Insectoids User Guide
The Insectoids user interface has :
|Parameters that affect all stages [Global Parameters].|
|Parameters that affect a particular stage [Local Parameters].|
The following tables describe these sections in detail:
|Input||Import an OBJ file containing a Polyline created in Alias. This Polyline determines the number of stages in Insectoids.|
|Output||Choose the OBJ file name to save the random paths.|
|Reset||Reset all parameter values to program defaults. Also delete all active stages and provide a fresh stage.|
|Process||Start a session that computes and saves the random paths in the OBJ file specified via the Output command.|
|Global Path Parameter||Description|
|Seed is the ID of a set of paths generated in a session.
Since the paths are all unique and random, if ever you wanted to generate them again, you
need to specify their Seed value. The Seed value is very useful when you are
satisfied with the paths in general but want to fine tune their parameters.
In Insectoids, paths are generated in every session using the current seed value. If you dont like the randomness on the paths, change this value. When you have a set of paths that you want to visit later, note its Seed value.
The default Seed value is 100.
|Number||Number of paths to generate in a session.
The default Number of paths is 5
|Path Type||Determines whether the paths are saved as Polylines or
The default Path Type is B-spline
|Global Insect Parameter||Description|
|Size||Size of the insect from head to tail as
measured in Alias. See From Insect Size for more
The default insect Size is 1
|Orientation||The axis along which of the head and tail
of the insect is present in Alias. Insectoids generates a small extension
(out-growth) at the start of the path along this axis. This extension consumes four
vertices of the path. If Insectoids suggests 104 frames for the animation, the first
four frames will be spent on the extension and insect will fly from frame 5 to frame 104.
Therefore when rendering, you should start at frame 5 and end at frame 104.
The default Orientation is Z axis.
|Global Stage Parameter||Description|
|Stages||Contains all the available stages for this session. You
can select the stage you want to edit by choosing its number from the drop down
By default, Stage 0 is available for editing.
|Connect All Stages||If true, only one set of paths is generated. These paths pass
through all stages. If false, a separate set is created for each stage. For
example, if the number of paths to be generated is 5 and there are 3 stages, a total of 15
paths will be output if Connect All Stages is false.
By default, Connect All Stages is true
|Local Stage Parameter||Description|
|Start Point (x1, y1, z1)||Start Point of the path in this stage
The default Start Point is (0, 0, 0)
|End Point (x2, y2, z2)||End Point of the path in this stage
The default End Point is (16, 16, 16)
|Locks||Below X, Y and Z components of Start and End points you will
find their locks. If you lock a component, you prevent it from being randomly
generated. A locked component will take the value specified in its text box.
Insectoids randomly generates a component such that it lies on or between the current values specified in the component text boxes of Start and End points. For example, if you unlock the X component of Start point (that is, x1), and have the values 1 and 10 set in the X component text boxes of Start and End points, a randomly generated x1 will be equal to 1 or 10 or lie in between.
By default all the components of Start and End points are locked.
|Dont Jitter In||Prevents randomness in a particular axis. When you are
animating non-flying insects like beetles or ants you set the Z component of their Start
and End points to zero and prevent jitter in the Z axis.
The default value is none. Thus the path jitters in all axes.
The next section describes the parameters that affect the shape of the path. To take advantage of these parameters, you need to understand how Insectoids generates a random path. A random path connects two points -- a start point (A) and an end point (B). To generate this path, Insectoids first finds the midpoint (M) of the line joining the start and end points. It then randomly displaces this midpoint by a distance equal to Maximum Distance. There are two line segments now -- segment joining the start point and the midpoint (AM) and the segment joining the midpoint and the end point (MB). This completes the first iteration of this procedure. To enter the second iteration, Insectoids scales the distance value used in the previous iteration (MaximumDistance) by Roughness % to get the new distance value. It then randomly displaces the midpoints of the two line segments by the new distance value. There are four line segments now. Insectoids continues this process until the required number of iterations is reached or the length of the line segment is lesser than the insect size. The random path is the line joining the start, all the randomly displaced mid points, and the end point.
|Local Path Parameter||Description|
|Maximum Distance||A larger Maximum Distance makes the insect fly more distance
(and slower) than a smaller Maximum Distance value.
The default Maximum Distance value is 10
|Roughness %||Roughness % is the amount by which Max Distance drops with
every iteration. A large Roughness % will cause Maximum Distance to drop slower and
a small Roughness % will cause it to drop faster. If you want your insects to
flutter a lot, have a large Roughness %. If you want them to move smoothly use a
small Roughness % value.
The default Roughness % is 50
|Iterations||Iterations determine the number of points that will be present
on the path and thus the suggested number of frames required to traverse these
points. A lower iteration value creates lesser points enabling the insects to fly
faster. A higher iteration value creates greater number of points causing the
insects to fly slower
The default Iterations value is 6
|From Insect Size||If turned on, the number of iterations is determined at run
time. Insectoids stops at the iteration when the length of the path segment being
subdivided becomes less than the Size of the insect. Note that the Iterations text
box will be disabled when this parameter is turned on.
By default, From Insect Size is turned off.
|To All buttons||You use the To All button to copy the value of a parameter to its counterparts in other stages.|
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