This dialog window serves 2 distinct purposes:
•When right-clicking on a prop or motion effect row in a sequence's Item List and selecting "Add/Modify motion effect rows" from the pop-up menu, you add or modify motion effect rows in the sequence. Any changes made while in this dialog will be applied to the sequence after clicking the "OK" button.
•When clicking on the "Motion Effect Rows" button in Prop Definition or Group Definition, you can define motion effect rows that will be applied when new sequences are created. It does not change existing sequences.
Motion effect rows do not have to apply to all of the pixels in a prop (or group). Using this dialog, you can specify that a motion effect row applies to:
•all of the pixels in a prop or group (subsection=none)
•a rectangular subsection of the prop's pixels (subsection=rectangle). For example, you could divide a pixel tree into tiers.
•a custom set of pixels chosen by you (subsection=custom). For example, you could draw a face.
When motion effect rows are displayed in a sequence's Item List, the row name is displayed with a square icon suffix to indicate those rows apply to a subsection of the prop or group. Rows with subsection=none are displayed without the suffix, indicating they apply to the entire prop or group.
Motion effect rows in a sequence
In the window, the current set of motion effect rows are listed in the table on the left, and the prop's pixels are shown on the right. If you click on a row in the table on the left, then the pixels used by that entry will be graphically represented on the right.
Within this dialog you can:
The Motion Effect Rows Dialog
Clicking the "Add Row" button will add a new motion effect row to the table. The new row will use all of the pixels in the prop or group (the Subsection field will be set to "none").
By default, motion effect rows are named "Effects 01", "Effects 02", etc. You can change the name of a row by clicking on the name in the table, and then typing the new name.
Using the "Subdivide" button, you can divide the pixels into rows and columns, creating a separate motion effect row for each section.
The following picture shows a 16x50 pixel tree subdivided into 2 columns and 2 rows. There will be 4 new motion effect rows created, with each subsection being 8x25 pixels
Note that the new motion row names are listed on the right. You can modify those names by changing the fields on the left:
•Base name - controls the beginning of the name
•Row prefix - controls how rows are identified. Try "r" if you like short names, or "row" if you prefer longer names.
•Column prefix - controls how columns are identified. Try "c" if you like short names, or "col" if you prefer longer names.
•Suffix - controls whether a suffix is added that reflects the total number of rows and/or columns being created. This is important if you subdivide a prop multiple times - for example into 2 rows, 4 rows, and 8 rows. Adding a suffix will allow you to identify which motion rows belong to which group.
Subdividing a pixel tree into 2 columns and 2 rows
After clicking "OK" in the Create Subsections dialog, this is the result. The "r" in the name stands for "row" and the "c" stands for "column". Notice that clicking on a row in the table graphically displays the subsection on the right.
Result of subdividing the pixel tree into 4 sections
After right-clicking on a prop or motion effect row in a sequence's Item List and selecting "Add/Modify motion effect rows" from the pop-up menu, the "Merge Defaults" button will be visible. Clicking this button will cause the program to look for new or updated motion row DEFAULTS on the Definition screen for this prop or group. If any updates are found, they will be merged into the list of motion rows.
Motion row defaults are automatically applied to new sequences, but this button allows you to quickly load them into existing sequences.
While the "Subdivide" button is very convenient for creating equally sized subsections, you might have need to manually specify a subsection. You can do this by making sure the "Subsection" drop-down is set to "rectangle" for the motion effect row, and then manually typing the values for left, top, width, and height.
Custom subsections allow you to do things like define singing faces on a pixel matrix or pixel tree. You can also use it to define sections of a pixel-based custom shape -- for example arms of a snowflake.
Defining a custom set of pixels to be controlled by the motion effect row
The first step is to change the "Subsection" drop-down to "custom". Once that is done, you will notice that the toolbar on the right side is now enabled.
•Use the "Pencil" tool to turn on pixels (make them part of the subsection). Left-click on a pixel in the diagram to turn it on, or drag across the diagram with the left mouse button depressed to select multiple pixels at a time.
•Use the "Eraser" tool to turn off pixels (remove them from the subsection). Left-click on a pixel in the diagram to turn it off, or drag across the diagram with the left mouse button depressed to deselect multiple pixels at a time.
•Use the "Move" tool to reposition the selected (on) pixels.
•Use the "Flip Horizontal" tool to reverse the enabled pixels left to right.
•Use the "Flip Vertical" tool to reverse the enabled pixels top to bottom.
•After creating a custom subsection in Add/Modify Motion Effect Rows for a prop with a custom shape and then subsequently changing the custom layout, it is possible to end up with nodes in the custom subsection that are no longer on a pixel. Use the "Delete marks not on a pixel" menu item to clean up such nodes.
•Use the "Delete all marks" menu item to turn off all of the pixels. This is useful if you want to start over with your custom selection.
•Use the "Show All" check box to show all of the motion effect rows with a "custom" subsection on the diagram at the same time. For example, if you are drawing a face on a pixel matrix, you might first draw the outline of the head on one motion effect row. Then you might draw the eyes on another row. While drawing the eyes, it is useful to see where the outline of the head is, so you would keep "Show All" enabled.
When this dialog is opened from the sequence grid using the "Add/Modify motion effect rows" right-click menu item, an extra drop-down box is displayed in the middle of the toolbar. When a prop or group has more than one motion effect row, this setting controls how the rows are combined.
Motion Row Combination Mode
In Blend mode, the maximum brightness for each pixel is taken from the effects across all motion rows. This mode is backward compatible with prior versions, including the S4 Pixel Editor.
In the following example, the tree is on the first motion row, Santa is on the second motion row, and a Marquee effect is on the third motion row. Notice that Santa's left arm gets lost in the tree, and the tree mixes with the marquee effect the bottom. For Picture effects, blend mode doesn't work very well.
In Overlay mode, motion rows are overlaid one on top of the other using alpha blending (i.e. effects can have areas that are transparent). The first row listed in this dialog is used as the background, then successive rows are layered on top of it. Note that you can use the up and down arrows on the toolbar to change the order of the rows, thus changing the order in which rows get overlaid. Overlay mode is the default for new sequences.
Using the exact same sequence as the Blend mode example, you can see that Overlay mode produces a much better result -- the tree is in the background, Santa is in front of the tree, and the marquee is in the foreground.
You can copy the contents of the motion effect row table to the clipboard, and then use the paste button to append the data into the Motion Effect Row dialog for another prop. This can be useful when you want to:
•copy motion effect rows defined in a sequence to the motion effect row defaults for a prop or group, so they will be applied whenever a new sequence is created.
•copy motion effect row defaults you just created on a prop or group into existing sequences.
•copy motion effect rows defined in one sequence to the motion effect rows for a same prop or group in another sequence.
•copy motion effect rows defined on one prop to other props with the same shape and dimensions. For example, you might define some motion effect rows for a pixel-based mini-tree and copy those rows into your other mini-trees.
Let's take the second situation as an example -- you added motion effect row defaults to a prop. New sequences will use those defaults, but you need to get them into an existing sequence. Here are the steps to follow:
1) open the existing sequence
2) double click on the name of the prop to open Prop Definition
3) click on the "Motion Effect Rows" button in Prop Definition
4) click on the first motion row
5) shift-click on the last motion row, which should select all rows
6) click the "Copy" button
7) click "Cancel" to close the Default Motion Rows window
8) click "Cancel" to exit Prop Definition
9) back in the sequence, right-click on the prop name and select "Add/Modify motion effect rows" from the menu
10) click the "Paste Append" button. All of the rows copied in step 6 should now appear in the list
11) click the "Save" button to return to the sequence