Virtual Mechanics


Last week I introduced some of the basic animation capabilities that
are available in our DHTML editor, IMS Web Engine. This included
the concept of motion paths and Inverse Mechanics where a motion
path can also be animated to create complex hierarchical motion.

I received quite a few emails asking to provide some examples of
how to control and adjust an Object tracing a motion path. One
question listed below, asked how to start an Object from different
locations on a motion path. After testing we found out that it could
not be done so we added the ability to the new release. To see an
example, look at is 15fig3

As I explained last week, any Object can be used as a motion path
for any other Object to trace. Rectangle, Ellipse and Polygon
geometry provides the greatest flexibility and can be used to create
complex none rectangular paths. By default, these elements will also
be invisible so that they will not interfere with the main design of
your page. To make the path outline visible, simply select the
Geometry component editor (peeling pattern button) and assign a
line width and color to the geometry. Rectangles, Ellipses and
Polygons can also be filled with a solid color or texture by
selecting the Shading dialog (RGB circles).

The Action editor provides numerous operations to control the
motion of an Object tracing a motion path. Is15fig4
illustrates our little red bird tracing a polygon motion path. Even
though each bird is tracing the same path, they are flying in
different directions at different speeds.

Is15fig5 illustrates the
various dialog settings that were used to assign one of the birds to
trace the path. Object bird3l is the third bird in this animation. In
the first dialog (Select Path), it is assigned to trace the Object
is15f4p1 which is illustrated in the dialogs display window. In the
second dialog (Rate and Counter), its speed is adjusted to a rate of -
5 by the first slider and its starting distance is set to 50% of the
path in the last slider. The number of times to trace the path is set by
the second slider to -1, which means indefinitely. The third slider is
used to set linear path lengths and is not used by Geometry paths.

The last dialog (Orientation) is used to switch the geometry of the
Object as its direction changes. As it moves left, it will use the
geometry "bird3l" or the left facing bird. As it moves right it will
switch to "bird3r" or the right facing bird.

Finally, the Objects that contain the right facing birds are not
being used. To prevent them from being visible when the animation is
playing, their Visibility Options are disabled in the Object Editor
Options dialog.

Next week: Setting up your project for optimum loading.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 1999 Virtual Mechanics

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