Animated Text Time Counter

I’m trying to come up with solution for creating an animited time counter that count backwards from a certain time to 0:00.

ie. from 5:00 minutes to 0, updating the seconds every 20 frames.
Frame 1 shows: 5:00
Frame 20 shows: 4:59


I don’t think you can insert a keyframe to work against text, so I was thinking of a more analog approach, by simulating turning wheels with numbers on the faces. Each wheel moves at a certain speed to simulate the decrementing of time.

Anyone think this will work, or might there be a better way to do this.


There’s a texture plugin for LED time display. Not sure if it works for countdown though.


Well, I did what you asked. 3 wheels rotating at 20fps, showing a countdown from 300 to 0 (300 seconds = 5 minutes)*. The most boring part was doing the math to calculate the rotation keys data :slight_smile:
I ended up finding out by accident that a scene can only have 18000 frames, exactly the number of frames one needs to do a five minute movie at 20 fps.

Well, here’s the blend file and here’s a 320x240 20fps xvid of the last 100 frames (5 seconds).

P.S. - Probably this isn’t exactly what you need (my athlon xp takes 0.3 seconds rendering each frame) Hmmm it would take 90 minutes to render the 5 minute animation, :P. Well, it was fun to do anyways :smiley:

    • I didn’t comply with 5:00 -> 0:00 because then I would have to do another wheel (0-5) and I felt lazy :wink:

Thanks, Theeth and Mayan:

Theeth: Thanks for the counter plugin link. I’ll see if I can get it working…may even want to extend, if I can figure it out.

Mayan: You did a great job implementing the concept I was thinking. I think I’ll use the wheel as the 2nd option, if the plugin doesn’t work. (Since the digital representation may fit the “mood” of the animation better)

I’ll let you (all) know what happens after I experiment with these.



two months ago i had a similar problem - a 8-digit digital clock, old style with 7 segments. i used RVK’s to define the 10 different states (0…9). the digits were placed over a elongated quad plane. for each number i pulled the segments i don’t needed below the plane (so in turn they become invisible) and set a mesh key for that state.

the second step was to animate one cycle for each digit using the RVK-sliders. IPO-interpolation was set to step, and extend mode to extrapolation. the tricky part is the timing. in my case i actually had problems to fully synchronise the changing of states. but some maths and good planning will do.


I tried the LED plugin and it seems to work well(doesn’t anti-alias, or doesn’t do it well) It seems to dim the text color significantly when OSA enabled, but I can get around that by using a color band. Other than that the counter can be set at whatever time you want and will decrement every second. (Of course I wish it had 10th of second granularity…)

At first I tried to re-build the plugin and was successful in generating a dll. Everytime I created a plugin texture and specified the dll I built, I’d get an error loading dll or some message. I also couldn’t find the implib utility(and am not even sure if it is needed in a windows environment).

I finally downloaded the Windows plugin dll from the Blender plugin repository and had no problems loading the prebuild dll from the texture plugin option.

If I ever figure out how to get the dll that I built to load in blender, maybe I’ll enhance the LED plugin.


You could ask Kent Mein (sirdude) directly about plugins. He’s responsible for the plugin repository and he’s really knowledgeable about that kind of stuff. You should be able to find his e-mail address in the repository, or you could catch him on irc in the developer channel.


Awesome! Thanks for the reference tip!

The Blender Community is great!