— General philosophy – READ ME —

Before starting to use StoryLiner it is very important to understand what this add-on is about and what you will be able to achieve with it.

Basically it is based around 2 very simple concepts. Many tools and features have been added around them to push their logic to something incredibly powerful for storytelling and animation though, which can make StoryLiner appear complex.

1 - Making the edit in the 3D scene

In order to let the director experiment and concretize his vision in a short amount of time it is crucial to iterate fast in the way an action is edited. And is there a better way to so so than directly in the 3D scene?

So the key idea lies in the analogy with shooting a continuous live action from several real cameras:

  • In a Blender scene we create an action, usually corresponding to what would be a sequence in terms of narration, this with a plausible timing;

  • Next we introduce several cameras and we define from the tool when the cameras are recording and in which order they appear in the edit;

  • Then by playing the edit and iterating on the tweaks on the action, the record timings and the order of apparition of the point of views we polish it and finalize the way we want the whole sequence to appear on the scene.

Notion of “Shot”

A [Shot] is the basic entity manipulated by the StoryLiner user interface. As for a live footage it is made of a point of view, thanks to a camera, and a “record duration”, defined by a start time and an end time.

Notion of “Edit”

An [Edit] is an ordered list of shots. Basicaly shots are played one after the other, in the order set in the edit and independently from the time at which they start in the time of the 3D scene.

In practice - or in a production context - an edit could also be referred to what is commonly called a sequence, that’s to say a small edit of shots that are tied together in the narration.

2 - Playing the edit in real-time

To view this edit in real-time StoryLiner introduces a new play mode to Blender. When this mode is activated, doing a play in the viewport will play the scene animation from shot to shot, switching the point of view from one camera to another according to the one associated to the current shot.

With camera binding the time is played linearly, so the point of view simply changes from one specified camera to another.

This new play mode goes far beyond that since it allows time jumps (called ellipses) and jumps back into time, to play the scene action again from another camera. And that’s the essence of StoryLiner!

3 - Read the tooltips !!

This advice may sound trivial but it will save you a LOT of time.

I put a great care in StoryLiner to the UX so as you know - at any time and in any panel - what are the purpose of the settings and the state of the properties.

Moreover, another level of information has been added with the “Quick Help” beacons.

4 - Use the Project Settings

“Project Settings” are a set of properties defining the configuration of your project. They ensure that only the right settings are used all the time during the production of your movies.