eBook Animation Software: 3D eBook Shot.

Using 3D eBook Shot

You should be able to pick up 3D eBook Shot and start using it without needing to refer to the help files. On this page we provide an overview of the 3D eBook Shot interface and it's features.

Tool Bar and Menu

3D eBook Shot was designed to be simple and enjoyable to work with. From the outset, we've consciously designed the interface to be logical and intutive to use. In order to start using 3D eBook Shot you need to click the book icon.

Tool Bar Icons

  • Book Icon

Clicking this icon opens the Dynamic Pack Controls dialog.

  • Save Image Icon

Click the disk icon to export a 24bit Bitmap screen shot. The size of the screen shot depends on the current size of the viewport. You can re-size the view port by holding the mouse over the lower right hand boarder until the mouse icon changes to a pair of diagonal arrows. When this occurs, hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse in order to set the view port the size you desire.

  • Background Color Icon

Click on the Paint Brush and Monitor icon to change the background colour

File Menu Items

 

  • New

Selecting New from the File Menu (or pressing CTRL+N) resets the box to its default position and loads the default images (these can be found in the Boxes folder in the installation directory with the following names; standard-box-back.jpg, standard-box-front.jpg, standard-box-left.jpg, standard-box-right.jpg, standard-box-top.jpg, and standard-box-bottom.jpg. You can overwrite any or all of these images and replace them with your own.

  • Save Screen Shot

Selecting Save Screen Shot from the File Menu (or Pressing CTRL+S) exports a 24bit Bitmap screen shot. The size of the screen shot depends on the current size of the viewport. You can re-size the view port by holding the mouse over the lower right hand boarder until the mouse icon changes to a pair of diagonal arrows. When this occurs, hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse in order to set the view port the size you desire.

  • Copy Image to Clip Board

Selecting Copy Image to Clip Board (or Pressing CTRL+C) places a copy of the contents of the view port on the clipboard. Use this option if you'd rather paste your box shots directly into your favourite image editing package rather than saving bitmaps.

  • Open Settings

Open a previously save .3DPS file. This is the file format that 3D eBook Shot uses to save animated sequences.

  • Save Settings

Save a .3DPS file.

  • AVI Export Settings

settings

3D eBook Shot supports and wide range of AVI export opions. These control the dimensions of the video you export.

View Menu Items

 

  • Show/Hide Toolbar and Status Bar

You can toogle these menu items in order to hide the Toolbar and Status Bar. This is sometimes useful you're using a very low resoultion monitor and you need every inch of screen space for your box shots.

Help Menu Items

 

  • Tip of The Day...

If you've removed the check from the Show Tips on StartUp section of the Tip of the Day dialog, you can bring it back with this option. Although, if you're reading this manual then you almost certainly won't need to read Tip of the Day...

  • About 3D eBook Shot

The 3D eBook Shot about box contains version and copyright information about the program. More significantly, it gives you a direct link to the 3D Box Shot Website, where you can purchase the program or read all about the exciting developments in the world of 3D eBook Shots!

Dynamic Box Controls

The Dynamic Box Controls Dialog is split into two sections: Box Properties and Box Controls. We'll start with Box Properties.

Pack Properties

This section of the dialog has a number of functions:

 

  • Lighting

Toggles lighting on and off. For example:

Lighting on

Lighting Off:

  • Increase Depth

Sometimes a fat box is what's required. Use the spinner control to add some weight to your creations:

Fat Box

  • Pack Type

Click the downward pointing arrow to open a list of different pack types (dependant on the current selection, only Book and Box have selectable variations). Selecting one of the available options will result in the pack immediately switching to your chosen type. The pack options currently available in 3D eBook Shot are standard retail box, over slip retail box, standard DVD, Slim DVD, standard CD and slim CD, Hardback, Paper Back, Slim Paperback and Mug.

  • Load Images

Click the respective load buttons in order to import your pack images into 3D eBook Shot. The program can import the following images types: jpg, jpeg, bmp, gif, wmf, ico, emf.

  • Screen Shot

Put a check in the screen shot box and 3D eBook Shot switches to screen shot mode. You can now load in image files and manipulate them in 3D. As a result of the keyframe animation system, 3D eBook Shot be used as a simple software rostrum camera! The only restriction on the size of the images that can be loaded is the amount of memory on your graphics card. Therefore, on a well specified system, you should be able to load in very high res digital camera images. This makes 3D eBook Shot ideally suited for rendering rostrum pans and zooms over large landscape photographs.

Movement Controls

  • Mouse Control

The Movement Controls section of the dialog provides an intutive control interface. You can control the position of the pack in 3D eBook Shot in a number of ways. The most immediate way is using the mouse. While the Rotate Pack selection is active you can rotate the pack on it's X and Y Axis by holding the left mouse button and moving the mouse. Holding the right mouse button and moving the mouse rotates the box on it's Z axis. When the Pan and Zoom selection is active, the left mouse control X and Y position, while the right mouse button controls zoom. As you move the pack with the mouse, the sliders automatically update, quantifying the position of the pack in real time.

  • Sliders

You can also control Rotation, Pan and Zoom with the sliders. The sliders can also be control by the cursor keys to give a fine degree of control for minute adjustmests to the postion of the box.

  • Keyboard input

You can also enter values into the edit boxes next to the sliders.

  • Generate AVI

Exports an .avi video of the current keyframe sequence.

Keyframe Animation

In animation, a key frame is a significant frame in an animated sequence of frames drawn or otherwise constructed by the user. Historically, in the world of cartoon animation when all frames were hand drawn by animators, the senior artist would draw the key frames, leaving the "in between" frames to an apprentice. Now, the animator creates only the first and last frames of a simple sequence; the computer fills in the gap. This is called tweening.

3D eBook Shot Key Frame Tutorial

The key frame system in 3D eBook Shot is very simple. We can’t emphasize this enough. Some people might argue that it’s too simple! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a short five step tutorial on how the 3D eBook Shot key frame system works. Follow this tutorial and you’ll soon have mastered the 3D eBook Shot key frame system…

  • Step One...

Open the 3D eBook Shot Control Deck and Select the Box radio button. Left click on the view port and move your mouse (while still holding down the left mouse button) to rotate the box through 45 degrees on the Y axis. Click and hold the right mouse button while moving the mouse to rotate the box on the Z axis.

See, you’re already getting to grips with the control system! Alternatively, you can adjust the slider controls to modify the rotational values of the box:

Step 01

  • Step Two...

Next, select the Key Frame Controls and click Add Key to add a key frame at frame zero on the timeline. 3D eBook Shot doesn’t calculate any tween frames when a keyframe is added to position zero on the timeline. All the values for all effects are stored, so the calculations can be performed when the next key frame is added.

Keyframes

  • Step Three...

Click the Radio Button button above the sliders and Select Pan & Zoom. The mouse controls and sliders will now manipulate the Pan and Zoom on the box. Zoom out by holding the right mouse button and moving the mouse. Left click and move the mouse to pan the box around. Pan the box to the bottom right hand corner of the screen:

Step Three

  • Step Four...

Left click on the timeline pointer and drag it to the middle point (frame 150) of the timeline. Click the Add Key Frame button. Once a key frame is added beyond position zero, all the values for all effects are recorded to that key frame and the tween frames are automatically calculated.

Slider

  • Step Five...

Click the Timeline pointer and drag it backwards on the timeline to position zero. The sequence will play back in reverse as you drag the pointer. When the timeline pointer is back at position zero, click the Copy Key Frame Button. This copies all of the values from the selection position on the timeline. Drag the timeline to position 300 on the timeline (the final frame) and click Paste Key Frame. This will paste the key frame values that you’ve just copied back to the timeline at the position selected by the timeline pointer.

Click the play button to watch the sequence you’ve created playback. Because frame 0 and 300 contain the same values, you have just created a seamless loop. Well done! 3D eBook Shot is a creative tool, experiment with it and be creative!

  • Limitations of the Key frame system

The simplicity of the 3D eBook Shot key frame systems comes at a price. You can’t write key frames to a point on the timeline where the tween frames have already been calculated. Basically, key frames have to be added to the timeline in sequential order and cannot be edited once they have been committed to the timeline. However, you can append key frames to the end of the sequences without problems.

 

Video Compression Options

Video Compression

Now for the science bit... 3D eBook Shot uses what's technically known as the Video For Windows or VFW AVI export library. After you've selected where you want to save your 3D eBook Shot AVI clip you also have to select a Video Compression Codec to use. The default option of Full Frames [Uncompressed] will produce very high quality files that are uncompressed and therefore absolutely massive. This is hardly surprising when you consider that it does exactly what its name suggests. It writes each frame of your sequence to the AVI file without using any compression technology at all.

 

Therefore, a 500 frame clip is roughly equivalent in size to 500 separate 24bit bitmap files! As a result, these files take up a lot of hard drive space and will not playback smoothly in the Windows Media Player.  However, Uncompressed files with provide the highest quality source material if your planning to edit and re-encode the footage in a video editing package.

 

If you've been using a variety of video editing software or if you watch a lot of movies and video clips on your machine, you're likely to have accumulated a wide range of video codec’s. Every VFW compatible Video Codec installed on your machine is available for selection from the codec selection combo box in 3D eBook Shot, but the default settings of these codec’s often leave a lot to be desired in terms of Video quality.

 

Fortunately it's easy to fix. By clicking on the Configure button once you've selected a codec, you can, in most cases, alter the default settings in order to increase the quality of the Video. Take DIVX for example. When you select this codec and click the configure button, you'll be greeted with a complex codec configuration screen. Selecting the optimal setting for a DIVX Avi is an art form in itself and there are several websites devotes entirely to this subject. For a fast and dramatic improvement in visual quality, just drag the bit rate slider up until the bit rate is around 1000. While this will result in an increase in the AVI file size, the file will still be much smaller than a Full Frames Uncompressed AVI. The same is true of most other Video Codec’s.

 

Please note, AVI writing is disabled in the Demo version of 3D eBook Shot. We've done this as we want you to buy 3D eBook Shot. The full version of 3D eBook Shot lets you export as many AVI files as you want.

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