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Tronimation Tutorial 1

Welcome to Tutorial 1! When you start these tutorials, it's assumed that you have downloaded and installed Tronimation and have it open. It also assumes that you have at least basic knowledge of the 3 dimensional coordinate system. I will be setting up graphics to go along with these tutorials when I get time.

Now, hello and welcome to trying to emulate Tron! This first tutorial will show you how to create a single object and manipulate it effectively, as well as discuss the geometry of the Cube primitive.

When you first start Tronimation, it will throw up a screen that contains no graphics and an 80x24 box of text. That box of text is what will be your interface to the world inside your computer. The bottom 5 lines will always contain information on how to work with the current menu. At the moment, you will notice that they tell you all the functions that are accessible from the main menu: File I/O, animation, moving camera, etc.

One thing you will notice if you read the text block is that the camera is sitting at the coordinate (0,0,0). This isn't good, because by default all new objects pop in at (0,0,0) too! Thus, if we added an object now, the camera would be inside it! So we want to move the camera back. Press m (for (M)ove) to access the menu for moving and rotating the camera. Note that all the text along the bottom changes to tell you want you can do here. A little thing worth remembering: 'q' almost always moves up one menu.

So, now that we're in the move menu, we want to move back from the origin. That would be 'S' for negative Z motion. So hold down 's' to move back one unit at a time or Shift-s to move 10 units at a time. Go back about 100 units. Then hold K to move the camera up about 30 units.

Press q to go back to the main menu, then e to access the edit menu. Another set of commands will present themselves. The first one, labeled a, will add an object. Press a. Immediately, a gray-and-blue pyramid will pop into the lower center of the screen. That is the default object. The top of the screen will suddenly have come to life. That section will display all information about the object. It has a position, size, rotation, colors, group association, and a number of variables.

The "pyramid" is actually a distorted cube. Specifically, one whose top is scaled to zero size and therefore appears pointlike. Here we will have to get into a discussion about the geometry of the Cube object. The cube has a total of six variables. Four of them describe the size of the top relative to the size of the bottom, in the -X, +X, -Y, and +Y directions respectively. The fifth translates the top of the cube along the X axis, and the sixth translates it along the Z axis. It also has a size, rotation, position, and colors describing it's faces and lines. All of these will be displayed along the top of the console when you create the object, along with several other pieces of information.

Currently, there are two ways to manipulate the cube. You can use the I and K keys to move the arrow on the right of the console up and down, and press enter to input new values. Alternatively, if dealing with the console isn't appealing to you, press q and then e (for (Q)uit and (E)dit). A dialog box will pop up listing everything you can do to this poor, innocent little cube. You can move it, stretch it, rotate it, recolor it, everything. For now, we're interested in getting a cube rather than a pyramid.

So, find the Variable dialog (at the bottom). It shows the current value of the selected variable,a nd lets you increase or decrease it. Pressing SHIFT when you click will makes things go ten times faster, Control will make the increment ten times smaller, Alt 100 times slower. Just click the up button a few times. Suddenly, the pyramid is growing a side. Hold until the value is 1.0. Now the -X size of the top of the cube is the same as the bottom. On the far right are two up and down buttons to select variables. Press the UP button, and the indicator of which variable is selected will jump to 1. Increase it's value to 1, then repeat for variables 2 and 3. Now it's a full-fledges cube.

At this point, you know everything you need to to manipulate objects. Go crazy. Change the variables, the colors, the size, rotation... See what you can come up with! Hint: One of the things you should try is being creative! You can make a double-pyramid by setting all the cube's scale factors to -1, for example.

This concludes tutorial 1. Back :: Tutorial Main :: Next