Virtual Mechanics

Motion Paths

IMS Web Engine is our advanced Dynamic HTML editor. One of its
primary features is its ability to create interactive animated web
pages using Inverse Mechanics. It can do this by tracing almost any
web element along a motion path.

What is a motion path and what do we mean when we refer to
Inverse Mechanics?

A motion path is simply the path an Object will trace as it moves
around the screen. Any Object can be used as a motion path. These
include Image and Text Objects. In these cases, the path will be the
rectangle that bounds the Object. Any Object can be instructed to
trace the rectangular around any other Object.

The program also includes Polygon and Ellipse Objects. These
provide the ability to create more complex motion paths. An Ellipse
Object can be used to create any circular or elliptical path. A
Polygon Object can be used to create a complex path anywhere on
the screen. Figure is14fig1 illustrates an example of our bird flying
around rectangle, ellipse and polygon objects.

In addition to selecting a path, the Action Dialog can be used to
control the direction, speed and the number of times to trace the
path. If an Open polygon is used, the Object will trace the path to
the last point then start again at the first point. When a closed
polygon is used, the Object will trace the path from the last point to
the first point.

If you watch the flying bird at
http://www.VirtualMechanics.com/contents.htm, you will see that it
flaps its wings as it goes up and glides as it descends. You will also
notice that it always faces the direction in which it is flying. This is
accomplished by changing the animated GIF of the bird whenever it
changes directions. Use the Orientation dialog in the Action Editor
to select a different Object for each of the four possible directions.

So what is Inverse Mechanics?

Inverse Mechanics refers to the fact that as any Object can trace the
path defined by another Object, the Path Object can itself be tracing
another Object's path. This is what we mean by hierarchical motion
paths. A clear example of this can be seen at
http://www.VirtualMechanics.com/motions.htm. As the text string
"Hierarchical Motion" is instructed to trace the outline of an Ellipse

Object, the Ellipse Object is instructed to trace the Outline of a
Rectangle Object which in turn has been instructed to follow the
position of the cursor as it is moved around the screen.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 1999 Virtual Mechanics

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