Autocad 3d animation

by Design Workshop Sydney

Animation in the Autocad 3d environment is a straight-forward process of adding cameras to your model, animating them on a path, and rendering out a series of still images which are then automatically played as a simple movie in Windows Media Player or QuickTime (Mac). This is a great way of presenting a product to a client and can be uploaded onto your website galleries. It’s just one of the topics we look at in our Autocad 3d course. autocad-3d-animation
Note that in the standard Autocad program you can’t animate objects or parts in motion – for this you’d need to use AutoDesk Viz or 3ds Max (see the AutoDesk website), but you can create an animation from a camera rotating around a 3d object or model.
After the modeling process is complete and various materials and lighting have been added, you need to create a camera path. This can be a simple shape created in the Top view using the Spline, Circle or Ellipse tools. Then go to the Front View and move the Spline path up in the Z-axis so that it’s above the objects. Change the Visual Style to Conceptual.
There a slight difference in the next stage of the setup, depending on which version of Autocad you’re using. For pre-2009 versions: View > Motion Path Animations > Animation Settings. And post-2009: right-click on the Ribbon > Panels > Show Panels > Animations > and click the big Animation Motion Path button.
In the Camera section select the Path radio button, then Select Path button, and click on the Spline you just created – name it Camera Path > OK. In the Target section select the Point radio button, click the Pick Point button, and click on centre of your model > hit Enter (this is the target point which the camera will point to as it rotates). Go to Preview > OK. Frame Rate: 30 > Number of Frames: 300. Visual Styles: Conceptual > Format: WMV, Resolution: 320×240. Tick Corner Deceleration and untick Reverse. Click Preview to see the Camera animate along the path > Escape to end. If you’re happy with the appearance hit OK. If not click Cancel and make some adjustments. You may need to make the path wider or higher – use the path’s grips to adjust. Pre-2009: right-click on the Toolbar > Camera Adjustment > Swivel & Adjust Distance. Save it to Desktop and give it a name. It should take a minute or so to render.
Then browse to your Desktop and double-click on the WMV file – it will play it in Windows Media Player (or QuickTime on a Mac). You can click the Full Screen mode button on the bottom right and hit Escape to exit.Note that a test render will not look great initially – but if you are happy with the basic movement, it’s time to increase the resolution and pixel dimensions and do another test render. When happy with that switch on your lighting and materials and render again. This process of tweaking and rendering can take all day, but eventually you’ll have a movie that you’re happy with.
The file will vary in size depending on the size of the model, materials and lighting used, and the length and resolution of file. Note that you can create high resolution renders via the Visual Styles options, but if each frame takes 15 seconds to render, a 600 frame animation will take over 2 hours to render. For a very complex model and high settings it’s best to let it render overnight. This also depends on how many core processors your computer is using.
Both 2d and 3d interfaces in Autocad are user-friendly and easy to learn, and we take time to teach a broad range of both sets of functions in our classes. See many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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