A brief overview for using the Motion Frames System introduced with wysiwyg in Release 26. Since the wysiwyg Reference Guide covers the particulars of how to draw Motion Frames, how to patch them and how to attach objects to them quite well, this information will not be presented here.
Understanding Motion Frames
As stated in the Reference Guide, the Motion Frames System is in many ways the successor—but not the replacement!—of the Motion Axes System that has been in wysiwyg since Release 16. Where Axes provided limited object motion capabilities (for example, rotation in only one direction) Frames provide six Degrees of Freedom per frame: up to and including Release 25, if an object needed to be moved and rotated at the same time, at least one Linear Axis and one Rotational Axis had to be drawn. Using Release 26, the same thing can be accomplished with a single Frame, which can move in all directions (i.e. along the X-axis, Y-axis and Z-axis) and rotate around all three axes; what’s more is that any or all these moves and rotations can take place at the same time, something that would have been very hard to achieve with Axes in many cases, or even impossible in others.
The most important thing to remember about both the Axes and the Motion Frames Systems is that neither should be considered “true” animation systems. While some of the results achieved with either (or by combining the two) can be interpreted as such, it is important to understand that these systems are meant to simulate what can be achieved with real-life motion control systems, such as ones provided by Niscon or Stage Technologies. In other words, while it may be possible (with a lot of time and patience) to simulate a walking figure, such animations would be much easier to create using an actual 3D animation software which has the necessary tools designed to make such tasks fairly easy. wysiwyg’s motion systems should be used to simulate motion as it relates to, and within the confines of live pro- ductions, such as moving and/or tilting truss, flying set pieces, set pieces that move into and out of the stage wings, and so on.
Using Motion Frames
An object (or multiple objects) attached to a Frame will move around the Frame, or along with it, depending on the Motion Ranges defined for it. To define Motion Ranges for a Frame:
1. Select the Frame.
2. Right-click and select Properties from the pop-up menu that appears.
Result: the Properties window appears.
3. Click the Motion Ranges tab.
4. To disable movement in a direction and/or to restrict rotation around an axis in Design mode, uncheck the appropriate check- box. For example, if the object attached to this frame is a flying set piece (and therefore will only ever move up and down— i.e. on the Z-axis) which can spin left and right, and tumble towards/away from the audience (i.e. around the X and Z axes), uncheck the X Direction, Y Direction and Y Rotation checkboxes:
5. The Minimum and Maximum values (or “ranges”) define how much the object(s) attached to the Frame can move and/or rotate, starting from the object’s initial/“rest” position (i.e. insertion point). Direction Values define the range of movement, while Rotation Values define the number of degrees. Please see the example below for more information.
6. If the Frame is patched for control in Live mode (i.e. by a motion control system or via DMX), click the Use Motion Ranges in Live Mode checkbox, if you wish to apply the same movement and rotation restrictions and ranges.
7. Click OK to save the changes you’ve made to the Motion Ranges and close the Properties window.
Consider the following Motion Frame:
If this Frame was inserted at the (0,0,0) coordinate in a wysiwyg Proscenium Theatre Venue, the object(s) attached to it would be able to move and rotate as follows:
• 25’ towards stage right but not towards stage left • 15’ upstage and 5’ downstage
• 40’ up towards the ceiling but not under the stage
Rotationally, the object(s) can:
• perform one quarter of a revolution in both directions around the X-axis (i.e. it can “tilt” or “pitch” from a vertical to a horizontal position either towards or away from the audience)
• not rotate around the Y-axis (i.e. it cannot “lean” or “bank” towards stage left or stage right)
• perform two full revolutions around the Z-axis (i.e. it can “spin” or “change its heading” around its vertical axis)
The best way to see this example “in action” is to set it up yourself: draw the Proscenium Arch Venue, draw the Frame at (0,0,0), set up its motion ranges as shown above and attach any object to it (a non-symmetrical object is recommended, as it is easier to see it spinnning). Finally, switch to Design mode, enable the Scenery Designer tool, start changing values using the wheels and watch what happens with the object.
Note: Frames are selectable in Design mode, making it easy to adjust their motion ranges if necessary (i.e. as opposed to having to switch back to CAD mode for this, then back to Design).
Here are some general usage tips for Frames, in no particular order:
• First and foremost, and again, remember that wysiwyg’s Motion Frames system works within the confines of what can be achieved with motion control. As such, when using Frames, it is important to consider and always keep in mind how motion would work using motors, pulleys and cables—in almost all cases, this will be different than setting up a traditional animation.
• The one instance, for now, where wysiwyg moves away from the statement above, is when dealing with moving truss: where in real life getting a piece of truss to bank from side to side requires two motors, simulating this in wysiwyg only requires only one Frame, restricted to only move on the Z-axis and rotate around the Y-axis.
• You may remember the Tip from July 2009, which dealt with using Axes to move a truss structure up and down and/or tilt it side to side. The rather complex setup described back then (attaching the truss to a Rotation Axis (for tilting), which in turn had to be attached to a Linear Axis (for up-and-down movement)), is no longer necessary, as all this can now be accomplished with a single Frame. As an exercise, recall that Tip and then “transpose” it to using a single Frame to achieve the same end result.
• Frames can be attached to other Frames or even to axes, in order to create complex motion systems. Consider four objects like the one from step 4 above, all attached to a horizontal cross: the whole structure can move up and down, but each individual object can also move up and down independently of the others (as it dangles from the ends of the cross); in addition, while the entire cross can spin (around the Z-axis), each object can both spin (around its own Z-axis) as it dangles and tumble (around the X- or Y-axis, depending on its orientation). This can be achieved with nine Motion Frame objects, as shown in the sample file that you may download by clicking here.