View Full Version : Animating a procedural texture sphere of doom

08-24-2013, 04:21 PM
I am attempting to make a procedural texture on a sphere move/churn and also look like it is rotating. I have attempted two methods but neither of them are working correctly.

The first method is to go into the texture editor and apply two keyframes in the z-axis for position making sure everything is set to linear. I scroll through my timeline and everything animates as it should. If I rotate the sphere itself the problem I come up against is that the texture stops moving in the middle of the two keyframes. This happens if the sequence is 1000 frames long or 10000 frames. If I change the value of the second keyframe the same thing happens.

The second method is to add two keyframes to position in the z-axis again. However this time instead of rotating the sphere I apply keyframes to the rotation values for the texture. This time even though everything is set to linear the rotation speeds up in the middle and is not linear throughout.

I've spent the last two days making tests and searching the forums and google looking for an answer. I had read in another post that the issue surrounding linear keyframes had been sorted out for 11.6 but after downloading it and testing it the problems are still here.

The last test after numerous others I can think of trying is to use the second method to rotate the texture with world coordinates checked. I came across this earlier but it ignores the movement of the sphere rotating.

If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated.


08-24-2013, 05:39 PM
Using World Coordinates will ignore your sphere 's rotation because it's using the world's coordinates, not your objects. You could try tieing your procedural to a null and then parent the null to your sphere.

I've never run into the problem you're describing but I've also never rendered out such a large frame count.

To get a procedural to animate I usually pipe a procedural like Ripples into one of the values of my procedural. You could also try piping in a value from a node instead of plotting keyframes in the procedural itself.

08-24-2013, 07:33 PM
You can UV-cycle an image map - does it have to be procedural?

Just scrub the timeline.

08-24-2013, 08:28 PM
(Accidental double post)

08-24-2013, 11:26 PM
If you are moving the texture on the z and you rotate the ball around its almost like you are changing the texture direction so it appears to change speed.

I like nickdigital's suggestion of using something else to animate the texture's churning.

You might also be able to plug the output of the procedural into a gradient or something to animate the color through the textures (animating the key positions in gradients) rather than moving the texture through the object.

I think it's either the windy wave or wavy water procedural from the RMan Collect node (one of dpont's plugins) that has an input for just animating the texture. You might want to look into that too.

Oh, and as BokadCastle suggested, using a 2D texture wrapped on the sphere might work, too.

08-25-2013, 06:38 AM
Rotating the sphere itself while it has a(n also) rotating Surface is probably complicating things visually. First nail down the texture effect you want, then move on to moving the sphere.

Unless the two rotational speeds are markedly different, you'll get the effect of the texture 'stopping' as the angular velocity of the Bezier'd rotation matches the linear angular velocity of the underlying geometry. IOW, it's a sort of illusion. tl:dr, get the Surface right first.

08-25-2013, 07:52 AM
If you are moving the texture on the z and you rotate the ball around its almost like you are changing the texture direction so it appears to change speed.

That would be my suspicion... its something akin to an optical illusion since the ball is rotating and the texture is moving in the objects local co-ords. Try parenting a camera to the ball, so it goes fixedly with it... does the texture still appear to "slide" when viewed from that camera?

08-25-2013, 11:01 AM
Just wanted to say a quick thank you to you all for the suggestions. That's certainly a lot of ideas to try out! I'll let you know how I get on.

09-02-2013, 12:06 PM
It's been several days since all of your suggestions. In that time i've tried several of the ideas but so far I must still be doing something wrong and i'm not getting the results i'm looking for. I parented the camera to the rotating sphere but that didn't help. I had the texture animated using a null with the sphere rotating and then with the null parented to the sphere rotating but neither of those worked the way I wanted to either.

I've also tried plugging a ripple node into the procedural texture but it changed the look of the texture too much. Funnily enough the effect i'm going for is based on your Procedural Fire Texture tutorial Dana. Is there a node setup that I can use instead of animating the position of the texture in the z-axis? I've searched through the DPont nodes and the manual but I am out of my depth trying to figure this out using nodes. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated.

09-03-2013, 01:56 AM
It's been several days since all of your suggestions.....

I've just checked the site shown in your signature.
Very impressive, everyone else should also do likewise.

I'll try and expand on my suggestion tomorrow.

09-03-2013, 02:56 AM
Thanks for the compliment. I'm actually Kelly's husband Mark but we've been working together on her video art installations for several years now and over the last two years I jumped ship from C4D and started using Lightwave and Turbulence FD. This forum has been hugely instrumental in me getting to grips with LW. Someone usually seems to have experienced the problems I'm having and a solution has already been suggested. For the Mars piece 'Mariner 9' I used Kuzey's Metal Pack (if you don't have it go buy it) and there was a huge thread about various tests using the node editor which I found very helpful during the production of the work.

Anyway, I did download the files you linked. The Animation UV Cycler looks very useful and I would have never known it was there so thanks for that. I'm not sure if I can use it in this instance though as I really need the procedural texture to be evolving/churning whilst rotating. Unless you meant there is a way to combine the two and that was what you meant?

09-03-2013, 03:06 AM
time to post your scene/object so others can see whats going on.

09-03-2013, 03:42 AM
I've stripped out all the containers etc but here is the basic setup. The way the procedural texture looks currently with the z-axis position keyframed is how it should look. However when I try to rotate the sphere as mentioned before the movement slows down and stops during the middles of the sequence. Ideally I would like it to be the same speed throughout. If I rotate the texture itself the churning stops completely throughout the sequence.


09-03-2013, 03:48 AM
Mark, have you looked at the IFW nodes? They have deformers that can be driven by the d+bw time node. I've just got a test rendering and I'll put it up here when it's finished.

09-03-2013, 04:14 AM
Here you go:


I know it's green rather than red, but being a city boy, green is far more scary. :)

Oh, and here's the nodes.

09-03-2013, 05:00 AM
Hey thanks for putting that test together and attaching the nodes. That certainly seems to be a suitable solution. I'd still be interested to know if there is a way of using the nodes that come with LW. However, if there aren't I think this is going to be the direction I take. Thanks again!

09-03-2013, 05:16 AM
No problem. You really should look at the IFW2 nodes if you're at all interested in surfacing, and RH's nodal tutorials, (link in his post above), are excellent as well.

I'm just popping out for a meeting, so for my own entertainment I'm rendering a de-luxe version with volumetric lights and stuff to keep the computer occupied whilst I'm gone. It's running at about a frame a minute, so expect a new video about four-ish. :)

09-03-2013, 07:20 AM
Sounds good. looking forward to seeing the results.

09-03-2013, 08:41 AM
Here you go:
So, what was the issue?

09-03-2013, 08:57 AM
Nope... cant see anything wrong with your scene. The texture animates along the objects local Z... doesnt slow down, doesnt stop. You do get the ILLUSION of it slowing during rotation, but this depends on the speed of rotation vs the speed of the texture motion, but thats all.

09-03-2013, 09:57 AM
So, what was the issue?

What??? :D

Youtube compression has mashed up all the volumetric niceness, but you get the idea:


09-03-2013, 10:08 AM
pinkmouse, I meant the OP's problem. According to RH, it was really just an illusion of geometry movement+texture movement.

09-03-2013, 10:19 AM
Guessed so, but wanted to confirm. ;)

Here's a still, for a better idea.

09-03-2013, 12:04 PM
I made this by copying the texture from your sphere and pasting it onto a plane, I then pointed a camera at the plane (box) and rendered out a sequence of the churning texture. I then used that churning image sequence as a cylindrical map on the sphere. If you rotate all around the object you will see a seam where the texture wraps around. To defeat that, I added the sequence a second time rotated 180 degrees on the heading and used falloff (and maybe a different texture center) to blend the two maps together so we don't see the big seam. There is pinching on the top and bottom, but you could project the texture down and mask it in the same way to cover those areas as well.


The prerendered texture does not loop seamlessly, so you'll want to render a texture sequence longer than your shot or make a seamlessly looping version.

It's not an idea solution, and you may want a better, more sophisticated way to blend the front and back layers together since we lose contrast where the two are blending.


09-03-2013, 01:13 PM
...or make a seamlessly looping version.

Is there a way to loop procedurals?

09-03-2013, 02:19 PM
Is there a way to loop procedurals?

The only way I can think of looping the procedural would probably be to create a ping pong effect.

09-03-2013, 02:26 PM
Thank you both for taking the time to produce those texture tests. They are certainly both going to provide the solution I was after. I think for this current project I will be using the prerendered texture mapped onto a sphere solution. I'll need to make a longer version but I don't see any issues with that hopefully.

I'm definitely going to end up getting the IFW2 Nodes though. This project is one of five video installations so a different look for the texture may well be needed.

Thanks again for taking the time to put those tests together.


09-03-2013, 02:42 PM
At one point I tried applying a noise texture to a layer in After Effects then applying CC sphere. I would have still needed to hide the seam but i'm pretty sure there is a way around that. The texture looked pinched at the top and bottom though which made it unusable. This solution although it has some pinching as you mentioned is a huge improvement!

09-03-2013, 04:15 PM
I googled 'loop procedural lightwave' and a couple of people mentioned using ripples texture to displace another texture which in turn will loop - every [1/ripples wavespeed] frames. Anyway I had a play - its not as nice as pinkmouse's solution and might not be what you want but it loops!

You'll need DPKit


09-03-2013, 04:19 PM
Is there a way to loop procedurals?

There may be a way to loop some procedurals. I know ripple loops nicely. :)

Typically, I just take a clip into something like after effects, split it in the middle or toward the beginning and slide the clips around so the original beginning and the original end overlap a bit. You can then transition (crossfade or wipe or something) between the two clips and you should end up with a seemless loop. It's not as good as if the procedural itself were looping, but it does work most of the time.


@Franco-Jo IFW textures looks like a pretty good deal, and I'm sure it'll serve you well. I still haven't picked it up, but I've been eyeing it for a while. If you do get it, you'll be able to use more of the presets at presetcentral.com (http://www.presetcentral.com/) :)

09-03-2013, 07:16 PM
use DPont's Flownoise, animate it in the Z direction > Done! http://erikalstad.com/backup/misc.php_files/smile.gif

check it out, i think you'll like the result... http://erikalstad.com/backup/misc.php_files/047.gif

a test i did some time back (sorry, scene files are gone)


09-03-2013, 08:59 PM
looping procedurals.....

Have two of the same procedural and offset both the opacity and whatever effect you want by a half wavelength (length between crests on graph, not "wavelength" setting per se, as in specific procedurals like ripple etc.)

This displacement is driven by procedurals. It repeats seamlessly as a whole but also repeats in the middle. Can you see a jump?


09-03-2013, 09:14 PM
I posted another way to loop procedural textures using 2 reference nulls here: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133057-Looping-procedural-textures&p=1295526&viewfull=1#post1295526