Elementary problems with captions

Working on a slow animation with several objects in motion. I want to caption each step in the machine’s operation. The caption needs to be visible for the duration of a mechanical process (a synchronized rotation, for example) and then turned off to make space for new captions of successive mechanical steps.

I watched a video that shows how to turn layers off and on, and I am trying to use this technique to turn off and on a series of DOT type captions that are each allocated a unique layer.

I gather from the video you are supposed to 1) show Bongo where to turn the layer OFF and then 2) show it where to turn the layer ON.

It kind of works, in a sporadic way, but it is not a reliable technique for me so far. To get a caption to turn on at time zero, for example, it seems you have bang the slider against the zero stop a few times manually, and only then hit the go arrow to play the animation. Otherwise the captions do not appear at all.

Is there somewhere a complete discussion of how to turn layers on and off? I am guessing the animation I saw, of a pyramid of pool balls, is not giving me the whole story.

For example, are the objects on the layer supposed to be selected as a first step? Or is this unnecessary? What should be the initial state of the layer, Off or On, before you press Animate?

animation w caps 10-21-18.3dm (996.9 KB)

Here is a file. The first caption is supposed to appear at zero and remain visible until 46. The second caption is supposed to appear at 23 and remain visible until 46. If I can learn how to make captions appear and disappear, I have several more captions to add.

Thank you for your insights. Michael

FWIW, I would not do captioning in Bongo in the same animatiom in one go, however tempting. Instead create the captions as separate image files with transparent background. Then combine your animation and captions in a video editor (my favourite is Blender, but any simpl, good editor should do).

Yes I guess you stumbled across a bug: the “current” layer doesn’t show animated visibility. You’ll have to make some dummy layer (in your model the ‘Default’ is suitable since it contains no objects) “current” to get things working.

Secondly: indeed in Preview a layer that is invisible at the moment Play-button is hit (mostly that’s keyframe 0) remains invisible throughout the entire Preview. Same goes for invisible objects. When the animation is rendered though everything is OK. We hope to do something about this in Bongo 3.

Meanwhile I solve the issue by shifting the entire animation by one tick and install a keyframe at tick 0 that makes everything visible. animation w caps 001.3dm (1019.1 KB)
To render the animation only “Start tick” has to be set to 1 in order to get rid of the extra everything-is-visible-keyframe.


Thank you for your help, Luc. This is an excellent workaround for the current problem.

I think JesterKing has the most practical long term solution, and many thanks for suggesting it. I am shopping for a basic video editor. It can solve the captioning issue and I believe it will also be useful, or perhaps essential, for producing longer animated pieces.

Regards, Michael

You’ll find that especially for the longer pieces dividing up your elements and combining them only at the very end when you create your video format file saves a lot of time and headaches. If you render everything in one go, but find that you had to change some tiny thing somewhere at the end, you’ll potentially end up re-rendering an awful lot that really doesn’t have to be re-rendered. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll figure it out (if not, don’t hesitate to ask :wink: ).

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It’s not so much the length of the movie but rather the kind of desired cinematographic elements that defines the need of supplementary software. It’s obvious a video editor provides features unknown to Bongo. Bongo offers camera related techniques like camera movement, lens-length, depth of field etc. while video editing is needed for post-production elements like montage, capitations, titles, special effects etc…

I personally like NCH software, good price quality ratio.


BTW Bongo offers the possibility to render (or re-render) only a part of an animation. Even (re-)render 1 single frame or a set of frames is feasible.:wink:

I’ve used SubTitleEdit a lot. And it’s free:


// Rolf

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