I wrote this post following an animation that I’ve created:
During that work time I got some ideas. besides reselling and training rhino I am also a developer and a UI/UX designer so here are my notes.
First a quick question: why does Bongo need to render frame by frame if it’s using the viewport display (and not Rhino renderer or any other renderer) couldn’t it just “capture” the screen? it could be much faster not to render frames one by one. and the user could make changes to the animation and capture it again on the fly.
But if we do have to render it frame by frame, I think there could be a good saving on rendering time in animations which at times have the view and objects stand still for a few seconds.
I think this could simply be done by not rendering the same frame over and over again and just writing the last frame image file to the rendering folder and naming the copies incrementally like Bongo already does (just without rendering the same frame over again).
I think this could easily be done programmatically if Bongo will check if the current (examined) frame is different than the last, by any type of animation setting in bongo, if false= just copy the last frame to folder with an incremented number for its name. and if true = then do render the new frame and write it to the folder.
I would personally prefer the “Timeline length in seconds” setting to be in Bongo’s timeline itself in addition to the setting in Bongo document properties.
I think it will be much better since the animation time duration could change frequently by the user as the animation “scenario” could be developed.
Seconds setting suggestion
And also, besides setting the real time duration for the animation, this setting also involves how fast the timeline plays which is an important aspect for reviewing the animation, since you can’t really count on ticks without having the time set. I found I had to find the balance between the number of changes in the animation content and the seconds, having more ticks meant more changes could be made (larger “resolution”) but the animation duration should’ve accommodated as well so I needed to get in the Bongo document properties quite a few times to change the “Timeline length in seconds” setting.
Another thing is, I personally think that the user should have more control on the speed of how the animation plays while reviewing it regardless of the relation between ticks and time, and regardless of the time duration set in “Timeline length in seconds”.
I’ve found that by holding the right arrow button of the “Timeline slider” and playing the animation tick by tick Rhino showed me the frames i needed to see but it was way too slow, while simply pressing the play button was running the animation with way too many frames skipped, so I couldn’t tell how it’s going to look. now, setting the “Timeline length in seconds” setting to… for lets say… 5 times what it is, it would make the animation play 5 times slower by simply hitting the play button (and not holding anything).
I could think of a slider for “Animation Review Speed” on the the timeline that is set to x1 by default and having the option to lower it to slow down the review, or raising it to speed it up.
that way the user could adjust how fast she/he reviews the animation without skipping so many frames. and also not having to hold the mouse button for a long time on the right arrow of the timeline slider, and also not having to change the number of seconds of the animation to modify the speed for the review, which right now is even cumbersome to do since the “Timeline length in seconds” setting is in the “Bongo document properties” window and the user also has to remember what was the original (x1) time duration that was before the change, then review the animation and go back to “Bongo document properties” to change it back to what it was.
so I think it could be made better with a simple “review speed slider”:
Review speed slider suggestion
I also think that setting the “Ticks” amount should automatically change the “Animation limit indicators” to accommodate the new setting. for example, setting the Ticks value to 300 should change the limit indicators to start in 0 and end in 299, otherwise the user will need to double click the blue line to edit the limits values.
or worst, if the user will not know it’s possible (like I didn’t at the beginning), it is even more inconvenient to adjust the end limit indicator to 299 by zooming, panning and dragging, which is also a process which takes time (and patience). in any case the changing of the limits might be required to be made a few times while working on an animation, so I think it should be made easier to change- just by setting the ticks amount.
By zooming out of the timeline the user could see more inactive ticks (which are outside of the indicator limits) but the number of Ticks set should not change and always set the limit indicators.
(so basically the only way to show more inactive ticks is to zoom out on the timeline).
Another suggestion I have is to allow thumbnail images to show while mouse hovering over key-frames to easily recognize and understand the animation flow.
Thumbnail images on timeline for review suggestion
It could also show thumbnails for view/objects not only on a keyframe but between keyframes as well.
If the user wish to use view animation without any constrains and would like to edit the camera path afterwards, it’s not possible to do at the moment but to animate the keyframe over again. sometimes it takes time to get the next keyframe right and it’s also not easy to repeat the process if the user needs to correct the keyframe. sometimes there are slight view changes right before the tick set on the keyframe. it happened to me since I tried to change the final view of the frame, but it also made view changes right before it got to the keyframe itself so right before it got to it, it changed the view again.
I could see an easy solution for the user by allowing to edit the camera path by a curve with control points after animating just by manipulating the view. and maybe also to show something like edit points (always on the curve) or dots with the number of the keyframe as text to show where there are keyframes on the camera path.
and maybe first thing could be to allow the user to “extract” the curve of the camera path. then the user could edit the curve resulted from the manipulation of the view while animating it, but now could edit it as he wishes and set the camera path constrain to the curve. but this is not a complete solution like the one i previously suggested since editing the curve doesn’t allow to make major additions or changes as easy as manipulation the view itself.
a single mouse click or a double click do the same thing while clicking on a “dead space” on the timeline and that is moving the slider. I would not change the functionality of the single mouse click but I would change the functionality of the double click to “go to the next keyframe” of the current view/object.
I think there should be another set of arrows in the timeline slider, one that will make it “jump” to the next keyframe of the active animated view/object etc’…
One more set of arrows suggestion
whenever the tick number in the time slider is changed and the Enter key is applied, windows makes a chime sound. I don’t think it adds any value and the sound is unpleasant.
I think I covered most of what i had in mind, I apologize in advance if there is any feature that I didn’t know exist that could’ve solved one or more of the issues I brought up.
Hope you’ll find this helpful.
Thanks and Best Regards,
Rhino Master, Israel.