NOTE: The Animator was created before the Light-O-Rama Visualizer existed; the Visualizer is more fully featured than the Animator. The Animator is still supported so that existing sequences continue to work, but consider using the Visualizer instead of the Animator, especially for new sequences.
Each sequence can have an animation associated with it. This is a simple drawing indicating how your lights will be laid out, optionally with a background picture (such as a photograph of your house). When the Sequence Editor plays a sequence, you can display its animation, and the lights drawn on it will turn on and off, fade, shimmer, and twinkle, as your real lights will.
To view the animation for a sequence, click on the "View Animation" button in the standard toolbar, or "Animation" under the View menu. Note that the animations for multiple sequences can be viewed simultaneously, and you can control whether or not each sequence's animation is displayed independently.
During play, the Animator only redraws the animation every so often, rather than every time that something changes. This is to try to ensure that it does not use too much CPU time. You can modify the time between redraws in the Display Preferences dialog, to try to strike an appropriate balance between CPU usage and smoothness of display for your individual computer.
If your animation does not contain a background image, you can change the number of rows and columns in it by using the controls in the "Size" section of the Animator (if it does contain a background image, you will have chosen the number of rows and columns when choosing the image).
You can also zoom in and out on the animation. This does not affect the number of rows and columns; it only affects their displayed size.
To draw in the Animator, select "Draw" from the "Drawing" section, choose which channel or RGB channel you want to draw for (first choosing the track it is in if you have more than one), and simply click on spots in the animation that you want associated with that channel or RGB channel. You can also click and drag, to draw as if you were holding a pen down to paper.
Only a single channel or RGB channel can be assigned to a cell in the animation, so if you draw over a cell that had had another channel assigned to it, only the new channel will thereafter be assigned to that cell.
The drawing will be done in the color that you chose for the channel, or, in the case of an RGB channel, white (which will vary during play). To choose a color for a channel, see the Channel Settings dialog, the Channel Configuration screen, or "Change Color" in the channel button's right-click popup menu.
There are two ways to erase channels from a cell: First, using "Erase" from the "Drawing" section, you can erase cells in much the same way as you drew them, by clicking or clicking and dragging. Second, while "Draw" is active, you can erase by right-clicking or right-clicking and dragging.
You can also erase all cells in the sequence at once, using the "Clear All" button.
If you wish, you can give each animation a background image. For example, using a photo of your house might make it easier to visualize how your lights will actually look when they are put on your house.
To add a background image to an animation, click on the "Select" button in the "Background Image" section of the Animator. You will be prompted to select how many rows and columns should be in the animation.
To remove an existing background image, click the "Remove" button.
The "Simulate night time" checkbox will cause the background image to appear a bit darker than it normally does, while keeping your drawing (representing your lights) at full brightness.
The various controls on the Animator, such as the "Size", "Draw", and "Background Image" sections, can be hidden by clicking on the toolbar button in the upper left corner, showing two green arrows pointing to the left. This leaves more room for the actual animation.
When the Animator has its controls hidden, two additional buttons appear on the toolbar, allowing the drawing to be resized larger or smaller.
When the controls are hidden, that button will change to show the arrows pointing to the right instead. Simply click on it again to unhide them.
You can play a sequence (or stop play) directly from the Animator, by clicking the play and stop toolbar buttons at its top. You can also play (or stop) from outside the Animator - for example, via the Play button on the Sequence Editor's Standard toolbar.