LDraw animation made easier
Animating a minifig like the picture above has been possible for ages using an area of task specific LDraw tools. But thanks to LD4DStudio you now can have all the animation specific tools in one application.
LD4DStudio offers advanced LDraw animation possibilities with a fast real-time preview. You can even export your best creations to animated GIF or multiple BMP pictures whom you can convert into a movie using your favorite movie editor (e.g. premier) or a simple bmp joiner/converter like Virtual Dub or pjBmp2Avi. An example of the GIF-export is shown below.
An even better export solution is the possibility to use POV-Ray to render high quality (potentially) near photo realistic pictures of every frame in the animation. Afterwards you can than combine these pictures in the same manner as the direct BMP export, to create (for example) professional looking DVD- or HD- quality movies. Below is a POV-Ray rendering of the same model, click the picture for a (big) animated GIF version.
How does it work
All these possibilities begin by defining one or more actors in LD4DStudio (e.g. a car or robot). An actor is little more than a definition of the movable parts of a model. After creating your actor(s) you can add them to an animation by creating characters with them.
When you got your character(s) in place you can add lights and cameras and begin defining the adventures of your characters using the sequence editor. The sequence editor lets you place countless actions in order to influence the current animation's many elements like joint angles, character position, light color, light position, camera position, etc.
There are all kinds of actions available: like a simple 'move leg angle 30 degrees every 2 seconds' or "Minifig 1 must follow Minifig 2's movements. But there are also more advanced actions, which let you determine the position of an object depending on the position of another. With these advanced actions it is possible to completely animate for example a technic car steering mechanics by only moving the steering wheel angle. (See above pictures)
While being very handy the standard animation actions are not capable of doing everything you might think up during some creative moment. So to meet those kinds of advanced needs there is the scripting facility. Using this gives you the power to create custom actions enabling you to animate your characters even more freely.
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