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Introduction - Getting started

Program window - First object - Looking around - Transformations - Texturing - Animation - Rendering

Despite the 3D editor CaZaBa may at first look seem like simplicity, do not be fooled. Beneath its hood is a powerful engine driven by lots of mathematical operations. We will show his possibilities gradually. So - we start!

Program window

The program environment is simple but effective. You will not be overwhelmed by windows and sliders like in other programs, yet you can find everything you need to work.

First of all there are four windows, with a view of the scene from different directions. By button Toggle large viewport you can switch the view to just one window to see more details. The left bar serves to create objects, edit their properties, and many other editing tasks. At the bottom of the window are the editing fields for transforming objects and over them are controls for scene animation. Well, of course at the top of the window you will find the menu and toolbar with buttons.

First object

We will create the first object. And what other than the classic cube. :-) For greater clarity, we switch the view to 1 window with the button Toggle large viewport . Which viewport will enlarge to the full screen you'll see by the green-colored label in the top left corner of the screen. This indicates which viewport is selected and active.

We create objects in the left bar of the window. At the top there are 4 buttons by which we create Cameras/Lights , 3D bodies , 2D bodies a Complex geometry . Select card 3D bodies . In the list of 3D models (under buttons), select an object Box. By pressing of the button Create you'll create the object.

You do not see anything yet? It's alright. The cube is already there but has a zero dimension. Of course, the program does not know how big the cube you want to create, so it lets you enter the parameters for you. Below the buttons little lower, you can set the name of the object and its color. We leave the implicit name "Box" and randomly generated color. Below, we see 6 other parameters. We are interested primarily in the first 3 parameters X Y Z, which indicates the size of the box. We want to create a cube, so enter values eg X = 10, Y = 10 and Z = 10. And the cube has already appeared!

Tip 1: Did happen to you that you have lost an object selection when you clicked into the scene window after you created a block and you can not find it anywhere with its zero dimensions? No problem - by button Model list open the list of objects in the scene and choose the name of the object to select again.

Tip 2: If you create another cube, the program presets the last entered parameters, so you do not need to re-enter them.

Looking around

Surely you want to view the cube now. The middle and right mouse buttons are used to view the scene. Press the middle mouse button to scroll to the sides (press the middle button and move the mouse). Right mouse button is for zoom in and out (press the right mouse button and move the mouse).

The left mouse button function depends on the selected viewing mode. If the editing mode is selected by the button Editing view left mouse button is to select and edit objects. In mode Free look enables rotation around the center of the view. Free look mode is possible to temporarily activate during editing - Press and hold the W key and simultaneously with the left mouse button rotate the view.

Transformations

You probably guess that you have not moved the cube yet in the scene, but just looked at the scene. You can adjust the objects in the scene by transforming them. For transformation we have 5 buttons on the toolbar: Translation , Rotation , Scale , Bevel and Mirror .

Select a button Translation . The button is grayed out (this way the program indicates the selected function) and the navigation cross - the so called pivot - appears in the center of the cube. Pivot is used to manipulate the object. Drag the arrows to move the object in X, Y or Z coordinate directions. Each transform type has a different pivot appearance depending on which type of transformation we are manipulating.

When you look at the cube more from one side (dragging the left mouse button while holding the W key) and zoom in (right mouse button dragging), you may notice the grid intersecting the cube. This grid indicates the base of the zero-height scenes and can be turned on or off by the button Toggle grid . Once we add the terrain later, we certainly would not want the cube buried in the clay, and that's why we'll lift the cube up. Drag the upper blue arrow by the left mouse button until the cube reaches the grid level. If you mistakenly click aside and the cube unselects, select it again by clicking the left mouse button on it and then drag rather the wider end of the arrow.

There is, however, another possibility to manipulate objects more practical and accurate. At the bottom of the window is a set of editing fields used to numerically specify the transformation parameters of the selected object. If the Translation mode is selected, we can find here the parameters for the displacement in each X, Y and Z axes. Parameters can be entered either in absolute values relative to the origin of the coordinate system or relative meaning relative to the current position. By turning the button on the left Absolute Coordinates or Relative coordinates . Leave the absolute coordinates originally set, and enter a value of 5 in the Z field. This places the cube just above the base plane. If this does not happen, check if the cube is still selected and if the Translation mode is selected - a pivot to move is visible on the cube.

Texturing

What crate would it be without a wooden surface, meaning a texture? You can use the texture you can Download here. Textures in CaZaBa can have a resolution up to 4096x4096. However, for normal scenes, a much smaller resolution is usually sufficient (which will increase the rendering speed).

Leave the cube still selected and by the button Materials open the material settings window. Here we can define the different surface materials we assign to the selected objects.

We will use Material 1. The diffusion component is used to define the color (surface sample) of the object. Click the Diffuse button on the material 1. The next window opens to enter the texture. Use the Open... button to navigate and load the wood texture, then close the window with the Close button.

Texture has also appeared in Material 1 settings. Press the Add button to set the material as the surface of the object. When you switch back to the main program window (do not close the window with the materials), you can see that the cube has been colored with a wooden texture. When you look at the crate by turning the view (left mouse button + W), you can notice that the crate shines. That, of course, looks strange at the wooden surface. Go back to the material window, double-click on the square marked Specular and select black color to turn off speculative lighting. Press the Add button again to set the material to the object. Until then, you were editing only material in the material gallery. The object retains its own copy of the material and therefore the changes in the gallery will be projected into the object after the material is reassigned. Now you can close the material window and verify that the crate shines no longer.

Animation

We can move objects in the scene to create animations. The second line of controls from the bottom of the window serves to create animations. We time the animation using frames of the output video sequence. We create an animation of the object by defining the keyframes to "freeze" the object settings at the appropriate time. In other frames, the program interpolates parameters between keyframe values.

Let's say we want to move the box from side to side. Check first that your box is still selected (there is a green wire-box around the box) because the animation is done with one particular object. Let's start with the beginning of the animation, that is, frame 0. In the bottom line, you can see that frame 0 is already pre-set in the Frame no. field, and that the keyframe 0 is already created at the end of the line, Frame 0. You can view the list of keyframes by pressing Keyframe list.... Switch to the object's translation by the button Translation and move the box to one side - X value 20.

The animation will have 200 frames, which is the default program preset. We want the crate to move half the time from one side to the other, and the other half back. In the field Frame no. enter number 100 and press Enter to move over time to frame 100. Note that if you want to move with the box now, it will not work. In places other than keyframes, the object is manipulated by the program itself by interpolating parameters from keyframes. This is indicated by Frame X in the keyframe selection field. First, create a keyframe at this point by pressing Insert keyframe. The content of the field with the name of the keyframe has changed to Frame 100. You can now move the object by, for example, changing the X field to -20, moving the cube to the opposite side.

The second half of the animation should move the crate back to the starting position. Go to frame number 200 by entering frame number 200 in the field Frame no. to create the keyframe again with Insert keyframe. Then, move the crate to its default position by changing the contents of the X field to 20.

The animation is ready and you can try it. Rewind the playback to the beginning with the button To the start of the animation and press the button Pause / Play . The crate moves slowly from side to side and then back again.

Notice one apparent discrepancy. The scene has a length of 200 frames and these are numbered from 0 (zero). This means that the frames will have numbers from 0 to 199. But the program actually allows us to use frames with numbers from 0 to 200, that is, 201 frames. This is because we can do seamless animation, when the first and last frames of the animation have to be continuously linked to each other when they are played back repeatedly. If we set the last frame the same as the first frame, the cube would have two frames in the same position and it would appear to have stopped for a while. We would have to treat this by calculating the last correct position just before the target frame. The program will help us to define a snapshot after the end of the animation (which will be the same as the first frame), but this image will not be rendered in the video sequence.

Tip: If you want to move back and forth in the animation, click on the frame number field, holding the up and down keys to scroll smoothly in the scene.

Rendering

Conclusion of our odyssey will be rendering animation to a video sequence. You can use the button to render the scene Render . After pressing it, you will be able to open the Render setting window. Set the following parameters in the window: Resolution X = 1920, Resolution Y = 1080, Background color = e.g. blue (the color setting window appears after double-clicking on the color square), output mode Video, Animation = Whole. In the Save path, navigate to the destination folder, and select Video format for example "Xvid MPEG-4 Codec (xvid)".

Now you can press the Render button to start rendering the output file. A rendering window opens in which the rendered image is displayed continuously.

When you finish rendering, Done appears in the title of the window. You can close the window (by clicking the cross in the window title), including the rendering parameters window, and you can play the resulting video.

Tip 1: If the beginning and end of the animation in the rendered video aren't seamless, try using a different codec. If this does not help, switch render output to the Frame sequence, which you then merge into a video with a video editing program. Known issue of some codecs in a Windows environment, typically XVid, there is a problem with the time synchronization of the beginning of the video when 1 or 2 images are duplicated or omitted at the beginning.

Tip 2: If the edges of the rendered scene look too "jagged", render the scene in a double or triple resolution and then reduce the image to the desired size. Video editing programs can be used to reduce videos. For 4k videos, use 5760x3240 and reduce to3840x2160 (UHD) and 1920x1080 (FullHD).

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