View Full Version : Animating a screen on an electronic device

02-19-2009, 12:11 AM
Hi all, had a question. I saw an incredible animation of a cellphone that was done by Bruce Branit that I would assume was done in lightwave. Check out


and go to the bottom of the page (Sprint). The animation was on his demo reel but I'm having trouble finding it. The main thing that jumped out at me was the crystal clear animation that was on the screen of the phone even as the phone was moving around. Was this done in post, maybe a texturing trick, or is it a parented light to a surface with a quicktime that gives off this effect? Another thing about this animation is that it appears there was a small clear coat effect that caught the light to give away the plastic screen just like a real phone. Simply an amazing animation. I've been trying to recreate it but I'm having little luck. I would like to expand the look of my animations to include animating screens for the products that I model. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

02-19-2009, 07:12 AM
if the phone is all CG... then the screen is most likely just a single poly with an animated texture map... as for the plastic covering over the screen... just another poly with transparency and reflectivity i would have imagined.

02-19-2009, 07:29 AM
I had a project a few months ago that had to have an animated lcd screen that changed words, time, and stuff for various functions. I modeld all the words, parented them to the sreen in position and controlled them with object disolve and luminosity linked to what ever event was happening that needed to make it change, such as the function changing when the hot water heater's burner kicked on, or the water in the lines got too cool. It was for an Instant Hot water system with a programable control unit connected to the hot water heater. It was a real pain to do that way. I would suggest finding some other way to do it if you can.

02-19-2009, 11:06 AM
Here is a sample scene file and object (cobbled together in 10 minutes) that shows how to place an animation (in this case a QuickTime animation file) on a polygon (a mock iPod LCD panel).


The QuickTime animation on the panel I also created in LightWave (from the flame tutorial in the recent HDRI 3D magazine).

I also placed a glass plate over the LCD panel.

The configuration of the polygon surface is shown in this settings image:


The single polygon is given the surface name LCD. The surface is an Image Map, Planar projection, with the image the screen-video-01.mov QuickTime movie. Pressing the "Edit Image" presents the "Image Editor." There you can specify where the start frame in the animation (First Frame), the end frame (Last Frame), and the start frame in your LightWave scene (Start Frame).

NOTE: In the Image Map texture layer, under Rotation, I have the Heading (H) set to 180 degrees. I had to do this because of the direction of the polygon normal for the surface, otherwise the video is inverted when rendered. I did not take the time to figure out if I had to flip the LCD polygon; I just changed the rotation which mirrored the animation.

The animation created with this scene file is here in QuickTime format:


And here in Windows Media:


I spent little-to-no-time configuring the scene with proper lighting as it's just a test setup to demonstrate one way to do it.

Oh, you may also want to read up on the CCTV shader. It allows you to take a Camera in a scene and project the Camera's contents onto a surface. That is very cool. CCTV I believe is documented in the manual and there is a training video on NewTek's website that shows how to use it.

I hope this helps.


02-19-2009, 01:01 PM
Wow. Thanks Precedia. You figured it out :thumbsup:
I remember the cctv shader but have never seen someone use it in that way before. I'll check it out after I practice your approach.
Thanks again!