Making animated SFP, MIP, and Iso Surface renderings

AVI animations


The Movie Maker, present in the Huygens Software since version 3.4, is a tool that allows you to easily create sophisticated animations of your multi-channel 3D images using all Huygens Visualization renderers. This tool assists you in creating key frames that define render parameters, and creating smooth transtitions between them. Interactive manipulation of the scenes is possible using the renderer interfaces or the interactive timeline in the Movie maker window.

Besides the Movie Maker, the Huygens Sfp Renderer, MIP Renderer, and Surface Renderer are capable of making simple AVI movies that are insightful and attractive. The viewpoint, time frame, and all of the rendering parameters (such as thresholds and colors) can be animated.

The AVI movie is compressed using the MJPEG codec, which can be played with e.g.
  • Windows Media Player;
  • Apple QuickTime;
  • Totem;
  • MPlayer;
without installing any third-party codecs.


The Movie Maker Tutorial explains how to use the Huygens Movie Maker to combine scenes from all 3D renderers into a smooth and sophisticated movie.

To generate a simple movie without using the Movie Maker, select the SFP Renderer, MIP Renderer, or Surface Renderer from the Visualization menu in Huygens Professional or Huygens Essential.

To define the initial viewpoint and visualization parameters, set the desired configuration and click Set > Home. Now adapt the settings for the final frame and click Set > End. Finally, press the Animate button, and select a directory to save the AVI movie. The frame count and frame rate can be changed in the renderer's Visualization menu.

Sample animations

Stitched and Fused light sheet image of a chicken embryo, rendered in the Huygens SFP renderer with an iso-surface and moving cutting planes. Courtesy of Prof. Christophe Marcelle, Mrs. Marie Julie Dejardin (INMG) & Dr. Denis Ressnikoff (CIQLE), Université Lyon 1, France.

Tiff animations

Besides AVI, the Movie Maker and the SFP, MIP and Surface renderers can save the animation frames as a TIFF series. Third-party software like Image Magick can be used to merge these TIFF frames into a single movie file. Many video formats are platform dependent, but here we include some widespread alternatives:

  • Image Magick is freeware and available for all platforms. It's powerful convert tool can convert to e.g. animated GIF and MPEG. Animated GIF uses palette compression (256 colors) and can be shown in any internet browser. MPEG is a strong compression technique which results in small file sizes.
  • Irix has a tool called dmconvert that directly writes QuickTime movies from a tiff series. Example: to convert the series animatedSfp_t000000, ..., animatedSfp_t000360.tiff to a .mov file use:
dmconvert -v -f qt -p video,comp=qt_video,rate=15 -n animatedSfp_t000###.tiff,start=0,end=360,step=1 animatedSfp_t000###.tiff out.mov

Other alternatives are:
  • Bink Video is a freeware program for Windows that creates AVI movies.
  • Apple QuickTime is a commercial software package for Mac OS X and Windows that makes H.264 QuickTime movies.
  • ffmpeg for converting a series of tiff images into a movie

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