Creating Texture Animations in Blender


Objects in a world file can have their textures animated. This guide takes you through the process of creating texture animations and applying them to faces in your world.

You can have any number of texture animations per world file, but the addon is currently limited to 64 slots. Each animation is similar to a gif file or video, which consists of a number of frames. Each frame must be mapped to a region within one of the track textures (eg, tracka.bmp).

Give the Texture Animation reference manual a quick glance and then read on.

Animation Preview

The Texture Animation Panel

Texture animations are set up as part of the scene. They are independent of any object or face in your world file. However, you still access them through Blender's Edit Mode because it can be convenient in some cases. You must be careful about this, because selecting a face does not update the face's texture animation slot in the panel!

Select an object in your world file, then hit TAB to enter the Edit Mode. In the Re-Volt panel, you now have access to a new section called Texture Animation (.w). This is where you set up your animations.

Texture Animation Panel

Setting up a Texture Animation

Set Total Slots to the total number of animations you plan on having in your track. Select an animation slot and set the total number of frames for this animation. Under Animation Frame, select Frame 0 and adjust its properties:

  • Texture: Texture page number for this frame (0 is tracka.bmp, and so on).
  • Duration: Number of seconds to display this frame.
  • UV Coordinates: 3 or 4 UV coordinates to define the face mapping for this frame. If you have a face selected, use the UV to Frame button to copy the face's mapping to the frame data. Note that these frame coordinates are shared by all faces that are using this animation slot.

There is a Preview feature, but this is currently broken, because only the UV coordinates are updated. The face is still rendered with its mapped texture, but this is really the texture animation slot and not its actual texture. Read the Applying Animation to a Face section for a better explanation.

You can select further frames and fill in their properties by hand. However, this will not be required for majority of use cases, because the addon can automatically generate two of the most prominent type of animations - Linear and Grid.

Linear Animation

Each frame moves through the texture page from point A to point B (up-down or left-to-right). This gives you a scrolling effect. The Museum 2 elevator should be a familiar example.

Ensure that the first and last frame properties are properly filled in. Then click the Animate... drop down and select Transform Animation.

Texture Animation Panel: Transform

Fill in the values - set the Start and End frames, the duration of each frame and the texture page to be used, then press OK. This will interpolate between the Start and End frames and fill in the intermediate frame UV coordinates.

Grid Animation

The texture page is treated as an M x N grid. Each frame maps to a successive element / region from this grid. The Mars animation in Museum 2 is an example of this type.

Fill in the first frame properties and set the UV coordinates to the top left corner of the grid texture. From the Animate... drop down, select Grid Animation.

Texture Animation Panel: Grid

Set the Start frame (typically 0), the duration of each frame and the texture page to be used. Set the X and Y resolution to the number of elements across and down the grid, respectively. As an example, 4 x 4 would give you an animation with 16 frames.

Applying Animation to a Face

This is probably the most confusing part, because faces handle their texture animation information in a rather odd way. This goes way back to some design decisions by Re-Volt's original developers.

A face with Texture Animation enabled does not use its own texture page or UV coordinates. It sources both these information from the animation's current frame. This unused texture mapping information is really used to specify the face's animation slot!

Follow the Texture Mapping guide if you're unsure about how to assign textures to faces. Also learn how to assign Polygon Properties.

To apply Animation #2 to some faces, select these faces and enable the Texture Animation property checkbox from the Face Properties section.

Texture Animation Property

Switch to the UV/Image Editor and assign 2.bmp to these faces (trackc.bmp). Note, again, that the faces are not really going to be mapped to trackc.bmp. They'll be mapped to whatever texture page number was specified in the Frame data for Animation #2.

Texture Assignment

Texture Design Considerations

When applying animation to a mesh containing multiple faces, it should be noted that the entire animation is repeated across each face. i.e., every face using a certain animation slot is mapped to the exact same UV coordinates within the same texture page.

To give the impression that the faces are animating together, as a whole, care must be taken to ensure that the texture itself tiles seamlessly on all sides. Look for some tutorials on how to create seamless textures in the image editor of your choice.

Seamless Texture

Tutorial: How To Create A Seamless Texture in GIMP