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The 8.0.2 version of 3D ProAnimator is not your usual dot release. It contains many new features as well as bug fixes. The fixes smooth out workflow and increase production speed. Zaxwerks recommends this update for all users of ProAnimator 8.
New Animation Preset Handling
Clicking the TRY button or selecting an animation preset from the Object Animations menu will now place the animation preset at the location of the first pose on the selected track.
This enables you to move the first pose to wherever in your animation you want the preset to be placed instead of always getting new presets at time 0. For instance if you want the animation preset to be placed at 4 minutes into a program, slide the first pose to the 4 minute mark before adding the animation preset.
Cmd+Clicking the TRY button also applies the preset at the first pose, except it will not change the animation markers.
This is useful when you are playing back a section of a larger animation that starts before the time that you are inserting the preset. For instance if you insert the preset at 10 seconds but want to play the timeline from the 5 second mark.
New Animation Timeline Commands
Press the b key on your keyboard to move the work area start marker (the green marker) to the current time.
Shift+b resets the work area start marker to the global start time.
Press the n key on your keyboard to move the work area stop marker (the red marker) to the current time.
Shift+n resets the work area stop marker to the global end time.
Show Some Motion Paths - A third state has been added to the Show Motion Paths button located next to the playback controls in the Animation Timeline panel. When you have dozens of objects or hundreds of fragments the motion paths begin to cover up the objects themselves.
This new "Show Some" motion paths option only shows up to 10 motion paths. This lets you see the general motion of your objects, but doesn't clutter up the scene. The other two states are Show No Paths and Show All Paths. Motion paths are shown when a transition is selected.
Converting Instances Into Regular Objects
Instances are very fast and powerful. There are some operations, however, which don't work with instances.
The "Expand Instances" command has been added to convert instances into individual objects. Once converted these objects will respond to warping and can have textures spread across their combined faces. This command can be found in the object list next to the instanced object.
***Be careful with this command because 1000 instances, which are shown as a single line in the Object List, will turn into a very long Object List of 1000 objects!
The default mapping style has become UV(normalized). UV(normalized) is a new type of mapping invented by Zaxwerks, that matches the size of the map used on the faces and sides. This gives you drag and drop simplicity for mapping text and logo objects without causing seams and without stretching the map.
Typical 3D programs use Cubic mapping to minimize stretching but cubic mapping always shows seams along curving surfaces. UV(normalized) mapping eliminates these seams and is a breakthrough in mapping elegance.
All Object Styles have been completely re-worked. They now use the new UV(normalized) mapping style, and have been adjusted to look more luscious and alive. Reflective styles have been optimized to give more realistic results in OpenGL mode and to produce real inter-object reflections when in Ray Trace mode.
All Object Styles and materials that use reflection maps have been optimized to look better and not have pinch points at the poles.
The default lighting has been changed to a neutral color.
Light fixtures have been optimized to render faster.
Pipes and trusses now have a material applied to make them look more realistic. The material is called the DefaultTrussMaterial. It is located in the Material Swatches bin and can be edited to suit the project.
There is a new parameter called Shadow/AO Jitter. It is located in the Global Lighting Settings and is used to eliminate banding in the shadows while rendering quicker. If you don't like the grainy-filmy look it can be turned off and the number of samples increased.
We have optimized the Anti-aliasing so the "Fast" setting renders with a higher quality and even faster rendering speeds. You will now find that Fast anti-aliasing is sufficient for most occasions and is blazingly fast. If you really need higher quality anti-aliasing use the Good setting.
There is almost no need to ever use the Better or Best anti-aliasing levels. The visual quality is nearly identical to Good but it takes a much longer time to render.
Ambient Occlusion now works with Shadow Catcher layers. This means you can get that great ambient occlusion look on objects casting shadows onto AE layers or when you create the "infinite background" type of look.
Fixed an issue where drawing shapes in the Object Drawing window could cause the program to crash.