New to Animation...need basic help!

Hi, I am new to Blender and Animation. I am creating a simple animation of a building coming together and I am having some trouble. Its a simple animation with a few basic geometric shapes for conceptual purposes. I have two added an array modifier to show a cube (the main core of the building) extending from the ground to the finished height. I have added keyframes and everything looks good so far. I also have some structural beams “flying” in and attaching to the cube from “off the screen” so that looks fine too.

My question is that I want the floor slabs (just a cube modifed to a rectangle) to appear at frame 200 and then slide to where they need to be. When I keyframe the slab at 200 it shows up in frames 1-200 also, but I want it just to appear at 200 and be there for the rest of the animation (about a min and a half long). This may be a dumb question to the experts but I have been using blender for a short time now.

Any help would be appriciated.


You need to put a keyframe when you want it to start moving. For example, let’s say you want it to start moving at 80. Put a keyframe where the floor should be for frames 1-79, then a keyframe at 200 for where you want it to end up.

Just a basic guideline: You need two keyframes. One for the beginning and one for the end.

I’m sorry, I’ve never been the best at explaining things in a simple manner.

Thanks for the response! I understand what you are saying about the two key frames…I had the floor slab “off the screen” (out of camera view) and key framed it at 150, then I keyframed it at 200 in its finished spot. That worked fine but I don’t want the floor slab element (a modified cube) to “fly” in from off the screen. I don’t want it in frames 1-150. I just want it to appear in frame 200 and then stay in that spot until frame 900 (the end of the animation).

How do I get it to work? Also, is there a way to have the floor slab element to start as virtually nothing and then extend out to its full volume in that same location? So basically I want just the tower to extend up in frames 1-200, and then the floor slab to appear at frame 200 and start extruding from one plane to its full length…if that makes sense.

I did some basic tutorials on how to keyframe and animate objects but have not come across anything on “fading in” objects and things like that. It might be more advanced than where I am looking. Any suggestions?


Oh I get what you’re saying.

I just want it to appear in frame 200 and then stay in that spot until frame 900 (the end of the animation).
So, just appear out of nowhere then? That’s complex if you want to do it other ways, but you could cut some corners and put the first keyframe at 199, and hope it would move so quickly that nobody would notice the difference.

As for the adding on to the floor block, do you mean that you would like to kinda model it as you go, for the effect you want?

I don’t know if that’s possible, but you could always just scale it on one axis. That might work out nicely. If not, then let me know and I can try to brainstorm something else.

It’s not so much as advanced technique as a tricky one. The main thing to remember is Blender draws the inbetweens. You have an object at frame one. Key it. Then move it, and key it at frame 100. Blender draws the object moving smoothly between the frame 1 position and the frame 100 position.

Now, suppose the frame 1 position is off camera. The object will slide into view as it moves to it’s on camera frame 100 position.

If you want the object to stay off camera and jump to its frame 100 position abruptly, you’ll need a key frame at frame 99, with the same off camera position as frame 1. So for the first 99 frames, it’s off camera, then boom, frame 100, there it is. In frame 99, it’s not in the picture, in frame 100, it is.

Yeah, do what Orinoco said. That’s exactly what I was talking about.

I think an easier way to do it would be to animate the alpha of the material. Just put the floor where you want it and set the alpha to 0 and set a key frame. Then put the alpha to 100 at the frame you want it to appear. That way it will fade in.

Here is a video of it in action:

of course you can adjust the key frames to adjust how fast or slow it fades in.

Thanks! Your tips worked and its working how I want it to! I have one more question…the animation consists of two towers going up from frames 1-200, the floor pieces (structural framing, floor slab, walls) are coming together in frames, 200-400. Then from frames 400-500 the completed floor slides from the 1st floor to the 20th Floor.

I need frames 200-400 to repeat itself so the complete floors keep coming together and sliding up…like the 1st floor slides from the 1st to the 20th, then the next floor slides from the 1st level to the 19th and so on until the building is complete.

Is there an easy way to dupicate frames or something like that? What is the best way to do this?

Any suggestions would be appricated.

Oh clever idea. I know that it IS possible to do that, but it may be better to do it by hand to start off. The method that I thought of was retarded. It had the first block do it’s thing, but then leave the structure and go a floor lower. Duplicating frames sounds like a good idea, but the problem is that when you duplicate it, the animation would be played out by the block that’s supposed to be sitting at floor 20

Sorry, I haven’t been nearly as much help as the other Blender users. ^^;

Could you show use what you have so far? It would be helpful to see to help you out better. For example is the whole building in the shot when the floor comes together? Or is it a closeup of the floor? If it is just the floor you could render that sequence out and just use that same animation 19 more time. That probably wouldn’t work though, as you’d want the camera to move up to show your moving up a floor. I guess it would just be easier to help to know how your approaching it, or if it is for someone else how they want you to.

There is probably a few ways to go about it. Keep in mind you can also key an object to switch layers to make it appear or disappear. So, for example, you could have all the floors in place and timed to appear just as a (repeating) animated floor gets there and disappears.

You can cut, paste, duplicate, and edit keys in the IPO editor. So you could make the floor animation going to top floor, duplicate the keys to make it do it 20 times, then edit the keys to make it stop (and disappear) at the right place and time… timed with the “real” floors appearing.

Knowing all the tools available helps greatly, but it usually takes some thought to figure out the quickest or easiest way to go about something like this. The method above is off the top of my head. I wouldn’t doubt there’s a better way.

I tend to figure out the “best” way after I find myself in some ridiculous hour-long repetitive task that could have been accomplished with a few clicks if I had better thought it through before I plowed in. :rolleyes:

Btw Check the Blender Manual in my sig to find your way around the IPO editor. It’s often quicker ,easier, and more precise to work in there instead of moving and keyframing objects in the 3D view, especially when editing an animation already keyed.

*** Edit: “you could make the floor animation going to top floor, duplicate the keys to make it do it 20 times, then edit the keys to make it stop (and disappear) at the right place and time… timed with the “real” floors appearing” …

You don’t even have to edit the animation to stop at each floor, just edit when it jumps to a different layer (disappear), or maybe just jump to bottom… all in the timing… see what I mean about thinking it through?

Links from the manual:

Thanks for the posts! They have helped alot…I am still working on learning IPO curves and everything. I also tried attaching a video of what I have so far, but the file is too big to upload. Do you know a good way to compress an avi file into a wma file? I think there are some free converter programs out there.

Anyway. Thanks again the animation is working well…for now, at least. I am just having some trouble dupicating objects and getting them to not be linked. I posted a seperate thread (Duplicating objects and animation)

Thanks for all of your help. The animation seems to be working fine, at least for now. I am still working on learning IPO curves and everything. I also tried to upload the video but it was too big. I have to convert it from an avi to wma…I think there are free converters out there, right?

I am also having trouble with dupicated linked objects. It’s in another thread I started (Duplicating Objects and animation)

Thanks again for your help!