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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to create 3D animated maps using OpenShot on Linux

OpenShot is a video editor that runs on several Linux Distributions and is, in my humble opinion, one of the two best video editors (along with Kdenlive) available on Linux. Using OpenShot and Blender, we can create several impressive animations, one of them being the following 3D map animation.

New York to New Delhi from Tuxcrazy on Vimeo.
Step 1: Install OpenShot
Openshot is available in the repositories of many Linux Distributions. Just make sure that you have at version 1.30 or above installed. If not, here is the official website from where OpenShot can be downloaded [1].

Step 2: Download Blender 2.5
To create this animation, we need Blender 2.5x, which might not be in your package manager. Currently, Ubuntu 11.04 has 2.49 in its repositories. It can be downloaded from the official website [2].

Once downloaded, extract the file.

Step 3: Point OpenShot to the Blender Executable
In order for OpenShot to be able to work with Blender, it must be pointed towards the Blender executable.

To do this, go to Edit » Preferences and type the location of the Blender executable. Remember to also include the file itself and not just the location. As an example, I have entered /home/anchorschmidt/Downloads/blender-2.57-linux-glibc27-i686/blender, where the blender-2.57...i686 is the name of the folder and blender is the name of the executable.

Step 4: Create animation

Firstly, go to Title » New Animated Title. Here, there are several interesting animations that are available. Scroll down to the World Map animation.

Creating the animation is extremely easy. All you have to do is specify the coordinates of the starting point and for the destination.

For example, if I wanted to travel from New York to New Delhi, the coordinates are as follows:

1. New York:
  • Lat 40°42'51"N (40 degrees, 42 minutes and 51 seconds North).
  • Long: 74°00'23"W
2. New Delhi:
  • Lat: 28°36′50″N
  • Long: 77°12′32″E
Step 6: Render as animated title
Now click on Render and make yourself a sandwich or something.

Step 7: Move the animated title to the video timeline
When your animated title has been rendered, the main OpenShot window will appear. Your animation is visible in the right hand panel. Simply, drag and drop it onto the timeline.

Step 8: Render as video file
Now you just have to export the file as a video  To do this, click on Render. (the red button).

A window will come up, which lets you configure the format of your output video.

Lastly, select a format of your choice and click on render. Make yourself another sandwich.

Now you have a pretty cool looking travel video that you can use for a variety of purposes. For example, making a travel video or adding some extra bling for your presentation rather than using annoying and pointless animations.

I've added some more locations in the following video.

World tour from Tuxcrazy on Vimeo.
Have fun!

[1] OpenShot Video Editor.
[2] Download Blender 2.5.

Related articles.
[1] How to create stunning presentations.
[2] The most useful tool for creating Presentations.
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