In the second post of this series, I showed how a 3D object could be manipulated as a complex sequence by interacting with two layered animations and a spinner. Using the same concept of layering animations to simulate a seamless environment, this demonstration took on the challenge of creating an exploded view of an assembled piece of equipment.
The first part of the video is a proof-of-concept showing that 3 blocks stacked on top of each other could be expanded (or exploded) outwards with each piece turning into individual spinners. One video was created from the 3D animation showing the expansion and a full 360-degree rotation of all three blocks.
Here are the steps that I took with the first animation:
1. Separate the animation into the expansion sequence (60 frames) and the rotation sequence (20 frames) 2. Export both animations as PNG sequences into Photoshop 3. Crop each frame to reduce image size for the expansion sequence 4. Separate and crop each of the individual block rotations 5. Zip each set of sequences 6. Import expansion zipped file as an Animation 7. Import the individual block zipped files as Spinners Note: When cropping in Photoshop, make sure each set of sequences are the same size.
Using Actions in Photoshop to reduce production time
Since the original 3D animations were developed in 1024 px X 768 px to match the Composer stage size, there was a lot of unused white space on either side of the blocks. Memory management and image size is always a top priority when developing for the iPad, so I brought all 60 frames of the block expansion and 20 frames of the rotation sequence into Photoshop and cropped them down. Once the correct size for cropping was determined, I recorded the cropping and saving steps as Actions to process the remaining frames. Using the Actions panel in Photoshop greatly reduced my processing time.
From proof-of-concept to real-life development
Now that we know the exploding view concept worked with the 3 blocks, it was time to test it out on a real piece of equipment. The object in the second part of the video is a 3D object of a building automation controller that my company manufacturers and installs. For those of you that are curious, when you go to your thermostat at the office and change the temperature setting, this is the piece of equipment in the ceiling that controls the temperature or airflow into your office.
Discovering the challenge of the exploded view
The third part of the video was created with the same procedures as the 3 blocks, but now each of the pieces were overlapped during the spinner operation. The challenge now is figuring out how to create 3 overlapping spinners that are triggered by a smaller area than the spinner object. Basically, the spinner trigger areas cannot overlap each other even if the animation sequences do overlap.
Final comments on eLearning development with Composer
This 3-part series flexed Composer in a 3D complex sequence environment to see if this mighty app was up to the task. In my
opinion, Composer does exactly what I need it to do for manipulating a simulated object inside an eLearning course. Objects and animations can be layered to create very complex simulations that would take a lot of coding to accomplish in other programs like Adobe Flash.
With Demibooks’ pivot into the realm of education, it only seems natural to think of “eLearning” as belonging to the same category as “educational apps.” After all, the same Learning and Development concepts apply to all areas of education whether it’s grades K through 12, college-level, or corporate training. This next series of blog posts will take a detailed look at using Composer as an educational app development tool.
How do you use Composer for education?
Leave a comment and let us know how you use Composer in education. Are you teaching classes on how to use Composer? What are your challenges with using Composer in the classroom? About the Author Andrew Weaver is a Project Manager for Online Resources at Siemens Industry Inc., Building Technologies Division. He is responsible for customer support and administration of their Learning Management System (LMS) and is the eLearning developer for external customer online courses. Andrew has a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and has over 20 years experience in Learning and Curriculum Development. You can reach Andrew on his LinkedIn page or his personal blog at eLearningBuilders.com.