Using Flipbooks

A flipbook is a series of 2D images that you can display in your story. For example, you might use a flipbook to include a hand-drawn animated character walking through your set. Or your scene might include a television with a video playing on its screen.

Creating the Flipbook Images

A flipbook can be a series of images of any size or aspect ratio. We support the following image formats: 8-bit (per RGBA channel) non-palettized Targa, TIFF, PNG, and JPG.

You should name the images in the sequence as follows:

name.number.extension

where the number is zero-padded. For example: cloud.001.png, cloud.002.png, cloud.003.png, and so on.

Note: Keep in mind that the larger the images, the more memory they use and the longer the download times for your story. See the Best Practices page for tips on optimizing flipbooks.

Using a Flipbook

Preprocessing the Images

This feature is in development. More information will be available soon.

Before you add a flipbook to your Maya scene, you might want process the images using the Cut Tool. The Cut Tool is a command-line program that eliminates redundant images and reduces the remaining images to the smallest size possible. Please see the accompanying README file for more information on using the Cut Tool.

Note: Currently, using the Cut Tool is a manual process. So if you make any changes to the source images for your flipbook, you will need to run the Cut Tool again.

Adding to your Maya Scene

To add a flipbook to your scene:

  1. In Maya, add a piece of geometry to use as the anchor for your flipbook. The geometry can be any shape, though using a plane often helps you visualize the placement.
  2. Assign the surface material for that object to Spotlight Shader.
  3. Under the Spotlight Shader parameters, click on the black and white checkered box next to DiffuseColor to open the Create Render Node window. Choose File.
  4. In the Attribute Editor, under File Attributes, click on the folder icon next to Image Name. Navigate to your series of image files, choose the first one, and then click the Open button.
  5. Below the Image Name field, click on the checkbox to enable Use Image Sequence.

In the Image Number field, you can use the provided expression, or one you create, to play your animation. This is especially convenient if your animation is the same length as your story, and starts on the first frame. However, if you wish to specify which frames of your flipbook play on which frames of your story, follow the steps below.

  1. Make sure you are on the desired frame in your animation that you want to start the flipbook. Right-click on the Image Number field and choose Delete Expression.
  2. Enter the number of the first image into the Image Number field. Be sure to press the Return/Enter key.
  3. Right-click on the Image Number field and choose Set Key.
  4. Continue to move through your animation frames and set keys for the correct image sequence numbers.

Tips

This feature is in development. More information will be available soon.