All wired up

On this month's cover CD, we're giving away a full copy of Demicron's excellent 2D modeller and animation tool, WireFusion 3.2, a full copy of WF-3D 2.0 (the 3D modeller) plus a demo of the latest version for you to try. Here's a quick walkthrough to create an effective animation in WireFusion 3.2 to get you started.

Open WireFusion and select File-New Project. You'll see that the program is divided into four sections - Folders, Layers, Stage and Wire/List View (see this screen shot). We need to adjust the Stage size to match the image we're about to import, so click Project-Properties and change the width value to 300, the height to 510 and click OK. Click on Multimedia-Objects-Image and you'll be given an image object that you can drop onto either the Stage or Wire view pane. In the pop-up window that appears, click on the Change Image button and locate the image called watch.jpg (it's in the resources\images\watch folder) as shown in this picture. When you click on OK, you'll probably find that the image is off-centre, so either drag it into position with the mouse, or use the cursor keys to square it up to the Stage (the co-ordinates at the top-right of the window should read X:0 Y:0).

Repeat the image insertion process to import the sec.gif file (our watch's second hand), and use the cursor keys to centre it on the watch face (co-ordinates X:133 Y:164). To avoid confusion, rename them by right-clicking on the image object, selecting Properties, clicking on the General tab and changing the Name field to "Watch" and "Second Hand" respectively.

Getting the second hand to move is a little more complicated. From the Objects-Environment menu, drag a System object and a Time object onto the Wire View pane. You'll also need a Maths object from the Objects-Logic menu. Again, it's a good idea to rename them; "System1" to "Push Time1", "Time1" to "Seconds", and "Math1" to "Second Angles".

To get these working, we need to "wire" them together. Right-click on Push Time1, and select Out Ports-New frame started. Your cursor will change to indicate that you're now in connection mode. Right-click on Seconds, and select In Ports-Push Seconds. This sets a rule that "pushes" a new frame instruction down the wire from Push Time1 to Seconds once every second, using your system clock as a reference. You'll see a line between the two objects to indicate the connection - you can click on the grey line to see information on the connection type.

Each time a new frame instruc­tion is pushed, the second hand needs to rotate six degrees from its existing position (360 degrees divided by 60 seconds), which is where the math object comes in. Right-click on Seconds and select Out Ports-Seconds Pushed Number then right-click on Second Angles and select In Ports-Set a. Right-click on Second Angles again, then select Properties. Check the Double radio button and select a*b from the now-active drop-down menu (see screen shot).

Set the initial value of b to 6, and check the a is set radio button. This means that, when a (the seconds value) is pushed to the math object, it will be multiplied by b (the angle of rotation). To apply this to the second hand, right-click on Second Angles, select Out Ports-Result Number, then right-click on Second Hand and select In Ports-Set rotation angle Number (see this screen shot).

To check that it works, click on the Preview Presentation button at the top of the screen (the green arrowhead) and you should see your watch face with a second hand ticking in time with the seconds value of your PC's on-board clock. This should have provided you with enough clues to add the minute and hour hands to the same project, but if you need a little help, you'll find it in the Getting Started guide that's also on this month's cover CD.

CAN'T BE FAIRER THAN THAT

As well as an improved layout, version 4 of WireFusion also includes new objects, a streamlined wire creator and unlimited undos/redos. You'll also find a Macromedia Flash player object, which lets you tie-in Flash animations with your WireFusion projects.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, then you'll be pleased to hear that we've struck a deal with Demicron to bring you the full versions of WireFusion 4 (Standard, Enterprise and Professional editions) for 30 per cent off of the list prices. Take a look at the cover CD to find out more. This offer is valid until June 30.

SITES TO SEE

Here's a random - but no less interesting for that - selection of recommended Web sites for you to take a look at.

Greg's Digital Retouching Portfolio: Not the snappiest title in the world, but Greg Apodaca's site offers a fascinating insight into the world of digital photo manipulation. By comparing the before and after shots you can see the how far an image can be pushed. You'll never trust the camera again. http://homepage.mac.com/gapodaca/digital/digital.html

The Easter Egg Archive: Want to know where all the hidden features - known as Easter eggs - are in DVDs, computer programs and CDs but can't be bothered to randomly press keys until something exciting happens? Simply pop along to the Easter Egg archive and all will be revealed. www.eeggs.com

Identifont: Seen a really good font, but have no idea what it's called? Fear not - Identifont is here to help. By asking a series of questions about aspects of the font in question it'll whittle down the options for you before providing the answer, or at least a close approximation. www.identifont.com

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Laurence Grayson

PC World
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