Beginning with Alice 3.

1. You will find Alice on the desktop or in the Alice folder in All Programs.

We are going to make a 3D animation of an astronaut floating round a moon rover vehicle on the moon.

The difference in this project is to control the cameras; you can be the director of your animation.

Follow these instructions carefully and you too can make a successful animation.

At this early stage the animation might not be the most detailed but given that you can actually control the fingers and toes of each character just think how complex your animations could get.


2. Open Alice and select the "Moon" scene.


3. This is the normal interface that you should see. You have seen it previously, notably in the last project.

The full name for this is the Integrated Development Environment IDE).

The various sections are highlighted and explained in the next few images.


4. Top left is the "Scene view" that shows a thumbnail view of the selected scene and gives access to the "Run" command and the "Setup Scene" option.


5. Bottom left is the "Methods panel" that lists all of the methods that apply to the selected object (in this case the camera).


6. The large panel on the right is the "Code editor panel" where you can drag and drop the various methods and tiles that you want to use in your code.


7. Finally, the very thin panel at the bottom right is the "Control tiles panel" that include all of the general coding instructions that you may want to use.


8. It is always good practice to save your project everytime you add something to it successfully.

Click on "File" then "Save as" and give the project an appropriate name; "spaceWorld" seems right.

Alice has made a folder called "MyProjects" in your user area and will automatically save all your projects to this folder.

I don't know if you have noticed the way that Java likes to name things, "spaceWorld", "myFirstMethod" and so on. There are no spaces between words but all the words from the second word onwards start with capital letters. You should do the same.


9. You will be able to see the name of the project in the title line of the program window.


10. Now that you have saved the project, click on "Setup Scene" so that you can add some new objects.

Don't forget to save your project frequently as you work through this series of instructions.


11. This is the scene view that you will have seen in the previous project.

Look at the set of classes at the bottom of the screen and choose "Transportation" from the extreme right hand end.


12. From the transport classes choose "Automobile classes".


13. From the list of automobile objects choose the Humvee; a subtle and understated vehicle well-suited to the lunar environment.


14. Press "OK" to place the Humvee on the moon.


15. The Humvee is rather large, but as it appears to distort when it is re-sized (the chassis shrinks more quickly than the bodywork) we need a different method.


16. An alternative would be to back the camera up. Click the "back" arrow a few times.

This has the added benefit of not having to shrink the astronaut either.


17. Like we did in the first exercise, add a camera marker; scroll down on the properties panel (the right hand side of the screen) and open the camera marker property. Click "Add camera marker".


18. Call the camera marker "start".

Click on "Red to Black" cameras to make the current view the "start" view. If you ever need to return to this starting view in the future click on "Black to Red" cameras.


19. Rotate the Humvee so that it is side on to the camera.

When you place your mouse over one of the rotation arcs, the arc goes slightly paler so that you know that you have picked it.


20. It should look like this.


21. Now we are going to add the astronaut.

Click on "All classes" to return to the groups of class types.


22. Select the "Biped Classes" that will have all of the two legged creatures; this includes people.


23. Choose "newAdult" from the biped classses.


24. Alice will create a random person and it up to you to make this person into an astronaut.

In this case Alice has chosen a female person in a hat. Your character could be male or female in appearance.

You should be looking at all of the outfits that the character might be wearing. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the list.


25. Choose the astronaut outfit.


26. This is the character in her astronaut outfit.


27. You can click on "hair/hat" to see if there is an astronaut's hat; there isn't. So, we shall imagine that it is possible to breathe on the surface of the moon.

This is called "Suspension of disbelief".


28. Press "OK" to accept the selected costume and then "OK" again to add the astronaut to the scene.


29. There she is, hidden behind the Humvee. You can just see her feet.


Positioning.

Moving and positioning

the characters.

Positioning characters.

30. Review on positioning and adjusting objects in the scene.

Within the scene, select the object you want to position or adjust. The "Default" handle style allows you to move the object on the screen. The "Rotation" handle style allows you to rotate the object on the given axis. The "Move" or "Translation" handle style allows movement up or down and forward or backward in the scene. The "Resize" handle style allows you to make the object larger or smaller.


31. You may also position the object by setting the X, Y, and Z coordinates. You may also adjust the size of the object by adjusting the Size: Width, Height, and Depth.

Change the values that you want to change and then press the key to make the change happen.


32. The "Undo" button is your friend; it really is.

If you make a mistake, you can always click the "Undo" button. This means that you can try out something and if it does not work out, undo the effect rather than trying to put it back with more instructions.


33. Move the astronaut so that she is at the back of the humvee; the left hand side as you look at it. If she will not move with the mouse then set the x coordinate to be 3.


Camera Markers

More about using

camera markers.

Camera Markers.

34. A Camera marker is like a bookmark for the location and direction of view of a camera.

You can move the camera from one marker to another, or you can use a marker to return to a known point if your view gets lost.


35. Alice has only one camera in a scene. The camera is moved around and repositioned for close-up views and special effects. Because moving the camera is a common action when setting up a scene in the Scene editor, Alice provides a way to mark a camera position so as to create known camera positions in the scene.

Each scene and camera angle is setup can be rehearsed until you are happy with the arrangements. The camera positions (location and orientation angle) are marked before any actual "filming" begins. Below is an example of the camera position (in Layout Scene View) as set for the initial scene.


36. It is highly recommended marking the starting location of the camera before moving the camera around in the scene. The camera can then be moved freely around the scene and can always be returned to its original position, using the marker. You have already made the "start" camera marker in the previous exercise.

As a reminder: To create a starting location camera marker click on the Add Camera Marker button.

A dialog box will pop up. Enter a meaningful name for the marker, for example startView. When a name is entered, press OK and Alice will automatically create a camera marker object at the current location of the camera. The marker remembers not only the location but also the camera’s orientation (the direction and angle at which it is pointed). This information is commonly known as the camera’s viewpoint. Also, colour coded.

Move the camera so that you have a close up of the astronaut, a head and shoulder shot. Click on "Add Camera Marker" and save the marker as "astronautHeadShot".


37. Add another camera marker for the humvee. Move the camera so that you can only see the humvee (or as close to it as you can get) and add another camera marker and save it as "humveeView".


38. To move from one view to another you can use the Camera Marker panel.

As you can see each of the cameras is colour coded.

Click on the colour camera you want to use - such as the red camera view (start).

Then click on the colour to black marker and the view will change to be the view from that colour camera.

I have highlighted the other camera positions that you can see from the red camera.


39. The next activity is to write code to control the movement of the camera between these pre-set positions.

Click on "Edit code" to return to the code space.


40. Click on the list of objects and choose "this.camera".


41. Drag "this.camera move To" onto the code space.

Set the target to be "this.start", making the duration "1.0".


42. Drag another "this.camera move To" onto the code space.

Set the target to be "this.astronautHeadShot", making the duration "2.0" the pathStyle "smooth" and the animationStyle "Begin and end gently".


43. Drag a final "this.camera move To" onto the code space.

Set the target to be "this.humveeView", making the duration "2.0" the pathStyle "smooth" and the animationStyle "Begin and end gently".


Now you can accurately control the movement of the camera - you are now a real director.


Animation

More about

animation.

More about animation.

44. Click on "Edit Code" to get to the code view where you can see the "myFirstMethod" in the code editor panel.


45. Add the following methods into the code editor.

Drag the this.adultPerson "move" method and make the astronaut go up 1 metre. (The distances in Alice are metres apparently.)

Drag the this.adultPerson "turn" method and make the astronaut turn right 1. (This turns the astronaut through 1 complete revolution.

Drag the this.adultPerson "move" method and make the astronaut go down 1 metre.



46. Now we are going to create a procedure that will allow the astronaut to wave.

Click on the "Class Tab" (highlighted).


47. Select "AdultPerson" and then "Add AdultPerson Procedure".


48. Name the procedure "astronautWave".


49. Click the drop down next to the big "this" and then the drop down next ro the smaller "this" that appears and then scroll down to find and click on "getRightShoulder".


50. You will now see the methods for the astronauts right shoulder.


51. Drag the "getRightShoulder" turn method and select the parameter "LEFT", then set the "duration" to be 1.0 and select the BEGIN_AND_END_GENTLY" option for the "animationStyle".

Drag the "getRightWrist" turn method and select the parameter "FORWARD", then set the "duration" to be 1.0 and select the BEGIN_AND_END_GENTLY" option for the "animationStyle".

Drag the "getRightWrist" turn method and select the parameter "BACKWARD", then set the "duration" to be 1.0 and select the BEGIN_AND_END_GENTLY" option for the "animationStyle".

Drag the "getRightShoulder" turn method and select the parameter "RIGHT", then set the "duration" to be 1.0 and select the BEGIN_AND_END_GENTLY" option for the "animationStyle".


52. Click on the "myFirstMethod" tab and select the astronaut. Click on the astronaut in scene view or from the drop down.

You will see the procedure as part of the AdultPerson object. Drag it in to the code editor. Save and run your project and see if the astronaut waves at you (sort of).



53. I have re-arranged the order of the code instructions so that it makes cinematic sense; ie the code events are in a suitable order so that the animation makes sense.


54. If one of your cameras gets too close to one of the objects it is showing then back it up a little.

Click on the colour of the camera markler that you want to move.

Click black to colour to move the current view to the camera view and then move the camer backwards a little.

Finally click colour to black so that the camera marker takes up the position of the current view.


Exporting

Exporting a

video.

Exporting a video.

55. When you have finished your animation you can export it as a video. Make sure that you save your project before you begin this process as it has a habit of crashing just when you least want it to.

Alice has a peculiar way of exporting a video. Apparently it pretends to export to YouTube and then lets you save the video file.

Click on File and then Upload to YouTube.


56. Take care here as Alice can freeze and the only way round it is to close Alice.

Strangely you need to click on the Back option so that you can review the video and note how long it takes.

Play the video and make a note of how long it takes.

Click Next to get back to the Rcord Video screen and press Record.


57. What you see as the video records is mere snapshots from time to time so carefully watch the timer and press stop whem you reach the time that you have made a note of.


58. Hopefully, you will see the end of the video at this point.

Press Next to move to the next page.


59. Click the Export Video to File... button.


60. Alice saves the video in WebM format.

This is a pretty unusual format but if you have access to the codec then it can be played.

Give your video a sensible name.

Press Save and then Done and your video is exported.


61 Now add an alien or other character as well as suitable background objects and re-export your video.


Challenge

Directing a

short animation.

Challenge.

62. This is straightfoward, create a short 30 second animation using the techniques that you have learned so far.

Include as many of the techniques as possible.

When you have finished, export your video.

If you are happy with your animation then see if you can make another one.

I note that most of the animations that I have seen looking over shoulders, have many objects onthe scene but nothing much happens; you have not written much code. The code is more important than filling the scene with many mushrooms or fish.


Useful code

Useful code for

your animation.

Code snippets.

63. Here is a useful code snippet to make a biped walk.


64. The function "Walk" has been added to the Biped class so now all bipeds have access to the procedure.

The interesting thing is that the procedure has a parameter (a variable that applies only to the procedure) called "Steps".

In "myFirstFunction" when the procedure is used you will be asked how many steps, so you can control how far the biped walks.



65. This is a version of the same walking function for a quadriped.

Note that it is too long to be seen in one screenshot so the last few lines are in the next screenshot.


66. These are the last lines of the code for the quadriped walking.

Once you have written the procedure, you can apply it to your "myFirstMethod" the same way as any other procedure.



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126. Challenge.

Add more to the scene; search for interesting things that a witch would have.

There are potions and bottles and giant toadstools and all sorts of weird and fun things to find and explore.