AeroVis: Reproducing the DTLZ1 Animation

As I’m working to reproduce Josh’s DTLZ1 Animation that he demoed in the group meeting last week, I thought I’d write a list of my workflow here on the blog.

  1. Load the DTLZ1.par file from the examples folder on ANGEL
  2. In Edit… Plotting Preferences, go to the Glyph tab, and change the size of the glyphs to something like 0.02.  You just want to change the size so you can see the points better.
  3. To get the axes to scale the correct way…first fast-forward the animation to the end using the animation controls.
  4. Then, open “Central Variable Controls”, and reset each axis to its natural scale.  Lock the scaling of the axes so they don’t change by clicking “lock” on each axis.
  5. “Rewind” the animation to the beginning.
  6. In animation tools, find the pulldown menu for “Sync By”.  Change the sync by option to NFE.  Then, type 25000 in the “skip to” box.  Any time you change something in a menu box, be sure to hit Enter on your keyboard to accept the command.  This will fast-forward the animation to a point where you see some solutions appearing in the glyph cube.
  7. The next step will rotate the cube to show a little bit of depth for 3d.  You’ll want to think about a starting and an ending point that you desire.  Then, move the cube to the starting point.
  8. Take a snapshot using the “take snapshot” tool.
  9. Without moving the mouse, set an interpolation camera in “gif controls.”
  10. Now move carefully to the second view that you want.  This will be the one you keep for the rest of the animation.  Set a second interpolation camera.
  11. We’re ready to start the first animation!  Click the red “record” button in GIF controls.  Then, click the “interpolate spline” button in GIF controls.  Finally, click “create GIF”
  12. Now the window should be at its final view for the animation of the actual MOEA search.  Click “clear keyframes” in the GIF controls.  Also make sure the red record button is still depressed.  Finally, set the “frame skip” in GIF controls to 8, and hit enter.
  13. Now hit play in “Animation Controls”.  You should see the Image Stack amount increasing in GIF controls.
  14. You can “pause” to stop the animation at any time.  When complete, click “Create GIF” in the GIF controls to complete.

The animation files were created successfully!  Here’s a short list of tasks in PowerPoint then to complete the exercise:

  1. If you wish, make your first slide with introductory points using the static version of the figure, in your Snapshots folder.  The subsequent animations can be placed on different slides.
  2. In Image Tools in PowerPoint, make sure that each figure (the static one and the two animations) are exactly the same size.  For example, round off the width of the figure to a round number, and the height should follow.
  3. Then, click in the bottom right corner of Image Tools to get to the size and position dialog box.  In position, make each figure have the exact same horizontal and vertical position.  This will ensure that the figures don’t “jump around” on screen between slides.

And that’s it!

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 ( 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”.