|Column Tag:||Tools of the Trade
ADDMotion for HyperCard
By Dave Kelyy, MacTutor Editorial Board
Add motion to HyperCard with ADDmotion
In case you havent noticed, the price of doing multi-media has been climbing. Evidence of this is the huge increase in the price of MacroMind Director, not to mention the cost of licensing the MacroMind player for your project after completing it. Three cheers to Motion Works Inc. for their HyperCard 2.0 animation product, ADDmotion. With ADDmotion you have the capability of adding 2-D animation, color, and sound to any HyperCard stack. Its true that you cant really compare ADDmotion with Director, but its a lot of features for the money if youre doing HyperCard animation.
Like other animation programs, ADDmotion actors consist of one or more cels. Each cel is a foreground picture that represents the actions and gestures of the actor. The cels are displayed one after the other to provide the illusion that the actor is really moving.
ADDmotion Props are pictures that are staged in the background as actors perform in the foreground. A variety of transitions or visual effects can be assigned to Props. These are similar to the effects available to HyperCard scripts.
You can send HyperTalk messages to HyperCard with the Cue feature. The cues can perform a one line HyperTalk script. By sending a message to a HyperTalk handler you can have control over HyperCard events such as playing CD and videodisk players or controlling HyperCard effects and movement between cards.
The Media Controller window is the primary control panel for setting up your animations. A set of tools is provided for manipulating the actors, props, cues, and sounds: The path tool shown here is used to manipulate the path of the object being animated. Creating a path is not as easy as in MacroMind Director where you can record the path as you move the object, but the next version of ADDmotion will improve on the way that the path is manipulated. To create a path in ADDmotion, you select the path tool, then the object, then click new points for the path or drag the mouse with the command key held down. The path may be changed by clicking and dragging a point to another location.
Animations can have up to 5000 frames. A new animation defaults to 200 frames. You may adjust the number of frames any time as needed. The TimeLine Tool on the Media Controller window opens up a window that displays time lines giving the relationship of each object in the animation with each other. The TimeLine has similarities to the score window in MacroMind Director. From the TimeLine, you can modify the relationship between actors, props, sounds and cues.
Clicking on an object name brings up the dialog to modify the object. Sounds and Cues are deleted from the time line with the delete key, a feature not mentioned in the manual. It would be more intuitive if the Cut item of the Edit menu was enabled to delete Sounds and Cues.
Built into ADDmotion is the ability to record and modify sounds using either MacRecorder or a digital microphone on the Mac LC or IIsi. The Sound Editing Dialog provides several tools to modify existing sounds or ones you record.
The Louder and Softer buttons will increase or decrease the amplitude of the sound waveform. Echo adds an echo effect to the sound. The Backwards button reverses the waveform to make it play in reverse. This would be useful for creating sounds that reflect opposite events.
One of the most important parts of any animation tool is the painting tools. ADDmotion provides most of the tools you will need to create the actors and props (Selection Tool, Lasso, Pencil, Brush, Paint Bucket, Spray, Text, Eraser, Color Pick-up, Line, Rectangle filled and unfilled, Rounded Rectangle, Oval, Curve, and Polygon Tools). In addition, you can Fill, Invert, Lighten, Darken, Anti-Alias, Trace Edges, Rotate and Flip objects. These tools and functions should take care of your basic color painting needs, but other special effects may only be available in other paint applications. ADDmotion is capable of supporting 24 bit color. Like any program that supports color, the higher the bit depth, the more memory is required.
If you havent ever used another animation program, ADDmotions manual will be too brief. Beginners should start at the beginning of the manual and go step by step through the tutorial. The tutorial is easy enough to understand, but the manual suggests that you experiment a lot to see what everything does. I found the Macaw bird actor in the tutorial was amusing. It helped make the tutorial more interesting. The reference chapter goes through each and every function of ADDmotion, but if youre looking for something in particular youll have to look in the index. The index is brief, but it will help you to find the desired section in the reference chapter. It would be better if you could find each function in the reference section directly without having to use the index. Be sure to read the Manual Addendums and Corrections manual. It contains some very helpful hints and solutions to potential problems.
If youre already developing in HyperCard, ADDmotion is a great way to add color and animation to your stacks. Some developers may be afraid to commit their development efforts to HyperCard. They fear that stack development is not serious enough. This is partly because HyperCard has made it so easy for novice-developers to create their products. HyperCard has grown up a lot since it was first released. In spite of its shortcomings, version 2.0 now gives built-in control over menus, and windows. The extensions have grown up too. ADDmotion is evidence of this growth. HyperCard developers should consider using ADDmotion to enhance their stacks.
Motion Works has gone to great lengths to assure that ADDmotion is 32 bit clean and System 7.0 friendly. It is compatible with TrueType fonts and takes advantage of the new sound manager routines. Now is a good time to know that ADDmotion works great with System 7.0.
Another thing that should be mentioned is that ADDmotion does NOT require a 10Meg minimum of free space to use it. This was reported in MacWeeks recent review of ADDmotion as mentioned in the ADDmotion manual. The truth is, ADDmotion only takes up about 800K on the disk. The tutorial and samples use up another 800K or less.
In summary, ADDmotion is an excellent choice for adding low cost animation to your HyperCard stack. Best of all is the royalty free policy, that is, you can use and distribute ADDmotion XCMDs AMLoad, AMPlay, AMRelease for only a small registration fee each year. Commercial products are $50, $25 for commercial stacks not sold as a product, and $15 for shareware stacks. The registration fee is free for stacks that are given away for entertainment or educational use as long as they are not given away with any other product. This policy is very reasonable considering what ADDmotion will let you do. I suggest that if you are serious about using ADDmotions animation engine, that you contact Motion Works as they my be able to work out a good deal with you. In the next version of ADDmotion, developers will be able to add animation to nearly anything they are working with by using the stand-alone animation engine. Its exciting news and should open up animation for use in nearly every environment. Have fun animating!
ADDmotion is available from:
Motion Works Inc.
1334 W. Sixth Ave.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6H 1A6
Requires: a Macintosh computer with System 6.0.7 (or later), 2MB RAM and a hard disk, HyperCard 2.0 (or later).