Firka user's manual V5.0.7



Introduction

Firka Animation Software version 5.0

User's manual

Written by: László Fazekas

The creator of Firka software (Author)

This manual is the user's manual of the animation software named Firka. Only the same version of the software works exactly like the contents this manual. A warning message at the chapter beginning indicates if the actual chapter is not matching with the properties of the actual software.



Copyright

Copyright © 2017, László Fazekas. All rights reserved.

All rights reserved. Content of this handbook can be freely copied, spread or distribute in printed or in form of electronic information, if its text remains in its full and unchanged form in the result of these operations.



Limited warranty

The Firka animation software and the enclosed information material (the Software) is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including but not limited to the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and nonfringement.

In no event shall the Author be liable for any claim, damages or other liability, whether in an action of contract, tort or otherwise, arising from, out of or in connection with the Software or the use or other dealings in the Software, including but not limited to causing directly or indirectly personal casualty, or for any kind of damages deriving from profit loss.

The contents of this material or the Software itself can be changed by the Author without prior notices.

This handbook or the parts of it and the name of the Author shall not be used in advertising or otherwise to promote the sale, use or other dealing in this Software without prior written authorization from the Author.

The protected names in this material are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.



Chapter 1.

About the software

The Firka program is originally made for the purpose of supporting the pencil test which is one of the intermediate working phases of the traditional cartoon animation. The computer appears in more and more phases of the animated film creation. This does not mean that the computer take over the creating procedure itself - there are experiments for it - but this means that in the animation industry, which has always claimed high level of technology background, methods used earlier is replaced with more effective computer solutions which assure better quality for lower price in the final result.

The rapid growth of the capability of the computers makes it possible that smaller firms or individuals can use a computer of considerable output for a reasonable price. Computerised animation is widely used today in smaller animation companies also. In the early 90's Amiga computers was used for the aim of the line-test, but the capacity of these was too small for manufacturing a final product of professional quality with it.

The developing of the Amiga stopped in the middle of the 90's, so IBM compatible PC computers have caught up with it then they rapidly exceeded the graphical capabilities of the Amiga. The other problem is that the condition of the machine park at the companies has considerably declined.

So it was necessary to develop a modern motion test system, which is suitable for the possibility of today's computers. This should be such as that for easing the convention it will be able to co-operate with the painting systems and with the older pencil test softwares, and it should be able to expand to a full painting system in the future while taking into consideration the prospective growth of the capacity of the computers.

The Firka software was made for these purposes. Development of the program happened on the basis of the claim of the motion test, the main aim of the author was the easy manageability and the direct and tangible representation of the motion picture scenes.

We can create 'movie' folders and scenes within these. One or more exposure sheets (shortly x-sheets) can belong to the scenes. An x-sheet defines the contents of the scene frame-by-frame. The contents can be pictures, sounds, effects or camera movements. The exposure sheet is divided into levels. The order of these levels is important, for example the non-transparent picture content of upper levels overlap the content of lower levels. There can be virtually unlimited number of x-sheet levels.

The pictures and sounds can be referenced only within the scene that contains them. It is possible to redirect the contents of an exposure sheet level onto another. The exposure sheets of the same scene also can share levels with each other. In these cases the changes in one of these levels can appear in the other linked levels as well.

The program stores its scenes in an internal database, but there is a possibility for loading and saving the scenes, individual pictures and sound in several different file formats.



Chapter 1.1.

The User Identification Code

Anybody can use the program free of charge without time limitations, but in this free mode the user's program can read only the scenes made by itself, those cannot be transferred into another Firka systems. Some functions of the program, supported for the professional works, also cannot be used in the free version.

For utilizing the program fully, you need a personal User Identification Code (UIC). Being in possession of it the scenes made by you can be freely forwarded to the co-operative Firka systems of your partners. The UIC consist of 3 times 7 characters - letters and numbers - which can be activated at the "About" window in the program. If you operate your computers in a network there is possibility for using more identification codes at the same time, and the running programs can use the same shared scene library. In this case you need as many identification codes as many programs you want to run at the same time. For discount prices, you can buy restricted codes for workplaces where you want only to play back or edit the scenes.

From the version 2.1, there are different basic types of the code number. The code number contains access rights to the program's features. These are the basic types available:

Free:

Personal:

Professional:

Network player:

Professional network player:

If you want to buy a user identification code, or you have any questions, or any use of a particular hardware device is uncertain for you, please contact the Author of the program:



Chapter 1.1.1.

The free version

The free version of the software is freely downloadable from the Internet. It is working without any user identification code. The software instance can edit its own created scenes.

Limitations:

This wersion allows the recording of the scenes only on the user's computer. Importing scenes from external source is not possible and the exporting of scenes into files is also restricted. It is possible to view individual scenes from external sources, but these are not editable and not insertable into the scenes. Among others, the handling of pegbars and the camera movements, the drawing and painting functions, the printing, and the rendering in final quality are all missing from this version.

The free version has no quantitative or time range restrictions.



Chapter 1.1.2.

The commercial version

The purchased User Identification Code adds some more functionality to the free version.

It is possible to export the scenes into different standard file formats (for example, to AVI or to sequence of images). You can define camera paths, the levels can move individually or together, also these can follow a summation of multiple paths. The position of pegholes can be assigned to the drawings, to easily match drawings with different resolution or different aspect ratio. The program is able to recognize the position of the pegholes on the scanned or digitized pictures. You can use several User Identification Codes over a computer network, where the individual computers can work together on a shared database of scenes. A modification made on one computer is immediately visible on the another.

The drawing toolset is optimized for animation painting. A picture can contain several sub-layers, these can contain direct colors (using transparency, red, green, blue components) and palette colors as well. The palette colors are not containing the color values directly, but referring to a member of a separate palette table instead. With the painting tools it is possible to fill the inside of an area even if the outline is not completely closed. Correction of the outline is also easy.

The final material can be rendered with a slower method in higher quality, instead of the preview mode, which is optimized for speed. In this mode the camera movements are calculated with cca. 1/1000 pixel accuracy. The color calculations are using 16 bits precision.



Chapter 2.

Installing

This chapter first describes the technical equipments, the computer and its accessories, and then tells about the steps of the installation process, also for computer networks.



Chapter 2.1.

The technical background

The goal of the development for Firka was to make a system, independent from the computer hardware. Currently the software is available for Amiga and IBM compatible PC computers (for Windows or Linux) and also for Apple OSX. The Amiga version, because of the humble capacity of the hardware, is not usable for real purposes, this version was developed formerly because of the existing Amiga computers in the animation studios, and also for bug tracing and testing.

You will need some suitable picture and sound input/output devices to use the program. The picture input is mainly a video camera, or a scanner for painting. The scanner is eventually usable for linetest too, for example to import bigger background sketches.



Chapter 2.1.1.

System for the linetest

For linetest, due to its proper speed, video camera capture is recommended. The input device can be some commercial camcorder, industrial or security camera. Place it above a horizontal desk surface, cca. one meter over it. High resolution is important, the camera should have manual zoom, and manual focus and aperture. It'also better to adjust the white balance manually. Even lighting of the capture surface is also important. The autofocus and auto brightness on the camera can be disturbing, so its better to switch these off. Also it can be a problem if the camera switches off itself (standby) after a few minutes of inactivity, which usually causes blank picture. With some cameras this auto off works when a cassette is in the camera, or if the camera is working from battery.

Some types of webcameras and photo cameras are also good to use, but usually these provide fewer options to change the parameters. Webcams usually have no zoom.

To convert the analogue or digital video signal from the camera into digital data usable by the computer, you will need a video capture device connected to the computer (capture card, frame grabber). Some devices, like webcams, can be connected directly.

It is recommended to put a peg plate on the desk under the camera, where the pegs are placed on a bigger, movable and usually transparent plate. With the manual zoom on the camera the operator can set the field of view, and the field can be positioned by replacing the movable plate under the camera. The bigger plate's weight can avoid an accidental displacement. But if needed, you can fix the pegs position during the capture, for example with adhesive tape.

Eventually the quality of the movie requires the use of scanned pictures. Specially with camera movements and big backgrounds, when the camera field is too big, the picture from the camera can have poor quality. Even the best cameras have some optical distortions, the edges and corners of the picture can be geometrically distorted, darker, or out of focus. The scanners have no such distortions because of the different working principle. But the cameras are used more often because of the faster operation and easy positioning.



Chapter 2.1.2.

System for film making

When the drawings finished and the linetest approved, it's time to make the final appearance of the movie. In the traditional animation making this means the painting of the drawings on computer, capturing the background paintings, correcting colors, setting the camera movements and field composition, eventually creating effects and finally the rendering of the final image sequence, followed by the transferring to the final medium (film, video).

Greatly helps this process if the recorded linetests are reusable during the final compositing. By replacing the pictures with better resolution ones and by correcting the camera movements, the final material can be finished faster. Reuse of the exposure sheet in its unaltered form ensures to preserve every list changes and corrections from the linetests.

The captured materials of the linetest is usually not good enough for reusing in the final material. The lineart drawings must be captured again with a scanner in a resolution matching to the final picture format. The better scanner is fast enough and can process a sequence of drawings automatically. To process the usual paper sizes of animation, A3 size scanners needed. The Firka program can recognize the position of the drawing by the picture of the peg holes on the paper. Locking the paper to a position on the scanner during the process is not needed, paper feeders are also usable. Many scanners can use its feeder only with its own software. In this case first record the images (as a BMP, JPG etc. sequence) with the scanner's own software, then Firka can process the recorded pictures further.

For recording to the final media, the finished material must be rendered in some standard intermediate format, to a data storage, then it can be recorded to the final storage media. This intermediate format can be a special format of AVI for some video recording devices, or usually a sequence of TGA, TIFF or PNG images.



Chapter 2.1.3.

PC computer

The capacity of today's PC computers are constantly growing. Generally speaking, any of the new PC computers are suitable to use for both linetest and film making.

The computer preferably must be up-to-date with high capacity. Speed of the microprocessor is usually characterised with the internal clock frequency, which is given in gigahertz units (GHz). The bigger this value is - within one type - the faster the computer will be. Firka can take the advantages of multi-core computing too. The size of the inner memory influences also the capacity, the more memory the computer has, the more data can be processed with rapid speed.

For camera capture, under Windows you will need a Video for Windows (VfW) compatible capture board or webcam. For Linux, you can use a Video for Linux (V4L/V4L2) or a GPhoto2 compatible hardware. Firka is able to use Firewire camcorders and the Blackmagic Design HD capture cards (DeckLink, Intensity) as well.

For drawing, a pressure sensitive graphic tablet is recommended.



Chapter 2.1.4.

Apple computer

Apple computers are internally similar to PC computers and usually all newer models are suitable to use for both linetest and film making.

Firka can take the advantages of multi-core computing too. The size of the inner memory influences also the capacity, the more memory the computer has, the more data can be processed with rapid speed.

For camera capture under OSX, Quicktime compatible devices are usable. Firka is able to use the Blackmagic Design HD capture cards (DeckLink, Intensity) as well.

For drawing, a pressure sensitive graphic tablet is recommended.



Chapter 2.1.5.

Amiga computer

Amiga computers became popular in animation studios during the early 90's because of their quality video functions. There were advantages over PC computers, like the direct recording of video to tape without additional equipment and both the graphical and audio qualities were better. The range of required additions, like picture and sound digitizers, was also wider.

Firka uses many software solutions that are not favourable on the Amiga. One problem is the memory. In PC environment, gigabytes of RAM can be installed with a reasonable price, but on Amigas, with their limited expandability, the most can be only a small fraction of this. The speed of the computers is also a problem. If you want to use Firka on Amiga, the best you can do to use an upgraded (68060 based) A-3000 or A-4000, with at least 16 MB of memory.

The program's user interface requires at least 800x600 for the display, so it is recommended to set the display resolution to the highest possible and to use a small and proportional font instead of the quite big Topaz font. The current version of the program supports only the builtin graphics system of the Amiga, expansion monitor driver cards (Retina, Picasso...) are not usable.

From the available video digitizers for Amiga, Firka can use various types of VidiAmiga and VLab.



Chapter 2.2.

Installing the software

The program and its related extensions can be downloaded from the

http://www.firkafilm.com

Internet address. On the website you can find an instruction manual for the latest version of the program. If you upgrade your system from the Internet, it is a good idea to download the latest handbook also.

First, you choose the downloadable file for your operating system at the program's site on the Internet. Download it to your computer, and unpack the loaded file with an uncompress utility. If you are not familiar with the uncompressing, simply send an e-mail to the Author (please notify what is your operating system), and he will send you an uncompressed copy by e-mail.

After uncompressing, you get a folder with some files and with an executable program file, named Firka (Firka.exe in Windows environment). You obtain also a text file which introduces your user rights - its name is License. There is also a file contains the data for installation, themes, language translations etc. Its name is wupdate for Windows, lupdate for Linux and so on. Create a directory folder on the drive you want to use for the scenes. Copy these files into it. The program will store all its data, including the scenes starting out from this folder. In this way every data related to Firka can be easily copied, or the program can be finally deleted by deleting the folder. The program does not modify any of the system settings (registry). The program and the scenes can be carried to any other computer at any time with copying the whole content of the folder. It is possible even if you change the operating system, just you have to overwrite the Firka executable with the suitable version. If you have a dual-boot machine, like Linux and Windows together, you can use the same shared folder. Just put both executables there.

The program is using an internal protection to distinguish the free and commercial versions and to prohibit usage of the same code on more than one computer.

PREFERABLY DO NOT REINSTALL THE INSTALLED SOFTWARE, OR AT LEAST DO IT BY COPYING THE ENTIRE DIRECTORY OF THE PROGRAM (THIS INCLUDES COPYING THE SCENES OF THE INTERNAL DATABASE). THEN DELETE THE OLD INSTANCE OF THE PROGRAM, OR AT LEAST DO NOT START IT ANYMORE. TO UPGRADE THE PROGRAM TO A NEWER VERSION, IT'S ENOUGH TO OVERWRITE THE EXECUTABLE FILE (Firka, Firka.exe). YOU CAN FIND MORE DETAILS IN THIS PART: UPGRADING OF THE SOFTWARE.

Eventually - for example in case of a harddisk fault - you still need to reinstall the software. In this case be very careful to avoid data loss.



Chapter 2.2.1.

First start

At the first start of the program a warning message appears in a black-and-white window. Click on the Continue button of this window. Then the program starts again, but this time the windows are in their default colors and a window appears to enter the user identification code.

If you purchased an UIC code from us already, now you can enter it. If you intend to buy it later, you can also continue the work, and you can add your code later.

If you have the UIC code, it can be found in an official license form and it looks approximately like this (this is not a valid code):

5rf3edf-srkfwfr-7ax34eg

Since the English language version is always at your disposal - it is built into the program code - this handbook refers to the messages and subtitles of the English version.

There are three text input fields near the bottom of the window. If you click on the leftmost input field you can write continuously the code, at hyphen the cursor automatically jumps to the next field. After entering, click Add it button to finish entering. In case of wrong spelling, you get an error message and you can correct the written code.

After you added the code to the system, the window remains open so you can enter other code numbers if you purchased more than one.

In this same window you can set the language and the user interface theme as well. If your computer has more than one CPU cores, you can set the number of cores used by Firka. The program can do some time-consuming operations faster on multiple cores parallely. You can read more about these settings in Chapter 3.3. at the About window.

You can close the window by clicking on the Exit button.



Chapter 2.2.2.

Setting up for Windows

Capturing pictures

To open the image capture window, click on the Editor button in the main window that appeared at startup, then in the upcoming empty x-sheet window, click on the Record button at the top left corner. Then the capture window will appear.

Select the device with the top long button

The list with the recognized input devices is located below the image field, at the left side. It looks like a button above the parameters list. Selecting a device here shows its manufacturer's setup window, to select the input channel, the resolution, and the color system - color or black-and-white - for the device. The program will use the picture resolution selected here. The program of the card usually remembers the last settings so it's not required to set again and again.

For most of the Video for Windows (VfW) devices it's not possible to set the maximum resolution this way. To overcome this, use the first element, Input on the parameter list at the left bottom corner. Here you can set the most common HD resolutions.

If an installed picture input device is not on the list, it's likely that the driver software is not properly installed. Check the installed devices in Windows Control Center, to see there is no conflict between devices, and check if all programs were installed from the install disk of the card. Most of the picture input devices are coming with its own digitizer sofware, you can start it also to check the operation of the card.

With the HD capture cards of Blackmagic Design you can connect a high resolution camera to the computer via HDMI or SDI. These are not using the Video for Windows system, and you must set the input format at the Input element of the parameter list at the left bottom corner (the resolution and the frequency, for example, 1080p@24.

With Twain compatible scanners use the Scan in button in the capture window, and keep the captured picture under a name with Capture or Next buttons. Scanners often works well only with their own software, in this case save the scanned pictures into picture files and load these files into Firka.



Chapter 2.2.3.

Setting up for Linux

Capturing pictures

Under Linux the Video for Linux system and its successor, the V4L2 supports various digitizer cards and webcameras.

To open the image capture window, click on the Editor button in the main window that appeared at startup, then in the upcoming empty x-sheet window, click on the Record button at the top left corner. Then the capture window will appear.

Select the device with the top long button

In the capture window, below the image field at the left side you can find the list of the recognized devices. It looks like a button above the parameters list. Selecting a device here opens the window of its settings, if there are any. You can keep this window open during the digitizing.

If a digitizer have more than one inputs, the Video for Linux driver does not select the used video input automatically, you must set it by hand in the capture window, at the first, Input element of the parameters list at the left bottom corner.

You can set the default settings for the Video for Linux devices in the gcnf configuration file.

The program can use GPhoto2 compatible photo cameras but these probably will work only if you first detach the connected camera from the system (using the menu of its appeared icon on the desktop). With photo cameras use the Scan in button in the capture window to shoot a full resolution picture, which you can save under a name with the Capture or Next buttons. By default the program shows only a low resolution live preview, supposing the photo camera has such a function.

With the HD capture cards of Blackmagic Design you can connect a high resolution camera to the computer via HDMI or SDI. These are not using the Video for Windows system, and you must set the input format at the Input element of the parameter list at the left bottom corner (the resolution and the frequency, for example, 1080p@24.

Cooperation with the Windows system

If your system is dual bootable to both Windows and Linux, it could be useful to access the program and its data from both operating systems. For this, install the program's Windows version into a Windows storage, and mount this disk under Linux too. Under Linux, make a folder and copy the Linux version of the program there and start it. After it created its directory structure, open the 'gcnf' text file from the 'var' directory and enter the following row:

After this the two systems will use the same shared database and they will share the possibly entered identification code too.

Printing

Under Linux the program prints graphically through the 'lpr' command in Postscript format. If the required programs (lpd, ghostscript, etc.) are not installed in the system, then the data types printable as text, like an exposure sheet or a voice breakdown, still can be printed by switching off the Postscript option in the printer window.



Chapter 2.2.4.

Setting up for Apple OSX

When you open the downloaded dmg (Apple Disk Image) file a storage device appears. Opening the contents of this device you can copy the files into the folder you created for the program. The OSX version is a universal binary and it runs on both the newer Intel and older PowerPC computers.

Capturing pictures

To open the image capture window, click on the Editor button in the main window that appeared at startup, then in the upcoming empty x-sheet window, click on the Record button at the top left corner. Then the capture window will appear.

Select the device with the top long button

In the capture window, below the image field at the left side you can find the list of the recognized devices. It looks like a button above the parameters list. Selecting a Quicktime compatible device here opens the window of its settings, where you can select the picture format for your needs.

With the HD capture cards of Blackmagic Design you can connect a high resolution camera to the computer via HDMI or SDI. These are not using the Video for Windows system, and you must set the input format at the Input element of the parameter list at the left bottom corner (the resolution and the frequency, for example, 1080p@24.



Chapter 2.2.5.

Setting up for AmigaOS

Capturing pictures

On Amiga the program can use two groups of video digitizers. The VidiAmiga types can work without any installed drivers, the program can control the hardware directly. From the multipe inputs it can select the used one automatically.

For the VLab types the program uses the driver provided by the manufacturer together with the card, which is the 'vlab.library' file from the 'LIBS:' directory.



Chapter 3.

The user interface of the program

The program's user interface consists of the main window which is continuously open during the running of the program, and other, temporarily open windows. The close of the main window also exits the program. The appearance of the interface can be changed in the About window by using predefined themes.

The elements of the interface, i.e. scrollbars, lists, buttons, switches etc. are managad uniformly within the program, the keyboard and the mouse can be used in simple general rules.



Chapter 3.1.

The elements of the interface

The operation of the Firka program is based on the usual, mouse-controlled graphical interface of the operating systems. Since the program is a result of a system independent development, its controls are working similarly on any systems. As a result, sometimes the operation of the controls may differ from the usual behaviour of the operating system.

In the program, without the need of completeness, these are the elements of the user interface:

right button menu

scrollbar (slider)

list

button

switch (checkbox)

text field

bubble help



Chapter 3.1.1.

Using the keyboard

The keyboard is always in connection with the active window. The active window usually has a frame different from the other windows. Some control elements can have direct keyboard control, in these cases the control element also must be activated within the window. Generally, if the active control element can handle the key pressed, then the key will affect the control, otherwise it will affect the window.

For example, if pressing the letter 'A' activates a function in the window, this function will be unreachable if there is an active text input field, because it will insert a letter 'A' into the text instead. In this case click on any empty part on the window to deactivate the input field, then the original function of key 'A' is restored.



Chapter 3.1.2.

Using the mouse

Firka program assumes the use of a three-button mouse, equipped with a mouse wheel. The left button of the mouse must exist, the other buttons can be substituted by using the left button and the keyboard.

Left button

Right button

Middle button

Mouse wheel



Chapter 3.1.3.

The window to load files

The general elements of the user interface include the windows to load and save external files. There are load and save buttons everywhere in the program. With these you can use various file formats to export or import scenes, pictures, sounds, settings, pegs positions etc. The file load and save windows are generally the same in these operations.

A requester window for file loading

The list on the left side in the file requester window contains the subdirectories in the current folder. At the beginning of this list, the program collects some shortcuts for you (connected devices, home directory, desktop). To the right of this, you can see the list of the files. There is a sizer bar between these two lists to resize them inside the window.

The list on the right side has a headline. The fields here are named Name, Size, and Modified. These are representing the columns of the list. You can resize these fields by replacing the separator lines between them. Clicking on a field selects its column for the sorting of the list. A triangle mark shows the selected field at its right side. Repeated clicking on a field reverses the sorting direction.

If the Filter names option is enabled, you can see only the loadable files (according to their name extension, like: .jpg , .wav , etc.). The .ffs is the extension for Firka's own scene format, and the .ffd is the own format for individual forms. These two formats are able to carry all information from these data elements, while others are portable, but may lose some information.

At the top of the window the Path: input field contains the filesystem path to the current directory. At the right hand side of the this field you can find a menu button with the last used directory paths.

You can enter the filename into the File: input field, or you can click on the files in the list. For scenes and shape data, you can select multiple files by clicking and dragging the mouse on the list. You can also select and deselect individual entries with the Ctrl + left button of the mouse. To select the names between the cursor and the clicked scene, use the Shift + left mouse button combination. If you selected the file to load, click on the Load button, or press Enter on the keyboard.

Also you can use the drag and drop functions of your desktop to load files. Drop scene files onto the Scenes... window and it will load them the same way as you do with the Load file button. Similarly, you can import shapes (pictures, sounds etc.) by dropping the files onto the Exposure sheet window or onto the Record window.



Chapter 3.1.4.

The window to save files

The general elements of the user interface include the windows to load and save external files. Handling these windows is the same, apart from the parameters depending on the file type.

For saving, the requester window usually have some additional controls. When saving scenes, you can see a lot of buttons and checkboxes. You can open this window from the Scenes... window with the Save to file button, or from the exposure sheet window, if you click first on the Save as button, then click on the To file button in the new window.

Saving a scene

With the Type: menu you can select the file type from the list of the available formats. If By extension mode selected, you can determine the file type with the extension in the filename - for example, .bmp for BMP type files. Otherwise, you can specify the file format directly from the menu.

For pictures, you can set any pixel resolution you want. If both Width: and Height: are zero, the resolution will be calculated from the original resolution of the picture. Otherwise, the resolution will be exactly what you set. If you set only one of width or height, the other dimension will automatically be calculated, based on square pixels.

With the Floyd-Steinberg dithering option you can add a noise-like pattern to get better matching colors. This can be used when the palettes in the chosen format have no more than 256 colors (for example GIF or AVI).

You can use the Interlaced: switch to render in interlaced mode. This mode calculates a camera path separately on the interlace fields if the Interlaced motion mode was enabled for the path. You can describe which field comes first in time (Odd first, Even first), this must match the specifications of the used video standard. For a better control over interlacing, create and render the scenes with double frame rate instead, and mix the rendered fields in a video editor afterwards.

With the Quality: slider, you can specify a quality value for the encoding. Less quality results lower file size. For some file formats you get an option menu or a checkbox instead of this slider.

For sounds, you can also set the sampling frequency here.

The Frame-by-frame switch is enabled by default and usable if you want to create a file for every frames. Otherwise, the software creates only the frames where the animation changes.

The Keep transparency switch disables the monochrome drop background (the white paper) and keeps the transparency of the transparent pixels.

Enable the Use delta frames switch to use the equivalences between frames in the encoding, if the file format supports it (GIF, AVI). It could decrease the size of the result file, but sometimes it may not useful if you want to utilize the result frame-by-frame, or with forwards and backwards playback.

The Whole field is visible switch is usable together with the Width: and Height: settings. If you specify a width and height, the program normally scales the picture to fill the entire field (occasionally you may need non-square pixels). If the switch is on, the program works with square-shape pixels and uses the width and height values as a frame aspect ratio also. If the shape is not the same as for the scene, the program places black bars onto the edges of the picture, just like when you see a widescreen movie on television.

The Add 1 second clappers or Add 1 frame clappers generates a clappers image before the animation, similar to the clappers on the player window, with color bars, name and length of the scene.

Use the Clappers only switch (this option only appears when the selected file format supports it) to generate only clappers, without rendering any other scene frames. Use this to create, for example placeholder pictures for video editing.

The Overlay safety frames, Overlay waveform and Overlay counter: options are similar to the same functions of the player window, as you can read in Chapter 8.1.

With the Render mode: menu you can select the three draft rendering modes, known from the player window (Normal (Fast), Better, Best (Slower)), and even the high quality mode (Final).

Use the options of the Stereoscopic: menu to render stereoscopic scenes into different stereo formats.

By enabling the Display preview switch, the rendered image will be displayed in a small window during rendering if the file format supports this option.

With the Setup settings you can add color correction to the rendered picture, if needed.

In the Naming pattern: field you can enter a naming scheme for the numbered sequence of images. Use these keywords:

In numeric format you can control the number of resulting digits with the number of placeholder zero digits in the pattern. If the value of the numeric format is not zero, it will be added to the actual serial number of the frame. Numbering of frames starts from 1 and increases one by one.

You can use the Load settings and Save settings buttons to store and restore the combination of settings.



Chapter 3.1.5.

Window to select a directory

This window is generally the same as the file load window, only it is usable to select a directory and not to load files.

Selecting a directory

To select an existing directory, click on its name in the left side list. The selected name will appear in the File: input field. By double clicking, you can step into the directory, in this case the File: field becomes empty.

The selected directory will be the combination of the Path: (parent directory) and the File: fields. If the File: field is empty, the content of Path:, e.g. the actually viewed directory will be the result. If you want to enter a new directory name that is not exists yet, step into the parent directory and enter the name into the File: field.

After you finished the selection, click on the Select button to close the window.



Chapter 3.2.

The main window of the program

The Firka program has a window, let's call it main window, which always opens at the start of the program and it remains open all along. Exiting this window finishes the running of the program.

These are the buttons of the main window:

First button

Scenes...

Editor

Playlist

About

Exit



Chapter 3.3.

Program information window

On the main window the About button opens this window, and it is similar to the window opened after the installation, when the program started the first time.

In case of you purchased an UIC code from us, enter it to the three input fields below. If you click on the leftmost input field you can write continuously the code, at hyphen the cursor automatically jumps to the next field. Use the Add it to finish entering. In case of wrong spelling, you get an error message and you can correct the written code.

With the Data sheet button you can check the configuration of the program.

Use the Code Manager button to open a window with a list of the UIC codes installed in your system. You can transfer these UIC codes between Firka instances on different systems. With the Export to file button you can save an existing UIC into a file. The saved UIC becomes disabled afterwards. You can also import an UIC from a file with the Import from file button.

There is a Performance test button to check the playing speed capabilities of your hardware.

With the Display settings button you can adjust the color correction for displaying.

With the Language: menu button you can select the used language. Changing the language means that the texts change into the translated one, but the place and function of the interface elements remains the same.

In the GUI theme: menu you can select from the installed user interface themes. The selected theme defines the color and look of the control elements and also the styles of text fonts.

By setting the Auto save interval:, the program will save the changes of the scenes automatically at specified time intervals during the work.

With Cache: you can define a background storage area, which relives the program and the memory when handling large pictures. You can read more about its configuration in the next chapter.

The CPU cores: defines how many processor cores can be used simultaneously from the multiple cores. More than one processor core can speed up operations, especially the rendering. The memory bandwidth is often a bottleneck for this kind of acceleration, in this case the use of all cores may not be the optimal solution. If you encounter any instability in the working of your computer, you can try to use the Single core only setting as well.



Chapter 3.3.1.

The disk cache

Although today's computers can process huge amounts of data, managing a high resolution color movie is still a challenge. When using the external cache, in the edited scene the program selects pictures larger than the limit value, and temporarily puts them to files on the harddisk and keeps only a reduced resolution copy in the memory. During playback there is an option to render the frame with the original pictures or with the reduced versions. Using the reduced pictures can radically speed up the program when editing complex scenes. Also because it uses less memory, bigger scenes and higher resolution images can be manageable.

But a disadvantage is, that the processing of the original resolution pictures becomes slower because the program keeps these on the storage device. The loading and saving of scenes also becomes slower.

By default, this feature is inactive. To use it, make an empty directory on a rapidly readable-writable partition (preferably on a fast local drive) where there is enough space for the temporary files. On a network it is practical to make separate directories locally on each computers.

In the About window, use the menu of Cache: to switch on and off the cache function:

In Default (gcnf) mode, the contents of the 'gcnf' configuration file will be used. If no cache defined there, then the cache will be switched off. You can read how to configure the cache in 'gcnf' in Chapter 10.2.

If the By settings is active, the parameter window can be opened with the Set... button, next to the menu button:

Cache parameters

In the input field next to the Cache path: label you can specify the directory for the temporary files of the cache. These files are there only while the program is running, the program deletes them at exit. Click on the small button at the right edge of the input field to open a directory selection window, where you can select the required directory.

With Uncompressed limit: input field you can set a limit value, which can not be exceeded by the number of pixels in an image. If a picture in the memory is larger than this, the program will put it in the cache and will keep a reduced resolution picture in the memory, which is not larger than the limit. For example, the size of a full-HD image (1920x1080) is cca. two megapixels.

The Compressed limit: defines a memory size, which can not be exceeded by the compressed size of the picture. The program uses lossless comresion on the images, the more complex the content of a picture is, the more space it occupies and the more time it takes to work with. This limit value can restrict the detailed and complex pictures that slow down playing. The program achieves this with a further reduction in the resolution.

Next to both fields, the scale of the given value (kilo, mega) can be set.

The Set cache button closes the window and applies the settings. If the specified directory does not exists yet, it will attempt to create. It is important, that the directory change does not happen immediately, only after restarting the program. But the program uses the limit values immediately for the new loaded and modified pictures.

When closing the About window, the program will warn you if you need to restart it because of the directory path change.



Chapter 3.3.2.

Testing the playing speed

The playing speed depends on the graphic mode and the picture resolution. Measuring the playing speed is important to correctly set up the program, to compare the capacity of the possible graphics modes. It's not worthy to choose a resolution or color depth if it overloads the computer and obstructs the precise playback of scenes.

In the About window the Performance test button starts the speed measuring test. The picture field of the window is flashing for a while, then you get a message with the result. The program measures two parameters: the first one is the common performance of the CPU and the videocard for real-time playing with uncompression. This is the more important parameter and usually it must be at least 35 frames/second. The second data shows the highest possible frame rate.



Chapter 3.3.3.

Color correction for displaying

Because the different color settings of monitors, sometimes there is a need to calibrate and correct the displayed colors. To support this, in the About window, there is a window you can open by Display settings button. Here you can set separate color corrections for the playing on windows (Window), for fullscreen playing on external device (Fullscreen) and there are two settings for saving to file (Video and Film).

The monitors are usually working in the sRGB color space and Firka is using this too. There are two main distortions you can correct: the gamma and the transient (high frequency) distortion. The gamma is the nonlinearity of the brightness of the monitor pixels, and the transient distortion is visible where the picture contains high frequency components in the horizontal scanlines (like a thin vertical line).

An external display device can be a special hardware display, another monitor, video recorder etc., it depends on the operating system and the settings of the Firka program. In this window you can enable or disable the fullscreen playing on the configured external device, with the Fullscreen on external device option. If it is disabled, the fullscreen playing uses the settings of the working screen windows, (Window) and the fullscreen picture will cover the windows on your screen.

You can enable the color correction with the Color correction enabled switch. If it is on, you can modify the minimum, middle and maximum levels of the color components, and the transient equalization. Usually it is enough to set the middle value according to the required gamma correction, and if the white balance is correct you can set all three color components to the same.

An additional possibility to use the Transient: slider, with this you can enhance the high frequency components, if the monitor suppresses them. With good quality monitors it's unnecessary to use other than zero for this value.

You can check the settings with the color bars, it is correct if all the fields seems equal for each color components.

With Load settings and Save settings buttons you can load the entire settings from an external file, or you can save it there.



Chapter 4.

The movies window

In the program, the scenes are arranged into folders, called movies. A movie has some common settings for all of its scenes. These are immutable by individual scenes, but global for the entire movie. Parameters like the field shape, the default screen resolution and the frame rate of playing. It is also possible to manage the access of the users to the movies.

The first button on the main window opens the window of the movies. The label of this button is always the name of the selected movie. The window which can be opened by the Scenes... button shows the scenes of the selected movie. If you select a different movie in the movies window, the window of scenes also swaps to the contents of the selected movie. If you double click on the movie, it opens the Scenes... window too.



Chapter 4.1.

Creating a new movie

To create a new movie, in the Movies window first open the hidden controls by clicking on the More control button. Then enter the name of the movie into the Name: field and after that click on the New button. This button also has a menu to select from some standard movie formats. By default the new movie copies the settings of the actually selected movie. If you enter a password into the Password: field before creating the movie, the user will have to enter this same password into this same Password: field to get access to the settings and to the scenes of the movie.

If you want to use an already existing name, the program gives you an error message.



Chapter 4.2.

Movie settings

In the Movies window there is a More control button below the list of the movies. By clicking on this button you can view the settings of the selected movie.

The Delete button deletes the selected movie. This is a very dangerous operation because it also permanently deletes all scenes of the movie.

With the Rename button you can change the name of the movie and by using its menu, the format settings too. With the renaming you can also give a password to a previously unprotected movie. The menu of the button contains a Clear password option if you want to remove the password protection from a movie.

The Cleanup button removes all safety copies of the scenes from the movie. These are the penultimate versions of the scenes. This command frees up approximately the half of the allocated disk space so you can use this when your harddisk is full and you need some extra disk space.

You can enter the frame rate of the movie into the Frames/sec: field. Decimal fractions are accepted. Under this the Field shape: slider and the Width: and Height: fields are defining the shape and default pixel resolution of the movie format. These settings and the others below are changed instantly, no need to rename the movie to validate the changed values.

If the Marker follows scene creation enabled and you save an existing scene under a new name, it clears the little dot mark of the old version and marks the new saved scene. The new scene also gets the old scene status marking (LAYOUT etc.).

The next sliders: Pixel sharpness:, Final unfocus:, Added noise:, Interlace filter: are parameters for the final quality rendering and usually there is no need to change them.

By setting the Extra gamma correction parameter you can add a color correction to the rendered frames of the movie. These settings are similar to the color correction settings on the About window.

With the Load settings and Save settings buttons you can load the movie settings from a file or you can save them to file. The saved file contains the color palettes of the movie as well.



Chapter 4.2.1.

Protection by username

In the animation making multiple users should have access to the database of scenes. The linetest operator, the director, the animators and inbetweeners all need some freedom to handle the scenes.

Of course this is a hazard as well. The Firka program has built-in functions to manage the scenes database, including to delete and overwrite scenes. If anybody can use these tools, accidentally or willfully can cause serious damages. Because of this, in the Firka program there are multiple levels of protection for the individual movies.

The user logs in to the operating system with a username and perhaps with a password too. The username based protection is based upon this login name, so to use it, ensure that the users log in with individual names, at least by the access right categories.

If the 'var/tilt' file is containing the owner keyword then the access rights are managed by the user names. The security will be complete only when the 'var/tilt' file is only readable for the average user. User names given after the owner keyword are the keepers of the database and they can freely edit the contents of any movies.

If the user not belongs to the keepers, one of these groups can be applicable on the user for a movie:

owner

read-write

read-only

disabled

You can reach the controls to change these user groups after you clicked on the More control button, but only if the username protection mode is active.

In the user groups, just like in the 'tilt' file, you can use a space character as a separator between the names. You can use special wildcards :

*

? or !

|

If a keeper is running the program, the Owner: field is containing the name of the owner(s). For the other users this field is not visible.

You can write the users with read-only rights into the Read-only for: field. For these users there is a special access mode which can be activated with the 'Read-only' can save new scenes option. It enables the saving of the modified scenes into under a new name into the protected movie. For this, the program remembers the last saver read-only user. If the same user editing the same scene later, the program enables the overwriting (but not the deleting!), otherwise the user can save only when creating a new scene. Then the user, as the creator of this new scene, will be able to modify the scene afterwards.

The | character between the usernames, or the * character puts the selected users into the same group. The users in the same group have the right to overwrite the scenes of their fellow members of the group.

The usernames in the Disabled for: field have no rights to access the movie.



Chapter 4.2.2.

Protection by password

The movie has another protection level beside the username based protection. This requires the entering of a password, so it can restrict the access of the keepers too.

When creating or renaming the movie, and you enter a password into the Password: field, afterwards you will have to enter the same password to be able to modify the movie or its scenes.

With this solution you cannot modify the password. If you want to delete the password (afterwards you can add a new password by renaming), first enter the old password and click on the Rename button with the Ctrl+Left button, Middle button, or select the Clear password mode from the button's menu. This clears the password.

Forgetting the password could make impossible to edit the movie in Firka, so there is a detour: in the 'var/admin/dfmv' file, after the name of the movie in the row beginning with P: you can see the password as an open text. By the way it is recommended to protect these files against the direct access from the filesystem.



Chapter 5.

The scenes window

You can open the window of scenes in the main window by clicking on the Scenes... button. Then a window appears, with the list of the scenes from the actual movie below the Scenes: label. After the first starting this list is empty.

On the right side of the window there is a hidden list with X-Sheets: label, for the the exposure sheets of the selected scene. It is hidden because normally not used at all, but you can show it if you drag the sizing bar to the left from the right side edge of the window. Below these lists, you can see buttons also. These buttons are operating on the scenes.

The list of the scenes has a headline with Name, Modified, Created and Mark fields. These are the columns of the list. The width of these fields can be changed by dragging the separator edges of the fields. Clicking on a field selects it for the sorting on the list. A small triangle at the right hand side of the field shows this selection. Repeated clicking on a field reverses the sorting order, and the triangle is also turning over. If the Name column selected, the list will be sorted alphabetically, or it will be sorted by the modification dates with the Modified, and so on.

At the bottom of the scenes window, you can see the control buttons belonging to the scene. With the New scene button you can make a new scene. First enter a name into the Name: field. Use the Rename button to change the name of the selected scene, Duplicate makes a copy of the scene, and Delete deletes the scene. Use the Info button to query the parameters of the selected scene.

The scenes can be marked with small squares in front of their names on the list. By using the Marking button, or by clicking the left mouse button on the place of these marks on the list you can switch on and off these small marker squares for the scenes. If you use these to mark only the latest versions of the scenes, you can hide the previous versions of the scenes on the list, by using the Marked scenes only option.

Some buttons have an optional menu in the program. The button works as a normal button if you click on it. The menu appears only if you keep the mouse button pressed and move the mouse away from the button. These menu buttons have a small triangle at the right bottom corner.

In this window the New scene and Marking buttons have optional menus.

In the New scene button menu, the Next command (you can reach this same function without the menu by using Ctrl+Left button, Middle button to click on the button) first adds one to the numeric part of the contents of the Name: field, then creates a new scene with the modified name. It can be useful if you need to create multiple scenes at once.

In the Marking button's menu, the Set marker, Clear marker, and Invert marker elements are manipulating the small marker in front of the scene name.

The Remake thumbnails command recalculates the small picture for the selected scenes. For example you may need this after you changed the field aspect ratio of the movie.

The Add notes menu element saves the text entered to the Name: field as a note for the selected scene. You can read it in a bubble if you place the mouse above the scene on the list. The other elements (NONE, LAYOUT etc.) can be markers for the scenes to show their actual state, and the program shows this on the list with small figures and colors.

Use the Load file and Save to file buttons to load or save external scene files in various formats. Also you can load these files by using the drag and drop functions of your desktop: drop the icons of the files onto the Scenes... window.

You can select more than one scene for an operation at the same time, just click on the first scene and move the mouse with pressed button across the scenes. Also you can select them one by one with the Ctrl+Left button, or you can use the Shift+Left button to select every scenes between the cursor and the clicked scene. A serial numbering becomes visible for the selected scenes.

To open the exposure sheet window for a scene, click Edit scene button.



Chapter 5.1.

Creating a new scene

When creating a new scene, it will be placed in the current movie, so check the label of the first button on the main window, to ensure which movie is selected. If you want to switch to another movie, click on this first button of the main window and select (or create) the required movie in the window of movies.

After this, in the Scenes... window, first enter a name for it to the Name: input field. First click on it, then type in, for example: First scene . By clicking the New scene button under the Scenes: list, you created a new scene and it appears on the list. An empty exposure sheet is also created for the scene, which appears on the right side list, in case if it's visible.

By clicking twice on a scene you can open it for editing. The Edit scene button below is also usable for this.



Chapter 5.2.

Multiple exposure sheets in a scene

The exposure sheet is a table that describes what to do on the frames of the scene during the playback. A scene usually has one x-sheet, but there can be more. These can be, for example different versions of the scene when it has not yet been decided which will be the final version. But this can be useful when multiple scenes use the same pictures, pegbars, camera movements, and these scenes can be created as different x-sheets of the same scene.

When a new scene created, an exposure sheet is also made for it. To add another ones, use the buttons below the right side X-Sheets: list. If the right side list of the window is hidden, drag the sizing bar to the left from the right edge of the window.

The buttons below the list are hidden by default, click on the thin button below the list to show them.

To add a new x-sheet to the scene, first enter the name for the new x-sheet to the Name: field, then click on the New xsheet button below the X-Sheets: list.

With the Rename button you can rename the selected x-sheet to the name that given in the Name: field. You can duplicate the selected x-sheet with the Duplicate button, or you can delete it with by using the Delete xsheet button.

The Load xsheet and Save xsheet buttons are usable to load or save the exposure sheet. The file format is a text, it's usability is very limited because most of the scene properties will be lost, only the contents of the x-sheet levels can be transferred.

If the scene has multiple x-sheets, before opening it, you need to select the x-sheet that you want to edit on the right side list. Or, you can open the scene by double clicking on the exposure sheet on the right side list.



Chapter 5.3.

Recovering a scene from the backup

If the scene is damaged and can not be loaded, or if the latest version has been corrupted, it is good to know that the scene has its penultimate saved version also on the disk.

To load it click on the Load file button on the Scenes... window. In the file load window switch the Filter names option on to see the names of the movies and scenes, otherwise you can see encoded filenames only. Go to the directory of the Firka program, and step into the 'movies' subdirectory. On the left side,,directory list you will see the names of the movies. Step into the required movie. Now on the right side list you will see the scenes of the movie as files. The versions where there is an exclamation mark ( ! ) after the name are the backup copies of the scenes. Find the required scene and load it.



Chapter 5.4.

Loading scenes from external files

To load a scene from external file click on the Load file button in the Scenes... window. Then the file loader window appears. In the window you can select multiple files together for loading. The program asks what to do with the loaded files.

If you selected only one file, then first it loads, then the program asks what to do with it. Depending on whether or not the program recognizes the movie of the scene, the program may offers to insert the scene into its original movie where it belongs. It also offers to overwrite the actually selected scene in the scenes window, or to create a new scene.

But you can also choose an option by clicking on the Examine it button to edit the scene by itself, without inserting it into the movie database. This is the safest solution, later you can insert the scene into the movie in a more controlled way, by using the Save as button on the exposure sheet window.

If you selected multiple files for loading, then these scenes will be inserted into the actual movie. the program offers the choice to overwrite the scenes with the same name, or to save under new names (by adding a serial number) if two names collide. After this selection the scenes will be loaded into the movie.



Chapter 5.4.1.

Loading scenes in the free version

In the free version, the load operations for scenes are restricted. The program loads the scenes from its internal database, you can edit these and you can overwrite the scene with the modified one. However you can not save the scene to external file.

Also you can load a scene from external file, but if the scene is loaded this way, the free version of the program will not permit you to save it, neither to the internal movie database nor to external file. So if a user of the commercial version of Firka sends you a scene file, you will be able to load it, you can watch it, even you can improve it, but you will not be able to save your modifications.

To load a scene from an external file, click on the Load file button in the Scenes... window. Then the file loader window appears. Select the scene, then open it by clicking on the Load button. After successful loading, the exposure sheet of the scene will appear.



Chapter 5.5.

Saving scenes into external files

When the scene finished, you may have to export it into some file format for further processing. In animation this is most likely a serially numbered sequence of still image files. Firka handles many of these formats, for example jpeg, tga, bmp etc. Besides this you can use formats that contain the complete animation in some form, like avi and gif formats.

For more complex video exporting it is worth to export the frames in the best possible quality (probably with a lossless compression) into an image sequence, and then to use video encoding program to create the final file from the sequence. This also has the advantage that if the finished file is not of good quality, or you have to make multiple versions, you do not have to render the scene again, because it may be more time consuming than processing a picture sequence.

Additionally, if you archive the image sequence, you will have a very good master copy that you can later convert to anything.

In the program you can save the scenes by using the own file format of Firka. This can be useful when archiving scenes, or making a backup copy, or you want to send the scene to another Firka program user. The name extension of the own format is '.ffs' (Firka Format Scene).



Chapter 5.5.1.

Saving a selected scene

If you want to save a single scene into external file, either in the program's own format or by rendering it into some other format, for example as an image sequence, first select the scene on the Scenes: list, then click on the Save to file button. Then the file save window will appear where you can set the desired format and make the save.



Chapter 5.5.2.

Saving multiple scenes in one step

In the Scenes... window, you can select multiple scenes at the same time from the list of scenes. Click on the first scene and move the mouse with pressed button over the scenes. Also you can select them one by one with the Ctrl+Left button, or you can use the Shift+Left button to select every scenes between the cursor and the clicked scene. A serial numbering becomes visible for the selected scenes.

After this click on the Save to file button below the list. If multiple scenes are selected, the program names the files that are being created by the name of the scenes. Therefore it asks you how to name them during the save. You can choose between the long names version and the 8+3 character, old DOS compatible version.

After this the file save window appears. Here you enter a name for a text log file, which will be placed next to the saved files and it will contain what file name was used for what scene name. After you entered the name and clicked on the Save button, the saving of the scenes will begin.



Chapter 5.5.3.

Saving scenes in the free version

In the free version, when editing the scenes of the internal movie database, they can be overwritten by using the Save button in the exposure sheet window. If the scene was loaded from an external file, this feature will be disabled and the save button will not be there.

If you click on this same Save button with the right mouse button, you get the opportunity to render the scene into an image sequence, using a simplified file save window. You can select the file format ( BMP , TGA or JPG ), the saving location, and also it is possible to export the soundtrack of the scene.



Chapter 6.

The exposure sheet

The exposure sheet contains what to render on the frames of the scene. When you already captured the drawings, sketched them or loaded them into the scene, you still need to fill the exposure sheet- Without this the drawings will not change to animation. The exposure sheet is a table whose rows correspond to the frames of the film. The columns of the list called levels (or layers). The opaque parts of the higher levels covers the contents of the lower levels.

You can find some buttons in the top row of the exposure sheet window.

The Play button serves for playing the animation, and the Record button opens a window where you can capture, create and edit the pictures, sounds and camera movements. With the Save button you can overwrite the file of the scene which you are editing. With the Save as button you can save the scene under a different name in the actual movie (the selected one in the main window), or you can export it to an external file. If some changes have not been saved, the program will warn you when you close the window and also offers you to save it.

If you want to keep the exposure sheet window open, but you want to swap the editing to another scene, you can use the Load from button, with which you can simply load another scene into the same window. The Start new button creates an empty, unnamed and unsaved new scene in the window.

With the Print button, you can print the exposure sheet in a text format. The Help button shows a help about the usage of the exposure sheet window. With the Exit button you can close the window.

From the above, in the free version only the Save button exists, so that the scene can be overwritten in the internal database with the changes.

The Order: menu selects the order of the exposure sheet levels. The Left-right Lmeans the leftmost level will be the bottom one, while the Right-left shows the levels in reverse order.

Splitting the exposure sheet into views

You can find a small sizer button at the right bottom corner of the exposure sheet where the vertical and horizontal scrollbars meet. Click it, keep pressing the mouse button, and drag the button upwards. The exposure sheet splits into two horizontal views. These views show the same list, but two different parts of that. This way the exposure sheet can be divided into views. These views can disappear by resizing it with the sizer to zero. There is also a sizer bar at the left side to split the view into two vertical parts.

In the exposure sheet a cursor can be found. If the list is too big to fit in the window, it can be scrolled with the horizontal and vertical scrollbars. You can move it also if you drag the list with the mouse while pressing the Shift+Left button, Middle button. You can scroll only vertically by dragging the frame numbers in the side columns of the exposure sheet.

By pressing the F3 key, you can switch on or off the cursor row highlighting. It can help to align the contents of levels that are far apart.

The simplest way of writing the list in that you position the cursor to the desired place of the list, and you enter the name of the drawing with the keyboard. By pressing Return/Enter key the name will be written onto the list, and the cursor moves down. The Step: field at the upper row defines how many frames are to be written at the same time. There are four selectable inserting modes in a menu, which you can change also by using the Tab, Ctrl+I, Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Insert keys.

Overwrite

Insert

Sync (All) and Sync (Actives)

With the keyboard you can move around in the list with the cursor moving buttons, just like in a text editor. If you put the cursor after the end of a level and enter something, it will fill the list from the end of the level to the cursor.

You can see the list of the recorded drawings on the right side of the exposure sheet window. If the Thumbnails switch is enabled, the list shows the miniature version of the picture images on the list. There are three buttons to the right of Thumbnails switch to set the sizes of these thumbnail pictures.

Under the list there are the Path: text input field for changing the listed subdirectory and the Name: field, where you can enter a shape name. This is an important parameter for some of the button commands.

You can select a series of shapes on the list to perform the same action on them together. For this, click on the first shape and drag the mouse while pressing the mouse button until you selected all shapes you want. You can also select all of the shapes between the cursor and a clicked shape on the list with the Ctrl+Left button or Shift+Left button combinations. You can select all shapes with the Ctrl+A key.

Over the list you can see three tab buttons. With these you can open the different groups of control elements.

Actions tab:

These are the basic operations for handling the shapes in the scene.

Buttons for shape handling operations

If you click on Load shape button, you can load one or more shapes from files (picture, sound etc.). When selecting multiple files, the program asks whether to overwrite existing same names, or to automatically create new names in case of name conflicts. You can select from these choices in the requester window, with the Write over and Create new buttons. In this same window you can switch Leave out repetitions on, then the program will only load from the successive files those whose content differs from the preceding file. For animation image sequences, it is common that two or more successive frames contain the exact same picture.

In case of name conflict, the program overwrites the empty shapes even if the Create new was selected. Empty shapes have no type and do not contain any data. To make an existing shape empty before loading, you can use the Truncate button. If you select a sequence of shapes on the right side list of the x-sheet window before loading, the program will overwrite them one by one, without question, even if they are not empty.

You can also load the shapes with the drag and drop function of your desktop. Use the mouse to drop the icon of the file onto the exposure sheet window.

If you want to save a shape into a file, choose it and click Save shape button. You can also select a series of shapes to save.

With the New shape button, you can create empty, placeholder names, to fill the exposure sheet or to load shapes over them by using the Load shape button. First enter the name for the shape into the Shape: field at the bottom right corner of the window, then click on the New shape button. The created shapes will have no type and no data but later can be overwritten with a picture, sound or camera path.

The New shape button has also a menu. The Next and Next 10 modes first add the numeric value of the Advance: field to the shape name before creating the new shape. The Next 10 mode repeats this ten times, so it creates ten shapes at once. With New folder, you can create a new subdirectory within the database of the scene.

The Recover button reverts the selected shape from the last saved version of the scene. Each scene has two saved versions in the movie, the last and the penultimate version. You can choose which one you want to load by using the menu of the button.

The Rename button renames the shape into the name in the Shape: field. In the menu there are some variations of the command:

The Truncate button removes all the data and the type specification (picture or sound etc.) from the shape. This is useful before loading a single shape from file.

The Delete shape button deletes the selected shapes from the scene. You can delete a subdirectory only if it's completely empty.

Use the Edit button to start the same window as the Record button, to edit the selected shape.

With the Print shape button you can send the selected shapes to a printer. You can select the format of printing in the menu of the button.

If the list shows the contents of a subdirectory, the Parent button steps up one level in the directory hierarchy, just like in a filesystem. Changing the listed directory also changes the default directory of the current level at the exposure sheet cursor. The list always shows the default directory for the actual exposure sheet level.

Shapes tab:

Buttons for x-sheet editing

Use the Paste button to write the name of the Shape: field onto the x-sheet from the exposure sheet cursor. The cursor moves down during this. In the menu of Paste, the By name numbering option inserts each element of a block as its length will be the difference in the numbering of successive names. This can be useful if the drawings are numbered accordingly to their required frame position in the exposure sheet. Selecting them on the right side list of the x-sheet window, then using the By name numbering menu item, each one will be pasted to as many frames as the difference in serial numbers, compared to the next name. Only the last item will be entered by the value of the Step: field, since there is no next name to compare.

You can write the next and previous elements of the list into the cursor by using the Next and Back buttons. In the menu of the Back button, the Revert block option reverts the order of the shapes on the selected part of the exposure sheet. The Mirror pictures marks the selected pictures as mirrored. The mirrored picture behaves as if the drawing was placed back side up onto the pegbar.

The Blank button writes blank frames. Blank frames are named with a blank text.

The + and - buttons extend or shrink the exposure sheet, you can change the timing of the animation this way. In the menu of these buttons there are additional options to change the timing (1-2-1-2... etc.). With the Shift pegbars option you can replace the pegbar position of the selected pictures into a so-called 'shifted peg'position. This means the picture is replaced parallel to the pegbar in such a way that one of the side peg holes is placed onto the other side peghole position.

Shifted pegbar positions

You can delete the frame at the cursor by Delete button.

The Undo button is for reversing the previous modifications on the exposure sheet, more than one steps are stored. You can do the same from the keyboard with U, Esc, Ctrl+U, Ctrl+Z.

The Parent button steps back with one directory level in the hierarchy. This button is the same as the one at Actions tab.

With the Relabel button you can change the letters at the beginning of the names in the selected range of the exposure sheet. During this, it keeps the numeric part and the end of the names. This way, for example you can copy the order of drawings in one level of the exposure sheet, and you can apply it in another level, with a different set of shapes.

The Series button fills the exposure sheet with a numbered sequence of names between the cursor and the content of the Shape: field.

Effects tab:

The buttons and their functions are similar to the buttons of the Shapes tab. But the list contains the available effects instead of the shapes. All effect names are beginning with two slash characters ( // ). The effects can have parameters. If you click on an effect on the list, a window appears where you can set the affected level group and the parameters of the effect. The composed name of the effect on this basis appears in the Shape: field. After this you can use the Paste button to enter the effect into the exposure sheet. You can enter the name and parameters of the effect manually into the x-sheet if it is faster or more convenient.

The vertical columns of the exposure sheet are called levels. These levels include drawings, sounds and operations applied on them. The content of a higher level covers the content of the lower levels. This is a legacy from camera recording when the painted celluloid sheets were placed on top of each other under the camera. The bottom level can be the leftmost or the rightmost column of the list, by agreement (both versions are in use) and according to this, the levels are ordered from left to right or from right to left.

The exposure sheet has a cursor. You can enter the names into the x-sheet from this cursor. If you start typing a name from the keyboard, a text input field appears at the cursor. You can close the typed name with the Return/Enter key on the keyboard. The name is written to the number of frames specified by the Step: field, and the cursor goes down by the same number of frames in the level.

If you click near the left edge of the cursor, you get a text input field where you can enter a comment for the cursor's frame. If you enter a text here, and leave this field, a small mark appears on the exposure sheet. If you move the mouse to this mark, you can read your comment. To delete the comment from the exposure sheet, click on the mark twice and erase the whole comment text with the keyboard.



Chapter 6.1.

Level headers on the exposure sheet

Each level columns on the exposure sheet has a header part at the top of the column. You can enable or disable the playing of the level by using the checkbox on this header. The field next to the checkbox with a letter mark is an identifier name for the content of the level. The content of the level is independent from the level, you can redirect it to the content of another level, they can be unified clones of each other. The third field is the name of the level itself, it is defined to blank by default. If you click on it, you can enter a name for the level. It is just a remark without any means for the working of the program. You can hide the inactive levels from the exposure sheet with Enabled levels only switch.

The level header with the switch

By clicking on the two thin sizing bars at the sides of the header, you can use different mouse buttons to reach different functions:

Left button

Right button

Ctrl+Shift+Left button, Ctrl+Right button, Ctrl+Middle button

Shift+Right button, Shift+Middle button

Ctrl+Shift+Right button, Ctrl+Shift+Middle button

Shift+Left button, Middle button

The level properties can be adjusted in the Level properties window, which you can bring up by clicking on the letter mark name on the level's header. You can read more about this in Chapter 6.8.



Chapter 6.2.

Shapes - data library in scene

The x-sheet may contain, among other things, named data - for instance, pictures, sounds or camera paths. The program refers these altogether with the shape name. The shapes are stored in the scenes in a directory structure similar to the filesystem of your computer. This does not necessarily mean that it is worth putting the data into subdirectories, most often it is enough if all the shapes are located in the starting directory.

A default directory belongs to every exposure sheet level, where the written names are searched for by the program. It is the last directory viewed on the right hand side list when the exposure sheet cursor was inside the level. In the names, the separator character for subdirectories is the / (slash) symbol. If the path name begins with the / symbol, this indicates an absolute path, otherwise the path is relative to the default directory of the actual level. The blank name means blank frame, when there is nothing in the level.

For example: /rough/first/A1 is an absolute path of the location of A1 drawing in the directory. To enter this A1 into a level, A1 is enough if /rough/first is the default subdirectory for the actual level. If we are, for example in the rough subdirectory, the correct relative name is first/A1 .

For the effects, which are not parts of this directory structure, the names start with // (double slash) characters.



Chapter 6.2.1.

Picture shapes

The most important data type in an animation software is the picture. To put pictures into the shapes database, use the window you can open with the Record button of the exposure sheet window. In this window, if the Picture tab is active at the top right corner, you can capture pictures with camera or scanner in the Capture mode mode. At this same place, in the Paint mode mode, the pictures can be painted and redrawn. The painting possibilities are more or less restricted with the different types of User Identification Code (UIC).

In addition, the pictures can be loaded in a variety of formats from files. This way Firka can be used together with other (painter) programs to make the animation.

The geometry of the pictures can be characterized by three parameters:

So the aspect ratio is not of the pixel, but of the picture itself. The advantage of this solution is that, for example the pixel resolution can be changed without changing the size and shape of the picture, if its geometrical aspect ratio remains the same. The Firka program does not care about the scanning and printing resolution of the pictures (DPI), it does not take into account in any way.

There can be any number of sub-layers within a picture. These sub-layers should not be confused with the levels of the exposure sheet: these are located inside the picture, they make the picture together. Each sub-layer can be in one of the eight named type. In the levels of the exposure sheet, these types can be enabled and disabled individually. These sub-layers help to keep the logically related visual information (outline, paint, masks) together.

The naming the types is only for easier remembering. Because the sub-layers are functionally identical, they may also be used freely for purposes other than the given function in the name. Usually a picture contains only at most one piece from each of the sub-layer types, but the program can handle multiple if necessary.

The sub-layers, from top to bottom:

In a sub-layer the true-color RGB pixels (8 bits per component) can be mixed with indexed palette color pixels, from up to 256 palettes, each with a maximum of 256 colors - so 65536 paletta colors. The pixels can contain a 255 level transparency, and there is a particular "transparent color" too. The program stores the pictures with a lossless compression within the scene.

When entering to the exposure sheet, after the name of the picture and a / (slash) character, plus-minus B , C , D can be given as a parameter for shifted peg positions. The shifted peg is easy to do with manual drawing, so common for scenes with long pan backgrounds. The positive direction is to the left from the default pegbar, and the negative is to the right from it. For example:

The drawing can be mirrored relative to its pegbar the similar way like when it was placed onto the same pegbar back side up. The axis of the mirror is perpendicular to the line of the pegholes and goes through the center of the middle peghole. The sign of the mirror is R , which must come right after the shifted peg or right after the / mark if there is no peg shift:

In the exposure sheet, for the pictures you can enter a combination of 1..5 sub-layers. In this case the program plays only the given sub-layers and ignores the settings in the level properties. The 6,7,8 sub-layers cannot be handled this way, they can always be disabled for the x-sheet level. If there is a shifted pegbar or mirror in the name, the combination should come after these, separated with a space. For example:



Chapter 6.2.2.

Sound shapes

The exposure sheet is able to contain sound information too. Similarly to the pictures, you can enter any number of sounds parallelly to the levels of the exposure sheet, and the summary of these make the sound of the scene. The sounds are stored in PCM format without compression, in 8 or 16 bits, mono or stereo format, according to the format of the original sound record. There can be any sampling frequency.

The sounds are represented on the exposure sheet with their name and the shape of their waveform. It is also possible to put the sound waveform over the picture in the player window.

There can be voice breakdown in the sounds. The voice breakdown helps the animator, to be able to move the mouth of the character based on the pre-recorded speech (dialog) sound. This called also as lip-sync animation.

The dialog consists of two text layers, named Phonemes and Words. You can fill these in the sound recording window, by assigning text labels to certain positions in the sound. The Phonemes row should contain the one-two letters long phonemes for the individual frames, and the Words row should be the literal text, written as words or syllables.

Since the layers of the breakdown are connected to the internal timeline of the sound, their position will still be correct if the movie's frame rate shoud be changed due to a format change.

Entering phonemes

This is an example voice breakdown (Original dialog: "firka" ):

Phonemes : f i i r k a a a

Words : fir- ka

The program shows the contents of the Phonemes layer in the exposure sheet. You can see the contents of the Words row as well, in the bubble help of the sound shapes, starting from the selected frame in the exposure sheet. This help appears automatically if the mouse pointer remains still over the sound for enough time, but you can display it immediately by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Left button, Shift+Right button.

Each sound can contain at most 255 base tags. The bases are marked with names, and they can represent positions in the sound. The position of the base can be any, and later it can be changed. Like the voice breakdown, you can edit them in the sound recording window.

In the exposure sheet, after the name of the sound, after a / (slash) character, you can enter the name of a base, in this case the playing of the sound starts at the position of the base instead of its beginning:

It is also possible to specify a frame offset, which will be added to the starting point of the sound. This shifts the starting position of the sound by a time distance, measured in frames. You can specify this offset with numbers, and optionally a # character after them. The two methods are similar. If there is also a base, add it after the offset, after a / separator character:

Bases should not be named with only numeric characters because it makes the interpretation of the entered parameters difficult. The entered name is first searched as a base name, and if there is no such name, then it will be used as a frame offset. Use of the # after the frame offset can make things more clear.

In the exposure sheet, when you select a block inside a sound and paste it back into the list, the offset of the sound will be automatically corrected so that the inserted part will be the same as the selected part of the original sound. This way you can easily cut parts from the sound and insert them into the required place in the exposure sheet.



Chapter 6.2.3.

Camera path shapes

Camera paths are shapes stored under names, like pictures or sounds. By entering the name into the x-sheet, you can change the position of other levels. In the x-sheet the camera path affects the levels of the selected level group, just like how effects do. You can read more about the level groups in Chapter 6.8.3.

A camera path can have at most 16 key positions, marked with letters from A to P. These are the tagged points of the camera path. On the x-sheet, you can make transitions between these points in any combinations.

If the Shapes tab is active in the x-sheet window and you click on a camera path in the right side list, a settings window appears, to set the parameters for entering the camera path into the exposure sheet.

Parametering window for a camera path

If you want to use the default group for the level you enter the camera path, just leave the list selection on the Not set option. Normally it is better to use a separate x-sheet level for a camera path and to use the level's default level group to select the affected levels.

With the two lists and the buttons below them you can edit the level groups. The functions of these are similar to the matching controls of the level groups window, and you can read about them also in Chapter 6.8.3.

It can be a problem for camera paths when the animation moves not frame by frame, for example it changes on every second frame, or alternating one-two frames. In this case various unwanted artifacts can happen, like flickering.

This is why it is useful the camera paths can be moved by multiple frame steps too. In this case for exampe with a two frames step, on every second frame the program repeats the position of the previous frame instead of using the actual position. This has variations according to the widely used framing methods, which can be selected with the menu next to the Step by: label:

1-1-1-1... - step by single frame, every frames have a new position,

2-2-2-2... - step by two frames, the position changes on every second frame,

1-2-1-2... - alternate step by one and two frames,

etc.

The start and end points of the path can be set with the menus of Move from: and To:.

After you prepared the camera movement, click on the OK. button. The name for the camera movement will be formed and written into the Shape: input field on the exposure sheet window. This has to be pasted into one of the levels of the exposure sheet by the Paste button.

If you want to write the camera path into the exposure sheet directly, you can use this format:

camera[/keys[/framing]] [level group]

The key points can be entered after a / (slash) character after the name of the camera path. The AB or A-B format means a transition from key position A to key position B . If only B was given, the camera movement will stay on the B key position. In case of no key position, the A-B movement is the default. Examples:

The [framing] parameter should be entered into the name after the key positions, separated by an additional / (slash) character:

The program shows the boundaries of the frame steps in the exposure sheet with pale colour horizontal separator lines.

The name of the moved level group can be given to the end of the camera path name, separated by a space character. Not giving this, or entering the All keyword or the 00 number means that the default group of the level containing the camera path will determine which levels to be moved. Entering the level group into a name is recommended only in justified cases, it is more convenient to set this default level group at the level properties.

Some other examples for a camera movement definiton:



Chapter 6.2.4.

Picture deformation (morph) shapes

Various optical effects, lens, the waves caused by water or heat, torsions can be made with the pictore deformation shapes. These are displacement maps, each pixels of which points to another pixel of the image, and the colors copied from these places make up the result. With this any kind of distortion can be possible. You can imagine its operation as a pitted glass plate under the camera. The distorted layers are visible only within the glass plate, distorted by it.

The deformation shapes are similar to the pictures and can be handled similarly:they can be put on pegbars, can be moved by camera paths. A distortion contains a pixel surface, which has width, height and aspect ratio. It does not use color mixing, every pixel points to a specific other pixel within the surface and it will get only the color of the other single pixel. Unlike a picture, a deformation has no sub-layers, one deformation shape contains only one deformation surface.

Because distortion usually means enlargement of some picture parts, it is worth to think what is the right resolution for initial pictures and distortion to achieve the desired result. This may eventually be higher than what is otherwise used in the movie.

In the program distortions can be made in the drawing window, by using the Morph button, and the created distortion can be captured under the given name with the menu of the same button.

For the deformation, similarly to the effects, a level group should be given, the layers of which will be affected. If there is nothing specified, the program will use the default level group of the level which containing the deformation.

When entering to the exposure sheet, after the name of the deformation and a / (slash) character, plus-minus B , C , D can be given as a parameter for shifted peg positions, just like with pictures:

The deformation can be mirrored relative to its pegbar the similar way like when it was placed onto the same pegbar back side up. The axis of the mirror is perpendicular to the line of the pegholes and goes through the center of the middle peghole. The sign of the mirror is R , which must come right after the shifted peg or right after the / mark if there is no peg shift:

If it is necessary, the level group for which the distorion will have effect can be entered to the name of the distortion. It is usually not worth to specify it this way, but instead it is better to use a separate x-sheet level for a deformation and to use the level's default level group to select the affected levels. If there is a pegs position or mirroring in the name, the level group can be entered after them, with a space character separator, for example:



Chapter 6.3.

Effects

The effect is to modify the picture or sound during projection. You have several effect types to change some properties, like the transparency, focus (blur) or color components of the selected levels. For sounds you can change the volume, for example.

You can see the list of available effects if you select the Effects tab in the exposure sheet window. Then the available effects appears in the list on the right side.

To create an effect, for example an unfocus, click on the Unfocus entry of the list. A new window appears where you can select a level group. A level group is a named combination of levels. You can read more about the level groups in Chapter 6.8.3.

The settings window of the unfocus effect

If you want to use the default group for the level you enter the effect command, just leave the list selection on the Not set option. Normally it is better to use a separate x-sheet level for an effect and to use the level's default level group to select the affected levels.

With the two lists and the buttons below them you can edit the level groups. The functions of these are similar to the matching controls of the level groups window, and you can read about them also in Chapter 6.8.3.

At the bottom of the window you can see some controls, where you can adjust the effect. Depending on the effect type there are some variations but most of the effects has the same parameters.

The Step by: menu selects the changing steps for the effect's value. You can use one frame steps or two frames steps. With the Begin: and End: sliders you can set the strength of the effect for its first and for its last frame. The values are working on the 0-255 range. For example you can make a fade in if the value starts at 0 (full transparent) and ends at 255 (full opaque). By reverse, you can make a fade out if it starts at 255 and ends at 0.

The start value belongs to the first frame of the effect, but the end value belongs to the next frame after the last frame of the effect. So the last frame will be one frame before the end value. This logic is common in Firka, the camera movement works the same way, the point is to be able to make uninterrupted, continuous changes.

After you prepared your effect, click OK. button. The effect command will be formed and written into the Shape: input field on the exposure sheet window. This has to be pasted into one of the levels of the exposure sheet by the Paste button.

If you want to write the effect into the exposure sheet with the keyboard, you can use this format:

//effect [range][/2] [level group]

The effect name always begins with // (two slash characters) then continued with the name and the parameters of the effect. A shape name never begins with two slashes in the program.

The [range] can be:

Right after the [range] parameter, a /2 option can be added, which defines a two frames step. This means, every second frame of the effect will repeat the value of the previous frame instead of using its own value. For example, if the value of the effect looks like this on the frames without the /2 option:

Then the same when /2 entered:

The [level group] is the name of the level combination, i.e. the name of a level group or its hexadecimal number. Not giving this, or entering the All keyword or the 00 number means the level group is not defined in the effect, and the effect will modify the default group of the effect's level, which defined in the level properties.

Examples of effect definitions:

For switch type effects, if there are any, you can define a letter combination parameter, entered to the place of the [range] in the format.

The effect types:

Fade

Unfocus

Red color

Green color

Blue color

Brightness

Red darkness

Green darkness

Blue darkness

Darkness

Saturation

Alpha weight

Alpha threshold

Threshold padding

Hard cut Alpha

Cross-fade

the scene re-rendered in multiple passes, but the selected levels in the effect's level group are rendered only in the pass belongs to the effect. The levels that are not in any crossfade groups, are rendered in every passes. The order of the passes are determined by the order of the level groups'serial numbers and not by the location of the Cross-fade effect in the exposure sheet. The first pass starts with the effect which has the lowest group number (01, 02 etc.), then the second lowest comes and so on.

Repeat cross-fade

Sub-frame time fraction

Audio volume

Audio left

Audio right

Easing other effects

the effects can be calculated with linear or ease in/out interpolation. The default, because of historical reasons is the linear. You can apply this effect on other effected levels or on the levels of other effects. 0 means ease in/out and 255 means linear mode, values in between means interpolation between the two modes.

Quick unfocus

Linear space unfocus

Fine unfocus

Inverted

Alpha from RGB

Collapse levels



Chapter 6.4.

Filling the exposure sheet in

To get the captured drawings to move, you need to fill the exposure sheet. This lets you specify what to project on the frames of the scene.

There are multiple ways to fill the exposure sheet. The list entries or motion steps are in text format and occupy one or more consecutive frames (rows) in a level.

In a level there can be only one entry in a frame. So, for example if two pictures overlap in time because of a crossfade, the level must be separated to two levels. Where one drawing fades to another, the two drawings must be placed to two separated levels, overlapped for the time range of the fade, and with two //fade effects, one level must be faded out and the another must be faded in. For painted, filled drawings, it is better to use the //cross crossfade effect.

Usually the list will be filled from top to bottom, level by level. In the list there is a cursor, which shows the entering position. With the left button of the mouse you can replace this cursor anywhere in the list. If the x-sheet is active, as indicated by a change in the frame of the list, the cursor buttons of the keyboard are also usable to move the cursor.

The projecting length of the list is the same as the length of the longest level (the levels that switched off from projection are also count). The levels don't need to have the same length: if a level is shorter than the projecting length, it is the same as if it were filled with blank frames at the end.

The full content of the list often bigger than the area shown in the window. With the middle button of the mouse, you can scroll the list in the view area, and also you can use the scrollbars at the sides of the list to change the position of the displayed part.

When you enter something after the end of a level, the list will be filled with the entered name from the end of the level to the position where the entering happened. This feature is useful to enter long still motion steps, such as backgrounds.

Because of the simple text format, the list can be filled easily with the keyboard as well. There are people who prefer to use mouse over keyboard, so the list also can be filled by using the right side list of the shapes and the buttons belonging to it. If the right side list is active, you can effectively use the keyboard as well to enter, specially if the drawings are not evenly numbered, i.e. for rough or layout scenes.



Chapter 6.4.1.

Filling in the x-sheet from the keyboard

You can find the full list of usable key combinations for the x-sheet window in the Appendix A.1.

The following keys are usable in the exposure sheet window, regardless of whether the exposure sheet field is active or not:

Tab, Ctrl+I, Insert

Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Insert

Ctrl+Space

F8

F7

F11

F2

F3

For editing the exposure sheet from the keyboard, you should activate it by clicking on it with the left mouse button. This also places the cursor to the clicked position. When the x-sheet field is active, you can use the cursor control keys on the keyboard to move the cursor:

Left, Up, Right, Down

PgDn, PgUp

Home, Shift+Home, End, Shift+End

The following keys can be used for editing the list:

Delete, Ctrl+D

Ctrl+Return/Enter

Esc, Ctrl+Z

Return/Enter, Backspace, letters, numbers and signs

During name entering the meaning of horizontal arrow keys becomes different, in this case they move the text cursor. The vertical arrow keys still serve to move the cursor in the x-sheet, so you can exit the text entering mode with these keys. You can also close the text entering by clicking elsewhere with the mouse.

When exiting the text entering, or by pressing the Return/Enter key, the program evaluates the contents of the text field and inserts the name into the list.

Pressing the Return/Enter key enters frames into the list, equal to the value of Step: field, and the x-sheet cursor moves down the same number of frames, while the cursor remains in the text entering mode.

Text entering can be cancelled with the Cancel key, in this case the list content remain unchanged.



Chapter 6.4.2.

Filling in the x-sheet with the mouse

On the right side of the x-sheet window there is the list of shapes. This shows a subdirectory of the shape database of the scene, the one given in the Path: field. By double-clicking on the names in this list you can enter them into the exposure sheet. When the list of shapes is the active element in the window, you can use an alternative keyboard entering mode too.

There are three buttons above the list of the shapes. The right side part of the window can perform various functions with these:

Actions tab:

Shapes and Effects tabs:

The buttons below the list are the same in both cases:

Paste

Next

Back

Blank

+ and -

Delete

Undo

Parent

The Path: shows the access path of the subdirectory, displayed on the list of shapes. By default it contains / which means the root of the shape directories, the top level of the directory hierarchy.

The Shape: field contains the name which you can enter to the x-sheet with the Paste button. If you click on the list of shapes on a name, it will be copied into this field.

If you select a block on the exposure sheet, or you select multiple shapes together on the list of shapes, the program remembers it as a block content, and a / character appears in the Shape: field. This represents the contents of the block when entering. In this case, the Paste button will paste the stored contents of the block into the exposure sheet.

Besides that, there are two another buttons at the bottom of the window:

Relabel

Series



Chapter 6.4.3.

Filling in the x-sheet by using the shapes list

After you clicked on the list of shapes on the right side part of the exposure sheet window, this list remains active, and you can move in list with the keyboard. The changing of the border of the list indicates the active state. In this case there is a special entering technique, when the existing drawings can be entered with the keyboard from the list. This time can use the following key combinations:

Up, Down

Shift+Up, Shift+Down

Left, Right

Return/Enter

Space

Delete, Ctrl+D

Ctrl+Backspace

The keyboard commands that are independent from the active state of the x-sheet field, will work here too.



Chapter 6.5.

Operations with blocks

You can select a portion of a level in the exposure sheet, this selection is called a block. You have different ways to select a block:

By mouse:

By keyboard:

To deselect the block, click somewhere on the exposure sheet with the mouse.

Selected block in the x-sheet

If a block selected, the player window plays only the selected part of the scene. Since it is relatively easy to select a block on a single frame, if the player window shows only a single frame and not playing, first try to replace the cursor on the exposure sheet, to deselect the block you selected accidentally.



Chapter 6.8.

The level properties

The Level properties window for a level can be opened from the exposure sheet by clicking on the letter mark in the level header, and also can be opened by clicking twice on the list of the projected levels in the player window or in the camera editing window.

Click on the letter mark of the content

There are effect types that you can enter to the exposure sheet, but also you can set for a level statically. The effects written in the x-sheet are superimposed on the values set here. This solution mainly useful in a linetest, when the background needs to be faded quickly, or the shadow level needs a different color. For final works, this solution may not be accurate enough.

The level properties window

In this window, at the left bottom corner you can change the identifier of the level content in the Name: field. Over this input field, there is a list with ll of the level contents of the scene. If you click on any of them, you redirect the level content. A redirected content means that the level is sharing its exposure sheet content with another level. The change in one will change in the other too. You should take consideration that the level content which is not used by any of the levels will be deleted from the scene.

Picture and sound effects that can be set in this window:

Fade:

Focus:

Red:, Green: and Blue:

Alpha:

Left audio: and Right audio:

Stereo audio: menu:

Picture sub-layers:

Selfmask:

Templates...

New under and New over

Unshare

Delete

Level type:

On group:, Level groups...

On pegs:

Apply to actives



Chapter 6.8.1.

Redirecting level contents

Many times you may need to enter a level into the exposure sheet in multiple copies parallelly. This can be necessary, for example, when you want to use the same picture sequence as picture and mask at the same time.

Redirecting the level content allows you to include a level in the exposure sheet in multiple copies. The redirect affects only the content of the level, that is, the data entered on the frames, not the other properties of the level (level type, level groups, pegs position, transparency etc.). These can still be individually set up for each level.

In the Level properties window of the level, the list on the left shows all the level contents in the scene. A level may contain any of these. After clicking on the letter mark of the desired level content, the program asks for confirmation, then after clicking the Redirect button the level switches to the selected content. If the old level content is not used by any level it will be deleted. The same level content is always the same in all the levels referring to it, and the changes in one level change in all the rest too.



Chapter 6.8.2.

Level types

The program can interpret the content of the exposure sheet levels in several ways. You can set the level type in the Level properties window of the level, with the menu of the Level type: button.

The level types menu

Below you can see the menu name of the level type, and then comma separated, the letter mark as appearing in the level header.

Picture rendering, color mixing:

The content of these levels is involded in creating the colors of the rendered image. These level types can be masked by other, mask type levels.

Normal

Shadow, _

Add, A

Subtract, S

Multiply, M

Screen, Y

Overlay, O

Recolor, (

Difference, D

Masking:

These level types mask other levels, some parts of the other level can be changed transparent and removed. In this case the transparency of the content of the other level is controlled by the transparency of the mask level. The color of the mask will not be used. The mask levels are not affect each other, there is no masked mask option. But using the varied mask types, all cases of masking are still feasible. The default level group of the mask level selects the masked levels.

Positive mask, +

Negative mask, -

Union mask, U

Neg. union mask, N

Eraser union mask, E

Neg. eraser mask, W

Exclusion mask, X

The following level types are special cases of masks:

Unfocus map, F - The transparency of the mask level modulates the unfocusing of the masked levels. Where the mask picture is transparent, the masked picture remains sharp. The unfocus masks affects individually, one after another.

Directional focus, =

Inter-scene mask, #

Processing camera movements

The program can interpret the camera movements in different ways too, by default the camera movements are modifying the position, scaling and rotation of the pictures. The camera position has two vectors, the size vector and the position vector. The size vector determines the scaling and rotation of the picture, and the position vector specifies the translation in horizontal and vertical directions. The following level types can give you different interpretations of these motion paths. The position, scale and rotation information will remain but their meaning will become different. If you enter pictures into such levels, the pictures will behave as picture vector positions and they act the same way as camera movements.

Light rays effect, R

Picture vectors, V

Deformation path, T

Perspective path, P

Mirror path, %

3D position, Z

By enabling the Linear color space option, the colors will be calculated in linear (physically correct) color space. The default color space for the compositing is the sRGB, but some operations, like the unfocusing, can give better results in linear color space.

sRGB and linear color space

For a well arranged exposure sheet it is not recommended to mix the purpose of levels, i.e. do not use the same level for both pictures, sounds, effects etc. Create separate levels for these different purposes. It is also better not to specify the level group together with the effect in the exposure sheet, instead, use only the default level group in the level properties to set the combination of levels.



Chapter 6.8.3.

Level groups

When some kind of effect, mask or camera movement entered into the x-sheet, it is also necessary to determine which levels are affected by. The meaning of the level group is a particular combination of levels. It is like the combination when you see which levels are switched on for playing and which are not. The level group contains a combination and you can refer it by the group's name. It can hold any number of levels from the scene, in any combination. There can be at most 128 level groups, which will get the 01 .. 7F (hexadecimal numbers) names by default. These names are free to change and valid within the scene. You can refer to the same level group multiple times in the scene and it will mean always the same combination of levels.

From the Level properties window the Level groups... button opens the setting window of the level groups. Each levels can have a default level group which is used when the level group is not specified with the effect or camera path in the exposure sheet. In mask picture levels it is not possible to enter a level group together with the names into the exposure sheet, so the masks will mask always the levels of the default level group. The default level group for a level is 'All' by default, which means all of the levels (which are enabled for playing).

The level groups window

The Groups list on the left in the window contains all of the level groups. Basically the names of these are hexadecimal numbers, but you can change it freely with the Group name: input field. The already used groups have small marks in front of their names on the list.

The list, named Levels on the right shows the levels of the exposure sheet. You can set the selected level combination for the selected group here. You can include the certain levels in the group by using the checkboxes next to the level names.

There is another way to include levels to the group while the level groups window is open, when you click on the letter mark or the checkbox on the level's header in the exposure sheet window with the middle button of the mouse. This time the right button menu of the level header also gets a menu item for this (Add to group or Remove from group).

Find unused - finds and selects an unused level group on the left side list,

Clear - removes all levels from the level group,

Invert - turns the selection of the levels to its inverse,

Apply - copies the combination of the actually enabled levels into the level group.

By clicking on the OK. button the window will be closed and the actual selected level group becomes the default level group of the level. The Cancel button also closes the window but the default level group in the level properties window remains unchanged.



Chapter 6.8.4.

Pegbars

In cartoon animation they use pegs for the motion steps to precise fit them together. The size is standardized, every paper has three positioning holes, the middle is circular, the sides are narrow rectangular shapes. The papers can be inserted on a pegbar with three pegs matching to these holes, this way the papers are always at the same position relative to the other papers and to the pegs.

Punched paper and pegbar

The Firka program also use pegs to position the drawings. The drawings does not normally contain pegs, like when the pictures captured with a video camera, or when an external file loaded. But the pegs position can be recognized on the drawings by the program, using the images of the peg holes. The pegs position of the drawings also adjustable in the camera editing window.

The pegs are switched off in the levels of the exposure sheet by default. This means the drawings always placed at the center of the image field, so that their height fills the image field in the vertical direction. This base position can be changed with camera paths. To enable the positioning by the pegs positions of the drawings, the contents of the level must be placed on a pegbar, i.e. you have to set a peg for the level.

With the pegbar the position, the scaling and the rotation of the drawings are all adjustable. From this point of view, the pegbar is similar to a still position camera path in the exposure sheet. With the pegbar you can replace drawings without pegs too. These drawings receive a default peg hole position.

In the Level properties window of the x-sheet level, use the On pegs: menu to place the level contents onto one of these pegs positions:

None

Level's own

Group pegbar

Pegbar 1, Pegbar 2 ... Pegbar K

The shared pegs are valid inside the scene, sharing pegs between scenes can be done with templates (not available in the free version), or with unifying scenes, when the scenes are just different exposure sheet views of the same database scene. This rarely needed, it is most convenient to simply save the pegs position from one scene and load it into the another.

If a level is set to a pegbar position that has not been used yet in the scene, the new pegbar inherits the previous pegbar position of the level. With this feaure you can place the level to a different begbar. You can change the position from, for example Pegbar 1 to Pegbar 2, and the new pegs position will remain at the same place, from where it can be replaced.

When the pegbar changed from the default None position, the pegbar gets a default postion below the image field. This default position leaves the drawings that are not have pegs in the exact original position. The difference will be with drawings with own pegs position, because the None mode does not use these positions but the other modes do.



Chapter 6.8.5.

Templates

Sometimes the properties of one x-sheet level should be used in one or more other scenes, for example two consecutive scenes should use the same pegbar position or the transparency of two layers should be exactly the same. In these cases you can use a template, which creates a connection between levels of different scenes.

You can open the window of templates from the Level properties window of the exposure sheet level, by pressing the Templates... button.

A template can be made in two ways. You can create a template from the standalone level with the By level button. Or, by pressing the By structure button, it will also include the duplicates of the level and all the other levels whose default level group refers to the level or to its duplicates.

After the template is ready, it can be used in any of the scenes of the movie. To achieve this, open the window with the Templates... button in the properties window of the other level, then select the template and click on the Connect button. If the template was made with the By structure button the program creates the additional levels as new levels and connects them to the template too.

When you create a template, the copied levels will automatically connect to the template. You can detach the level from the template by clicking the Disconnect button.

You can set which properties you want to attach to the template by using the Shared sub-layers, Shared level type ...etc. switches. If you change a property that is connected to a template, the program asks you how to keep the level and the template in sync: update the value in the template to pass the new value to the other connected levels, or disable the connection of the property, or restore the original value from the template.

The template is valid only within the movie in the database. The levels are using the name of the template to connect. If the referred template is missing from the movie, the level behaves as if it were not connected to a template. If you create the missing template again, the level will re-connect to it.



Chapter 6.8.6.

Templates in the free version

The templates make connections between levels of different scenes to share some of the properties of these levels. The free version does not contain this solution. You can copy the properties from one level to another manually.



Chapter 7.

The record window

You can open the record window from the window of the exposure sheet, by clicking on the Record button. The tabs at the top right corner of the window select the editing mode:

Picture

Sound

Camera

Use the Exit button to close the window, and with the Help button you can ask for a written help about the usage of the window.

There is also a Save button at the top right corner, to save the scene during works without the need to exit the window. This button has the same function as the similar button on the exposure sheet window.

On the right side, like in the x-sheet window, there is the list of shapes. Under the list there is a narrow button to hide the control elements below the list, in case if you need more space for the list.

When the Thumbnails is switched on, the list shows thumbnail pictures next to the names. The three sizing buttons next to the switch control the size of these thumbnails on the list.

The Path: field shows the access path of the listed shape subdirectory here too.

The Shape: field contains the name of the shape which is under editing. When you create a new shape in any of the modes, enter its name into this field.



Chapter 7.1.

Picture capture

For capturing pictures, the Picture tab shoud be active at the top right corner of the window, and also the Capture mode button should be selected below.

The capture window

On the bottom right part of the window the controls are usable in both the Paint mode and Capture mode modes.

The controls under the right side list

The Shape: field contains the a1 name by default, the program offers it as a usual first picture name for capture. This can be modified manually if something other needed.

You can use the Shutter: menu to specify what visible or audible effect will indicate the exposure.

Below these fields, the Onion: switch enables the onion skin mode, in which the previous and next pictures from the list are visible together with the displayed picture. It is specially useful for stop motion animation. You can click with the Ctrl+Left button, Middle button on the Onion: checkbox to switch on an alternative color mode. In this mode the previous pictures get a red tint, and the next ones get a blue tint. In this case the checkbox gets a different, "half on" shape. At the side of Onion: switch, the number of viewed previous and next pictures can be selectable with the menu buttons (from 0 to 3). At the middle, use the = button to show the just captured image.

If the Exposure sheet mode switch is active, the onion skin shows you the contents before and after the cursor of the exposure sheet. The onion mode also can be switched on and off by the Tab, Ctrl+Space keys of the keyboard. With the slider below these buttons you can change the visibility of the onion layers.

With the Over: and Under: switches you can put existing pictures over and under the displayed picture, for example to restore a previously used camera position. If you switch either of these functions on, and its name field is empty, the name from the Shape: field (the current picture) will be copied into the name field of the activated

Under: function.

With the ps_checkerboard switch you can put a checkerboard texture under the picture to check which parts of the picture are transparent.

There is a menu here as well, with which you can check the color channels of the picture:

At the bottom left corner of the window, above the settings list, you can see a long button. This button is actually a menu, with which you can select the active capture device. If you have such hardware in your computer (scanner, video camera, webcam etc.), they appear on the list and you can activate any of them, even during capture. If the selected device has a settings window from its manufacturer, it will appear after you selected the device. In this window usually you can set the resolution, the input channel, the color system etc.

If you connected a device on the go, it may not appear on the device list. It is recommended to switch the button to Not selected (or No input device), even if it is already selected. Then the new device will most likely appear on the list.

By moving the slider's position below the picture to the right, you can show the raw picture from the camera on the side to the left of the slider position. This can be useful, for example when the picture has poor colors and you want to know that the problem is the picture from the camera, or the settings.

You can zoom in the viewing to check the quality of the pixels, for example if the display resolution is lower than the resolution of the incoming picture. You can use the Numpad-1 ... Numpad-9 numbers on the numeric keyboard, to set the zoom value. If the mouse pointer is over the picture, it zooms to the pointer's position, otherwise it zooms to the center. With the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys you can zoom in and out step by step. The mouse wheel is also usable for zooming when the mouse pointer is over the picture field.

Additionally, you can use the zoom slider and the positioning tool at the right bottom corner of the window, or the scrollbars around the picture. With the arrow keys on the keyboard, you can move the visible area. If you click on the picture with the Ctrl+Left button, Right button and drag the mouse with pressed button, you can increase (right or down) or decrease (left or up) the zooming. If you drag the mouse on the picture with the Shift+Left button, Middle button, you can change the location of the visible area.

These are the steps of a simple pencil test recording:

Place the field chart paper from the scene underneath the camera. Set the sharpness and picture cutout (zoom) on the camera lens. Then set the picture cutout and the resolution in the computer. You may take a photo of a blank paper by clicking on the Get button at the Paper: label. Put the first drawing paper under the camera. Adjust the quality of the picture. It is the best if every lines are clearly visible and the background is full white. The The paper is white setting on the parameter list should be on.

Write the name of the drawing into the Shape: input field and click on the Capture button. If the numbering in the drawings is evenly increasing, you should only change the drawing under the camera and click the Next button or press the Space, Insert on the keyboard. If you mistakenly captured something, you can repeat the last capture with the Capture button or by pressing the Return/Enter, Ctrl+Return/Enter key.

It is advisable to save the scene with the Save button from time to time, to avoid losing the captured data because of an error or a power line blackout.

When finished, close the window with the Exit button, then you can continue the scene by filling in the exposure sheet.



Chapter 7.1.1.

Adjusting the picture quality

The device select button and the settings list

With the settings list, you can control several properties of the picture. After selecting an item on the list, the value of the selected property can be adjusted with a slider or menu under the list.

The Reset button resets the selected parameter into its default value, and the Reset all button restores the default values for all of the parameters.

The Load loads all parameters back from a file, and you can save the current state into a file with the vdigi_save_defaults button. The current values of the parameters are next to their names on the list.

Certain adjustable properties are:

Input

Brightness

Contrast

Subtract paper

Filter

Cut to paper

Quantize

Gamma

Noise filter

Saturation

Red

Green

Blue

Zoom

Horizontal

Vertical

Stretch

Transparency

Resolution

Field width

Field height

Field aspect ratio

If the Field width or Field height width settings are not set to Off, you can set the width and the height of the picture in pixels. If both of them are Off, the resolution is calculated from the original picture according to the Resolution setting. If only one of them is Off, then the program calculates the resolution from the frame aspect ratio and the size in the other direction.

The remaining options on the list are switches. You can also switch these on and off by clicking on the checkboxes next to the names on the list.

The paper is white

Colored mode

Mirror horizontally

Mirror vertically

Negative

Average filter

Guide lines

Shadow mask



Chapter 7.1.2.

Capture drawings

The exposure can be made in the middle of the window, with the Capture and Next buttons.

The Capture button stores the digitized picture under the given name, and the Next button makes the same thing, but before the capture it adds the number from the Advance: field to the number in the picture name. For example:

If there is 'K0001z' in the Shape: field, and the value of Advance: is 2 , then:

This is good to do so because during recording, when a sequence of drawings are captured with the Next button, if the last capture was a mistake, for example the hand of the operator remained under the camera, it is possible to retake the last picture with the Capture button (even multiple times).

You can make a capture by entering a name directly into the Shape: field and press the Return/Enter button on the keyboard. This is specially useful if the numbering of the captured drawings is uneven and you have to enter the names manually. By double clicking on a name in the list of shapes, you can re-capture the existing drawing. You also can make this if you click on the list, and move in the list with the Up and Down arrow keys, and capture with the Return/Enter key.

You can also step on the list with the PgDn and PgUp keys. This works even if the shape list is not selected.

If the Exposure sheet mode switch is enabled, the program enters the name of the captured picture directly into the exposure sheet. In this mode you should place the windows so that you can see both the recording and the x-sheet window. In this mode the PgDn and PgUp keys are moving the exposure sheet cursor by picture changes, and it is possible to move frame-by-frame on the x-sheet with the Right and Left keys. In this mode the Next operation can rename the numbering of other pictures after the name, to avoid overwriting existing pictures.

By switching off the Running picture switch, you can stop the continuos live capturing. In this case you can take a new picture with the Scan in button. For scanners there is no such live preview, you can start the scanning with this Scan in button.

Under Linux, when you use gphoto2 to capture images (photo cameras are working this way), pressing the Scan in button makes the photo camera to take a picture in full quality, while otherwise you can see only the lower resolution live preview.

In the Sub-layer: menu you can select one from the eight picture sub-layer to set for the captured image. This can be important if the picture will be painted or will be drawn further.

With the Shape feedback switch you can re-capture existing pictures. If you click on a picture on the list, it will appear on the display as if coming from the camera. You can set the brightness, transparency, aspect ratio, pegs position etc. just like with camera image. You can reshoot the original picture or you can make a new one. In this mode you can select a sequence of pictures on the list by dragging the mouse with pressed button, or by selecting all of the pictures between the cursor and a chosen item by using the Ctrl+Left button or Shift+Left button combination. Then you can re-shoot all these selected pictures in one pass by pressing the Capture or Next buttons. If you enter an alternate name for the first picture in the Shape: field before the operation, a new set of picture names will be created during the capture. Without this, the original pictures will be overwritten with the re-captured versions.



Chapter 7.1.3.

Removing unwanted parts from the picture

If there are parts on the picture what you do not want, for example eraser marks, notes or the pegholes, you can hide them by masking. You can draw filled shapes over the picture to clear these unwanted parts to transparent. Draw the required shape on the picture while holding down the left mouse button. You can select the shape type with the menu button at the Mask: part:

You can delete these patches by pressing the Clear button at the Mask: label. To turn the masking into its inverse, click Invert button there. With Load and Save, you can use files to keep your masks and load them back later. The mask automatically deleted if the picture resolution becomes different from the mask.

The Get button next to the Paper: label serves as a background cleaner for the picture. Place a blank sheet of paper under the camera before recording, and click Get. This time the program take a photo of the blank background, which will be subtracted from every digitized picture afterwards. By this procedure the uneven illumination and the lens errors can be vanished from the picture - which can not be filtered off in other way. For switching off the function use the Clear button, also at the Paper: label. From the keyboard, use P to capture the paper, and Ctrl+P to clear it.

On the settings list at the left bottom corner, there is a Subtract paper parameter to control the strength of the paper removing.

At the bottom of the window there is a Deinterlacing: menu to filter out the striping caused by interlaced pictures:



Chapter 7.1.4.

Recognition of pegholes

In traditional animation they are drawing on paper sheets, which has three pegholes in a line near the edge of the paper. Inserting these holes on pegs, small sticks, ensures that the sheets are always in the same position relative to each other and to the image field.

Punched paper and pegbar

Firka is able to recognize the pegholes on a picture and to position the captured picture according to these. Especially for document feeder scanners, where the position of pages loaded by the scanner are random.

With the Rotate: menu button, you can select from several picture rotating modes:

None

90 degrees right

180 degrees

90 degrees left

Setup pegs

The controls to set the pegbar and the field

Check pegs

Recognize pegs

By field

Attach pegs

Original



Chapter 7.1.5.

Capture possibilities

Positioning the overlays

There are small positioning buttons next to the Over:, Under: and Onion: controls. With these you can replace the overlays. By default the program places the overlay pictures so that their pegs are aligned to the pegs position of the actual picture. But you can use these buttons to change it.

Positioning button

For example, this can be useful when creating pictures in-between them. Click on the button to make it active, then drag the overlay picture on the display with the mouse. Click on the button again to switch off this positioning mode. Or you can also move the picture if you click on the positioning button with the Shift+Left button, Middle button and drag the mouse with pressed button. By clicking on the button with the Ctrl+Left button, Right button, you can reset the position of the overlay to its original.

With the X key you can place a small + mark on the picture at the mouse pointer. If it is there, the overlay picture will rotate around the + mark. You can remove this mark if you press X while the mouse pointer is outside of the picture area. You can also use the Ctrl+Backspace, Multiply (*) for this, regardless of the mouse position.

Use the H key instead, if you want to rotate and scale the overlay.

Multiple exposure

You can make multiple exposured pictures with the Accumulate button. It stores the picture into a copy, which will be merged with the incoming picure. If you exposure over the same frame multiple times, more and more captures will be merged together. This is a common way to make motion blur in stop motion animation. You can change the picture mixing ratio with the slider and the numeric input field next to it. The Clear button removes the accumulation from the picture. The accumulation also will be erased after a picture capture. You can use the A, Divide (/) keys for Accumulate, and the Ctrl+A, Multiply (*) key combinations for the Clear operation.

Chroma keying

By default, the white or the black color used as transparent background, as selected by the The paper is white switch on the settings list. But it is also possible to make parts of the picture transparent by their color, as in the bluebox, greenscreen techniques used. For this mode click on the Chroma key button at the bottom part of the window. Then a new settings window appears.

The chroma key window

The mode can be activated with the Chroma key enabled switch. At most four color hues can be set for removing, as represented with four color buttons next to the Chroma key enabled switch. You can switch them on and off by clicking on them. When you click on the camera image while the chroma key window open, the clicked color will be copied into the selected color button. With the Switch off all button you can clear all settings at once.

Use the Red:, Green:, Blue: sliders to set the desired color manually.

With the sliders under this, the color removal parameters can be adjusted.

If the chroma keying is active, the Chroma key button indicates this with a different look. The chroma keying mode remains active after the close of its settings window.

Timelapse recording

It is possible to make timed recording, for this click on the Timelapse button on the record window. Then a settings window appears.

The window of timelapse recording

The upper line of the window shows the actual state, this counts back the seconds during capture. Under it, you can set the time distance between captures with the seconds slider and numeric field.

If the Single shot only is on, only one picture will be captured, otherwise the capture will be continuous, the counter will restart after each shot.

You can start the timed capture with the Capture or Next buttons in this window.

By using the Stop button you can stop the timed recording.

Cropping the edges of the picture

Mostly with pegs recognition, when the position of the picture will be determined by the pegs and not by the fixed image field, it is worthy to leave out the empty transparent parts around the real picture content. With this the rendering will be faster and the scene will take less space.

The crop window can be opened by clicking on the Crop button.

The crop window

The mode can be activated with the Cropping enabled switch. Then a frame appears on the screen, which you can reposition with the small rectangles at its corners. After cropping, only the part within the frame will be preserved in the picture.

The frame can be stretched to the entire picture with the Select all button.

The Add border: setting controls how much empty space to leave around the real contents of the picture when cropping automatically.

With the Keep aspect ratio switch, the cropped picture part keeps the original aspect ratio of the picture. With the Drop standalone pixels mode on, single pixel noises will be avoided during automatical cropping.

When the Active cropping is enabled, an auto-recognition is performed when capturing, and starting from the given frame, the program shrinks the picture to its real content so that it leaves the Add border: frame around the recognized content.

If the Manual crop and capture is on, the cut frame can be drawn onto the picture with the pressed left mouse button. When the mouse button is released, the program captures the cropped picture, like when using the Capture button.

Only one of Active cropping and Manual crop and capture may be active. If both are switched off, the program will crop the picture to the given frame.

Stereoscopic photos

When capturing, you can use the For Left and For Right buttons to set the two eye views of the stereoscopic picture. While one of them is active, the recorded picture will belong to the selected eye. When switching, the last picture is preserved. After the Capture clicked, depending on the state of the Left: and Right: switches, these pictures will be saved into the captured picture as sub-layers.

You can select some stereoscopic view modes with the menu button at the right side of the window:

There is an additional menu button for the stereo menu to select the 3D view mode (anaglyph, interlaced etc.). These modes are similar to the modes you can set for the player window, and the program even copies the selected mode from there as a default.



Chapter 7.1.6.

Capture with the personal line-test version

In the personal line-test version, you can select these picture rotating modes with the Rotate: menu button:

Chroma keying

By default, the white or the black color used as transparent background, as selected by the The paper is white switch on the settings list. But it is also possible to make parts of the picture transparent by their color, as in the bluebox, greenscreen techniques used. For this mode click on the Chroma key button at the bottom part of the window. Then a new settings window appears.

The chroma key window

The mode can be activated with the Chroma key enabled switch. At most four color hues can be set for removing, as represented with four color buttons next to the Chroma key enabled switch. You can switch them on and off by clicking on them. When you click on the camera image while the chroma key window open, the clicked color will be copied into the selected color button. With the Switch off all button you can clear all settings at once.

Use the Red:, paing_green , Blue: sliders to set the desired color manually.

With the sliders under this, the color removal parameters can be adjusted.

If the chroma keying is active, the Chroma key button indicates this with a different look. The chroma keying mode remains active after the close of its settings window.

Timelapse recording

It is possible to make timed recording, for this click on the Timelapse button on the record window. Then a settings window appears.

The window of timelapse recording

The upper line of the window shows the actual state, this counts back the seconds during capture. Under it, you can set the time distance between captures with the seconds slider and numeric field.

If the Single shot only is on, only one picture will be captured, otherwise the capture will be continuous, the counter will restart after each shot.

You can start the timed capture with the Capture or Next buttons in this window.

By using the Stop button you can stop the timed recording.



Chapter 7.1.7.

Capture with the free version

In the free version, you can select these picture rotating modes with the Rotate: menu button:



Chapter 7.2.

Drawing and painting pictures

You can also draw and paint in the Firka program. In a line-test, you can erase some parts of the picture, or you can paint the inside of the figures with white, to cover the background behind them. Or you can use these functions even to create animation or color painting.

To open the picture editor in the program, click on the Record button on the exposure sheet window. Select the Picture tab in the window that opens, then select the Paint mode button at the bottom right side from the Capture mode and Paint mode buttons.

The painting window

The right hand side of the window is similar to what is available in the digitizer mode and you can read more about these controls in Chapter 7.1. You can find the drawing tools and controls on the bottom part of the window. There are also two lists at the left side of the window: the hierarchy list and the list of the selected palette.

In Firka, a picture can contain up to eight overlapping sub-layers internally. A sub-layer is a pixel image, which can contain both RGBA and indexed palette colors. The RGBA pixels contain directly their own Red, Green, Blue and Alpha (transparency) components, while the palette color pixels can reference up to 256 palettes with up to 256 RGBA colors per each, and also they have per-pixel Alpha transparency. Additionally there is a fully transparent color, which is a separate third color type, without components.

The bottom part of the window can be divided to three zones. The first part at the bottom left corner is usually a color mixer with the Alpha, Red, Green and Blue components, but if you select something on the two lists at the left side of the window, the available operations for the selected item will appear also here.

Adjusting RGBA colors

The parameters:

Above the sliders, in case of there is enough room, there are colored stripes, which shows what colors can be produced by changing the actual slider. By clicking on these and removing the mouse with button down, a menu-like surface appears, where you can select additional color variations.

Color selection

On this surface the horizontal direction corresponds to the parameter values of the slider, the bottom edge of the square is similar to the original color stripe of the button.

The constant part of the bottom area

In the second area, which remains the same during the operations, there are four color buttons, and one another labeled as Target color:. The four buttons contain four colors, from which you can select the color for drawing and painting. One of them is always selected. You can switch between these colors if you click on the buttons. At the center part of the button you can see the color's transparency over black and white background. If the button shows the tansparent color (Alpha value is 0) you can see a black and white checkered pattern.

You can switch a button between a specific color and the button's previous color if you click on the button with one of these:

Ctrl+Left button, Right button - for transparent color,

Shift+Left button, Middle button - for opaque black color,

Shift+Right button - for 50% Red, 50% Green, 50% Blue, 50% Alpha gray color.

You can change the transparency of the current color to full opaque with the Y key.

To pick a color from the picture and copy it into the active color button, move the mouse over the color and press the G key on the keyboard.

The Target color: button serves as a second color parameter in some operations, and by default it contains the transparent color. If you click on the Target color: button, you copy the selected color button into it. The target color can be picked from the picture with the T key.

A color model picture can be viewed at the bottom left corner of the window, you can pick colors from it. To view it, enable the Modelsheet: option and enter a picture shape name into the input field. You can load an image file with the From file button. You can zoom in and move inside the color model too, the same way as you do with the main picture view.

If you select a palette color from the lower list at left, the Palette colors switch automatically becomes on and you can see the controls for the palette colors. In this state you can draw with the palette color. To return back to RGBA colors switch Palette colors off.

The Shadow mask option shows the picture in distinctive false colors. The fully transparent parts will be white. Parts that are exactly similar to the selected color will be red. Other RGBA pixels are viewed in blue and other palette color pixels in green. The fully opaque pixels are significantly darker than the semi-transparent ones. You can switch this option on and off by using the Space, F12 key.

You can change the brightness of the background behind the picture with the slider in the row of the Shadow mask switch. Additionally, with the Checkered background switch at the right side, you can put a checkered pattern background behind the picture.

There can be up to eight sub-layers inside a picture. Select the sub-layer for drawing with the Sub-layer: menu. If a sub-layer already exists, you can also select it on the hierarchy list at the left top corner of the window. On this hierarchy list you can see an asterisk (*) in front of the name if the sub-layer is selected for drawing but it is not existing yet. On the hierarchy list you can enable and disable the sub-layers by clicking on their checkmarks. A disabled sub-layer is not visible and not participates in the drawing operations. By clicking on the switch with the Ctrl+Left button, Middle button, you can switch the layer off partially, which will be represented by a "half on" state switch. A partially disabled sub-layer will remain semi-transparent, but otherwise it will behave as a disabled layer.

When you select a sub-layer on the hierarchy list, other new buttons will appear at the bottom left corner. You the Type: menu you can change the sub-layer type for the selected sub-layer. With the Delete button you can delete the selected sub-layer.

With the Linear color space switch you can change the blending mode of the sub-layer to work in linear color space. The sub-layers are blended by covering each other, the program changes this to work in linear color space instead of sRGB. This swich has effect also on most of the drawing tools, on this kind of levels the drawing also will be performed in linear color space.

The Capture button creates a copy of the current picture with the name given in the Shape: field. This button has a menu as well:

This name

Next

Truncate contents

Delete shape

Upsample 200%, Upsample 150%, Upsample 120%

Downsample 80%, Downsample 50%, Downsample 20%

Turn 90 degrees right, Turn 180 degrees, Turn 90 degrees left

Copy 'Over' above, Copy 'Under' behind

If there is a picture sequence selected on the right side list when using the operations above, the program will apply the operation on all of the selected drawings.

The New button shows a window. In this window you can create a new picture by some specific parameters. You can find more about this in Chapter 7.2.3.

With the Undo button you can undo the last drawing operation of the selected picture. The U, Esc, Ctrl+U, Ctrl+Z keys are also usable for the same. Each picture has its separated undo history. You can undo the last operation for a sequence of pictures, if you select them on the right hand side list before the undo command issued.



Chapter 7.2.1.

The drawing toolset

In the drawing-painting mode the right side zone of the bottom part of the window is the drawing toolset. In this part you can find buttons with figures to switch between the drawing modes. Below the buttons you can see always the settings usable for the selected drawing tool.

If the bottom part of the window is too small, maybe you won't be able to see all of the buttons. In such a case, enlarge the bottom part with the sizer at the right bottom corner of the picture area, where the two scrollbars meet.

There are six serially numbered buttons at the middle of the bottom part. These are virtual pens, with them you can keep and restore the actual settings of the control surface. When you select one of these buttons, the program restores the last state of the tools used with the same button.

The program also remembers the last selected memory button for the different pen tips of your drawing tablet. For example, you can set a freehand drawing for the tip of your stylus while the first button selected, and a different drawing mode for the other (eraser) end of the stylus while the second button is active. When the other end of the stylus touches the tablet, the program will automatically switch between the buttons, and also between the interface settings, according to the actually used end of the stylus.

With the menu of the virtual pen buttons, you can save the settings to files and you can load them back. This way you can keep the pen size, pen pressure, fill sensitivity etc. values.

The drawing tools are the following:

Selection mode:

Select, relocate and distort picture parts

You can select this mode with the M key on the keyboard.

To select a region on the picture, draw a shape around it while keeping down the left button of the mouse. You can set the type of the shape with the menu button next to the Outline: label:

You can read a more detailed description about these below at the outline tool, where these same shapes can be used for drawing.

The program shows the selected area with "marching ants" outline. The selection behaves as a mask, you can draw only inside of it.

If you activate the Move toggle button, you can move the selected area by clicking on the picture and moving the mouse with pressed button.

With the Morph toggle button you can deform the contents of the selection. By default the deformation translates the contents of the picture, but there are other possibilities, for which use the X, Divide (/) and H keys to mark a center point on the picture. After that, in case of X, Divide (/) used, you can rotate and scale around the center, and you can shear when it was H. To clear the center mark, move the mouse outside of the picture and press either the X, Divide (/) or H keys on the keyboard. You can use Ctrl+Backspace, Multiply (*) for clearing too, regardless of the mouse position.

In deformation modes the transparency of the actual color (the Alpha: slider) defines the elasticity of the effect.

Deformation modes (normal, X, H)

The Morph button has an option menu to store the actual deformation to a deformation shape. You can create a new one or you can add your deformation to an already existing deformation shape. You can enter the captured deformation into the exposure sheet to deform the contents of other levels.

To capture the deformation, enter a name manually to the Shape: field at the right side, do not use the right side list. The menu items of the button:

The Constrain switch restricts the moves to horizontal or vertical directions.

If you activate the Set selected button, the selection moves together with the transformations. Otherwise only the contents move and the selection (the "marching ants") remains in its place.

With the menu of Select: menu, you can define how to add a new selection to the existing selection:

Use the Unfocus: slider to draw selections with blurred edges. Sometimes it is better to draw the selection without anti-aliasing, without the partially transparent pixels around the edges. Enable this mode with the Hard edge switch.

With the Get mask button you can create a selection from the actual contents of the picture. There is an optional menu to choose the selection mode:

You can repeat the last Get mask operation with the B, Ctrl+B key.

The Fill button fills the selection with the actual color. You can do this from the keyboard with V.

The Invert button inverts the selection and the Deselect button clears it. You can use the paint_region_invert and paint_region_clear keys to do it as well. The keyboard commands are working also when another drawing mode is active.

The Line smoothing: menu button at the right bottom corner is active when the selected shape is Freehand or Edges. This filter smooths out the bumps of the line when drawing the shape:

Color picker mode:

Color picker, palette creation and color ranges

You can select this mode with the P key on the keyboard.

In this mode you can pick a color from the picture into the selected color button. If you click on a palette color, the viewing switches to palette color mode and the left hand side lists displays the palette and the selected palette color. If you click on an RGBA color, you can see the RGBA values. From the keyboard, you can use G to pick a color, even in other drawing modes.

If the palette editing is not disabled otherwise, the palette_making_mode switch enables a mode where you can define the color of the palette elements. You can read more about this in Chapter 7.2.4.

The two long bars with the color gradients are two color ranges. In other drawing modes you can find a Use color range option, with which you can draw with the selected color range instead of the current color.

You can define a color range from the picture if you select a part of the picture with the selection tool and click on the Get range button. It copies the colors of the selection into the range along the horizontal or vertical direction, whichever is longer.

Reversing the order of colors is possible by using the Mirror button, and you can use Load file and Save to file buttons to save color ranges to files and to load them back.

Flood fill mode:

Filling closed outlines

You can select this mode with the F key on the keyboard.

In this mode, when you click on the picture, the clicked area will be filled to its closed borders. As borders the program takes into account the current sub-layer and the sub-layers above it, the sub-layers below have no effect on the result.

You can draw a rectangle on the picture, then within the rectangle, the program fills all closed areas whats color match the color of the Target color: button.

If the border is not closed perfectly, the paint leaks through the gap. You can close these holes by hand if you click and draw closing lines on the picture while pressing Shift and Control keys together. After the mouse button released, the program recalculates the fill, so by repeating this operation, sooner or later you will be able to close all the gaps where the paint leaks.

You can draw these closing lines even without the Shift and Control keys if you click the starting point of the line in the immediate vicinity of the painted part outline. If the outline is very porous, it is recommended to switch the Contouring on, then the default action will be the closing of outlines, without the need to press Shift and Control, moreover, in this mode you can use Shift and Control to start a new fill.

A pattern texture can be created from the current picture content by clicking on the Get button next to the Pattern: switch. If there is a selection, the program copies only the contents of the selection. After that, if the Pattern: switch is on, you can fill with the pattern instead of the current color. If you paint with a pattern, you can also use the Move and Morph buttons. The operation of these buttons is the same as described in the selection mode. For example, you can deform the painted textures manually to follow the movement of the character's body parts or clothes.

The Constrain switch is also similar to the same function of the other tools, it restricts the transformations into horizontal or vertical directions only.

In the Recolor mode you can paint over parts that are not transparent. In this mode only the color changes, the original transparency of the picture remains.

The Contouring makes the contour closing default instead of starting a new fill when you click on the picture.

With the Step palette, after each fill the selection on the palette steps to the next color. It can be useful if you have the same repeating color pattern to fill on several drawings (like squares on a checkered blanket, for example).

The program is able to close small gaps on the outline on its own if you increase the value of the Patching: slider. But it also lowers the accuracy of the painting.

With the Underflow: parameter, you can set a pixel distance to flow behind the contents of the higher sub-levels.

The Tolerance: value specifies how far the color of the filled part may differ so that the program can detect it as background color or closing outline.

Outline drawing mode:

Outlines and filled shapes

You can select this mode with the O key on the keyboard.

In this mode you can draw shapes manually. To fill the inside of the shape with the selected color, enable the Fill inside switch. Without this the program will draw only outlines.

If you enable the Tracing mode, the contents of the actual and higher sub-levels will modulate the strength of the drawing pen. The pen will trace the existing picture contents.

With the Use color range switch you can draw with the color range selected at the color picker tool. It translates the transparency of the drawing to the colors of the color range.

If you defined a pattern texture at the fill tool, you can use the same pattern for the drawing, if you select Clone for drawing mode in the Pen type: menu, and switch Pattern cloning on.

With the Outline: menu you can select the shape to draw. You can use these same shape types to select areas in the selection tool.

The effect of the Whole is the same as if the whole picture is being drawn as a rectangle. This operation can be executed with the Ctrl+W key.

The bottom part is common for the outline drawing, the line drawing and the freehand drawing. The pen style and the drawing mode can be set here.

You can set the drawing pen size with Pen size: slider.

You can give the strength of the pen with the Pressure: slider. It's effect is similar to the Alpha: setting of the color, but some pen types are applying it differently.

In the Pen type: menu you can find different pen types.

Some pen variations

The second menu button of the pen type section is defining the drawing mode:

The Line smoothing: menu button is active when the selected shape is Freehand or Edges. This filter smooths out the bumps of the line when drawing the shape:

Line drawing mode:

Straight lines and gradients

You can select this mode with the L key on the keyboard.

To draw straight lines, click on the picture and move the mouse with pressed button. With the Opacity switch the transparency of the pen will fade into invisible between the starting and end point of the line. Similarly, the Thickness switch decreases the size of the pen to zero along the line.

With the Use color range switch you can draw with the color range selected at the color picker tool. It translates the transparency of the drawing to the colors of the color range.

By switching Pattern cloning on, you can use the texture defined at the fill tool for drawing, if the drawing mode is Clone.

To draw color gradients instead of lines, use the Gradient: switch. The gradient fades the selected color into transparent, while keeps the color hue.

Color gradient types

The gradients can be:

You can use the Constrain switch to align the line or the gradient to the horizontal or vertical axes. The Shift key can activate this mode during the drawing. By pressing the Ctrl key, the aligning directions will have a smaller, 15° steps.

The next controls are usable to set the pen type and the drawing mode. These are similar to the settings of the outline and the freehand drawing tool:

Freehand drawing mode:

Freehand drawing

You can select this mode with the D key on the keyboard.

In this mode you can draw lines manually. Click on the picture and move the mouse with its button pressed, along the desired path.

If you have a pressure sensitive pen tablet, enable the pressure control with the Pressure switch. If it is enabled, you can use the paint_opaciyt and Thickness switches to specify which parameters should have impact from the pen pressure. By clicking with the Ctrl+Left button, Middle button you can switch these controls only half on. This means the pressure will affect the parameter to a lesser extent.

If the Pressure switch is off, the Opacity and Thickness switches enables to draw continuously fading and thinning lines.

If the Follow edges switch is enabled, and the pen is near to an edge of the undelying content, the pen is sticking to the edge and following it. This mode works similar to the Edges mode at the outline drawing.

With the Use color range switch you can draw with the color range selected at the color picker tool. It translates the transparency of the drawing to the colors of the color range.

By switching Pattern cloning on, you can use the texture defined at the fill tool for drawing, if the drawing mode is Clone.

The Line smoothing: menu button smooths out the bumps of the line while drawing:

The next controls are usable to set the pen type and the drawing mode. These are similar to the settings of the outline and the line drawing tool:



Chapter 7.2.2.

The drawing toolset in the free version

In the free version the drawing possibilities are simplified relative to the full version. In the drawing-painting mode, the right side zone of the bottom part of the window is the drawing toolset. In this part you can find buttons with figures to switch between the drawing modes. Below the buttons you can see always the settings usable for the selected drawing tool.

If the bottom part of the window is too small, maybe you won't be able to see all of the buttons. In such a case, enlarge the bottom part with the sizer at the right bottom corner of the picture area, where the two scrollbars meet.

The drawing tools are the followings:

Flood fill mode:

Filling closed outlines in the free version

You can select this mode with the F key on the keyboard.

In this mode, when you click on the picture, the clicked area will be filled to its closed borders. As borders the program takes into account the current sub-layer and the sub-layers above it, the sub-layers below have no effect on the result.

You can draw a rectangle on the picture, then within the rectangle, the program fills all closed areas whats color match the color of the Target color: button.

If the border is not closed perfectly, the paint leaks through the gap. You can close these holes by hand if you click and draw closing lines on the picture while pressing Shift and Control keys together. After the mouse button released, the program recalculates the fill, so by repeating this operation, sooner or later you will be able to close all the gaps where the paint leaks.

You can draw these closing lines even without the Shift and Control keys if you click the starting point of the line in the immediate vicinity of the painted part outline.

Outline drawing mode:

Outlines and filled shapes in the free version

You can select this mode with the O key on the keyboard.

In this mode you can draw shapes manually. To fill the inside of the shape with the selected color, enable the Fill inside switch. Without this the program will draw only outlines.

If you enable the Tracing mode, the contents of the actual and higher sub-levels will modulate the strength of the drawing pen. The pen will trace the existing picture contents.

With the Outline: menu you can select the outline shape to draw.

The effect of the Whole is the same as if the whole picture is being drawn as a rectangle. This operation can be executed with the Ctrl+W key.

The Pen size: slider defines the size of the drawing pen.

Freehand drawing mode:

Freehand drawing in the free version

You can select this mode with the D key on the keyboard.

In this mode you can draw lines manually. Click on the picture and move the mouse with its button pressed, along the desired path.

If you have a pressure sensitive pen tablet, enable the pressure control with the Pressure switch. If it is enabled, you can use the paint_opaciyt and Thickness switches to specify which parameters should have impact from the pen pressure. By clicking with the Ctrl+Left button, Middle button you can switch these controls only half on. This means the pressure will affect the parameter to a lesser extent.

If the Pressure switch is off, the Opacity and Thickness switches enables to draw continuously fading and thinning lines.

If the Follow edges switch is enabled, and the pen is near to an edge of the undelying content, the pen is sticking to the edge and following it. This mode works similar to the Edges mode at the outline drawing.

The Pen size: slider defines the size of the drawing pen.



Chapter 7.2.3.

How to create and resize pictures

In the drawing mode of the record window, by clicking on the New button you can open the window which can be used to make new pictures. With this same window it is possible to copy and resize pictures.

The window of new picture creation

At the top of the window you can enter the name of the new picture shape to the Shape: input field. When you open the window, this copies the contents of the name field of the record window.

When you press the Get actual sizes button, the program calibrates the new picture according to the current picture and the selection on it. If there is no selection on the drawing, the actual size of the picture will be copied into the Width: and Height: fields. But if there is a selection, there can be two modes to calibrate the new picture:

During the calibration the program sets the Width:, Height:, X offset:, Y offset: fields and also the aspect ratio, and sets the switches to copy the picture data.

The Width:, Height: fields and the aspect_ratio slider together describe the geometry of the new picture.

The aspect ratio slider is similar to the one used at the movie settings, with the small rectangles at the ends of the slider, or with its right button menu you can select from standard formats.

The Fixed aspect ratio for outline drawing switch is an additional feature and not related with new picture creation. If it is switched on, and you draw a rectangle or ellipse shape on the picture editor window, its aspect ratio will be the value of the aspect ratio slider in this window.

When With pegs position is on, the new picture will get the pegs position of the current picture, corrected according to the resizing.

The With picture vectors copies the picture vectors that stored in the current picture,

The Fill with actual color fills the new picture with the current color on the selected sub-layer, and the Copy actual contents copies the contents of the current picture. From these two only one can be on.

On the bottom part, the X offset: and Y offset: fields are determining the offset of the center of the original picture relative to the center of the new picture, in entire pixels. When copying the picture content, there is no fractional pixel offset, pixel copied to pixel.

After Create it button clicked, the program creates the new picture. If the name belongs to an already existing shape, it will be overwritten without request. The window does not close after the operation.

When there is a picture sequence selected on the right side list of the record window when the Create it pressed, it applies the actual operation on all of the selected pictures. This way you can crop existing pictures, change their aspect ratio, you can add or remove pegs positions etc.

The Create it button has a menu as well:

You can exit the window with the Exit button.



Chapter 7.2.4.

Palettes

In the Firka program the sub-layers of pictures can contain palette pixels. A palette color is not containing its color components directly, but it is a reference to an element of the palette, which can have any specific color. The hue of the palette colors can be changed easily, by changing a palette element, the given color changes on all drawings at once. For painting, the colors can be handled by function (eyes, hair etc.).

If you modify a color on a palette, it changes everywhere immediately. The palettes are arranged in a hierarchy. You can assign a palette to the picture sub-layer, to the redirectable content of the x-sheet level, to the x-sheet level itself, to the entire exposure sheet, to the scene or to the movie. This is a priority order, the picture sub-layer has the highest and the movie has the lowest priority. Every palette has a code number between 0 and 255, and when two palettes have the same code number, the higher priority level overrides the palette on the lower priority level.

For example, a palette with 100 code number in an x-sheet level overrides the 100 code number palette of the scene, but only in that specific x-sheet level.

The colors on a movie palette are shared between all scenes of the movie.

If a drawing refers to a non-existent palette item, the pixel color will be opaque black.

If you click on any of the hierarchy levels (Movie, Scene...) on the list at the top left corner, you can see the associated controls at the bottom left corner.

To create a new palette, enter a name into the Palette: field, and enter a code number to the Code: field as well. Then you can create the palette with the New palette button. The name of the palette will appear on the hierarchy list.

You can use the Load palette to load back a previously saved palette as a new palette, the palette will be created with the name and code number from the Palette: and Code: fields. In the file loader window you can select multiple scenes at once too, in this case all palettes will be created with the original name and code number, as stored in the files.

The Unify palette button is a complex fuction. From the actual picture, or if multiple pictures are selected on the right side list, from those pictures, collects all the used palette colors and makes a unified palette with them. In the selected pictures it also replaces the palette colors to the elements of the new palette. The elements of the new palette will be links to the original palette items.

After selecting a palette on the hierarchy, you can use the Rename button to rename both the name and the code number for the palette. The Delete button deletes the selected palette.

You can save the palette into a text file with the Save palette button, which can be loaded as a new palette with the Load palette, or if a palette is selected on the top left list, its can be replaced with the contents of the file by using the Update palette button.

By default a new palette contains only one palette entry, a black color without name. You can see it on the bottom list below the hierarchy list on the left side. If you click on it, another new controls become available at the bottom left corner.

Parameters of a palette entry

In the Entry: field you can see the name of the selected palette entry, and you can enter the name for a new entry here as well.

The Alpha: field contains the transparency for the drawing or painting operations. This is not a property of the palette entry, each pixels on the picture have their own transparency values. However, a palette entry can contain transparency, in this case the final result will be the combination of the two transparencies.

With the Active: menu you can set a picture sub-layer to be activated automatically when selecting the palette color. This ensures that a given palette color can always be drawn to the picture sub-layer that is intended for it. Later it is possible to change thesub-layer to another, this works only when selecting a palette color. The possible select modes:

With the Usable: menu, a drawing function can be selected, which will be automatically set up when the palette color selected:

With the Update entry button you can update the name and these settings in the selected palette color entry. The paint_add_entry button creates a new entry at the end of the palette with the given settings. It is not enabled to insert a new entry between the palette items, because this would damage the indexing of the already used items in the existing pictures, instead the new color can be added only to the end of the palette. However, if you need to insert a color, save the palette to a text file with the paint_save button, then edit it in a text editor and replace the palette with the modified version with the Update palette button.

To change the RGBA components of the palette entry, turn the Coupling switch on. Now if you pick a color from the actual picture with the color picker tool, or by pressing the G key, the selected color updates the color of the actual palette entry. If you select a palette color this way, the result will be a link to the another palette entry, indicated by a small arrow next to the palette item name on the list. You can also switch to the RGBA mode to change the color manually, if you switch the Palette colors option off.



Chapter 7.3.

Sound editing

You can load a sound into the program with the Load shape button on the x-sheet window. The Firka program has no sound digitizer or music editor functions, so sounds must always be loaded from external files.

The sound editor is accessible from the record window. Click on the Sound tab at the top right corner to reach the sound functions. Then select an existing sound on the right hand side list, then its waveform will appear on the display area.

The sound editor window

You can select a part of the sound when click on the waveform and drag the mouse with pressed button. The selected part can be played with the playing buttons under the waveform field. You can play the sound faster or slower with the slider under the playing buttons, in a similar way how it works in the player window.

From the keyboard you can use the P, Return/Enter key to play the sound or the selected part, and the Space, Insert button to continue from the current position, or to stop playing.

If you click on an existing selection near to its border edges, you can replace the edge, otherwise clicking elsewhere, you will start a new selection. The position and size of the selection can be set as numbers with the Block start: and Block length: input fields. You can set the measuring unit for the positions with the Align to: menu:

This setting determines the alignment of the selection edges, for example with frame accuracy, the selection will start and end on a frame boundary.

You can use the Numpad-1 ... Numpad-9 numbers on the numeric keyboard, to zoom into the sound. If the mouse pointer is over the display area, it zooms to the pointer's position, otherwise it zooms to the center. With the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys you can zoom in and out step by step. The mouse wheel is also able to zoom when the mouse pointer is over the waveform field, and the slider at the bottom right corner of the window also can be used for zooming.

On the waveform there is a grid which shows seconds or frames, depending on the zooming level.

The sound waves themselves can be magnified with the vertical scrollbar next to the waveform field. In other modes this is usable for vertical scrolling, but in case of sounds, the amplitude of the waveform can be enlarged, in order to better visualize the quiet sounds too.

Voice breakdown:

Entering phonemes

Under the waveform, inside of the display, if the zooming is big enough, two labels can be visible, Phonemes and Words. You can enter the voice breakdown (also called lip sync) into these rows. This is an important aid for animators, especially for making mouth movements. Sounds, as temporal things, independent of the playing speed of the movies. Therefore the voice breakdown entered to the sound is also connected to the own time of the sound. If it turns out later that the playing speed is different from the one was used for the breakdown, the voice breakdown very likely still remain usable.

After you clicked on one of the two horizontal rows, you can enter letter marks from the keyboard to the selected position. Use short words only (up to five characters) and split the long words into smaller fragmens. To change an existing label click on the text, it will appear in the text field and can be rewritten. While entering, use the Up and Down arrow keys to move the entering position forwards or backwards in the sound by one frame. If there is a text already in the new position, it will show up automatically in the input field.

The Tab key plays the cca. 1/10 second area around the entering position, this helps to find the exact position of the phonemes.

With the Capture button you can store the selected part of the sound under the name entered into the Shape: field.

Use the Print button to print the sound together with the entered phonemes and words. With the menu of the button you can select how many rows to be printed on a page (50 or 100).

With the Clear breakdown button you can clear the contents of the Phonemes or Words rows. With the menu of this button you can select that you want both of them or only one row to be cleared.

Marking specific positions on the sound:

You can mark a position of the sound with a name entered to the Base name: field. This base position can be used as a starting reference in the exposure sheet. To use it, enter a slash ( / ) character and the name of the marker after the name of the sound in the x-sheet.

The New base left button marks the sound at the beginning of the selected range, while the New base right marks the end position of the range. The marked base will be represented by a vertical bar and its name at top, over the waveform. The position can be replaced by click and drag with pressed left mouse button. If you want to select the base only without moving it, use Ctrl+Left button, Middle button.

The selected base can be renamed with the Rename button, and you can delete it with the Remove button. With the Fit block button you can extend the edges of the existing selection to the nearest bases.

The Fragment button can be used to split a sound into a sequence of fragments automatically, for example when you want to split the received sound into scenes. In the menu there are two possible modes:

With the button next to the Soundtrack: label you can select the type of the sound. This can be used to disable playing of these sound types at the settings of the player window:



Chapter 7.4.

Camera path editing

In a traditional linetest, the operator takes the pictures at their final position, according to the field chart. In this case there is no camera movement, or the camera movements are made with repositioned drawings, under the camera.

Sometimes, when there are large background movements in the scene, this can be difficult. In the Firka program, it is possible to move drawings with programmatically calculated camera movements.

When calulating the position of a layer, the program first place the picture according to the pegbar position of the layer, then it goes through the levels in order from the bottom level and changes this position with the camera movements that applied on the level. In the program there can be any number of levels to be summed up to move a level.

For examople, if in a finished scene you want to change the entire camera frame, then you can easily enter an additional camera path into the topmost level of the x-sheet, which affects all of the levels (level group name: All ). This will work because of the summation of camera movements even if there are camera movements already on the lower levels.

The camera movements affects the X and Y axes of the level contents equally, so the two axes remain always perpendicular and the proportions of the picture remain unchanged. But there is an x-sheet level type, with which this can be changed, it is the Deformation path level. The camera movements entered this level will behave differently, the level can be stretched in the direction of the size vector, by the value of its length, and the level can be skewed by the coordinate components of the base point vector.

The camera path window is reachable through the Record button on the x-sheet window, just like the camera capture. The Camera tab should be selected at the upper right corner of the window for the camera path editor mode.

The camera path window

A new list can be seen at the left side of the window, and a white rectangle on a gray background. This rectangle represents the camera field.

To make a new movement, click on the picture, and move the mouse with pressed button. This way a new segment can be made, a straight line between two endpoints. This movement is not stored yet, it is in a temporary storage, the program shows it in the list on the left with camer_overlay_path name.

If you switch the Freehand curve option on before creating the camera path, you will be able to draw a freehand path with the mouse instead of a single straight line.

You can use the Numpad-1 ... Numpad-9 numbers on the numeric keyboard, to set the zoom for the display. If the mouse pointer is over the picture, it zooms to the pointer's position, otherwise it zooms to the center. With the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys you can zoom in and out step by step. The mouse wheel is also usable for zooming when the mouse pointer is over the picture field.

Additionally, you can use the zoom slider and the positioning tool at the right bottom corner of the window, or the scrollbars around the picture field. With the arrow keys on the keyboard, you can move the visible area. If you click on the picture with the Ctrl+Left button, Right button and drag the mouse with pressed button, you can increase (right or down) or decrease (left or up) the zooming. If you drag the mouse on the picture with the Shift+Left button, Middle button, you can change the location of the visible area.

With the Picture-relative view view switch, the displaying of the path becomes different and you can follow how the camera field moves along the path. In this mode the actual point is always at the center of the field.

To save this path enter a name to the Shape: field and click on the Capture button. You can see that a new image name appears on the right side list. You can also create the shape if you press the Return/Enter key after you entered the name in the Shape: field.

You can clear the contents of the overlay path with the Clear button.

The Capture and Clear buttons

When clicking on the line between the two points, the segment will be selected, and also a cross mark appears at the point selected by the click. Then new control elements appear at the bottom left corner of the window.

Selected linear segment and its controls

You can use the menu at the left to select segments and path points. With the Delete button you can delete the selected segment. The segment can be bisected with a new breakpoint at the selected position with Split button. In the At percent: field you can enter the location of the selected position within the segment numerically.

With the menu next to the Segment type: label you can specify the type of the segment:

The three segment types: Line, Arc, and Spline

If the segment type is Line, only the two endpoints are moveable.

If the segment is a Arc, then when you click on the segment, the center point of the arc becomes visible, which is moveable.

If the segment is a Spline, after the segment selected, the two control points appear, with which you can change the shape of the curve. By moving the control point with Ctrl+Left button, Right button, if the neighbour segment is also a Spline, the two connecting points will move together in the same straight line. The curve will be break-free at the point.

If you select a point instead of a segment, the controls will be different.

Controls of the selected point

If the selected point is one of the two open ends of the curve, the curve can be extended with a new segment and a new endpoint by using the Extend button.

The Delete button deletes the point.

If the Locked switch is on, the point will remain in place when a neighbour point gets moved. Otherwise the point will move proportionally to keep the shape of the curve which going through it.

With the Key position switch, you can mark any point as a key position. These positions can be entered into the exposure sheet. You can make movements between the key positions and the motion can be stopped on these points only.

The labels are letters from the alphabet, from A to P and they come in a strict sequence on the curve, they cannot be switched. The point A is always the first point of the total path.

The values in X: and Y: fields are the base point, and the Scale: and Angle: are the size vector. The unit of the size values is the half height of the camera field, and the rotation angle is given in degrees.

For every point the Motion:, Scaling:, and Rotation: speed parameters can be set. The speeds are relative values to the speeds of the other points. For example if a value of one point is 100, and it is 50 for the other, then at the point of 100, the speed will be twice as much as the speed at the point of 50. The small transversal lines drawn on the curve represent the positions on the frames of the motion.

To move the selected point, click on the small rectangle at the point with the mouse and drag it. You can click with the Ctrl+Left button, Right button to move all points together, and Shift+Left button, Middle button only selects the point without moving it.

From the selected point a T shape handle reaches out, with a movable point at the end. This is the vector of the size and rotation, these parameters can be changed by moving this point. With the Ctrl+Left button, Right button you can resize the size vector without rotating it, and with Shift+Left button, Middle button you can rotate it only, without sizing.

You can screw the handle around the base point several times, if you want to set a rotation higher than 360 degrees. This has a reason if something have to rotate more than a full circle between two points.

The size vector with a rotation more than 360°

The Firka program can operate with two main types of camera movements. The type discussed previously, is the more often used type, when the motion path consists of breakpoints and segments between them.

The other type of camera path is a sequence of positions, when all points are defined by two vectors (the base point and the size vector). With this you can set individual positions for all of the frames of the movement.

The same camera path in the two different modes

You can convert the camera path to the point sequence type with the Convert to points button.

With a point sequence, the Insert, Extend and Delete buttons are usable to add and delete points. The key positions can be set for this motion type too.

The following settings are not belong to individual points or segments, but to the camera path itself:

If you use pan and zoom together, there is a problem which well known in compositiong: the visible speed of the motion depends on the scale of the picture field, so a constant speed movement seems accelerating. And even the evenly spaced zooming seems to be accelerating.

To avoid this effect, use the Balanced motion switch to equalize the speed of the motion, and the Balanced scaling switch to balance the speed of zooming. Generally it's better to use these together.

The rotation can follow the direction of the camera curve if you switch Relative rotation on. For example, if a car moved on a road, the front of the car will be always on the direction of the motion, so the rotation of the car will follow the path.

Normally the paths move the pictures and not the camera, but on the field guides, usually the path of the camera field given. To make these informations usable, you can switch the Field motion motion on. Then you can align the points of the motion curve onto the positions and fields shown on the layout, and if a camera path made this way, the camera will move on the given path.

It is possible to render a scene in interlaced mode, if the goal is to make an interlaced video. In this case every second row of the picture will be shifted in time by half frame. The Interlaced motion switch enables the use of this time offset in the calculations for these half frames. This switch has effect only when rendering to file, and only if the selected format of the file is interlaced.

The Apply 3D switch enables the moving of the levels according to their 3D Z depth for the camera path. Otherwise all levels will be moved equally in the plane. If it takes the 3D depth into consideration, the distant levels will be moved to a proportionally lesser extent, according to the laws of perspective.

With the window that can be opened by the Pan & Scan button, if a movie has to be rendered in two different image field formats, for example there is a widescreen and a 4:3 version, you can set what extent you want the camera path to effect in these versions.

The window of field shape based correction

In the window you can enable the field shape awareness with switching the Let the field shape affect the position on.

With the Effectless aspect ratio: slider you can set the field aspect ratio for which the camera path will have no effect at all.

And with the Aspect ratio with full effect: slider the field aspect ratio can be set for which the camera path will effect in its original form. If the field format differs from both of the given values the program will interpolate the result, the effect of the camera path vill only be partial.



Chapter 7.4.1.

Camera movements in the free version

In the free version the camera path editing is a demonstration only. It is possible to create a camera path, but it cannot be saved under a name, which means it cannot be used in a scene.



Chapter 7.4.2.

The coordinate system

The origin of the coordinate system, the (X,Y) = (0,0) point is the center of the projecting image field. The positive direction of the horizontal X axis goes from this to the right, and the positive direction of the vertical Y axis goes upwards. The scales of the two axes are the same.

The unit of the coordinate system is the half of the vertical size of the projection image field. So the top edge of the field is on the Y=1, the bottom edge is on the Y=-1 coordinates. The left and right edge of the field depends on the aspect ratio of the chosen image field.

A camera position consists of two vectors. The first vector is the location of the base point (pivot) of the picture from the origin, the second is a size vector, which defines the scale and rotation of the picture. This latter size vector defines the position of the top edge midpoint of the picture, relative to the base point. If the length of the size vector is 1, the vertical size of the picture will be 2 units, so its size will match to the vertical size of the projection image field. The length of the size vector defines the scale value, and its direction defines the rotation angle.

Some examples:

- a picture fills exactly the image field vertically:

- the same picture, rotated by 90 degrees clockwise:

- the first picture, enlarged to its double size:

- the center point of the first picture moved to the bottom edge of the field:



Chapter 7.4.3.

Editing the scene in the camera view

The camera paths are shapes with names, like pictures and sounds. By entering this name to the x-sheet you can move the position of other levels. In the x-sheet the camera path moves the levels of the selected level group, just like how effects work. You can read more about the level groups in Chapter 6.8.3.

The format of the camera paths in the x-sheet is discussed in more detail in Chapter 6.2.3. Shortly: the name of the camera path should contain that from which key postion to which the movement lasts. The key positions are marked with letters from A to P.

When the camera path is in the x-sheet, you can return to the record window. In the camera view, after switching By xsheet position on, the levels of the x-sheet appear on the left side list, and the selected frame of the scene becomes visible in the image field. In the scene, the camera paths, the pegbar positions or the picture positions relative to the pegs will be editable. Use the slider on the bottom part of the window to select the frame of the scene, and use the left side list to select the level you want to edit.

If you double click on a level on the left side list, it opens the properties window of the level.



Chapter 7.4.4.

3d camera positions

Firka program works basically on a planar surface, but it is possible to use spatial depth in a simplified manner. The levels can get their Z depth values, which the program can use in the camera movement calculations, according to the laws of perspective.

The camera is in the (X,Y,Z) = (0,0,0) point and looks at the point (0,0,1). The picture contents are in the Z=1 plane by default. The levels can be moved away from this in the depth direction, but it affects only the position calculations, the coverage relations are still specified by the level order of the scene. It is still might be wothwile to use this solution, because it suits well for the needs of the traditional solutions in the animation. For complicated cases, it is better to use a 3D program instead.

The scaling of a level, according to the laws of perspective, is 1/Z. If the Z value is larger than 1, the result becomes smaller, between 0 and 1 it enlarges. In Firka the negative values behaves like the positives, but the picture turns upside down. The 0 distance is undefined, and the values near zero are also should be avoided, because of the extreme big scalings. If a level content gets near to zero or in the negative range, it is recommended to enter blank frames into the level for that section.

While the By xsheet position is on, you can select a level on the left side list to set its location in space. You can enter to this mode by clicking on the Level's 3D position button.

The parameters of the 3D location

There are four parameters to set the spatial location:

Delta X:, Delta Y:, Delta Z:

Z:

By switching the Keep original scale switch on, the program zooms back the content of the level so its size does not change when its Z coordinate is not 1. Without this, the Z: parameter has effect also on the size of the level content.



Chapter 7.4.5.

Correcting the picture position

If the By xsheet position is enabled, you can relocate the drawings in the exposure sheet relative to their pegs. This means a correction of the pegs position within the picture, so it affects all occurences of the drawing in the x-sheet. It is similar to, when the animator corrects a drawing and cuts off the pegholes part of the paper and pastes it back in a different position.

To use it, switch the By xsheet position on, and select a drawing on the left side list, on a level with a pegbar selected. Then by switching the Positioning on, you can step into the relocating mode.

Relocating a picture relative to its pegs

With the small rectangles on the center and on the midpoint of the top edge, you can move, scale and rotate the picture relative to its pegs.

If you drag the midpoint of the top edge with Ctrl+Left button, Right button, the picture will scale only and not rotate.

By clicking on any of the two points with Shift+Left button, Middle button, it aligns the position of the picture to be parallel to its pegbar.

You can also drag the picture by clicking anywhere on the display area. With the X, Divide (/) key you can place a small + mark on the display at the mouse pointer. If it is there, and you drag the picture, the marked position will remain in place and everything will rotate and scale around it. To clear this mark, move the mouse outside of the picture and press X, Divide (/). You can use Ctrl+Backspace, Multiply (*) for this too, regardless of the mouse position.

Another solution in the program is using the base offset. This is useful when there is a pegs position which is used on multiple levels and a certain level has a displacement from the original pegs position. For example, there is a character level, and a cast shadow created from the same level in black color, by shifting it to a distance, under the level. In this case the two levels can be on the same pegbar, and the shifted level will be placed with an additional camera movement or with a base offset. The base offset belongs to the level and it is an addition to the pegbar position of the level.

To set it, you have to select a level on the left side list which has a pegbar position. Then by switching Base offset on, an arrow appears on the screen to set the base point and the size vector. With the two small squares at the two ends of the arrow you can adjust the base offset.

Adjusting the base offset

You can scale and rotate with the base offset as well. The base offset can be reset to its original off switched status with the Delete key.



Chapter 7.4.6.

Picture vectors

In the x-sheet if a picture shape happens to be in a camera movement type level, the program uses these pictures as camera positions, picture vectors. The camera movement type levels are these:

This can be useful for example, when each picture needs a unique position correction in the x-sheet. In this case a copy of the picture level can be used for the level of camera movements, ensuring that all picture will be in pair with the corresponding camera position (which is itself).

Each picture can have at most eight picture vectors, which corresponds to the eight picture sub-layers. The pegbar of the level, and the sub-level combination of the level properties summarized from 1 to 8 in order together give the resulting camera position.

To edit the picture vectors, you should select a camera movement type level on the left side list. In the level a pegbar should be also selected, because the pegs position of the level will be added to the offset.

In this case the Positioning switc, which is usable to relocate the picture content relative to its pegs, gets a menu button:

The picture vector consists of a base position and an assigned size vector. By relocating these you can change the picture vector. A picture vector can be reset to its default position with the Delete key.



Chapter 8.

Playing a scene

To open the player window, click Play button at the top left corner of the exposure sheet window.

The player button

The same window appears when you play concatenated scenes in the Playlist window. At start you can see the frame at the cursor of the exposure sheet in the window. With this window the scene can be played frame-by-frame or continuously.

The play button (triangle icon) starts playing the scene from the first frame of the scene, and the continue button (line and triangle icon) continues it from the current position. You can stop play by clicking the stop button (square icon). After the play stopped you can replace the current frame position by using the long slider bar or by entering the frame number into the numeric input field in the middle of the bottom side of the window. By clicking the little triangular arrows beside the input field you can either increase or decrease the settled number. You can do this also with the mouse wheel if you place the mouse over the input field.

The + and - buttons move the displayed position by one frame forwards or backwards. On the keyboard, the cursor keys serves for the same. You can find the keyboard commands for playing in appendix/kbd-play Appendix A.6.

In this window you can find a small sizing rectangle at the right side. If you move it to the left, a list field will appear to the right of the square. If the projection is stopped, the list shows the contents of the levels in the displayed frame. By clicking on a level in the list, the selected level becomes highlighted on the displayed picture. If you click on the list twice the window of the properties of the selected level opens.

The playing position and the cursor of the exposure sheet are connected. If you are changing the position in the player window, the cursor of the exposure sheet window follows it, so if you place the two windows next to each other, to follow the position in the exposure sheet also. And if you move the cursor of the exposure sheet, the displayed frame also will follow the movement. If you modify something in the exposure sheet, or enable or disable a level, the player window's display will follow these changes immediately.

During play the two small squares on the right hand side of the window will blink if the projection is dropped from the sync. If only the left flashes up, it means the motion step has been played late, but it has not hung down into the next motion step. If both of them flash, it indicates that the program is missed one or more steps during the play.

With the shorter slider bar at the bottom left part of the window, you can increase or decrease the play speed. Clicking the small triangle at the middle of the slider resets the speed to the nominal value. Next to the slider the actual speed is viewed.

With Full screen switch you can set the display into full sceen mode. It is possible to configure Firka to view the fullscreen mode on a separate hardware display, by default, however the fullscreen display will go to the same monitor on which the playing window is located.

The Render before play switch can be used when a scene is complicated and because of this, the program cannot play it in real time. If you switch it on, it assembles the frames before playing, so the projection has less load on the computer.

If Play in cycle is on, the play restarts from the beginning when it reaches the end of the scene, otherwise the projection stops at the last frame.

The Final quality menu allows you to render a single frame or entire animation in high quality. Final quality rendering can be very slow, therefore this function enables the Render before play option automatically.

With the To file button you can render the current frame into a file. The same can be printed with the Print button.



Chapter 8.1.

Player settings

In the player window, click on the Playing parameters: button to open the player settings window.

At the Picture sub-layers: section, the internal sub-layers of the pictures can be enabled or disabled for the entire scene. A picture shape can contain eight internal layer types. For example if the painted parts of a figure are located on a separate sub-layer, you can turn off the painted parts to make only the contours visible.

At the Enabled effects: section you can disable some effect types globally to increase the speed of display:

In the Soundtrack filters: section you can disable the sounds that have been marked as either dialog, music or effect in the sound editor window.

If Real time switch is on, the speed of the play strictly keeps the settled frame rate, even though motion frames have to be dropped because of it. When it is switched off, it projects every frames, even if the projection slows down because of this. This can lead to the meowing of the sound because the sound tries to follow the speed of the picture.

The Optimal frame size switch settles the displayed picture in a way that every pixel will be visible, but the picture shall be enlarged to the least possible extent. This setting is useful if you want to see the picture in the same resolution you specified for the movie.

The Original pictures switch is only visible if the cache is active. Use this switch to force the using of the original full resolution pictures from the cache instead of the reduced version.

With the Checkered background switch, you can display a checkerboard pattern instead of the white background, to check the transparency of the levels.

If the Frame counter: is activated, a frame counter becomes visible over the bottom part of the display. This can be even useful when projecting on full screen. It has an option menu to select the style of the counter.

When Clappers option is switched on, a settling image is displayed before the playing starts, it contains grayscale and color scale, the names of the movie, scene and expousure sheet, and the number of the frames. At the end of the projecting, a black blank picture remains on the screen instead of the last frame of the scene.

Clappers with the informations of the scene

The Safety frames switch puts visible frames around the edges of the picture. The important contents, such as title texts usually must be inside these frames to avoid clipping by the television screen.

Safety frames with 4:3 inner part

With the View: menu, it is possible to set different color modes for the viewing:

You can set the quality of viewing by the Visual quality: menu. It has options for three quality steps, but all of these are draft modes only. Occasionally, for a high quality but slowly rendered image, use the Final quality menu button on the player window.

Use the Stereoscopic: menu to select a stereo 3D view. If you have a stereo capable monitor, you can use its interlaced stereo format, or you can select filter modes for anaglyph color glasses, like the red-cyan type. There are also modes for crossed eye viewing techniques.



Chapter 9.

The playlist, concatenating scenes

You can combine the scenes in any order within the program. Depending on the speed and memory capacity of the computer, you can view the film in full, or in parts. For assembling the film click Playlist button on the main window.

In the new window you can see a list to describe the projection order of the scenes. To add scenes into the list, open the scenes window by clicking on the Scenes... button of the main window and select the scenes you want to insert. You can select several scenes at once. In the latter case, the program will insert these scenes by the same order as you can see them in the scenes window. Then go back to the playlist window and click on the Add to list button. The selected scenes will be inserted into the selected position of the list.

You can overwrite one of the list elements by another element with the Replace button. For example you can replace the layout or rough animation scene with the inbetweened version when it is finished. You can delete the selected list elements by using the Cut out button.

The Select all button selects all elements on the list at once.

In the course of cutting a film, frames can be omitted from the beginning and end of the scenes. This will not be deleted from the scenes, only it will not be visible during the projection. You can give the number of frames to omit at the starting of the selected scene by Skip first: field. For the end of the scene use End frame: field, where the number of dropped frames can be defined in three ways:

You can set the transition between the selected scene and the next scene in the Transition: field, where you can set the type of the transition and its length. In the course of transition the two scenes overlap over time.

With the Linear space transition option you can use linear color space for the transitions and with Ease transition, the transition will have a soft start and end.

To save the list of scenes, use the Save list button. This saves only the list arrangement of the scenes and not the scenes themselves. The list can be reloaded by the Load list button.

You have to select the range you want to play or render. The selected part is displayed in the list with a different color. You can set the first scene of the range with the Set start button and the last with the Set end button. You can select this range also if you move the mouse over the list while holding down its button.

To start playing the selected scenes, click on Play button, to get the playback window.



Chapter 9.1.

Rendering concatenated scenes into file

If you want to render the concatenated scenes, open the Playlist window, then select the scenes on the list and click on the Render file button. Then you get a file saver window, where you can set the parameters of the file to save, like an image sequence. The program renders the scenes as a concatenated, single image sequence, along with the cuts and transitions set in the playlist window.



Chapter 10.

Configuration

The program remembers the size of the windows, their location on the sceen and even their inner subdivisions, just like the parameters of the list editing, the playing or the digitizing.

When the size of a window or its internal subdivisions are not correct, it could be a drawback in the usage of the program. If a control, like a slider has not enough space, that control could disappear. After the first start some windows might have wrong dimensions, too big or too small. Then just resize the window, the program will remember the new size afterwards.

You can change the appearance of the program, the language and other settings on the About window of the user interface.

More detailed configuration is possible when editing the text file named 'gcnf' in the 'var' subdirectory.



Chapter 10.1.

Language settings

The user interface of the program highly depends on the textual informations. The labels of the buttons and the error messages are built into the program in English. The user interface can use another languages and the English mode is expandable too.

The language files are located in the 'var/langs' directory. The namings of these files have a common scheme. The first 4 letters of the name are the language, the second 4 letters are the function of the file, and at the end there is a .lng' extension.

The base files are containing the essential texts for the program, the English version of this file is a built-in part of the program. Short descriptions for the elements of the user interface are in the help set, and the book files are containing the translated versions of the manual for the different languages.

The most easiest way to set the language in the About window from a menu. But you can give one or more languages in the 'var/gcnf' file. This will be active when the Default (gcnf) option is selected in the menu. Use this format:

The name of the language is the name in the given language or in English. For examlple, the Hungarian language can be selected with the word magyar, or the french with french. You can add multiple languages, in this case if a sentence is missing from one language, it will be substituted from another language. The English language is there by default. Because growing of the program increasing the amount of sentences as well, if you are using an older translation for a newer program, you will see the English translation instead of the missing sentences. The manual reader in the program inserts an error message into the text if the contents of a chapter is not matching with the actual functionality.

It is recommended to upgrade the language files together with the program, by letting the program to install the *update files.



Chapter 10.2.

Cache configuration

When using the external cache, in the edited scene the program selects pictures larger than the limit value, and temporarily puts them to files on the harddisk and keeps only a reduced resolution copy in the memory.

Besides you can configure this cache in the About window, you can set it also in the the 'gcnf' file, located in the 'var' directory. Enter the following row into it:

After the cache keyword enter the maximal number of pixels for a picture, then the highest size of the compressed image in the memory (use the K and M suffixes for kilobytes and megabytes), and finally the access path of your temporary storage directory.

For example if on Windows you made a directory on the C:\ local harddisk with the access path firka\temp , and you want to limit the resolution to cca. 600x400 pixels and the memory usage to 20 kilobytes per picture, then the right setting is this:

For those users, who have disabled 'administration' in the 'tilt' file, the only way to use the cache is this 'gcnf' configuration.



Chapter 10.3.

The 'gcnf' file

The 'gcnf' file is located in the 'var' directory, and the program creates it during its first running. The file is in text format and you can edit it with any text editor. Save it into ASCII text format. You can use the existing 'gcnf' as a template to add your own settings. The user interface themes in the '*-themes' directories are using this format too.

The text can contain full row comments, these rows are beginning with the # mark. In the original 'gcnf' file some settings are commented out by a # at the start of the row. You can make these active by deleting the # character.

The settings are in a [NAME] [VALUE] format, one setting is one row. The name consist of one or more tags, separated by the dot character. The tags can be in any order within the name. This is an example:

One group of tags to select the type of the window:

window

dialog

Tags to select the functional elements of the interface :

canvas

label

button

control

scrollbar

input

list

display

header

sheet

cursor

sizer

help

There are subtypes for the button type, for different kinds of buttons, like:

button_cancel

button_danger

button_exit

button_file

button_help

...and so on.

At the end of the names it is possible to define another states:

button_on

button_inactive

button_on_inactive

The pushed or released state:

select

Drawing properties:

frame

style

complexity

font

The colors of the element:

background

foreground

text

highlight

leftedge

topedge

rightedge

bottomedge

block

blocktext

first

If a name does not select a tag from a component group, it will affect the default component. An undefined value inherits the matching defined value. The settings described so far are usable also in the GUI theme files, but the settings below are usable only in the gcnf file.

Other settings:

language

In case of an unknown name, that will be used as the first 4 letters of the language files.

path

workscreen

playscreen

audio

printer

capture

cache



Chapter 10.3.1.

The 'gcnf' on Windows

The system-dependent parameters that can be used in the gcnf file under Windows are the followings:

Fonts can be given with the font name, and with the height, concatenated with style. The available styles:

Multiple styles can be used together. This is an example:

Colors can be given in hexadecimal with in BBGGRR order, or you can use the colors of the Windows user interface:

As a system independent solution, you can use the #RRGGBB format with hexadecimal numbers.

These are the examples:

Parameters of the playing (the parameter value must be right after the name without spaces, i.e. percent100 ):

workscreen

playscreen

Sound output settings:

audio

Printer settings:

printer

Redirecting the path:

path



Chapter 10.3.2.

The 'gcnf' on Linux

The system-dependent parameters that can be used in the gcnf file under Linux are the followings:

The font can be given in the standard format of X-Window, for example:

Firka supports the font handling based on the languages. It can change the font code page based on the selected language. To use it, add a wildchar (*) character to the end of the name after the -iso8859 part, for example:

On newer Linux systems there is another font system, this works with UTF8 (Unicode) characters. This function is enabled by default, but otherwise it can be activated in the workscreen settings with the utf8 option (see below). The old font names are still usable, the program extract the information from them (family, slant, size etc.). Additionally, a simplified format is usable, fonts can be given with the font name, and with the height, concatenated with style. The available styles :

Multiple styles can be used together. This is an example:

Colors can be given by the standard color names and numeric formats of the X-Window. You can use the #RRGGBB format with hexadecimal numbers. The usable color names can be listed with the showrgb shell command.

These are the examples:

Parameters of the playing (the parameter value must be right after the name without spaces, i.e. percent100 ):

workscreen

playscreen

Sound output settings:

audio

Printer settings:

printer

Redirecting the path:

path



Chapter 10.3.3.

The 'gcnf' on Apple OSX

The system-dependent parameters that can be used in the gcnf file under OSX are the followings:

Fonts can be given with the font name, and with the height, concatenated with style. The available styles :

Multiple styles can be used together. This is an example:

Colors can be given in the #RRGGBB hexadecimal format, or with the following names:

These are the examples:

Parameters of the playing (the parameter value must be right after the name without spaces, i.e. percent100 ):

workscreen

playscreen

Sound output settings:

audio

Printer settings:

printer

Redirecting the path:

path



Chapter 10.3.4.

The 'gcnf' on Amiga

The system-dependent parameters that can be used in the gcnf file under Amiga are the followings:

Fonts can be given with the font name (ending with .font ), and with the height, concatenated with style. The available styles :

Multiple styles can be used together. This is an example:

On Amiga it is not possible to give the color values directly, you can refer palette colors only. These are the names of the standard Workbench color settings:

Additionally you can use the palette index of the color, also you can refer to the 4 or 8 Workbench colors, with indices begining with tilde (~) characters. In this case the color will be independent from the number of colors. Some examples :

Parameters of the playing (the parameter value must be right after the name without spaces, i.e. palette8 ):

workscreen

These settings can be used only together with ownscreen:

playscreen

Sound output settings:

audio

Printer settings:

printer

path



Chapter 10.4.

The 'tilt' file

When multiple users have access to the Firka program, maybe you set limited access rights to the program's functions for some users. For example they can play the scenes, but modifications are forbidden. With the 'tilt' file you can manage these restrictions. This file is located in the 'var' directory, just like the gcnf file, but the program does not create this file by itself.

The 'tilt' file has another gain when using on a network. If the user identification codes are enabling different services, by the 'tilt' file the program will allocate always the best matching free identification code. This way you can avoid, for example when a linetest computer 'steals' the painting code and a painter machine cannot start.

You can enter the following keywords into the 'tilt' file, one row should contain one keyword:

write_movie

write_scene

write_xsheet

write_objects

write_to_file

read_from_file

print

digitize_picture

write_picture

write_sound

edit_movements

play_scene

play_sequence

administration

There are special keywords:

operator

painter

line-test, painting, renderer

logging <username>

gcnf.os

gcnf.user

Easily possible that a user starts the program on the same machine in multiple instances. Each running instances are allocating a user identification code, this can take away the possibility to run the program on other machines of the network. To avoid this, in the 'tilt' file you can specify the allocation of a separate key before the program starting. The key in this case is a number between 0 and 255 and only one program instance can allocate it at once. You can give it this way:

You can put multiple keys into the 'tilt' file, the program will allocate the first free from them. If all of the keys are taken, the program won't start.

A useful option in the 'tilt' file is this:

In this case the name of the configuration files in the 'var' directory is extended with the login name of the user (user) and the name of the computer running the program (host). With these it is possible to keep all of the data of Firka in the same single directory of a server on a bigger network. In the same time this option allocates a key by the name so a user or a computer can run only one instance of the program at the same time. If one of the gcnf.os or gcnf.user options is also specified, the last part of the name will be the letter of the operating system:

From the 3.0 version the access to the movies can be managed using the login name of the user. In this case you have to specify the administrator users. These users have access to all of the movies, they can change the access rights as well. For these keeper users use this

option format. You can specify multiple user names, separates by spaces.

If the owner option is in the 'tilt' file then it is possible to set the access rights of the users for each movies separately. You can read more detailed information about this solution in Chapter 4.2.1.



Chapter 10.5.

Installing on a local network

When you purchased multiple identification codes, it is possible to install a system for multiple workstations to connect to the same database over a local network.

To achieve this first install the program to the computer where you want to keep the database of scenes. This could be a workstation but in bigger networks it's better to use a separate server machine. After starting enter all the identification codes, one after the other.

If you have different operating systems on the workstations, copy the needed variations of the executable file into the program's directory.

In the 'tilt' file you can enter a row in '*user.host' format, then each users on each computer will use separate settings about the position of the windows or about the preferred language. In networks with mixed operating systems it is useful to set the '*gcnf_os' option, and then the name of the operating system will be added to the name of the 'gcnf' configuration file (for example, 'gcnf.w'). This is useful because different operating systems need different configurations. If this is the case, you have to make the copies of the 'gcnf' file manually.

If these configuration options are not enough, for example because some users need unique access, you have to install the program on the workstations one-by-one. On Linux or OSX you can make symbolic links to redirect the executables into a shared place on the network. This helps to make upgrading the program easier, you have to replace it only once in the system.

On the machines there is no need to enter the identification codes, so do it just like if you installed the free version. Enter the following row into the 'gcnf' file of the 'var' directory:

This redirects the database of the scenes (the 'movies' directory) and some contents of the 'var' directory too, but not the location dependent data (contents of the 'gcnf' directory, the 'mscf' character set or the saved settings from the last running). This solution ensures the shared access of data while the machines can be independently configured.

Also a possible solution to create multiple startup subdirectories on the same computer for each user.

It is possible to restrict the functions of the program by the workstations or by individual users. In this case it is essential that the starting directories are read-only, otherwise the users may change their access rights.

When connecting the machines to a network a source of problems can be if the network filesystem is not able to handle the locking of files. A lock allows the program to protect a file from access by other programs. Firka works correctly only if this mechanism is right.



Chapter 10.6.

Upgrading the program

If you want to upgrade your already installed program to a newer version, download the installer packet of the new program and write over the executable file in the directory of the existing program, and also copy there the '*update' file too, for the language and other updated data.

Change these files on the different operating systems:

Windows:

Linux:

OSX:

Amiga:

If you are using the program on multiple operating systems, you have to start the program on each operating systems to install the updates.



Chapter 10.7.

Recovering a damaged system

USE THE CONTENTS IN THIS CHAPTER ONLY IN THE LAST RESORT, BECAUSE AN INACCURATE EXECUTION CAN CAUSE THE INABILITY OF THE PROGRAM TO LOAD SCENES, MADE BY ITSELF OR BY OTHERS! PREFERABLY DO NOT REINSTALL THE PROGRAM, OR AT LEAST DO IT BY COPYING THE ENTIRE DIRECTORY OF THE PROGRAM!

It is possible that you must reinstall the program - or the entire operating system - in case of a hardware failure or when an operating system crash occured. Because of the built-in protection, the program is sensible to get its previous data after the reinstalling too. Otherwise the program won't be able to load its own previously created scenes and if you send scenes to another Firka user, the other program won't be able to load the scenes made after reinstalling.

The best way of reinstalling if you entirely copy the old contents of the program's directory into a new directory. Then you can continue working without break. It is important to not use the program from the old place - it is safe to delete it after you checked the correct working of the copy.

Sometimes, an accidental delete or a faulty harddisk happens and the old database is not or only partially available. Then you can make the reinstall using previously saved external scene files. These must be in the FFS format (the own scene file format of Firka). It is important to find the latest created scene. If you are in connection with other studios, it is important to find the latest scene you sent them, or a even a newer one. Not the time of the last save counts, but the original first creation time.

If the old version of the program is still working, make a new empty scene in it and save it into an external file with the own format of the program (FFS). This will be the last created scene for sure. If you are using multiple user codes, start the program in all instances and make a new scene with each of them. Do not use this solution if the program is damaged and therefore cannot load its previous scenes.

Then create a new directory and put the program there. Start it and when it asks for the code number, do not enter anything. This will work as the free version then. Open the window with the Scenes... button and click on the Load file button. Load the found latest scene - or if you have multiple scenes for your multiple code numbers, load them, one after another. Only the fact of loading is important. Then without exiting the program enter a name to the name field of the Scenes... window and create a new, empty scene with the New scene button.

After this if you enter the user identification numbers in the About window, this copy of the program will be usable as the installed program instance.

Another possibility, when one of your partners - illegally - using the same user code on multiple computers or using a wrongly reinstalled program and send scenes to your program instance. In this case you can load all of your own scenes but not the new scenes received from this particular source, because the program identifies the source of these scenes as an illegal copy of the program. In this case the solution is to recover your partner's program instance.



Appendix



Appendix A.

Keyboard commands

Mouse buttons:

The control elements usually can be activated with any mouse button, but in some cases there are special functions connected to mouse buttons:

Right button

Ctrl+Left button, Right button

Shift+Left button, Ctrl+Left button, Right button, Middle button


Mouse wheel:

Wheel Up, Wheel Down

Shift+Up, Wheel Down, Ctrl+Wheel Down, Shift+Down, Wheel Up, Ctrl+Wheel Up

Shift+Left, Shift+Wheel Down, Shift+Right, Shift+Wheel Up


Generally used keyboard commands in the windows:

Return/Enter

Esc, Ctrl+Q

U, Esc, Ctrl+U, Ctrl+Z

Ctrl+C

Ctrl+X

Ctrl+V, Ctrl+Y

Ctrl+A

C

I

Backspace, Delete

F11


Usable in the main window:

M

S

E

P

A


Usable in the file loader and saver windows:

C

I

Ctrl+Backspace

D, Ctrl+B

M, Ctrl+M



Appendix A.1.

Keys for the exposure sheet

Operations:

Ctrl+N

F11

F2

F9

Ctrl+S

Shift+Ctrl+S

Shift+Ctrl+O

Ctrl+O

Ctrl+P, Shift+Ctrl+P

Ctrl+P


Working modes and parameters:

Tab, Ctrl+I, Insert

Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Insert

F8

F7

Ctrl+Space

F3


Moving in the x-sheet:

Left, Up, Right, Down

PgDn

PgUp

Home, Shift+Home, End, Shift+End


Entering to the x-sheet:

Ctrl+E

Ctrl+G

Plus (+)

Minus (-)

Delete, Ctrl+D

Ctrl+Return/Enter

Ctrl+V, Ctrl+Y

Esc, Ctrl+Z

Ctrl+U


Picture properties in the x-sheet:

Ctrl+M

Ctrl+J, F5

Ctrl+K, F6


Block operations:

Ctrl+B

Ctrl+H

Ctrl+L

Ctrl+W, Ctrl+A

Ctrl+R


Name entering, when the x-sheet cursor is a text input field:

Up, Down

Esc

Return/Enter


Key for the active state of the right side (shapes) list:

Up, Down

Shift+Up, Shift+Down

Left, Right

Return/Enter

Space

Delete, Ctrl+D

Ctrl+Backspace



Appendix A.2.

Keys for video capture

Capture:

Return/Enter, Ctrl+Return/Enter

Space, Insert

Delete

A, Divide (/)

Ctrl+A, Multiply (*)

L

R


Settings:

P

Ctrl+P

F4, F3

F6, F5

F8, F7

F12


Display settings:

Wheel Up, Wheel Down

Numpad-0

Numpad-1 ... Numpad-9

Plus (+)

Minus (-)

Shift+Left, Shift+Wheel Down

Shift+Up, Ctrl+Wheel Down

Shift+Right, Shift+Wheel Up

Shift+Down, Ctrl+Wheel Up

0


Dialog windows:

K

O

T

Backspace


Relocating the contents of Onion: , Over: , Under: overlays:

X

H

Ctrl+Backspace



Appendix A.3.

Keys for drawing and painting

Selecting the drawing mode:

M

P

F

O

L

F

F1 .. F6

F7, F8, F9, F10


Display settings:

Wheel Up, Wheel Down

Numpad-0

Numpad-1 ... Numpad-9

Plus (+)

Minus (-)

Shift+Left, Shift+Wheel Down

Shift+Up, Ctrl+Wheel Down

Shift+Right, Shift+Wheel Up

Shift+Down, Ctrl+Wheel Up

0


Change selection mode:

N

A

S

K


Operations with colors:

G

T

Z

Y

Space, F12


For deforming operations:

X, Divide (/)

H

Ctrl+Backspace, Multiply (*)

The rotating or shearing center is also the starting point of cloning in the Clone drawing mode, and acts as a rotation center when relocating the Onion:, Over:, Under: overlays. For overlay relocation, around the center placed with X, Divide (/) the overlay will rotate only, but with H it will rotate and scale.



Appendix A.4.

Keys for sound editing

Playing sound:

P, Return/Enter

Space, Insert

B, Home, Shift+Home

E, End, Shift+End

Tab


Display settings:

Wheel Up, Wheel Down

Numpad-0

Numpad-1 ... Numpad-9

Plus (+)

Minus (-)

Shift+Left, Shift+Wheel Down

Shift+Right, Shift+Wheel Up

Shift+Up, Ctrl+Wheel Down

Shift+Down, Ctrl+Wheel Up


During voice breakdown:

Up

Down

Tab

Esc



Appendix A.5.

Keys for camera path editing

Stepping the frame position:

Right, Down, PgDn

Left, Up, PgUp


Camera path editing:

Ctrl+N

C

Ctrl+Return/Enter

Tab, Shift+PgDn

Shift+PgUp

Ctrl+Tab

E, Ctrl+E

S, Return/Enter, Insert

Delete

Shift+Left, Shift+Up, Shift+Right, Shift+Down

O

D


Working with switches:

F

K, Ctrl+K

R

Z


Display settings:

Wheel Up, Wheel Down

Numpad-0, 0

Numpad-1 ... Numpad-9

Plus (+)

Minus (-)


Other operations:

F5 .. F8

G, L, Ctrl+L

T

Backspace


Dialog windows:

N

P


Positioning pegbars and level contents:

X, Divide (/), H

Ctrl+Backspace, Multiply (*)



Appendix A.6.

Keys for the player

Controlling playback:

P

Space, Insert

Shift+Left, Shift+Up

Shift+Right, Shift+Down


Full screen playing:

F, Ctrl+F, F11

F11

Esc


If playing is paused:

Home, Shift+Home

End, Shift+End

Right, Down, Plus (+), Wheel Up

Left, Up, Minus (-), Wheel Down

PgDn

PgUp

C

G, L, Ctrl+L, Left button

S


Final quality rendering:

Backspace, Delete

Return/Enter

Tab



Appendix B.

The directory structure of the program

During its first start, the program creates a directory structure in the directory that contains the executable program. The program does not change any settings in the operating system, everything will be located in this same directory. If you want to delete or move the program, you have to delete or move this single directory.

The directory structure and the files created by the program are the following:

firka (Linux, OSX, Amiga) or firka.exe (Windows)

firkadbg (Linux, OSX, Amiga) or firkadbg.txt (Windows)

movies

var

wupdate (Windows), lupdate (Linux), mupdate (OSX), or aupdate (Amiga)

The entity contains essential data for handling the scenes, which is stored for security reasons by mirror subdirectory too.

The mscf file and the contents of the charmaps directory contain the data needed to encode the characters of text fonts. The mscf overrides the automatically managed definitions in the charmaps directory, it may only be used in justifiable cases and not recommended.



Appendix C.

Hardware and software compatibility

Firka is a long ago developed software and it can operate in very modest environments. Therefore, for the computer hardware there are no real requirements. Of course, faster computer and more memory are better. Firka can take advantage of multiple CPU cores as well.

Firka is able to use the zlib and libpng open source software libraries (dll's) if these are available on the system. Under Linux, these functions are usually integral parts of the system, and under other operating systems it is also possible to install these libraries from other internet sources (from the websites of their developers, for example).



Appendix C.1.

Windows compatibility

Operating system:

Video digitizers:

Pressure sensitive graphics tablets



Appendix C.2.

Linux compatibility

Operating system:

Video digitizers:

Wacom pressure sensitive graphics tablets



Appendix C.3.

Apple OSX compatibility

Operating system:

Video digitizers:

Pressure sensitive graphics tablets



Appendix C.4.

Amiga compatibility

Operating rendszer:

Video digitizers:



The end.