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The tutorial will be broken up into three sections. The first section will be a basic illustration of using the asterize control dialog. The second portion will deal with manipulating the Arm Profile graph. The final section will show you how to create an actual animation with the asterize operation.
Notice that the original asterism with a saturation of 0 has a gradient of color from the edge to the center that ranges from a blue to white. The second asterism (saturation = 100%) only has the magenta color that we specified. So, as you can see the intensity of the center and the color of the asterism can be simply adjusted by altering the Red, Green, and Blue sliders and the Saturation control.
Notice that the asterism with the Center Hot Spot has become almost completely round. This is because the width control will increase the size of the arms as well as the width of the hot spot. The last four controls (arms, rotation, additive, and taper) are thoroughly described in the main Asterize documentation. You should take the time to alter and then apply some of these modifiers to the current example image.
Now, press the button which says Edit Profile. The Edit Profile control allows you to alter the arm profile of the asterize operation. The arm profile is the color and width of each arm in the asterization. The graph is read from left to right (Clockwise along the arm). The vertical axis of the graph is the brightness or color of each portion of the arm, and the horizontal axis determines the length of each portion of the arm. You will notice that as the graph increases vertically that the color of the arm is getting closer to the peak color, and that as the graph decreases vertically that the color of the arm is approaching the edge color. It is important to remember that the arm profile that is specified will be used for all of the arms in the asterism. The profile is altered by simply drawing the desired profile using the left mouse button. There are several tools to aid in the creation of new profiles. The arm profile graph for the Four Star Preset will look like this:
So using the above information, this graph tells us that each arm should reach the peak color near the middle of the arm, and then taper off in either direction towards the edge color, which is exactly what happens.
If you were to apply this graph with the current settings, you would get a very dark asterization that would be hard to see. This is due to the fact that the edge color (bottom of the graph) is very close to the image color of black. One way to make the asterism more visible is to move the entire graph up, so that the colors used will be nearer the peak color. To accomplish this, simply press the up arrow icon on the left-hand side of the profile graph until the two peaks just touch the top of the graph.
This new graph will create an arm that has two arms that reach the peak color and fade back to the edge color. Let's apply this new profile, and see its effects. You may now close the trend graph by pressing the Close button. Now, select an ellipse above and to the left of the original Four Star Asterism. The final result should look like this:
When this operator is dragged into the timeline, profiles will automatically trend to the next profile, if another exists in the timeline.
The next step is to select the output format. The format can be any of the available file types including AVI and FLI/FLC animations. The file type is selected by clicking on the down arrow to the left of the Output Format drop down box. Clicking this will access a scrolling list requester which can be used to set the output format. We may want to use this animation in a later tutorial so select either AVI or FLI/FLC for simplicity. Next, you will want to set the Output Image Path and File Name You can select any valid directory and image name, or use the Specify button to access a file requester for directory and name specification. It is important to remember to select a valid directory and name, or the animation could be saved in the wrong location, or the file name may be truncated. You should also set the extension if it is different from the default setting. For example, if you are creating an AVI, set the extension to AVI. There is no need to add the "." in front of the extension because WinImages F/x does this for you. The final option to set is the Save Results check box. If this check box is selected, the animation will be saved in the specified format to the selected directory. If you do not wish to save this or any other animation sequence, do not select this option. When the save option is not selected the animation will only be created for viewing in the filmstrip. This allows you to rapidly preview an effect or group of effects. Once you have decided on saving or not saving the animation, press the Ok button to exit this dialog.
In order to create the desired animation, we will need to set a trend graph for the rotation and green parameters. This can be done by double clicking on the asterize operation icon in frame one of the time line. This will access the Time Line Operation dialog. This dialog contains controls for obtaining current settings and trends from dialogs, or for setting new values for an operation parameter or trend. For this example, you will want to select the Set Trends option. This will bring up a dialog which contains a list of all of the available trends for the asterize operation. You will want to select the Arm Green trend, and then press the Adjust this trend button. This will open this trend for manipulation. Also open the Saturation and Rotation trends using the same method. Once you have opened these two trends, select the Ok button to close the dialog.
As you can see the trend for this control is set to 0 degrees rotation for each frame. We would like to have an animation that ranges from 0 to 360 degrees over the entire length of the animation. To do this we simply click on the button with the line that goes from the bottom right (minimum) to the top left (maximum). After you have done this, the graph will look like this:
This is exactly the effect that we are looking for. The asterization will begin on frame one with 0 degrees rotation, and will finish near 360 degrees on the final frame. WinImages F/x will automatically reduce the final value of any trend that ranges from 0 to 360 degrees. This is to eliminate "bumps" in a looping animation. You can manually move the final frame value up to 360 degrees. If you do this, you will notice that the animation will have two frames which are exactly the same (0 and 360). You can also manually specify each frame value by "drawing" on the graph with the left mouse button down. This allows you to visually set each frame, or a single frame to any value you like. You can exit the trend by pressing the Ok button.
Now that you have set the Rotation trend, set the Green and Saturation trends to the exact same settings. This will produce an asterism that not only rotates, but also changes colors from dark blue to purple, and will have an increasing saturation value. This is done by simply pressing the button with the line going from the bottom left to the top right for both the Green and Saturation trends. After you have done this for both trends, select the Ok button to close the trend graphs.
The ellipse should be about one quarter the entire size of the image, and approximately centered. This area selection will automatically be placed into the time line when you release the left mouse button.
Now we will set the transparency for the animation sequence. The area selection transparency controls are located in the Area Selection Details dialog. This dialog can be accessed by double clicking on the ellipse icon in the time line, and then selecting the Show Details option. This dialog contains the controls for altering the transparency of an area selection. These controls allow you to set the transparency and blending for any operation or area select. If you would like to view further information on these controls, press here, and then look for the section headed Transparency Controls.... To achieve the desired effect, select the trend for the Level control, and then select the Ok button.
The Transparency Level trend should be set to a linear setting of 255. This means that the effect will be completely visible for the entire animation. For this example, we will want to have the effect change from not visible to visible, and then back to not visible. Using the left mouse button, set your trend graph to look like this:
This will give us the desired fade in, and then a fade out. Once you have set the trend, select the Ok button to exit.
Once the filmstrip is visible, select the Generate option from the Time Line dialog. WinImages F/x will now begin to process the specified animation using the trends and area selection information that you provided. The final result should look like this:
You have now completed the Asterize tutorial. This tutorial can serve as a good base for other examples and tutorials. Not all of the tutorials will be as extensive as this one, but you can apply many of the same techniques to WinImages F/x's other operations. As a further example of some of the things you can do in an asterize animation, play the example below.
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|WinImages F/x Manual Version 7, Revision 5, Level B|