This toolbox can be opened via the Window > Standard Toolboxes menu.
Impact uses a key-frame editor to record, view and edit animation keys, representing the folding of faces, the movement & rotation of folding models, mesh objects, lights & cameras, lighting properties (such as colour & brightness) and material properties. The various key-frames are displayed over a series of tracks, within the Animation Editor.
It is advisable to have this toolbox visible (and docked) whenever you are creating a 3D animation.
NOTE: The Animation Editor features Simple & Advanced modes.
In Simple mode (the default), a single animation track represents the fold angles for an entire folding model.
In Advanced mode, each folding face is represented by its own track.
In Advanced Mode, complex models can have many tracks, creating a large number of key-frames.
You can toggle between Simple & Advanced modes via the context-menu, from the 3D > Animate menu or from the Animation tool bar.
A selection of tools are visible along the top of the Animation Editor itself.
From left to right, the controls are as follows:
Animation Editor Standard Toolbox (Simple Mode) with Fold Angle, Camera Position & Camera Rotation Key-Frames.
Zoom In - zooms into the Animation Editor, to provide a closer look at the recorded keyframes & tracks.
Zoom Out - zooms out of the Animation Editor to provide a better viewer of the overall animation.
Show Entire Animation - zooms out of the Animation Editor, so that the entire duration of the animation is visible.
NOTE: This refers to the total number of animation frames and not the number of recorded animation keys.
Record Selected Fold Angles - in Simple Mode, this tool records the fold angles of all faces of a selected folding model. In Advanced Mode, this tool records the fold angle for selected face(s) only.
Record Selected Positions - in either mode, this tool records the positions of selected objects (folding models, mesh objects, lights or cameras).
Record Selected Rotations - in either mode, this tool records the rotation properties of selected objects (folding models, mesh objects, lights or cameras).
NOTE: To select a range of key-frames, click the first frame & simply drag the cursor left or right. If you intend to use the copy/paste/mirror functionality over a range of frames, ensure all required key-frames are visible and not in any collapsed nodes.
Cut - will remove one (or more) key-frames, depending upon whether a selection has been made.
Copy - will copy one (or more) key-frames to the clipboard, depending upon whether a selection has been made.
Paste - will paste one (or more) key-frames from the clipboard, depending upon what has been added to the clipboard.
The following controls are displayed at the bottom-left corner of the Animation Editor:
Frame - allows you to enter a frame number and jump to that frame by clicking Return/Enter.
Previous Key - allows you to jump quickly to the previous recorded animation key.
Next Key - allows you to jump quickly to the next recorded animation key.
Many additional functions are available via the 3D Animation context menu (right-mouse click within the Animation Editor):
Animation Editor Context Menu.
Refresh - refreshes the Animation Editor.
Record Key - this option is used to add Camera keys to an animation (allowing you to jump between cameras in a multi-camera animation)
Record Frame - currently unused.
Mirror - allows you to mirror a range of selected key-frames. This is often used to create a fold-from-flat/fold-to-flat animation.
Insert/Remove Frames - inserts/removes a definable number of frames into/out of the animation at the current position. Inserting frames will move animation keys after the current position forward to produce the required number of frames. Removing frames will remove animation keys from the frames to be lost and keys after the removed frames will be moved backwards to remove the required number of frames.
Delete - removes the current keys from the animation.
Delete Track - removes all keys for the highlighted object.
Delete Frame - removes all keys from current frame.
Delete All - removes all keys from the current animation.
Advanced - toggles between Simple & Advanced modes.
In addition, playback controls are available above the Animation Editor:
First Frame - jump to the first frame of the current animation.
Previous Frame - jump to the previous animation frame on the time-line.
Play in Reverse - plays the current animation from the current position on the time-line, in reverse.
Toggle Recording - switches the Animation Editor into Record Mode - whereby any changes to the current 3D scene will result in the automatic generation of key-frames.
Stop Animation - halts the current animation playback.
Play - plays the current animation from the current position on the time-line.
Next Frame - jump to the next animation frame on the time-line.
Last Frame - jump to the last frame of the current animation
Animation Properties - displays the properties of the current animation.
Animation Frame Slider - allows you to drag the time-line though the frames of the current animation.
If you have selected a range of frames within the Animation Editor the playback controls behave slightly differently. These differences are described below.
- First Frame - jump to the first frame in the selection range.
- Previous Frame - jump to the previous frame, unless you are already at the start of the selection range, in which case it jumps to the end of the range.
- Play in Reverse - plays the selected frames in reverse, but on reaching the first frame in the selection range it then starts again from the last frame in the range.
- Play - plays the selected frames, but on reaching the final frame in the selection range it then starts again at the first frame in the range.
- Next Frame - jump to the next frame, unless you are already at the end of the selection range, in which case it jumps to the start of the range.
- Last Frame - jump to the final frame in the selection range.
Related topics: Notes on 3D Tools, Notes On Standard Toolboxes.