A few weeks ago, a user wanted to know how to change the date range of the Time Machine transition found in HFX Volume 2 (52-Anniversaries and Seasons). This transition displays a countdown from 2002 to 1957 and she wanted to display a countdown from 2014 to 1963. Having never studied this transition, I took some time to disassemble and understand its operation. Since most of the work was already done, I figured why not write a tutorial to benefit the community?

Step 1: Operation of the Transition

If you load the Time Machine transition into the HFX interface, you will notice that the active part of the transition is contained in 4 identical 3D objects called "Number Wheel", "Number Wheel 1", "Number Wheel 2" and"Number Wheel 3". These four wheels that display the numbers 0 to 9 are each driven by an envelope containing keyframes.

"Number Wheel" shows thousands of years.

"Number Wheel 1" displays hundreds of years.

"Number Wheel 2" shows decades.

"Number Wheel 3" displays years.

Step 2: Running Wheels

The best way to provide an easily understood explanation is with a video. So I isolated a wheel, dressed up the video a bit, and made these observations:

The imported 3D "Number Wheel" object is loaded into a new effect. The Default (Rotation Y = 0) shows the Gold Ring side of the wheel.

Decreasing Rotation Y from 0 to -90 displays the wheel set on the number 1 (Rotation Z = 0).

Decreasing Rotation Z from 0 to -360 displays a full rotation of the wheel in ascending number order, starting from 1 and ending on the number 1.

It is possible to turn the wheel with ascending numbers a maximum of 2000° or 5 full turns plus 200° (-5 rotations and -200°).

It is possible to rotate the wheel with descending numbers a maximum of 2000° or 5 full turns and 200° (5 rotations and 200°).

So, based on the above calculations, the total range between the beginning and ending date cannot exceed 110 years using the best case scenario for Rotation Z since the number wheel can't make more than 11 rotations (I will spare you the math ...).

Step 3: Creating the "Number Wheel 3" Envelope

I suggest you start by creating the units wheel keyframes because that is what will determine the keyframes for the other wheels. If you are not familiar with keyframes, you can read or reread our tutorials "Tuto-5 Creating effects" and "The keyframes types in HFX". A summary table of keyframe parameters will be provided at the end of the tutorial.

To begin, you need to determine the number of wheel revolutions and the range from 2000° to -2000° that you will use for your animation. In our example, from 2014 to 1963 or 51 years, there is a little over 5 rotations.

Then, create the first and last keyframe. I determined the first keyframe by displaying the number 4 (-108 degrees), but with the starting rotation number = -1 in order to create the last keyframe at 4 turns plus 288 degrees (number 3) at the last keyframe. Reminder : I would not have been able to create the last keyframe with five turns and 228 degrees, the maximum being five turns and 200 degrees.

Then incremental keyframe wheel rotations are determined empirically using the "Forward Keyframe" button to advance 1% at a time. When you arrive at 0, you create a keyframe and you adjust + or - 1° so that the number 0 is centered in the window. At two or three percent higher (depending on the length of the range used), create another keyframe that will display the 9. Once again, center it in the window by adjusting the angle value by + or - 1°.

Here is a keyframe envelope used to display the years 2014 to 1963.

Select the "Number Wheel 3" object in the effect tree and click on a rotation parameter in the control panel.

The first keyframe is at 0%.

Keyframe at 8% is identical to the starting keyframe because the Time Machine units wheel is only visible beginning at 8% into the effect.

The value of the keyframe is maintained up to 11% and changes between 11% and 13%.

Keyframe with the final year, the units wheel is no longer visible after 88%.

End keyframe with the same value as the previous keyframe at 88%.

Keyframes marked by the black numbers 1-5 indicate the changing of laps. It could work without intermediate keyframes, as in the original transition, but in this case, changes do not necessarily occur on an exact percentage of the time code which gives an offset display of average quality and synchronization is not ensured with the other wheels.

Step 4 : Creating the "Number Wheel 2" Envelope

Now, create keyframes for the tens wheel because this will determine the keyframes for the hundreds and thousands wheels.

Delete the existing envelope.

Select the "Number Wheel 2" object in the effect tree and click on a rotation parameter in the control panel.

The first keyframe is at 0%.

End keyframe with the same value as the previous keyframe.

Keyframes marked by black numbers 1-5 indicate changes to tens (decades).

Step 5 : Creating the "Number Wheel 1" Envelope

Next, create keyframes for the hundreds wheel because it is what will determine the keyframes for the thousands wheel.

Delete the existing envelope.

Select the "Number Wheel 1" object in the effect tree and click on a rotation parameter in the control panel.

The starting keyframe is at 0%.

End keyframe with the same value as the previous keyframe.

Keyframes marked by the black number 1 indicate changes to the hundreds (century).

Step 6 : Creating the "Number Wheel" Envelope

Finally, create keyframes for the thousands wheel : this is the easiest ...

Delete the existing envelope.

Select the "Number Wheel" object in the effect tree and click on a rotation parameter in the control panel.

The starting keyframe is at 0%.

End keyframe with the same value as the previous keyframe.

Keyframes marked by the black number 1 indicate changes to the thousands (millennium).

Step 7 : Summary Table of Keyframe Parameters

The table we promised.... IMPORTANT : All keyframes are linear .

Percentages

0

8

11

13

28

30

45

47

61

63

77

79

88

100

Wheel3

Rot Z

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

2

3

3

4

4

4

4

Angle Z

-108

-108

36

70

32

68

33

68

34

70

33

70

288

288

Wheel2

Rot Z

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Angle Z

0

0

32

32

68

68

104

104

140

140

178

178

Wheel1

Rot Z

0

0

0

0

Angle Z

33

33

68

68

Wheel

Rot Z

0

0

0

0

Angle Z

-36

-36

-1

-1

In viewing this table, you can see that the variation of values are not mathematically consistent and that minor adjustments must be applied on angles to account for parallax errors related to movement of the time machine.
Here are some explanations related to percentages:

0 Beginning of effect (2014)

8 units wheel is visible after Image A moves (2014)

11 End of first rotation of units wheel and last stationary keyframe for the tens wheel (2010)

13 Start of second rotation of units wheel and the tens wheel decreases by one (2009)

28 End of second rotation of the units wheel, and last stationary keyframe for the tens, hundreds and thousands wheels (2000)

30 Start of the third rotation of the units wheel and the tens, hundreds and thousands wheels decrease by one (1999)

45 End of third rotation of the units wheel (1990)

47 Start of the fourth rotation of the units wheel, the tens wheel decreases by one (1989)

61 End of fourth rotation of the units wheel (1980)

63 Start of the fifth rotation of the units wheel, tens wheel decreases by one (1979)

77 End of fifth rotation of the units wheel (1970)

79 Start the sixth rotation of the units wheel, tens wheel decreases by one (1969)

88 The units wheel is covered by Image B (1963)

100 End of the effect and the keyframe has the same value as the previous keyframe. (1963)

All that remains is for you to save your transition under another name in the folder of your choice. And if you want to use it in Studio 16 or Studio 17, you must use the trick we showed you in step 5 of the "Transfer your Plugins and Transitions in all Studio Versions" tutorial.

In conclusion, the new Time Machine should look like this:

And now that you know how to modify this transition, it should be able to resume active service ...

{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning}

{Screen Captures were made with the help of Snagit 10 by TechSmith and video grabs were done with Live Screen Capturing which comes with Studio 17.