Show Me How:
Build Your Own Animated 3D Cube Using Kinemac
People Really Love Their Animated Cubes
Recently I've been getting a lot of requests to show folks how they can put together an animated 3D cube, kinda like the one that Fox News uses. Admittedly, I think this effect has long been overused and can easily be enhanced, so I put together this presentation on how you can use Kinemac to build your own 3D animated cube.
Step By Step
Open Kinemac, File: New and create a new animation. Set your background color, animation height and width and turn antialias ON (it will show you how the final animation will look - turn this off if you're running low on memory).
On the icon menu bar click onto the 3D objects and select the cube icon; a cube will appear on your stage and timeline. There's your cube! Next, animate it....
Using Keyframes (shortcut keys cmd+K) you'll create your animation. Grab the playhead at the top of the timeline and drag it to the beginning (0000 on the counter). Press cmd+K (add a keyframe) and you'll notice a keyframe marker will appear on the timeline (a little 4 cubed square). Click on the Geometry tab in the Inspection Panel and enter -360.00 in the Y rotation box. Hit enter on your keyboard to accept the value.
Now drag the playhead on the timeline to the very end of the animation and click cmd+K to add another keyframe. Again, go to the Y rotation field on the Geometry tab of the Inspection Panel but now you'll enter 0.00. (What we're doing is creating an animation that will start at -360 degrees and spin on the Y axis until it reaches 0 degrees, which will occur at the end of your animation. You could just as easily swap the -360 degree and 0 degree values in the keyframes and the cube will rotate in the other direction.) To play around with the effect you can grab and drag either of the keyframe markers on the timeline and shorten the distance between them on the timeline; this will increase the speed of the rotation.
That was the hard part, now for the fun part. Go to the Finder icon on the Inspection Panel and drill down to your graphics that you want to use on each side of the cube. (I built my graphics in the .PNG format but I'm pretty sure .JPG will also work.) In a perfect world your graphics are the same height and width as each face of your cube, but if not don't worry, you can scale and adjust the image on each cube face as needed inside of the Textures panel of the Inspection Panel. Simply drag each image from the Finder in the Inspection Panel onto the face of your cube. You can click and drag the playhead on the timeline to rotate the cube to make it easier to see how your graphic placements look. When you're all finished click on the stage of Kinemac and then press the spacebar on your keyboard (a shortcut key for starting and stopping your animation in Kinemac). If all went well your cube is rotating and your images are appearing on each face of the cube. Pretty cool huh?
Next Presentation: Animating the Camera and Adding Video
Remember that you really owe it to your client (and yourself) to go above and beyond this simple spinning cube. Like I said earlier it's a very overused effect so you'll want to spice it up a bit. In the next presentation we'll do just that by adding an animated camera (to make it look like you're flying around the cube) as well as add some video to one of the cube faces. Then you'll really be living in the 3D world!
If you have any questions feel free to post it on the blog below or drop me a line.
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