Architectural animations are one of the best ways to present our designs to clients.
There are various ways to visualize your designs, and with Enscape, we can create all of the different types of visualizations in one place. We can create renders, walkthrough video renderings, VR scenes, and even panoramas.
In this post, I will teach you how to create, modify, and export animations in Enscape. The process is the same for all of the supported modeling software (Revit, SketchUp, Archicad, Rhino, and Vectorworks), so you can follow along very easily. At the end of this article, you can also view the full video tutorial which will contain all of these tips for rendering animations in Enscape. Let's get started!
Rendering animations in Enscape
Let's take a look at the video settings and steps you need to take to create beautiful animations of your architectural and design projects (there is also an in-depth guide to the Enscape video settings in this Knowledge Base article). You can download the Enscape 3.1 Sample Project from the Enscape website and follow along with me if you like.
1. Rendering quality and output settings
One of the important parts of this process is to make sure your rendering quality and output settings are adjusted to your needs. Make sure to put your rendering quality on Ultra if you want to create high-end animations.
The next thing to adjust is the aspect ratio of your animation. If you want to post the animation on Instagram or LinkedIn for example, you need to specify the aspect ratio in the Output tab of the Visual Settings window.
For example, I want to create an animation for my Instagram post, so I need to put the aspect ratio on Custom and insert the numbers manually (1080 by 1080 for 1:1 aspect ratio).
But as you can see, we can’t see any difference in the Enscape window. To be able to see the actual frame or Safe Frame, we need to activate the Safe Frame option in the top right of the Enscape window (see the icon with the orange background selected below).
Another setting you could adjust is Compression Quality. This parameter has an effect on our final file size. It will reduce the artifacts when it has been set on a higher level. Enscape recommends that you stick with the 'Maximum' setting here. If you go higher (Lossless), you will receive a series of individual PNG images. You can go lower to reduce the size of the resulting video file, but Enscape exports to MP4, so you get very high quality combined with a small file size by default.
And last but not least is the frame per second (FPS) of your animation, the higher the better (just kidding 😉) but actually, it depends on your needs. If you want a cinematic animation, stick with 30 FPS but if you want a smooth video put it on 60 FPS. In my opinion, higher FPS numbers are just used if you want to edit them afterwards in editing software to create slow motions.
2. Working with the new Enscape video editor
Here is the Enscape 3.1 Sample Project. Once you have downloaded it (and of course, you will need Enscape as well), open up the Video Editor. To do this, either click on the Video Editor icon or use the V key on your keyboard.
In any kind of animation, one of the important parts is keyframes, but before we jump into how to create a keyframe, let’s understand what is a keyframe. A keyframe in animation and filmmaking is a drawing or a shot that defines the start and endpoint of any smooth transition; to be able to specify your camera movement path for the simplest scene and animation you need at least two keyframes.
To create keyframes in Enscape, you need to click on these two plus signs, and both of them are the same.
Before creating your keyframe, make sure to adjust your camera correctly and then create your starting point. When you create your keyframe, Enscape will add two things to the interface. The first one is the keyframe symbol in your timeline, and the second is the camera symbol in your 3D environment. It will do the same thing for each keyframe you create.
At this point, we do not have a play button, and we also don’t have an animation, so let’s create another keyframe.
When you create your second keyframe, you will activate the play button. You now have a path, and you have created your first animation in Enscape.
A little tip here, make sure to turn the Grid Lines on. This tool will assist you to have a better composition for your keyframes.
When you want to expand your animation, you need to create more keyframes.
For example, we created five keyframes to create an animation. You can see the end product for this simple path here:
As you may have realized already, the time distance between keyframes is not equal. Sometimes you will do this by intent, but it is better to have full control over it. We will discuss this later in the post.
To edit any keyframe, click on the keyframe symbol. For example, let’s make some adjustments in the third keyframe.
After changing any settings, make sure to click on the Update button to apply the new settings on the keyframe.
When you are finished adjusting the settings and to exit from any keyframe, click on the Exit icon. Now you can navigate freely in the model.
When you look at the animation path from the outside, you will see the orange cameras. Each of them represents a keyframe, and this is really useful to check the camera path to prevent any clash between the camera movement and elements like walls.
If you happen to see a clash along your camera path, go to the appropriate keyframe and change the location of that specific keyframe to solve this. Or simply click on the path to create a new keyframe and change the location of that one instead.
A nice feature about video animation in Enscape is that you can create multiple paths in the same project and you can load, save and navigate through. To do any operation that is related to this, just click on the Video Path menu, and now you can save, load, or create a completely new animation path.
Now we have saved the previous path, let’s create a new one from scratch to deep dive into other options. Let's create an interior animation.
Let’s move to the right and create another keyframe here. Now we can click on play and watch the preview. As you may encounter, sometimes the default speed of the animation is not suitable for your needs. For example, if you'd like a much smoother animation, just press ESC on your keyboard and change the total duration number to something higher to have a slower transition between two keyframes.
Now to be able to change each keyframe’s timestamp, let’s add another keyframe. To change the timestamp of the second keyframe, just click on it and check the timestamps and you can change it manually. It was at 00:08 but let’s change it to 00:04. Once updated, you will see that the movement speed between the first and second keyframe is faster in comparison with the second and third one.
In the general settings of your animation, you have another two options, which are “Ease In/Out” and “Shaky Camera”. When you activate the Ease In/Out parameter, it will provide a smoother feel to the animation by adjusting the first and last few seconds of the animation. If you enable the Shaky Camera option, you will give a handheld camera feel to your animation.
3. Keyframing in other parameters
In Enscape, in addition to the camera placement and angle, we have other parameters that we can adjust that will affect your keyframe to achieve new scenes and effects.
Let’s create a keyframe.
And then let's create another one. Let’s go to the first keyframe and in the keyframe part, you can see all of the elements you can adjust. These parameters are Timestamp, Time of Day, Focal Point, and Field of View. Let’s try Time of Day. Let’s set the first one to 9:30 PM and the second one to 9:00 AM. Now press Play and you can see the transition between night and day.
Now let’s take a look at the Focal Point. Create the first keyframe. To activate the Focal Point option, you need to go to your Visual Settings window, increase your Depth of Field parameter and also deactivate the Autofocus option.
For the second keyframe, create it at the same place as the first to create this stylistic effect and to really highlight the focal shift we will animate. The parameters for both keyframes are different. In the first one, adjust the focal point on the flower and for the second one, adjust the focal point on the bar, now press play and you can see the beautiful transition we created with this simple technique.
The next parameter we want to keyframe is Field of View. With this parameter, we can create Zoom In/Out and dolly zoom effect. Let’s create two keyframes in the same place.
Put the total duration on 8 seconds and select the first keyframe. Check the Field of View parameter and go to the second one, put it on something smaller for a zoom-in effect or a higher number for a zoom-out effect. Then press play to see the results.
4. How to export your rendered animations
To export your scene and animation, click on Export.
And in here adjust all of the settings according to your preferences (we talked about all of them in the first section). Click on OK and wait. You will then have your beautiful rendered animation, created in Enscape.
Watch the full tutorial
I hope you have enjoyed learning about video animation in this article and have picked up some new techniques. Take a look at this video to see the full tutorial and visit my YouTube channel for more Enscape tutorials.