In this video, Phil Cook of Simply Rhino takes a look at creating a Part Animation in Rhino 7 and KeyShot 10.

Screenshot of KeyShot 10 Interface from Part Animation Video Tutorial

Create easy part animations with KeyShot 10

This is an animation where we can move the model, or parts of the model, against a timeline. In Rhino 7 we can animate the camera but not move the model or parts – so if you have KeyShot this opens up the possibility of creating easy part and keyframe animations.

Phil also looks at custom rotations (i.e. those not aligned with KeyShot’s X,Y,Z axis). So, if you’ve come unstuck with custom rotations or hinge positions in KeyShot in the past then there is a work-around included in this video.

You can watch the video here and if you would like to follow along using the video transcript you’ll find this at the bottom of this page.

To learn more about KeyShot you can visit the KeyShot product page on the Simply Rhino website, you can also find out about our KeyShot training options, including a 1-day KeyShot essentials training course delivered by Phil, details of that course can be found here.

If you are interested in our previous Rhino and KeyShot video material you can find more on this site, including a recent video in which we take a look at creating a Sun Study Animation with Rhino v7 data from KeyShot 10.

Rhino 3D v7 and KeyShot 10 Part Animation Tutorial Video Transcript

Hi, this is Phil from Simply Rhino and in this short video I’m going to take a look at creating a part animation in KeyShot 10. This is an animation where we can move the model or parts of the model against a timeline. The starting point is going to be in Rhino 7 and with this engineering model of a dewatering pump. In Rhino 7 we can animate the camera but not move the model or parts – so if you have KeyShot this opens up the possibility of creating easy part and keyframe animations.

All of the steps in this video are fairly straight forward, however I am going to look at how we handle the case where a rotating or hinging component is inclined at an angle – i.e. not in line with the KeyShot X, Y, or Z axes. So, if you’ve come unstuck with custom rotations in KeyShot there’s a work around included later in this video.

Let’s now take a look at the finished KeyShot video to see what we’re aiming for. The video starts with the main yellow engine cover being raised up whilst the side door opens. At the same time, the model is rotated. A pump impeller component is moved forwards, to expose the pump detail below – before this and the yellow cover fade out. Finally, there’s a camera movement so we can see down onto the pump and engine assembly.

Before I start, let’s take a look at the KeyShot interface with the completed animation. In the animation window at the bottom, you’ll see that I have 8 animation elements that start and finish at various points in the timeline. Once these are created, I can see and edit their properties in the window in the bottom right. I can also scrub through the timeline to get a quick idea of how my animation is progressing.

Let’s go back to Rhino now, and first of all I want to look at how this model is organised. For still images I would usually use Rhino’s Layers to separate out the components on a per material basis, as this would make it easier to apply the same material to multiple components in Keyshot. However, here I’m going to use sublayers (or parent and child layers as they are sometimes called) to contain, for example, all the components that are included in the engine cover assembly that I want to hinge upwards in the animation.

The other thing I want to do in Rhino is to create a ‘helper object’ that will make it easy for me to hinge this side door that is inclined at 5 degrees to the vertical. I’m going to Hide the hinge pin and then I’ll create a straight line that snaps between the top and bottom of the hinge centres. This line is inclined at 5 degrees to the vertical, and I’ll now mark the centre of this line and rotate it about it’s centre by 5 degrees so that the line is now vertical. Finally, I’ll use the Pipe command to create a simple solid from this vertical line and push this solid onto its own layer called ‘Helper’.

Now, this may seem a strange or unnecessary procedure, but the issue in KeyShot is this. When I pick a local hinge point on Rhino geometry in KeyShot, for example the centre of this line, then KeyShot will only recognise a point in space for rotation and any such rotation will be relative to KeyShot’s X,Y and Z axes. In order to get around this get around this, what I need to do is introduce an object into KeyShot that has a centre about this point. I can then rotate the object in KeyShot and, once rotated, KeyShot will then understand the relative rotated X,Y and Z directions of the part and I can use it to describe the axis of rotation for my side door.

So, once I have my helper object completed and I’ve checked through all the layers then I can go to my KeyShot 10 Live Linking plug-in and I can send the model to KeyShot.

Okay, so the model is now in KeyShot and first I want to go to set-up a few basic things. First, I’ll got to ‘Image’ and here I want to make this image the same ratio as a 1920 by 1080 HD image which will be the final video output resolution. So I’ll set this to 960 by 540.

Next I’ll go into ‘Lighting’ and choose ‘Product’. Then I’ll go into ‘Environment’ and here I’ll use ‘Overhead Array 4K’ as the lighting set-up and in the ‘Environment’ tab on the right I’ll choose a white colour for the background. I’ll turn on the ground reflections and in the ‘Scene’ I’ll pick the complete ‘Model Set’, go to ‘Position’ and make sure that this is snapped onto the ground.

Next, I’ll go to ‘Camera’ and I’ll manipulate the view to give me a starting position and I’ll ‘Save’ this camera position as ‘Animation’.

Now I can start adding materials to the scene, so I’ll expand the ‘Model Set’ and you’ll see we have exactly the same layer configuration here as we did in Rhino. I’ll go to my ‘Materials’ on the left and select ‘Metallic Paints’ and I’ll drag the metallic yellow paint onto the engine cover.

I’m just going to suppress some ‘Layers’ here and let’s leave on ‘Side Door’ and the main ‘Bund Fabrication’. Now, I’m going to have the same grey material on the side door and on the grey part of the Bund Fabrication and, of course, I want to avoid creating duplicate materials. I’ll apply the standard grey paint to the Bund Fabrication, now if I drag from the Library again to the Side Door then I’ll get a duplicate grey material – but if I go to my material selection down here and drag the material from here then I won’t create a that duplicate.

Okay so now I’ve added all the materials I want to add and it’s time to start creating the animations and if you don’t see the ‘Animation’ window at the bottom here you can get this by going to the ‘Window’ menu and selecting ‘Animation’.

I’m just going to go to the ‘Side Door’ here and turn off that ‘Helper Object’ so I can just see the parts that I want to animate. The first area I want to look at is the yellow Engine Cover. The geometry for the hinges exists in the model, so we can use the hinge pins as a rotation point in KeyShot. I’ll go to the ‘Animation Wizard’ and pick ‘Rotation’.  Then I’ll go to ‘Next’ and then I can specify the part of the model that I want to animate – and this is the ‘Main Cover’ here. The Next panel is where we actually set up the animation and the first thing I need to do is to define a ‘Pivot Point’. So, I need to select ‘Pick’ and go to the ‘Main Cover’ and then go down to ‘Pin’ which is the controlling layer for the hinge pins. Now there’s actually two of these pins but KeyShot will just work out the centre of those two objects. I’ll select 70 degrees for the Rotation and I can choose ‘Ease In’ and ‘Ease Out’ which means that I’ll get a sort of damping down of the movement at the start and end of the rotation.

I’m not going to worry too much about that time or duration here because I can do this just by dragging in the timeline. I’ll drag out the animation to 15 seconds and if I scrub the timeline, I can see the animated object.  

So, now I’ve got the first part of the animation done and I’m going to look next at creating another rotation animation this time for the ‘Side Door’ and remember that this is the part that is inclined at 5 degrees to the vertical. So first of all I’m going to turn on the ‘Helper Object’ that I created earlier and then I’m going to turn off the other elements in the model.

I’ll go to ‘Camera’ and choose ‘Free Camera’ so I can manipulate the view, just so I can see everything a little easier. Then I’ll go to the ‘Move’ tool, pick ‘Rotate’ and select the ‘Helper’ cylinder as the ‘Pivot Object’ making sure that I have a ‘Local Axis’ and a ‘Centre Pivot Point’ selected. I’ll now see the Rotation gizmo is aligned to the ‘Helper’ and I can now rotate the ‘Helper’ by -5 degrees in Y.

Now I can add in the animation using the ‘Helper Object’ as the axis that I want to rotate about. I’ll open the ‘Animation Wizard’ and choose ‘Rotation’. The part I want to rotate is the whole of the Side Door assembly and for the Pivot Point here I want to go to ‘Pick’ and select ‘Helper’ and choose the actual geometry on the sublayer here – the Helper Object itself.

I’ll Rotate about Z and I’ll choose -70 and hit ‘Finish’. If I scrub through the timeline it’s a little difficult to see so let’s switch to Free Camera and then enable the ‘Geometry View’ and manipulate around here a bit so I can confirm that I’ve got the axis of rotation set correctly. That all looks good, so I’ll go back to the ‘Animation’ camera and I’ll adjust the length in the Timeline.  I want this animation to end at 11 seconds – so I’ll drag the end out here and I want it to start at 4 seconds. So that’s the second part of the animation done.

Let’s look now at some of the simpler elements in the animation. You can see that, as I scrub the timeline marker here – the engine cover raises upwards then it moves out of the frame. Now, I am going to change the view a little later on, but I still don’t want to see the cover chopped off like this. So what I’m going to do is to introduce a ‘Fade’ and I’m going to start that Fade at 8 seconds; if I move the timeline marker to 8 seconds and then go into the Animation Wizard and choose ‘Fade’ then, that Fade animation will start at where the timeline marker is – so at 8 seconds.

The part that I want to Fade here is the ‘Main Cover’ – and that’s all the components inside the main cover – and I’ll go to ‘Next’ and I want to give this a duration of 5 seconds and I want to fade from the default 100% to 0%. I can now see this Fade as the cover moves up and it’s already looking better.

I’m going to change the title of this element here and  I’m going to call this ‘003 Cover Fade’. I can do this over on the left side here or I can pick the actual animation element and change the title here – it doesn’t matter which do.

Next up, as the cover raises up you’ll see in a moment that there is a box here which sits on top of the front coupling for the pump and I want to move this box forwards so I can see some of the impeller casting underneath. I’m going to do this with an animation called a ‘Translation’ which is very simply a movement of the part and I want to start this at 9 seconds. So, again I’ll move my timeline to here and go to the ‘Animation Wizard’ and select ‘Translation’. The part that I want to choose for this is in ‘Pump Installation’ and it’s called ‘Front Coupling Box’ – I’ll see it highlighted there – then I’ll go to ‘Next’ and I can set the parameters for this – now I want to move it about its own local origin and the translation therefore will be in the Y axis to move this forward and backwards.

To move it forwards from the pump I know that from previous movements in the model I need a minus value here so I’m going to move that -900 millimetres and the duration for this is going to be 4 seconds. I can ‘Ease In’ and ‘Ease Out’ if I want and I’ll hit ‘Finish’. Let’s take a look at this and drag through here and I can see that part coming forward and that all looks okay. I’ll just change the name of this here to ‘004 Move Front Coupling’ and then I’m just going to move this full animation forwards slightly so it starts at 7 seconds tablet so it just moves a little earlier

Next, I want to do something similar with this than I have with the Main Engine Cover and that is to fade it out. I’ll start that at 9 seconds and go to the Animation Wizard and select ‘Fade’, then I’ll choose the part of the model set I want here – so it’s ‘Pump Installation Front Coupling Box’ –  and I want this to have a 4 second duration and I want it to fade from 100% to nothing. I’ll rename this as ‘005 Fade Front Coupling’.

What I want to do now is to rotate the whole object slightly, so that as the animation progresses, I start to see the assembly a little bit more from the front. To achieve this, I’m going to add a ‘Turntable’ animation. So, I’ll go to the ‘Animation Wizard’ again and I’ll choose ‘Turntable’. What’s important to understand here, is that I’m animating the object not orbiting the camera around the object. I want to start this Turntable Animation at 0 and I want to have a 13 second duration. The centre of rotation is going to be the centre of the model, and I want to go counter clockwise and I’ll just try rotating by 20 degrees so that it’s a fairly subtle movement. So, I’ll finish that animation segment and see how this looks.

The end shot of this animation is going to be with the camera looking down onto pump and engine assembly and to achieve this I’m going to do two separate camera animations. I’m going to start by tilting the camera upwards so it’s looking down onto the pump and engine assembly and then to make sure that the model stays in the centre of the frame I’ll create a translation to move the camera across the model.

I’ll start with the incline element of the camera animation and I’ve got my timeline marker set at 7 seconds which is where I want the animation to start. I’m going to open up the ‘Animation Wizard’ and I’m going to choose ‘Inclination’ and you can see in what happens here with this little animation at the bottom – the camera pivots around its target. The Camera that I want to choose is of course is the ‘Animation’ camera and I want to start this at a bit later than I just said – so let’s say 8 seconds and let’s give it a duration of 10 seconds which will make the animation slightly longer overall. The rotation that I want to end up with here is going to be 30 degrees – now to see this I can move the Timeline Marker with the Animation Wizard active and I can see the camera starting to move – so I can kind of rain this back a bit and I’ll set it to 30 degrees. This is the view I was looking for but of course I need to be seeing the model further up into the frame and I can do this with a separate translation. So, let’s finish this and Rename this element 007 Camera Incline.

Starting at the same point I now want to add the second camera animation here I want this to be a Translation and again it’s the same ‘Animation’ camera that I want to use here. I’ll set the global axis here I’ll keep the start at 8 seconds – this was defined my Timeline Marker position – and I want to have a 10 second duration.

I’ll move the Animation Wizard out of the way and scrub the Timeline Marker to the end of the animation segment and then I can choose my Y value here – now the slider will respond to the initial starting number here and 1 is too small so I’ll start with 300 and then start moving the slider whilst watching the result update in the preview window. I’ll end up with a value of 670 here which puts the assembly in the middle of the frame. Lets’ finish that up and I’ll rename this element 008 Camera Translate.

I can render out a Preview of the Animation by using this little button here – and this will create a small animation which is more detailed than the Live Preview window but takes considerably less time to render out than a full animation. Let’s fast forward to the end of the Preview creation and I can now Play the Preview and check that everything looks okay.

So that all looks good, and you’ll see that I can also scrub through the timeline in the Preview too. This Preview can be saved for reference, you might want a colleague or client to see this for example, and this can be done by clicking on the Save icon here.

So, when I’m happy with everything I can render out the Animation. I’ll go to ‘Render’ and select ‘Animation’ and I want to check that I have the correct output resolution set here -1920 by 1080. I can Render out either the ‘Work Area’ (which is between these two triangular markers in the timeline) or the entire animation but in this case that produces exactly the same number of frames.

I can output either as a pre-packaged Animation or a set of numbered still frames. I generally favour just outputting frames as this lets me add corrections and adjustments in by automating Photoshop if necessary. I can set the file type and the quality here and I can either add the this to a Queue to Render later or Render immediately.

So, that’s about all I wanted to cover in this video. Thanks for watching, and please feel free to leave any comments below. If you’ve found this video useful then please hit the ‘like’ button and, remember that to keep up with all the latest developments in Rhino and KeyShot then you can subscribe to this channel. At Simply Rhino we offer training for Rhino and all its key plug-ins including, of course, KeyShot – so check out our website for more details.

Thanks again for watching and I’ll catch up with you in the next video.