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The Boris Graffiti Character Generator can Create a Digital Alarm Clock

The Boris Graffiti Character Generator can Create a Digital Alarm Clock By Le Papy - Last updated on Sunday, February 16, 2014
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Category: Boris Graffiti Tutorials  -  Previous tutorials  -  Associated Link(s)
Published on Thursday, February 27, 2014
Created on Friday, December 6, 2013 8:02 AM

On two occasions, I have had the opportunity to use the Boris Graffiti Character Generator in tutorials, in Nothing Compatible? Use a Substitute PE CameraPOV and also in Insert a Chronometer into a Video. This time we will go a step further by creating a digital alarm clock that works like a real one. First of all, in this Boris Graffiti tutorial, you will learn to create this digital alarm clock and make it work. Then, in a second Studio 17 tutorial that will be published later, we will see how to use this digital clock in Studio to create a fixed close-up on a bedside table. But let's start at the beginning by creating our digital alarm clock in Boris Graffiti Keyframer. Later we will look at Studio.

Step 1 : Collect Materials

To mimic a digital alarm clock, you must have a font that matches the digits displayed by digital clocks. While searching the Web, I found the Font River site that offers free fonts for personal use. The "Digital 7" font seems particularly well suited for our purpose.
 So you need to download the ZIP file that contains three digital .ttf font files (normal, mono, italics) and a readme text file with the license agreement (EULA). At a minimum the Digital-7 Mono font must be installed on your computer (right click on the .ttf file and click "Install" item. You will not need the other two fonts to follow along with this tutorial.

To give you a preview of the soon to be released Studio 17 tutorial, I am making the TutoBGDigitalClock.zip file available in the "Associated Links" section of this page below (right click / Save Target As). containing the images of a digital alarm clock radio and a bedside table which will work quite well for this tutorial. With these images, you will better understand what you'll need and you can even try to create your own still image before the publication of the Studio 17 tutorial at a later date. Basically, it should look like this:

Step 2 : Creating the Effect in Boris Graffiti

We have already seen in the .GRF Files management in Boris Graffiti (animated preview) tutorial how to use Boris Graffiti Keyframer, so the standalone version of Boris Graffiti and soccer ball should not be unknown to you. We will create a rough effect in Boris Graffiti Keyframer which we will then tweak when we open it in Studio. But since I have a good idea of how I want to do this, I am asking you to trust me and follow along...

Opening Boris Graffiti Keyframer, the default effect is loaded. This effect includes two tracks:

  • A "Text" track.
  • A "Background" track.


The default effect loaded in Boris Graffiti Keyframer

Although the "Text Window" window is open, you don't want to enter text in this window because you are going to generate the characters using the Boris Graffiti character generator.

  1. Select the "Face" track that is located below and slightly offset from the "Text" track.
  2. Select the "Generator" tab.
  3. We don't want to use the default "User Text".
  4. Instead, change it to "Date/Time".
Using the character generator "Date / Time" of track "Text"

After selecting the type "Date/Time" character generator, you need to set the generator.

For your alarm clock, you will just need hours and minutes. Uncheck everything except "Display Hour" and "Display Minute".

Setting the character generator "Date / Time"

After this setting, the composite window displays the soccer ball and 0:00 text. The "Text Window" is blank.

If you click on the "Text" track, this track automatically changes its name and is now called "0:00" and the "Text Window" displays the text "0:00".

  1. Select the entire text of the "Text Window" (Ctrl + A).
  2. Click the "Reset Style" button to reset all the styles that you have used previously to their default settings.
  3. Click the "T" (Style) tab.
  4. Change to the Digital-7 Mono font you installed earlier.
  5. Set the font size to 168.
 Setting generated characters

I'll just tint the generated characters.

  1. Click the Color tab.
  2. Populate the 3 RGB color fields with the values ​​4, 238, and 246. This will give you a nice green color for the digits.
Adjust the font color

The composite window now looks like this after your initial setup. Now it is necessary to add a black background under the numbers. The "Backdrop" option of the "Face" track does not give good results because the size of the black band varies with the number of characters and size. It can not be extended as we would need for this tutorial.

You will use another technique which consists of adding a color track.

The composite window

The new "Color" track should be between the "Background" track (the soccer ball) and the "0:00" track (The numbers). When you create a new track, it is always installed above the selected track.

  1. By selecting the "Background" track, the new track will be created above the "Background" track. It will be placed correctly.
  2. Click the "Track" tab.
  3. Select "New Media".
  4. Click the "Color" option.
Adding an extra track "Color"

The new track was created at the location you want. It was given the "Solid Color" name by default. The default color is black and it fills the entire composite window. If the color was not black, you would select the "Face" track that is linked (located below and offset) to the "Solid Color" track and in the "ColorMedia" tab you would change the color.

The soccer ball is completely hidden by the "Solid Color" track. So we have to set its size to give the desired dimensions.

  1. Select the "Solid Color" track.
  2. In the "Position" tab, change the settings as shown in the screenshot.
  3. Click the padlock to unlock the Scale X and Scale Y so they can be set independently.
  4. Do not forget to change all the interpolations that have been modified to "Constant".


Track settings "Solid Color"

To make last-minute adjustments in Studio, you'll need to modify the digit sizes, the size of the black background strip, position, and orientation in space along the three X, Y, and Z axes. To simplify the operation, you will group the two  "0:00" and "Solid Color" tracks by linking them together in a container track. Therefor, changes in the container track will result in the same changes to the two linked tracks.

  1. Select the "0:00" track  so that the container track that you create is at the top tracks.
  2. Select the "Track" tab.
  3. Click the "New 3D Container" item.
Creating a 3D Container track
  1. The "3D Container" track is created at the top of the tracks and it automatically included the lower "0:00" track.
  2. It must also include the "Solid Color" track in the same container, below the "0:00" track .
  3. Select the "Solid Color" track, drag it to the insertion line just below the track "0:00" but slightly overlap the bottom of the "0:00" track.
Construction of 3D container track

You will now make a preset 3D Container track. I suggest you do this preset because I know it will be useful for later, there will be just fine tuning.

  1. Select the "3D Container" track that now contains 2 linked tracks, "0:00" and "Solid Color".
  2. Select the "Position" tab.
  3. Change the X and Y positions according to the screenshot and set the interpolation to "Constant".
  4. Without touching the lock, change the Scales X, Y and Z according to the screenshot and set interpolation to "Constant".
  5. Change "Tumble X" according the screenshot and the interpolation to "Constant".
  6. Change "Spin Y" according the screenshot and the interpolation to "Constant".
  7. Change "Rotate Z" according the screenshot and the interpolation to "Constant".
Setting the 3D Container track

You still have to set the alarm on time ...

  1. Select the "Face" track linked to the "0:00" track.
  2. Select the first keyframe of the  "Face" track. The selected keyframe then turns red.
  3. The "Generator" tab is already selected. Fill the "Numeric Time" field with the number 25185 without changing the interpolation.

Why use 25185 you ask? Because I want the alarm to display 6:59:45 at the beginning of the effect. Although seconds are not displayed, they still exist and for 14 seconds the clock will display 6:59 and then 7:00 for 10 seconds because it'll be the end of the program effect at 7:00:10. In other words the effect is built to display 6:59 for 14 seconds and 7:00 for 10 seconds.

Then 25185 = ((3600*6) + (60*59) + 45) ... it's easy right ?

It's easy, so I'll let you set the last keyframe of the "Face" track linked to the "0:00" track. Fill the "Numeric Time" field with the number 25210 without changing the interpolation.

25210= ((3600*7) + 0 + 10)

Setting the alarm time
With the time cursor positioned at the start of the effect, the composite window now reflects the changes. The composite window reflects the change made

A final, very small, setting in this Boris Graffiti effect is needed. It will be essential in order to incorporate it in Studio. It consists of changing the alpha key. By default, this setting is set to "No Alpha". Without the alpha channel, you would not be able to see the lower layers in studio. Here's how to make this change.

  1. Select the "Background" track.
  2. The "Host Media" tab will be seen;
  3. Change the alpha key to "Straight Alpha"

And don't forget to save your effect before closing Boris Graffiti Keyframer. Refer to the [ARTICLELINK 1037] tutorial if necessary.

Setting the Alpha key

You have everything you need to complete this tutorial successfully. Why not implement it in Studio before the publication of the tutorial we promised for a future date? So do not hesitate to get started and then tell us about your success. wink

{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning}

{Screen Captures were made with the help of Snagit 10 by TechSmith}

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