Animations in ADAMS

This is the method I use to make animations of ADAMS simulations for PowerPoint presentations:

  1. Start ADAMS/View.

  2. On the startup screen, select Import a file and browse to the folder where your .gra file is.

  3. In the File Import dialogue, change the File Type to ADAMS Graphics File (*.gra). Right-click in the white box to the right of File(s) to Read and select Browse. Select the file(s) you want. Click on Open and then OK.

  4. For offshore simulations, you can easily color the water blue and the mud brown by importing a command file. Copy the code below to a file called OffshoreColors.cmd in your working folder and then import it: Click on File, Import, and set the file type to ADAMS/View Command File (*.cmd). Right-click in the white box to the right of File(s) to Read and select Browse. Select OffshoreColors.cmd. Click on Open and then OK.

! Set zoom. view center view=.gui.main.front object = -5.8385255007, 4.0183167284, -16.7700485259 view zoom view=.gui.main.front zoom = 1.9677419669 view zoom view=.gui.main.front zoom=1.1192250373 ! MODIFY View Rotate view rotate view=.gui.main.front screen=-6.971296604, 0.41287593, -4.6566852972E-002 ! Set to precision shaded. view manage modify render=pshaded ! Color the water SkyBlue and make it 50% transparent. entity attributes & entity_name = OUTLINE_100908, OUTLINE_100901, OUTLINE_100902, OUTLINE_100903, OUTLINE_100904, OUTLINE_100905, OUTLINE_100906, OUTLINE_100907, OUTLINE_100908, OUTLINE_100909, OUTLINE_100910, OUTLINE_100911, OUTLINE_100912, OUTLINE_100913, OUTLINE_100914, OUTLINE_100915, OUTLINE_100916, OUTLINE_100917, OUTLINE_100918, OUTLINE_100919, OUTLINE_100920, OUTLINE_100921, OUTLINE_100922, OUTLINE_100923, OUTLINE_100924, OUTLINE_100925, OUTLINE_100926 & & color = .colors.SKYBLUE & entity_scope = all_color & transparency = 50 ! Color the mud Maize and make it 50% transparent. entity attributes & entity_name = CIRCLE_20 & type_filter = Circle & color = .colors.MAIZE & entity_scope = all_color & transparency = 50 geometry attributes geometry = CIRCLE_20 render = filled
5. Click on Review, Postprocessing to get to the ADAMS Postprocessor.

  1. Load the animation: Select the model name in the file Treeview section on the left and then click on View, Load Animation. After the animation loads, click in the empty white area of the Treeview to deselect the model.

  2. Using the view controls in the bar near the top, orient and zoom to your liking. For offshore turbines, I’ve found that centering on the tower about half to two thirds of a rotor radius below the hub works well. I then zoom out so I can see the mooring lines. You can change the zoom during the recording of the animation and I think this creates a good establishing shot.

  3. In the Dashboard at the bottom of the window, go to the Animation tab. If you have slack mooring lines, you need to skip some frames at the beginning because they incorrectly appear taught at the beginning. You might try playing the animation to see how much to skip. Change the Display Units to Time. Enter the skip time in the Start field and the length of the animation you want to record plus the start time in the End field. Change the Loop option to Once. Change the Display Units back to Frame.

  4. Click on the Dashboard’s Record tab. Set the Format to AVI. Check the Frame Size box and set the size to 1280x720, which is the highest resolution the AVI to WMV converter will support. Drag the small animation bar on the current meter all the way to the right to see the total number if frames in the box to the right of the meter. Divide the total number of frames by the total simulation time to get the frame rate in frames per second. Enter that value in the Movie replay rate field. Ensure that the Quality is set to Best (100) and the use compression box is checked. Set the File Name to an appropriate one. It must not already exist.

  5. Click on the |< button in the play controls to set the time back to the beginning of the part you want to record. Click on the R button to enable recording and click on the > button to start the replay. Depending on your display, recording sometimes disables the Dashboard. You can use the | buttons on the upper bar to control the animation.

  6. If you want to zoom in and out during the animation, you can select the magnifying glass button in the top button bar. It has either a square in the lower-left of the button or a +/-. If the +/- version is not visible, right click on the button and select it. To zoom in, put the cursor (it will look like a magnifying glass) near the bottom of the animation window. Drag it up very slowly as recording is much slower than real time. The time is displayed in the upper-left corner of the animation. To zoom out, place the cursor near the top of the animation window and drag. It’s jerky for me, but that’s the best I can do. You may want to use two hands to move the mouse. You might want to let the establishing shot stay on screen for a few seconds before zooming in on the turbine. Consider zooming back out at the end to re-establish the scene. Once the recording is complete, click on the R button to disable the recorder. During recording, you can pause the recording at any time by clicking on the || button and restart it with the > button if you need to.

  7. You can review the animation by opening the AVI file in Windows Media Player, or whatever program you prefer.

  8. The resulting AVI file is huge. A 90-second animation takes 1.15 GB. That’s way to big to share. Microsoft has a program that will convert the AVI file to a WMV (Windows Media Video) file that is much smaller. The program is called Windows Media Encoder. It is a free download from Microsoft: … fault.mspx

  1. Once you’ve installed the encoder, start it. In the startup screen, click on Convert a file and select OK. The next window asks you to enter the name of the file to convert. Browse to the AVI file you created earlier. It will suggest a name for the output file. You can edit that if you like. Click on Next. Choose File download (computer playback) and click on Next. Set the video to High definition quality video (5 Mbps VBR) and click on Next. On the next screen, you have to option of entering display information. Click on Next. Ensure that the Begin converting when I click Finish box is checked and click on Finish. The encoding will take two passes of the animation. Fortunately, it runs much faster than the AVI generation. When the conversion completes, you can click on the Close button.

  2. You can review the animation by opening the AVI file in Windows Media Player. The animation dropped from 1153 MB for the AVI to 56 MB for the WMV. That’s a factor of about 20. 56 MB is sharable.

  3. If you want to use the animation in a PowerPoint presentation, you can link to it (not embed!) by doing an Insert, Movies and Sounds, Movie from File in PowerPoint. After linking it to the presentation, you will need to shrink it to fit on the slide. Drag the corners so the aspect ratio does not change. If you move the presentation to another computer, you will need to move the animation file too and re-link the animation in the presentation.