AeroVis: Notes on Making GIFs

Hi everybody.  Here is a rough outline for the procedure for making an animated GIF in AeroVis and adding it to a Powerpoint.  The video I made shows the basic procedure, but the instructions below have extra instructions for using Powerpoint and making sure the gifs come out right.

Open Aerovis and get the plotting axis and window size set to where you want it.  Don’t resize the plotting window at all during the following steps, since you’ll want a consistent size throughout creating the animation.

  1. Open “Gif Controls” in the Tools menu of AeroVis.
  2. Click the red circle to indicate you want to “record” your actions in the gif.
  3. Set your frame speed and iterations.  Typically frame speed = 0.1 and iterations = 1 is appropriate.  Iterations = 1 means that the animation will occur once and not repeat.  Type 1 in the iterations box and press enter.  This is very important to make sure the setting will get written onto the gif file correctly.
  4. A nice trick is to combine the “take snapshot” tool with the create gif tool.  At the beginning of your animation, press the “Take Snapshot” command in the Window menu.  Then, without moving the screen, add an interpolation camera using the “Add Camera” button.  Continue adding interpolation cameras in positions where you want the animation to progress.  At the last interpolation camera, save a second snapshot using the “take snapshot” tool.
  5. To actually create the frames for the animation, click the interpolate spline button (and if you want to add a rotation, click the rotate camera button).  You should notice the image stack size increasing.  When you’ve added all the images to the image stack that you want, click “Create GIF’
  6. The image will be in the /Animations/ folder where your AeroVis data files are stored.
  7. In powerpoint, make one slide that has the first static image (from the /Snapshots/ folder).  Then, create a second slide that contains the gif animation.  Finally, if you want to annotate the end of the animation, make a third slide that has the last snapshot in it.
  8. You’ll want to make sure that the images line up just right.  Click to expand the image size options in Picture Tools in PowerPoint to make an exact image size and position, and repeat for all three slides to get the images to line up correctly.
  9. Also, please refer to the following website (http://www.soniacoleman.com/Tutorials/PowerPoint/animated_gifs/gifs.htm) for an explanation of the GIF header elements related to looping and iterations and how these relate to proper operation of the GIF file in MS PowerPoint.

Note From Josh:  Joe brings up a good point here.  For some entry boxes in come of the AeroVis dialogs, you have to be sure and press enter in order for the value you entered to make it into the software.  I will work on improving this behavior so that instead, AeroVis will capture entry box elements as they are being typed to eliminate the need to press “enter”.

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