you created but you set the type of the five keyframes from linear to curve by selecting each keyframe and assigning the type "curve" with the corresponding button, you should see this :

You can see that the four visible keyframes are interconnected by paths slightly rounded.

  1. Setting of curve keyframes :
You will now modify the parameters of the curve by acting on the "Curve Parameters" which is active only when a curve keyframe is selected. Button to change the parameters of the curve

When you click the button "Curve Parameters," a window "Keyframe Parameters" opens to allow you to change settings Tension, Continuity and Bias.

  1. A list of 4 presets is offered;
  2. You can change all or part of the three parameters;
  3. You can save your settings in a file with extension .hsp.
The window for changing settings of curve keyframe

You keep the envelope with your 5 previous curve keyframes by selecting each keyframe and assigning the value Tension = -1. You should see this :

You can see that the four visible keyframes are interconnected by paths much more rounded, slightly convex shape. With Tension = 1 the trajectory is almost linear. With a Tension setting higher than 1, the trajectory becomes concave.

If you apply to the 5 curve keyframes the parameters Tension = 0, Continuity = 1, Bias = 0, you get this :

You can see that the four visible keyframes are interconnected by paths rounded, slightly convex shape, with a sort of arabesque through each keyframe. With a parameter Continuity = -1 the trajectory is almost linear. With a parameter Continuity greater than -1, the trajectory becomes concave.

If you apply to the 5 curve keyframes the parameters Tension=0, Continuity = 0, Bias = -2, you get this :

You can see that the four visible keyframes are interconnected by paths very rounded, like convex shape. With a parameter Bias = -3 the magnitude of the trajectory is increased. With a Bias parameter greater than 2, the trajectory becomes concave.

Finally, if you want a little fantasy, you can apply for each curve keyframe different parameters Tension, Continuity and Bias and different values for each parameter. All fantasies are possible such as this :

Step 3 : Jump keyframes

The last type is very easy to understand and does not require much explanation. The object remains fixed until it jumps instantly to its new position.

If you keep the envelope that you have created, but you pass the type of the five curve keyframes to jump by selecting each keyframe and assigning the type "Jump" with the corresponding button, you should see this :

You can see that the four visible keyframes (the fifth is off screen so you can observe the trajectory) are not connected by paths since the object follows no trajectory, it moves instantaneously by jump.

With this last type of keyframes, you have discovered new possibilities of object envelopes. I think you could measure the power of the envelope editor of HFX. When creating a new effect, it often happens that one hesitates between the linear and curve type. By viewing the object movement you can make the right decision.

Step 4 : Bonus

But if you have little time to devote to creating custom envelopes, you can still use the predefined ones contained in the album HFX (Folder Paths, subfolders Fun, PIP and Simple). It's easy, just drag a track from the album on the object to be animated !
Maybe I should have started with that, don't you think...

{Thanks to saby who translated this tutorial from french to english and cross-checked it}

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