Control MoGraph Clone Animation with Effector Falloff

Photo of Rick Barrett

Instructor Rick Barrett

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Animate via MoGraph Falloff, retime with falloff spline and control animation with sound.

In Fixed Animation Mode, the animation of clones is controlled purely by the Time parameter and through the strength and falloff of effectors. In this Quick Tip, you'll learn how to control time via falloff, and re-time animation with the effector's falloff spline. You'll learn how to directly manipulate animation based on the amplitude of sound frequency using the the Sound Effector's strength to modify the time parameter.



- You can directly control the keyframed animation of cloned objects using the Fixed Animation mode, and in this mode the time attribute is directly applied to the keyframed animation on the source objects. So with 50 frames of animation on these Jack-in-the-Boxes, you see all 50 frames as I modify the time attribute. Now, of course, you can modify the time attribute dynamically through Mograph effectors. So here on this plane effector, I've set the time offset to 50 frames, and what that means is that the time is going to be distributed from the beginning of the fall-off at the yellow grid to the end of the fall-off at the red grid. So we're seeing the complete animation from the period of time that the clone's axis enters the fall-off to the period of time that it exits the fall-off. What this means is that we can adjust the speed of the animation simply by adjusting the fall-off of the effector. We can go in and adjust the length of this, shortening it in order to make the animation appear faster, and we can lengthen it to make the animation appear slower. We can also go into the plane effector's fall-off and adjust the length of the fall-off itself. We can go ahead and set this to something like 500, and you'll see that we're hitting more of the clones, so we're actually going to see that animation overlap between clones. We're also lengthening the time that each clone is in the fall-off zone, so effectively the animation slows down. The time offset doesn't have to match the length of the original animation. We can reduce the time offset to 25 frames in order to only take into account the first 25 frames of our source animation, which in this case is the pop of the Jack-in-the-Box without the box closing once again. What's also cool is that you can actually go into the fall-off function and change the spline to remap the animation. So for instance, we can go ahead and simply apply an ease curve on the animation. Or something that's going to be a little bit more obvious is if we actually go in and apply something like a hump to this animation. In this case, we're actually going to see the animation play forwards completely, and then play in reverse completely. Of course, if you want to you can go ahead and make two humps on this and you'll see everything pop twice. One place where the Fixed Animation mode can especially come in handy is with the sound effector, because the animation can be directly related to the amplitude of the sound. So here, I've loaded a simple version of "Pop Goes the Weasel", and applied it in Step mode so that the frequencies are distributed across the clones. I also limited the frequencies so that we're only looking at a portion of the frequency range available to the sound effector. As you can see, what we get is the animation is played back according to the amplitude of each frequency. Now, you do always need to keep in mind with the Fixed Animation mode that the animation playback is directly related to the time parameter and the fall-off curve of your effectors. So if your fall-off doesn't ramp smoothly in and out, you will see pops in the animation. Sometimes that's acceptable and sometimes it's not. Another thing to keep in mind is that you'll never actually see the animation start, playback at its original speed, and finish. The playback speed is always related to the strength and fall-off of the effector. As long as you keep these limitations in mind, the Fixed Animation mode provides an incredible amount of flexibility in how keyframed animation is interpreted on your cloned objects. I hope you'll experiment more with the Fixed Animation mode and if you enjoyed this tutorial, please like, share, and visit for more great tutorials and resources.
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