Seba's Avatar


27 Dec, 2018 08:17 PM

Hi, I've been playing around a little bit more and I created this little animation. What do you think? What would you suggest to do in order to improve its final look and animation? How could I add more beauty and complexity to it? Thanks in advance,


  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by john on 28 Dec, 2018 01:34 AM

    john's Avatar


    This is really cool. You have to let it run for awhile to fully experience the complex interplay of the branches.

    Of course there are endless ways of fiddling with animations like this. This is particularly fun on NodeBox because you can add nodes and scrub parameters as the animation is running to get immediate feedback on every change. This allows you to discover cool effects by accident that you would never find any other way.


    When expressing pure form and motion, simple is often better. I was going to say black on white or white on black, but it is often better to soften this a bit white (e.g. off-white against dark gray). A"snowflake" design can also look nice against a deep blue background.

    Still, adding color can reveal additional layers of complexity. I notice you had some colors inside your shape subnetwork which you played with and disconnected. Those might be worth turning back on.

    Instead of using colors to highlight the interplay of components, you could try varying the color from the base outward like a plant: dark green at the bottom, bright green at the tips.

    Another thing you did was turn off the fill in the connected shapes by setting alpha to 0. If you increase the alpha, maybe half way, you see "feathers" which darken and lighten as the shapes spin and overlap. You have to show this against a white or neutral background to see this effect. This is fun to play with.


    You can try adjusting the stroke size, making it smaller than one for delicate lines or greater than one to create thicker branches. With a little more work you could mix these effects, making the lines thicker near the base and finer at the extremities. You could also pulse thickness along with overall motion.


    Another thing you can try is scaling or growing or expanding and contracting the structures over time. You can hook a frame node to a wave node to generate a gentle expand and contract motion. There are many different ways to grow and shrink including changing the end point in the sample node which create the initial points or simply attaching scale nodes at strategic points. You can also expand and contract the overall structure by adding a translate component to your copy node so that the three main branches fly apart and come together.


    Instead of building your snowflakes out of line segments, you could build them out of arcs or quadratic curves. This is a bit trickier to pull off but could take you in many different directions. A simpler approach would be to add my fit_curve node:

    Note: this requires that you install the make_curve custom node (which means adding it to your code library). It might slow down the animation a bit, so for final results you would want to export your animation as a movie.

    Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head; countless others are possible.

    The hardest part is knowing when you are done. It's easy to get carried away and add in so many different effects that the overall animation becomes a confusing mess. It's a bit like making a soup: a few spices can make a good soup great, but too many spices overpower the basic flavor. I think the best animations are simple in the sense that they have a recognizable essence that can evolve but which is never obscured by unrelated flashiness.

    Thanks for sharing this!


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