First essential step, understand all functions associated with axis control, spreaded over five different zones in the ARC Motion Control window: the first two, General options bar (1) and General functions (2) simultaneously affect all axes. The next three zones, the axis setting window (detailed in the part concerning the limits), the bar of the axis features(3) and finally the area summarizing the data of the axis key positions (4) concern one axis at a time.
General options bar
1. Axis options menu: allows to add an axis, to reinitialize all axis, to import/export an animation or the settings of an axis, to delete or resize an animation, to launch or clear a preview and put all axes in position at the current frame.
2 – Zoom: allows you to zoom in/out the timeline
3 – Add an axis
4 – DMX Sync: allows to synchronize the animation with the DMX lights control.
5 – Position key: the diamond allows to create animation keys for all axes at once, at the current frame. The arrows allow to move from position key to position key.
6 – Position targets: the cursor symbol allows to create positions target – they can be considered as marks to make complex animation curves. The arrows allow to move from target to target and the black slider symbol allows you to show or hide the target positions.
7 – Current image
8 – Control keypad: brings up a window dedicated to animation with a numeric pad (provided with the software).
9 – Slide: allows you to move through the timeline.
10 – Type of position key: allows you to select the type of position key , i.e., in order, Bezier, Deceleration before / Acceleration after the key position (similar to Bezier, but without the control handles), deceleration before the key, acceleration after the key position and finally linear key.
11 – Play animation: animate the cursor and the preview (see also preview functions).
12. show/hide the window preview (see also the previz functions)
13 – Volume: adjusts the volume of a soundtrack.
1 – Shooting mode: click this button to enter the shooting mode, which means that all axis settings are locked for security reasons, and the motors are positioned for the frame to be shot (see also how to create your first animation).
2 – Motor sync for current image: move all motors for the frame pointed out by the cursor in the timeline. If this button is blue, the actual position of the motors is synchronous with the one required by the current image.
3 – Move to the previous/next key position: allows to move from position key to position key over all of the animation curves.
4 – Launch Preview: starts the animation of all axes in fast mode to perform a previz (see also Previz functions).
5 – Save Previz: allows you to save the previz in mp4 format (see also Previz functions).
6 – Go-Motion: the adjustment bar that appears when you click on this button allows to determine the amount of motion blur when using go-motion mode (see also Stop motion and Go-Motion)
7 – Emergency stop: although it doesn't look a button, the E-STOP (emergency stop) mention is a button that stops all motors at once.
The axis functions bar
1 – Axis color: color with which is colored the name and animation curve of the axis in the "Position" box. Click to change the color.
2 – Axis name: rather explicit! Clicking on the name opens the axis configuration window.
3 – Forward/Backward motor rotation: buttons that make the moto rotate in one direction or the other.
4 – Motor synchronization: by clicking on this button, the position of the motor is synchronized with the position it must have at the current frame, indicated by the cursor in the "Position" area.
5 – Position key: the diamond in the centre allows to create a key position at the current image, indicated by the cursor in the "Position" area. The value of the position key is the motor's one in its actual position (indicated by the white numbers in part 6). The arrows on each side allow to move from position key to position key.
6 – Real/virtual position of the axis: two digit one above the other, give the two positions of the axis. The white digit gives the actual position of the motor, while the blue one indicates the position that the motor must have at the current image, indicated by the cursor in the "Position" area. If you click on the white digit, a window appears where you can enter a value to which the motor moves (see also how to create his first animation).
7 – 'Origin' Position: by clicking on it, the motor returns to its original position. It can be customized via the specific menu of the axis. If the center of the button is white, then the actual position of the motor is the same than the one defined as the "Origin".
8 – 'Home' Position: by clicking on it, the motor returns to the "Home" position which, by default, is the same as the 'Origin' position. It can be customized via the specific menu of the axis. If the 'Home' button is white, it means that the actual position of the motor is the same than the one defined as 'Home'.
9 – Limits: If the symbols of arrows to the top or the bottom are visible, the axis limits are enabled. These limits may also be defined, enabled or deleted from the specific menu of the axis. If one of the two symbols of limit is white, it means that the actual position of the motor is the same than the upper or lower limit.
10 – Curve visibility: this button allows to activate or deactivate the curve's visibility in the "Position" area
11 – Specific axis menu: this menu groups all the axis-specific options. It is possible to : reinitialize to Zero the value of virtual position of the motor (white digit in 6), set the 'Origin' and the 'Home' position, delete or adjust the values of the upper and lower limits, to display the configuration window of the axis and finally reset the settings or delete the axis.
12 – Lock / Go-Motion / connection data: this area contains three options. The lock icon prevents from changing the settings of the axis. The shutter icon enable the Go-Motion mode (see Stop Motion and Go-Motion). The last area gives the connection informations of the axis: connection's number to the Arduino and channel in use.
13 – Activation / Desactivation of axis: allows to suspend or activate the axis. When disabled, the axis is not taken into account for the shooting or the preview.
The summary area of positions keys
1 – Axis name: displays the name of the selected axis.
2 – Axis inversion: reverses the representation of the curve in the Timeline – does not affect the animation or the value of the position keys.
3 – Zoom: allows to zoom vertically on the animation curve (increases or decreases the scale of the y-axis).
4 – Position key number: this column lists the position keys by the frame number with which they are associated.
5 – Position key value: this column lists the value of each position key.
6 – Type of position key: this column shows the type of each position key by a symbol – a blue circle for the Bezier keys, a red diamond for the Deceleration before / Acceleration after keys, nothing for the other types.
7 – Offset value: this column lists the value that the axis must rotate to go from one position key to the next one. By definition, the first keyframe of the list returns no value.
As a reminder, the functions described here are also detailed in the help of the DragonFrame software, available online (in English).