This section describes how to animate the growth of models created using spine and leaf generators.
The interface for growth is split between the ‘Timeline’ bar and the ‘Growth’ property groups on spine generators/nodes and leaf generators/nodes. The general procedure for making a model grow is as follows:
You’ll notice that as the tree becomes fuller the preview becomes much slower due to the longer compute times. You can speed this up either by hiding/unlinking generators or using the new ‘Focus’ feature. Click the 'Focus:Target' button on the toolbar and then click a branch on the tree model. All subsequent computes (including growth) will be limited to the selected node and its children until the 'Focus:Clear' button is pressed. This is often the best way to get an interactive preview of the growth process.
Another way to see a quick preview of the growth animation is to use the 'Export image sequence' option in the 'File' menu to create a sequence of images rendered from the Modeler.
The ‘Timeline’ bar (pictured below and accessed via Window→Timeline from the main menu) is where growth is enabled/disabled. The 'Speed' edit box sets the baseline speed at the model grows. Vary this value to make the entire model grow slower or faster. Each generator has its own speed scale properties that modify this value if you need to control the growth rate of individual parts of the model.
The ‘End’ frame here simply sets the end of the preview. The actual end of the growth animation is determined by the 'Speed' value you enter and the speed scale properties on the generators.
We’ve made several modifications to the tree algorithm in order to eliminate undesirable artifacts (most noticeably segmentation changes). In addition, we’ve identified some limitations in the form of properties that can’t always be used without negative consequences to the growth animation.
Use the ‘Growth Wizard’ button on the 'Timeline Bar' to automatically address the issues covered in this topic.
The modifications presented here represent slight changes to the tree generation algorithm and shouldn’t present any major issues.
The limitations presented here are the primary target for the ‘Growth Wizard’ and represent the biggest challenge in creating a smooth animation.
Select 'File→Export Growth Sequence…' to export the growth animation as an Alembic file (this is currently the only option for growth animation exporting).