Big Ben's Animation Script Tool

Started by bigben, July 16, 2007, 07:24:42 pm

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July 16, 2007, 07:24:42 pm Last Edit: August 02, 2007, 06:58:22 pm by bigben
Latest Release: 3/8/2007

Hi All

Windows only for now, unless you have Filemaker Pro.

OK, for the impatient here it is.... (assumes a certain level of knowledge about what you're doing) There will be another update tomorrow of the docs and the database, so if you have any questions, fire away an email and I may be able to add the answer to the documentation. I'll use this post to announce updates.

The preliminary (brief and incomplete) documentation is attached below and includes some screen grabs... You can get the files from here:

No web page yet  ;)
PDF = documentation (540kb)
EXE = self-extracting archive with FMPro runtime and database (21Mb)*
ZIP = FMPro database only (97kb, will contain future updates, has sample data)

*If you donwload this now you'll only need to download the ZIP file for updates.

Read the documentation!!! [download]

Disclaimer... These tools have been designed for my own workflows and may not be entirely practical for others... (although CHAN conversion is a fairly standard process). Requests for additional features will be considered but they won't be a high priority.

FEATURES: (both useful and just because it can be done)

  • Convert TGS to CHAN files compatible with TG2

  • Compensate different TER positioning in the TGD (centred/lower left at 0,0 or other reference point)

  • Customisable CHAN file conversion to make them compatible with TG2

  • Apply global tweaks to both script types

  • Scale camera position

  • Overide camera FOV with fixed angle

  • Translate camera position along X,Y and/or Z

  • Increment camera tilt

  • Multiply camera bank

  • Progressive render sequence (1:2048, 1:1024, 1:512 etc....) for quick preview

  • (Post render) Renumber progressive renders to sequential filenames

  • Create multiple batch files for commandline rendering (handy for non-networked environments)

  • Allowance for interrupted rendering, distributing unrendered frames to new batch files

  • Integration with other commandline utilities possible for on the fly data creation

  • Thumbnail preview of rendered frames (link to original file available)

  • PDF story board export


  • Improve doumentation

  • Finish custom menus

  • Optimise scripts


  • Convert TG keyframes to Campath file to TGS to CHAN for manual camera path selection within TG2
  • Integrate with PTSTitcher to render extreme FOV animations with optional lens types (cylindrical, spherical)

  • Integrate with PTSTitcher to remap full sky panorama for on the fly night time background image

  • Possible integration with DarkFire's render manager

  • Investigate feasibility of on the fly model creation with Arbaro for animated tree models (I have a proof of concept, but it requires defining additional fields for extra populations. This is fine for me but it is neither possible nor practical for most end users)

  • Investigate other commandline utilities e.g. TERMorph


Thanks for that :).  I'll let you know if I a) can get it running and b) encounter any problems with it. - A great Terragen resource with models, contests, galleries, and forums.


Thanks for letting me know there's at least one user  ;)

I'm not going to be at work today so the update will be postponed until tomorrow.

Path nudging bug:
The current version has an error in the order of operation which will be fixed in the update. For now, don't use them.  I also added a reset button to return these fields to a "disabled" state.

I'll be ditching the render log file as a workaround to my ascii encoding issue for the batch files. This will simplify both the workflow and the documentation, making the next release fully functional for the current feature set.  Render progress will still be done by importing filenames directly from the directory of rendered images.

Harvey Birdman

There'll be at least one more user as soon as I get a spare moment.



Thanks Big Ben, this looks like great work, will try it out as soon as I can,


The next update is out. Documentation is too big for here, so I've added a direct link in the original post.

  • Fixed camera path nudging

  • Removed logging commands from batch files

  • Batch files now run without need for conversion

  • Renamed fields for render log to simplify render progress script

  • Simplified menus

  • Updated documentation for exporting batch files and updating render progress (need to update some of the other screengrabs still)

If you've already downloaded it you just need to replace the database in the .\APP folder.


Thanks for putting this together Big Ben.  As soon as I get back from vacation I will try and get an animation working.


July 31, 2007, 07:47:30 pm #7 Last Edit: August 02, 2007, 07:00:12 pm by bigben
Got bored on the train (both cores running slow TG renders) so I fired up the database again  ;)

Starting work on converting a workflow I developed for TG0.9 for producing animations with extreme FOVs and different lens projections.  There are numerous permutations of doing this but I will concentrate mainly on 2.

My original workflow rendered 6 cube faces which were then stitched to an equirectangular image and an image extracted from this with the correct camera orientation.  While this may seem a little convoluted, it does allow for changes in the camera angle without requiring a re-render (if you keep the stitched images)

This would be easy enough to implement in TG2, but this time I'm going to render the cube faces with the camera orientation primarily to reduce the need to render all 6 images per frame (e.g. a 180° circular fisheye image won't require the back face). To ensure commands are synchronised the rendering and stitching of each frame will be done on one computer, but of course it will still be possible to split the batch files across multiple computers (I knew there was a reason I kept that in the project)

It will still be possible to render all 6 faces and then change the camera orientation later (or generate multiple camera angles along the same path without requiring a re-render!). The exact method I use is still to be determined but I think it's possible to do it without any additional calculations.

The second option will use two adjacent 90° renders for situations where only extra width is required. This will be faster to render but will be less flexible with what you can do afterwards.

Stitching, remapping and reprojection will be handled via commandline with PTSTitcher from Panorama Tools. On the TG side of things, you'll need a duplicate copy of the TGD for each component image required. A CHAN file will be generated for each TGD and of course a bacth file(s) to put it render it and put it all together.

The screen grab shows an over simplified hack so far. A bit more math to go on the pitch angles.


Just posted a minor update. The labels on Heading and Pitch in the Project settings: CHAN tab were reversed.  The field mappings were correct though.


Thanks Ben.  I'm looking into this...later, but better than never seeing it!
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?


when I pressed guest and ok, an error came up saying that the primary file database is either not part of this application, is damaged, or is already opened.


WOW! This is really amazing!! Many thanks..  :D
Can I do 360 Panorama renders with it too??

P.s: just pm me if you need any kind of help in developing the GUI.  ;)


I get the same as Thejazzshadow. If I try it with my account instead of guest it just says I can't do it with this account. I tried copying the database from the website too but it's the same one so it made no difference.
Figured out how to do clicky signatures


Been a bit busy of late, no I havn't forgotten to fix this up...  (new short term job and all) but I'll be fixing this up and releasing the next version soon which will include:

  • support for stitching 360° panoramas of each frame with Panorama Tools (PTStitcher)

  • extracting a view of the resulting panorama at the original camera orientation at any FOV and a choice of image projections

I'll also be adding support for PTGui Pro  (I finally upgraded from v4 to v8 Pro  ;D)  shortly after that as it's not too different from PTSTitcher to implement. This will add support for HDR stitching on the fly. 


I keep getting this error every time I try to open this, I get to the login screen, and I select guest and I get this error, any idea waht's going on?