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Unigine::Tracker

Tracker is a keyframe-based tool for creating sequences animated over time, which allows for adding dynamic gameplay elements or making in-game cinematic cutscenes. It gives developers ability to:

  • Easily create key frames for all nodes in the world, as well as in-game cameras and render settings.
  • Set up day-night shift and weather conditions change.
  • Switch between the cameras, change field-of-view on the fly and play sounds for creating stunning cinematics.
  • Animate interactive objects in the game, for example, lights, doors and platforms.
  • Apply post-processing effects such as depth of field, HDR, motion blur and color filtering. All these effects can be fine-tuned for each camera view.
  • And much more.

Moreover, Tracker interface supports for saving and loading of created tracks, custom loop ranges, key cloning and snapping, as well as playback speed control. Creating a key is as easy as a single mouse click, after the node has been manipulated in the editor.

Tracker editor tool

Tracker editor tool

Key Frame Animation

Tracks

Tracker animations consist of a number of tracks and each track indicates how some parameter changes over the specified time. It can control some render effect or it can be bound to a node in the world. If more properties need to be animated for one node at the same time, simply a number of tracks are created for it. For example, with tracks you can create animations that:

  • Move nodes, toggle skinned animation, control emission of particles, etc.
  • Change any of material settings and modify properties for various changeable effects. For example, you can change the texture and material reflectivity to create the effect of rain.
  • Alter rendering settings: change background color, apply post-process effects, control stereo and much more.
  • Set up cameras.

Key Frames

Track is composed of key frames, which are snapshots of the parameter at a certain time during the animation. Each key frame stores a time and the parameter change (new value for the parameter or whether is enabled or disabled). For example, for node position track, a key frame sets new position of the node along one of the axes; for node enabling track, a key can indicate that a node is disabled for rendering.

This parameter value set in the key frame is applied between the current keyframe and the next one. Depending on the transition mode, the key frame values can be switched abruptly or smoothly interpolated:

  • Linear interpolation can be used, for instance, for a node scale track.
  • Bezier interpolation will provide a smooth curve for position track.

How To Use Tracker

Creating a Track It is very easy to create a track with key frames to animate some parameter (render setting, node or material parameter, etc.):
  1. Open track editor on the editor panel by clicking     on the editor panel at the top.
  2. Click     to add a track that will animate some parameter.
  3. Choose a parameter in the list.
  4. If a track animates some node, material setting or a property parameter, etc., bind it to it (see details per type).
  5. Create a key frame by clicking on the track line.

  6. To delete a key frame, select it on the line and drag the mouse upwards.

  7. Double click on the created key frame to set or change its value. Here, you can also set transition mode for values.
  8. For parameters with values, you can also enable the tracker graph by clicking   . Simple tracks (like enabling tracks) do not have a graph.
  9. Press     for the track graph to appear in view.

Playing Animation
  • To play animation once, click     in the bottom right corner of Tracker.
  • To play animation in a loop, click   .
Setting playback range After the track is created, set up the time of animation playback. It would be a common parameter for all tracks in Tracker.
  1. Click     to set up time settings.
  2. Min time and Max time set the playback range. For example, setting Min time to 0 and Max time to 2 means that tracks playback will last 2  units.
  3. Unit time controls the playback speed. It sets the duration of one unit in seconds. For example, if Unit time is set to 1, track animation will last 2  seconds; if set to 2, for 4  seconds.
The playback range can be additionally limited (for example, to avoid playing the whole created track, when only one one parameter change needs to be tested). There are two ways for that:
  • Set From - To range. For example, on the picture below the track will be played only for 0.5 units.
  • Drag sliders at either edge of the animation playback line (the same playback line can also be found under under the graph):

Working with Tracks
  • Disable the selected track from animation playback by clicking   .
  • If there is a graph for the current track, you can create by clicking directly on the graph. Move them up to increase the value, or down to decrease it.

  • Drag to select multiple key frames (either on the track line or on the graph).

  • You can select multiple keys and set Time on the track or Value for several parameters simultaneously.

  • To clone a key frame (or multiple keys), press and hold SHIFT while dragging.
  • To snap the key frame to key frames on other tracks, hold ALT while moving it along the tracker line. Snapping mode can also be turned on by pressing     on the upper panel.
  • To move around the graph, hold the middle mouse button while dragging.
  • To scale the graph, hold the right mouse button while moving the mouse up or down.

Tracker Interface

Tracks Parameters

Add an animation track. In case of a simple track (for example, node enabling one), only a track line would be available. If the track controls parameter with values, key frames will also be present on the graph.
Remove the selected animation track.
Clone the selected animation track.
Move the selected animation track up the list.
Move the selected animation track down the list.
Save parameter value from the Editor into the track. (It is available only when the track is disabled.) See more details.
Load Load the saved file with tracks (*.track).
Save Save all current tracks into *.track file.
Clear Delete all current tracks from Tracker.
Enabled or disables the track (turns its animation on and off).
Shows or hides a graph for the track (not available for simple tracks).

Graph Arrange Modes

Scale the graph horizontally in such way that the whole animation line fits into view.

Scale the graph vertically in such way that the lowest and the highest key frames fit into view.

Scale the graph so that all key frames fit into view.

Key Frames and Transition Modes

Remove selected key frames.
Constant mode (no transition). Key frame value remains constant up to the next key frame, where it abruptly changes.

Linear interpolation. Key frame value is linearly interpolated between neighbouring key frames.

Smooth interpolation by Bezier spline. There are two control points available for each keyframe.

Interpolation by Bezier triangle. Sharp transition between key frame values can be created. There are two control points available for each keyframe.

Automatic interpolation by Bezier spline. No control points are available as the curve is smoothed automatically.

Snapping mode for key frames. When a key frame is dragged along the tracker line, this mode pulls a keyframe into alignment with another key frames (on the same or other tracks). It can also be enabled by holding ALT.
Time Time of the selected key frame. It controls when the key is used during track animation.
Value Parameter value in the selected key frame. It controls when the key is played during track animation.

Playback Parameters

Duration and playback speed for all tracks. See details above.
From The time to start tracks playback from. It is used to limit the playback to a specified range.
To The time to stop tracks playback on. It is used to limit the playback to a specified range.
Time The current animation track time.
Go to the previous key frame.
Play all enabled tracks once.
Play all enabled tracks in a loop.
Go to the next key frame.
Last update: 2017-12-21