Program Copyright Dancing Flame, 1987
Documentation Copyright Antic Publishing 1989
This program and documentation may be freely distributed.
NOTE: You may be familiar with the program previously marketed by Aegis as
Aegis Animator (TM). Jim Kent, who wrote the program, has received the rights
to it back from Aegis. Citing an inability for people to find the program, he
has entered it in the shareware market under the new name Ani ST. The
suggested contribution is a smile. The only change made in the program is a
fix to a problem the program had running with GDOS.
Great animation is a collaborative effort. In a typical cartoon, the chief
animator only draws the principle image. Later, someone called a "tweener"
comes along and draws all the in-between movements. In the film Who Framed
Roger Rabbit?, for instance, if a scene called for Roger's eyes to pop out of
their sockets, the cartoonist would draw the beginning of the action (the
eyes ready to pop) and the end of the action (the eyes fully out of the
sockets). A tweener would then draw in everything that happens in between,
one frame for each movement.
As you can guess, there are few people with enough patience and skill to be
good tweeners. Computers, on the other hand, have nothing if not endless
patience. And with Ani ST you can turn your ST into a professional tweener
in no time at all. A color monitor is required.
As a computer tweener, Ani ST excels in what is known as metamorphic polygon
animation (polymorphic for short). In this type of animation you draw an
initial shape and move it into another shape. The computer generates the
in-between shapes automatically. You can do this over a painted (.NEO or
.PI1) background or you can cut out pieces of a picture (CEL's and MSK's) to
move along a path, color cycle the result, then fade to black as the polygons
shrink in the distance.
Running Ani ST
Run ANIST.PRG in low resolution by double-clicking on its icon. A black
screen will appear with a small, icon-driven menu on the upper left-hand
corner. This is the "fast" menu. I'll get to a button-by-button description
of the program shortly, but first let's try an experiment.
Let's make a circle that turns into a star that turns into a bigger circle.
To do this, move the cursor to the top of the screen and right-click. The
Ani ST drop-down menus appear. Select Make Circle under the Make menu.
Left-click to set the center of the circle, then move the cursor away from
the center about two inches and click again. Now move to the top of the
screen and right-click again. From the Move menu select Loop. Your cursor
will change to a loop and the bottom of the screen will prompt you to select
a polygon. Click once over the circle. Now drag every other point of the
polygon away from the center of the circle to create a star. Right-click
when you're through. Select Play All from the Time drop-down.
Congratulations! You've just produced you're first metamorphic animation.
To complete the sequence, select Next Tween from the Time drop-down. Click
on the star shape to select it, and use the loop to move the inner point of
the star away from the center until you have a circle larger than the
original. Try another Play All. If everything was done correctly, you
should see a small circle change into a star and then from a star into a
Button by Button: The Drop-Downs
Most of the functions of Ani ST are available either from the Fast Menu or
the drop-down menus. In order to access these menus, press the right mouse
button while your cursor is at the very top of the screen. You can close the
Fast Menu by clicking on the box in the upper left-hand corner; to bring it
back, click on Fast Menu under the Menu menu bar.
Most of the Menu drop-downs take you to other menus. Here too you'll find
the all important Undo and Exit options.
About - Displays program version and copyright.
Undo - Forgets last action.
Help Bar - When selected the program puts prompts at the bottom of the screen
(this is the default).
Fast Menu - Brings up or takes down the iconic fast menu.
Storage - Goes to a flat-panel menu to load, save or kill files.
Storyboard - Goes to an editing display where you can cut and splice
Color - Goes to the color-mixing menu.
Time - Goes to the menu for setting speed of individual tween intervals and
the animation as a whole. Also lets you jump around to a specific tween
interval and play animation forward or backward.
New Script - Wipes current script (animation) from memory.
Status - Tells how much memory is left in your machine.
Exit - Takes you to the Desktop.
Most of the Make drop-down options create new shapes.
Polygon - Creates a polygon shape one dot at a time.
Circle - Creates a circle (actually a 16-point polygon).
Star - Creates a star with five points.
Block - Creates a horizontal or vertical rectangle. (You can't move the
vertices of a block, it's like a CEL or MSK that way.)
Filled - Newly created shapes will be solid (this is the default).
Outline - Newly created shapes will be outlined and the last point
automatically connected to the first.
Line - Newly created shapes will be outlined and the last point and first
point will be separate.
Clone - Creates an exact duplicate of an object.
Destroy - Removes an object.
Insert - Newly created objects will be on top of older objects (this is the
Exchange - Newly created objects will replace the nearest older object.
The Move drop-down options let you either move or transform existing
Sideways - Moves objects to either side in the plane of the screen.
Into Screen - Moves objects into the screen. How far they move corresponds
to how far you move the mouse while the left button is down.
Out of Screen - Moves objects out of screen.
Rotate - Rotates objects in the plane of the screen.
Xrotate - Rotates objects about a horizontal axis.
Yrotate - Rotates objects about a vertical axis.
Big/Small - Shrinks or expands an object. First set center point, then click
over object to resize and hold button down. Move toward the center to
shrink, away from the center to expand. Release button when the object is
the right size.
Along Path - Moves objects in the plane of the screen along a path you define
one point at a time.
Change Color - Changes objects to your current color.
Make Filled - Transforms an outline or line object to a filled one.
Make Outline - Transforms an object to outlined form.
Make Line - Transforms an object to line form.
Loop - The "easy" metamorphic tool. Click on polygon to transform. Then
drag around the vertices to new positions.
Hook - The "hard" metamorphic tool. Click in the center of an edge to create
a new vertex. Click on a vertex to move it. If you move a vertex too close
to a neighboring vertex it will merge with the neighbor.
The Pick options let you control how shapes are selected for the Move
Point - Moves a single point at a time.
Points - Moves several points at a time. When this is active you'll first
select the points and then go into the "move" part of the operation. Select
a point by left-clicking on it. Another left-click over the same point will
de-select it. Right-click when you have all the points you've selected.
Segment - Move a segment, or series of connected points, in a polygon, star
or circle. First click on the polygon containing the segment. Then click on
the first point of the segment. Click on the second point of the segment
and, finally, right-click and hold the button down over the last point of the
segment to move the object.
Polygon - Move a single object (this is the default).
Polygons - Move more than one shape (polygon, WIN, STR, etc.) at once. Click
over each shape to select. Click again over a selected shape to de-select
it. Right-click when you're finished selecting.
All - Select this to move all objects at once.
The Time drop-down menus contain options to create new tween intervals and to
play back your animation. Clicking Time under the Menu menu takes you to a
menu that gives you even more control over these options.
Next Tween - Moves to the next tween interval. If this is the last tween in
the animation, create a new one.
Play Tween - Plays through the current tween interval once.
Play All - Plays the entire animation once from start to finish.
Play Loop - Plays the entire animation in a loop forever (or until you right
Ghost Mode - If selected all objects are seen as outlines only.
At End - Views the tween interval at the end of its time segment (default).
At Start - Views the tween interval at start of its time segment.
Icons and Menus
Most of the menus have a question mark icon near the top right. Left-click
here and then click over any item in the menu you're curious about. At the
bottom of the screen you'll see a one-line description of that item.
Button by Button: The Storage Menu
The Storage Menu is where you load and save animations and parts of an
animation. Exit the Storage Menu menu by either left-clicking at Close Box
(in the uppår left-hand corner) or by simply right-clicking anywhere on the
screen. To the right of the Close Box is the Move Bar. Direct the cursor
here and hold the left mouse button down to move the menu.
To the left of Close Box is the File Name Scrollbar. Click on a name here
and it will appear in red in the lower right-hand corner of the Storage Menu,
indicating it is the selected file. In the middle is this list of file
SCR - (Default) These files are complete animation scripts. They're in ASCII
and consist mostly of a series of key words and a lot of numbers.
NEO - A NEOchrome picture used as a background.
PI1 - A DEGAS format low resolution background.
CEL - A rectangular piece of a picture. It can be loaded and moved but not
MSK - A rectangular piece of a picture reduced to a single color. It's
slightly faster than a CEL and uses up to 1/5 the memory.
POL - A single polygon.
COL - A color palette.
STR - An animation script used as a single object when loaded. Lets you
build up your animations in pieces and merge them together.
Clicking on a file suffix causes the File Name Scrollbar to display all your
files with a matching suffix.
On the right side of the Storage Menu are the four action buttons - Load,
Save, Kill, and Cd (for change directory). A click here causes the chosen
action be to executed on the spot.
Underneath these are three icons: the still camera to advance to the next
tween, the undo and the help question mark.
In the bottom right-hand cornr of the Storage Menu is the Current File Name.
A click here lets you type in a new name. Normally you won't type in the
file suffix, but if you wish to override the default suffix (for instance,
forcing Ani ST to use a .SCR file as a .STR file), type in the suffix as
To load a script select Storage from the Menu option. Click on .SCR (unless
it's already highlighted). Click on the file you wish to load on the File
Name Scrollbar. Then click on load.
Button by Button: The Time Menu
The top of the Time Menu has a Close Box and a Move Bar. Underneath those
are three labeled sliders with digit gauges beside them. The sliders and
digit gauges control the same quantities. The sliders are better for coarse
adjustment, while the digit gauges let you make precise settings. To adjust
a slider click on or above the horizontal black line. The diamond-shaped
knob will jump to your cursor position. Release the button when the knob is
in the right place. To adjust a digit gauge click on the triangles above and
below the digit you'd like to change. The slider labeled "which tween"
controls which tween interval you're on.
The slider below "tween time" controls how long the current tween is. A
value of 60 here will make the tween last one second. Use long tween times
for slow dreamy motions, short tween times for fast decisive actions.
The slider labeled "global speed" effects the speed of the entire animation.
A value of 32 here is normal. A value of 64 would make the script play back
twice as fast. (A 60-tick tween would take only 1/2 a second).
Underneath the slider bars is a set of controls much like you'd find on a
VCR. The triple-left arrows control takes you to the first tween. The
double-left arrows control replays your animation backwards. The single-left
arrow control steps you back one tween. The number in the middle indicates
how long your animation is up to this point in time and is measured in
minutes:seconds:jiffies (a jiffy is 1/60th of a second). The single right
arrow control steps you forward a tween. Unlike the still camera icon in
other menus or the Next Tween under the Time menu, this will not create a new
tween if you're at the end of your animation. The double-right arrows
control plays back the animation forwards. The triple-right arrow control
takes you to the end of your animation.
Button by Button: The Color Menu
In the Color Menu you can mix and modulate colors. Under the Close Box/Move
Bar there are three digit gauges controlling the red, green and blue
components of your current color. To the right of these are the ever-useful
Help, Undo and Next Tween (still camera) icons. In the middle left side of
the Color Menu are sliders controlling the hue (place in rainbow), light
(lightness/darkness) and sat (saturation or vividness) of the current colors.
On the bottom of the Color Menu is the 16-color Color Bar. Click here to
select a color; a dot will appear in the middle of the selected color. Just
above the Color Bar is the Color Range selector. It is a left-angle bracket
indicating the start of the Color Range, a right angle bracket indicating the
end and a horizontal line connecting the two. Drag (right-click and hold)
the angle brackets to a new position to adjust the Color Range.
The right side of the Color Menu contains six action buttons.
Cycle - Makes all the colors in the Color Range change to the one to the
right. Reverse the Color Range to cycle backwards. To cycle more than one
step during a single tween interval click on cycle repeatedly.
Fade - This makes the colors in the Color Range fade into the current color
over the course of the tween interval.
Wipe - This removes the background .NEO or .PI1 file starting at this tween.
Range - This makes a smooth gradiation of colors between the endpoints of the
Color Range. To make a grey scale click on the color under the left bracket
and drag its light slider all the way to the left to make black, then click
on the color under the right bracket and drag its light slider all the way to
the right to make white, then select the range.
Spectrum - This is similar to range, but makes gradations that are more like
a rainbow. Reversing the color range will make the other side of the
rainbow. For example, a spectrum from red to yellow will include orange,
while a spectrum from yellow to red will include green, blue and purple. If
both ends of the color range are the same color you will get a full 360
Glow On - This controls whether the highlight color (used to show which
polygon or points are selected during move operations) is automatically color
All of the options in the Color Menu occur smoothly over the course of a
tween interval. If you wish the changes to happen suddenly it's best to save
the new color map as a .COL file in the Storage Menu, and then load it back
Button by Button: The Fast Menu
The Fast Menu lets you make most of the choices from the drop-downs in an
icon form. It's quicker and provides you with immediate feedback as to what
mode Ani ST is currently in. The icons may seem a little cryptic at first.
but you'll become familiar with them as you use the program.
The top of the Fast Menu has the Close Box and the Move Bar. Underneath this
on the left side you have six icons that represent which Pick mode you're in.
These are Point, Points, Segment, Polygon, Polygons and Frame. One of these
six will always be highlighted. Underneath the Pick selections are the Move
and Create options. There are two rows of these icons, eleven in all, one of
which will always be highlighted. Click on the question icon and then over
an icon to find out what each stands for.
The top-middle icon is the Memory Gauge. When the needle is to the right the
computer's memory is full. Even though Ani ST uses much less memory than
most other forms of animation, it is wise to watch this gauge carefully.
When the program runs out of memory your work is automatically saved. This
action unexpected can be a bit disorienting. To the right of the Memory
Gauge is the Help question mark. This is followed by a tilde (~) icon. The
tilde is used to adjust other icons. A tilde followed by a click over the
Rotate icon will let you tell the program how you want to rotate. You can
also use the tilde to adjust the Out icon, the big movie projector and the
small movie projector. Just right of the tilde is Undo.
Under the Memory Gauge is a floppy disk icon that when clicked on will take
you to the Storage Menu. Next to this is an icon of six little boxes which
represents the Storyboard (see below). To the right of this is an artist's
palette that takes you to the Color Menu and right of this is a shortcut to
the Time menu. The last four icons on the right are Exit to quit the program,
a big projector that is equivalent to Play Loop under the Time menu, a small
projector which plays a tween and a still camera which is equivalent to Next
Tween under the Time menu.
Button by Button: The Storyboard
The Storyboard lets you cut and splice animations together. Load up an
animation and go into the Storyboard. Your animation will appear in
miniature in one of six square slots on the bottom of the screen.
Right-click near the top of the screen and a small selection of drop-down
menus will appear. These are:
About... - Provides copyright and version information.
Status - Gives free RAM-memory information.
Exit - Takes you to the Desktop.
Go Into - Turns your cursor into a flickering "into." Left click over one of
the six animation slots to select the animation you wish to go into. This
option comes up automatically when you go to the Storyboard menu.
Splice - Splices two animations together or makes a copy of an animation.
Click over a slot to select the ending animation of the splice. Click again
to select the starting part of the splice. The spliced result will appear in
place of the starting part. To make a copy of an animation simply click on
the animation and then splice it to the end of an empty slot.
Cut - Cuts an animation at the current tween interval. Click over the
animation you wish to cut and then click again over a slot where you'd like
to put the second half. The cut puts the current tween in the second half.
Delete - Deletes a slot. Click on a slot and it's empty.
Activate - Plays the animation in the slot you click on. Click again on the
same slot to stop it. Click on another slot if you'd like to see a couple of
animations going at once.