New users to messiah normally run into a brick wall (myself included… though I’m not ‘new’ to messiah) when attempting to understand the ‘Repeat’ and ‘Time’ parameters found in the Compose Mode/Tab in messiah when working with Clip Instances, and unfortunately, the documentation doesn’t provide much clarity to their use.
In either case, the good folks at pmG have been kind enough to explain and clarify their use, and I thought it’d be a good idea to share this information with others whom are likely to be initially confused by these parameters.
Anyways, here we go…
Repeating Clips in Messiah
There are two ways to repeat a clip instance:
- If you RMB-drag on the red corner of the clip instance present in a track, this will cause the clip to repeat. You’ll notice that as you do this, the ‘Repeat’ parameter will increase in value. Note, however, that if instead you chose to enter the value directly into the Repeat parameter, nothing’s going to happen (this is where a lot of users run into trouble). Though you’ll see a visual representation of the repeat points on the clip instance itself, no actual repeating will occur. Therefore, DO NOT mess with the ‘Repeat’ parameter directly, instead, you MUST RMB-drag the clip out for repetition to happen. As a result, the clip itself will be longer, and if you need the repetition to occupy the space of the original clip (before you expanded it), simply LMB-drag (again… LMB-drag!) the red corner of the clip instance and adjust as required.
Thus, RMB-dragging adds repetition to the clip instance, while LMB-dragging simply makes the clip longer (plays slower) or shorter (plays faster) – no repetition will be added. Obviously, for a clip to repeat twice, you must RMB-drag out the clip instance until it reaches a size that is twice of the original, and if three times, then RMB-drag until it reaches a size 3 times the original, etc. Thus if you have a 30-frame clip instance, RMB-drag until you reach 60 frames, etc. And if you need the repetition to occur within the original 30-frame span, simply LMB-drag back down from 60 frames to 30 frames, etc.
- The second method uses the ‘Time’ parameter, and it allows you to control repetition over time. The documentation mentions a ‘reverse’ option, but there is no ‘reverse’ option… the ‘Time’ parameter itself works as the reverse option. Use of the ‘Time’ function parameter requires that you create keys over the duration of the clip instance. For example, say that you have a clip instance applied to an object. You then create two keys, one at frame 0, and another one at frame 60. On frame 0 (keyframe 1), you set ‘Time’=0.0, and on frame 60 (keyframe 2) you set ‘Time’=1.0. This means that the clip instance will only play once. If you set the ‘Time’ @ frame 0 (keyframe 1) = 0.0 and ‘Time’ @ frame 60 (keyframe 2) = 2.0, then the clip instance will play twice. All you have to do is think of the Mathematical ‘deltas’ between keys, regardless of frame. So, say, if you have 3 keyframes with Time settings of 0.0, 3.0, 2.0, respectively, their respective deltas are 3 - 0 = 3 (play 3 times), and 2 - 3 = -1 (play once backwards). Thus, a ‘delta’ must exist between ‘Time’ parameters among each consecutive adjacent keyframes for repetition to occur in a forward fashion (positive ‘Time’ delta), or backward fashion (negative ‘Time’ delta).
Use of the ‘Repeat’ parameter by RMB-dragging is the straight forward way of repeating a clip instance since only RMB-dragging is required and no keyframes need be created. However, when repeating a clip by this method, each repetition will be equal in frame-span. Thus, if you want to repeat a 20-frame clip instance 3 times, you’ll end up with a 60-frame clip instance (each repetition spanning 20-frames in size).
With the ‘Time’ parameter, you do not have this restriction, and no RMB-dragging is required, and because you can create keys anywhere within the clip instance, each repetition does not have to be equal in frame size.
So if you have, say a 60-frame clip instance, and create a keys at frames 0, 10, 50, and 60, and have their corresponding 'Time’ parameters for each key set at 0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, the clip will repeat 4 times, but this time, at varying speeds. Frames 0-10 and 50-60 will play at equal, yet faster speed, while frame-rage 10-50 will repeat at a slower pace. Thus, use of the ‘Time’ parameter affords you more flexibility because not only you have control of repetitions, but also time – hence, ‘Time’.
Anyways, I hope this helps the newcomers, and the not so newcomers whom have continued to be confused by their use.