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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Blender
Cgi

Creating Motion Graphic Elements in Blender Without Shapekeys or Addons: Part 2

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:

What You'll Create

Creating Circle Bursts

Step 1

In a new file, press A to select all default objects. 

Press 1 in numpad to get into front view. Press Del to delete them. 

Press Shift-A and add a Circle (Mesh > Circle)

Add a circle
Add a circle

In the Tool Options panel, which located at the bottom of the tool shelf—press T to toggle on if it is not there— select Nothing for Fill Type

Check Align to View so that the circle is not facing upwards.

Align to view
Align to view

Step 2

With the object selected, press Tab on the keyboard to get into edit mode. 

  • Press A to select all vertices. 
  • Press E to extrude them and then secondary-click or press Esc or so that the extruded vertices stays in  their place of origin.
Extrude the mesh
Extrude the mesh

Step 3

Press Tab to exit edit mode. With the object selected, click on the modifiers button in the properties window. Click on Add Modifier button.

Add a modifier
Add a modifier

Step 4

Select Solidify from the modifier list.

Select Solidify modifier
Select Solidify modifier

Step 5

Drag and increase the Thickness slider value until the circle is filled. 

If the normals appear inverted, for instance the mesh appear darker, then check the Flip Normals tick box.

Modifier settings
Modifier settings

Step 6

Click on the materials button in the properties window, and then press the New button.

Add a new material
Add a new material

Step 7

Rename the material to anything you want. I named it burst-white

In the diffuse panel, click in the colour bar and select a colour. 

In the shading panel, tick the Shadeless checkbox. 

By doing so the materials will be rendered as flat colour.

Material settings
Material settings

Step 8

Press Shift-Left Arrow to go to first frame. You can also use the playback controls.

Go to first frame
Go to first frame

Step 9

With the object selected and in the modifier panel, move the mouse over the Thickness slider. Press I to insert a keyframe for that value.

Insert keyframe for thickness
Insert keyframe for thickness

Step 10

Go to frame 21. You can either drag the green marker in the timeline or directly click and type 21 in the frame counter.

Go to frame 21
Go to frame 21

Step 11

Click the Thickness slider, type 0 (zero) and press Enter.

Reduce the thickness to zero
Reduce the thickness to zero

With the mouse over the Thickness slider and press I to create another keyframe.

Insert keyframe for thickness
Insert keyframe for thickness
  • Press Shift-Left Arrow to go to first frame. 
  • Press Alt-A to play the animation. 
  • Press Esc to stop.
Animation playback
Animation playback

Step 12

Go to frame 21 again. Left click on the frame counter and type 21.

Go to frame 21
Go to frame 21

With the circle selected, press I on the keyboard to bring the Insert Keyframe Menu. Select Scaling. This will create a keyframe for the current scale and size of the object.

Insert keyframe for scaling
Insert keyframe for scaling

Step 13

Press Shift-Left Arrow to go back to frame one.

Go to first frame
Go to first frame

Step 14

Select the object and press S to scale and then 0 to scale it down to the full.

Scale the object down
Scale the object down

Step 15

Press I in the keyboard to bring out the Insert Keyframe Menu, and select Scaling.

Insert keyframe fro scaling
Insert keyframe fro scaling

Press Alt-A to play the animation. The circle will now grow from point to full and then disappear.

Play the animation
Animation preview

Step 16

On the top bar, click on the layout button and select Animation.

Switch to animation layout
Switch to animation layout

Step 17

Change the Dope Sheet mode to Action Editor. Rename the Action to burst or anything suitable.

Switch to Action Editor
Switch to Action Editor

Step 18

Secondary-click on the first keyframe of the Thickness value of the Solidify modifier.

Press Shift-D to make a duplicate and offset it a little bit to the right. This will delay the start of the animation of the thickness value.

Tweak the keyframes
Tweak the keyframes

Go to first frame and press Alt-A to play the animation. The animation will look much better now.

Animation preview
Animation preview

Step 19

Change the bottom part to NLA Editor. Click on the editor type button and select NLA Editor.

Switch to NLA Editor
Switch to NLA Editor

Step 20

Press the button with two down arrows, to convert the action to NLA strip.

Convert action to strip
Convert action to strip

The action is now converted to a strip which can be moved in the timeline as when and where the animation is needed.

NLA Editor with action strip
NLA Editor with action strip

Secondary-click on the strip to select it. Press G to move it where ever you want the animation to start and end.

Move and adjust the strip just like in a video editor
Move and adjust the strip just like in a video editor

Adding Variations

Step 1

You can add some variety by duplicating the original object and then tweaking it. Secondary-click on the object to select it and then press Shift-D to make a duplicate. 

Secondary-click or press Esc so that it stays at the origin. The new object will also have the modifier and the action strip. It will share the same material data with the original object.

Duplicate the object
Duplicate the object

Step 2

Press 3 in the numpad to get into sideview. Press G and move it away a little bit away from the first object.

Move the object back
Move the object back

Step 3

Since it shares the same material, click on the + button to make a new copy of the material settings, which is needed for the new object.

Copy the material
Copy the material

Step 4

Rename the material to burst-red. In the Diffuse panel, click on the color bar and choose a colour. Make sure the Shadeless tickbox is checked.

Material settings
Material settings

Step 5

In the NLA editor, secondary-click on the action strip associated with the new object—which was automatically duplicated— and select it. Press G and move it just a little bit to the right of the timeline.

Move the action strip
Move the action strip

Press Shift-Left Arrow to go to first frame. Press Alt-A to play the animation.

Animation playback
Animation playback

Step 6

This whole setup can be applied to objects of different shapes. You can also tweak the mesh anytime in the edit mode, which is difficult to do if you are using shapekeys.

Use different type of objects
Use different type of objects

Creating Circle Swipes

Step 1

In a new file, press A to select all default objects and press Del to delete them. Press 1 in the numpad to get into front view. Press Shift-A to add a plane (Mesh > Plane).

Add a plane
Add a plane

In the Tool Options panel, which is located at the bottom of the tool shelf—press T to toggle on if it is not there—check Align to View. This will rotate the plane.

Align to view
Align to view

Step 2

  • Secondary-click on the cube to select it. 
  • Press Tab to enter edit mode. 
  • Hold Shift key and secondary-click on the bottom two vertices one by one to select them both. 
  • Press Alt-M to bring out the Merge menu and select At Center to merge them.
Merge lower vertices
Merge lower vertices

The two vertices will merge at the center of the distance between them

Merge lower vertices
Merge lower vertices

Step 3

Similarly select the top two vertices and press Alt-M to Merge them At Center.

Merge top vertices
Merge top vertices

Step 4

Press A to select all vertices. Press G to move them and Z to move them along the Z axis. Move the mouse until the bottom vertex is at the centre point (orange dot) of the object.

Move the mesh
Move the mesh

Step 5

Press Tab to exit edit mode. With the object selected, click on the modifiers button in the properties window. Click on the Add Modifier button.

Add Modifier
Add Modifier

Step 6

Select the Screw modifier.

Select Screw modifier
Select Screw modifier

You'll notice that the object has been transformed into a circle.

Screw modifier preview
Screw modifier preview

Step 7

Reduce the angle to 0 degree. This will return the object into its original form. Increase the Steps and Render Steps to 24. This gives a smooth edge.

Screw modifier settings
Screw modifier settings

Step 8

Press Shift-Left Arrow to amke sure you are in the first frame. Move the mouse over the Angle settings of the modifier and press I. This will insert a key frame for the angle value which will then be animated.

Add keyframe
Add keyframe

Step 9

Go to frame 21. Click on the frame counter and type 21 or drag the marker to frame 21 in the timeline.

Go to frame 21
Go to frame 21

Step 10

Click on the Angle slider and type -360. Move the mouse over it and press I and this will insert a keyframe. 

This means that the value will change from 0 to -360 in the first 21 frames.

Add another keyframe
Add another keyframe

Go to first frame and press the Play button.

Playback controls
Playback controls

You'll see the angle value being animated and thus giving a nice effect.

Animation preview
Animation preview

Step 11

With the object selected, click on the materials button in the properties window. Click on the New button to add a material.

Add new material
Add new material

Step 12

Rename the material. I have named wit swipe-red. 

In the Diffuse panel, click on the colour bar and choose a colour. In the shading panel, tick Shadeless. This will render the material with flat colour.

Material settings
Material settings

Step 13

In the top menu bar, change the layout mode to Animation.

Switch to Animation layout
Switch to Animation layout

Step 14

By default the top left window is the Dope Sheet Editor. Change it to Action Editor so that we can see only the action associated with the selected object.

Switch to Action Editor
Switch to Action Editor

Step 15

Left click and rename the action to Swipe or anything else you want.

Rename the action
Rename the action

You can move the keyframe across the timeline to adjust the speed. Right click to select the keyframe marker and G to move. Click to confirm.

Tweak the keyframes
Tweak the keyframes

Step 16

Change the bottom window to NLA Editor.

Open NLA Editor
Open NLA Editor

Step 17

In the NLA editor, click on the button with two arrows facing down. The action is converted into a strip.

Convert Action to strip
Convert Action to strip

Step 18

The action now appear as a single strip.

NLA Strip
Action converted to NLA Strip

You can now move this strip in the timeline as when and where you need the animation to start. Secondary-click to select it and G to move.

Move the strip
Move the strip

Duplicating and Adding Variations

Step 1

You can add more circle swipes for variety by duplicating the original object. The duplicate will also have the same material and animation properties, so you done need to animate it again. 

Secondary-click on the object and press Shift-D to make a copy. Secondary-click again so that the object is placed back to its origin.

Duplicate the object
Duplicate the object

Step 2

With the new object selected, click on the material button in the properties window, Press the + button to make a copy of the material for the new object.

Copy the material
Copy the material

Rename the material. I have renamed it swipe-white as the second object will be white in this example.

Rename the material
Rename the material

Step 3

In the Diffuse panel, left click on the color bar and set the new colour. Ensure the material is Shadeless.

Change the color
Change the color

Step 4

  • With the new object selected, press Tab in the keyboard to enter edit mode
  • Press A to select all vertices and then pres G to move
  • Move the mouse and the vertices upward
  • Click to confirm.
  • Secondary-click on the top vertex and move it down to make a thin strip
Edit the geometry
Edit the geometry

Step 5

Press Tab to exit edit mode. Press Shift-Left Arrow to go to first frame and then press Alt-A to play the animation.

Animation preview
Animation preview

Step 6

You can delay and offset the animation of the second object. Secondary-click on the action strip of the second object in the NLA editor.

Select NLA Strip of second object

Press G and move the mouse a little bit. Click to confirm.

Offset the strip
Offset the strip

Go to first frame and press Alt-A to see the animation.

Animation preview
Animation preview

Step 7

Next step is to close the circle back and make them disappear. 

  • Select the strip by secondary-clicking on it
  • Press Shift-D to duplicate it
  • Move it towards the right of the timeline
  • Left click to confirm
Duplicate the strip
Duplicate the strip

Again do the same for the other object.

Duplicate the strip of first object
Duplicate the strip of first object

Step 8

With the mouse on the NLA editor, press N to bring out the properties panel. 

Select the second action strip of any one object. 

In the Active Strip panel, check Reversed. This will play the animation backward. 

Do the same for the second action strip of the other object.

Reverse the strip
Reverse the strip

Press Shift-Left Arrow to go to first frame. Press Alt-A to see the animation. Press Esc to stop.

Animation preview
Animation preview


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