Animated images in TrainPlayer are little movies you can place around
your layout. These can be made to play continuously, or on demand, or
automatically whenever a train passes a given spot. You can choose from
a supplied collection of animations (small but growing), or find many
more by searching the web, or create them in your favorite paint
program. They can be connected with sounds, so that, say, a crossing
signal will both move and clang as the train passes by.
To see animations in action, check out this video:
About Animated Images
An animated image is a new type of scenery object. It can be moved,
resized, rotated, and styled just like any other, but it has a special
type of background consisting of a series of frames, each with its own image and
duration. These are in one of two formats:
animation files you see all over the web. These can be loaded directly into
scenery objects in TrainPlayer.
a series of separate files for each image,
plus a text file with extension ".anm," listing the frames and durations.
The image files may be in any popular graphics format -- bmp, png, jpg,
gif -- and the simple text file can be created by the program or by
hand. This scheme was designed to make it easy for users to create their
Because animated images are tied to scenery, creating
and manipulating them requires TrackLayer with Scenery
Toolkit. Viewing and playing them in an existing
layout can be done in TrainPlayer [except: in the
current version, you cannot start or stop animation if
you don't have access to the scenery toolbar.]
events which cause animations to start and stop.
We have in mind a variety of these, but for the time
being there are only two:
animation starts when the lead car of a train (any
train) enters a given station, and stops when the last
car leaves. This is the same scheme which controls
sounds attached to stations, so if you want a sound to
play at the same time the animation moves, use a station
trigger on the animation, and specify a sound on the
animation starts when the lead car of a train
crosses a given junction, and ends when the last car crosses
Triggers are specified using the Scenery Properties
Animation tab, as described
Adding Animation to Your Layout
There are two ways to add animated images to your layout: from the
Scenery Chooser, or via Load Bitmap. The first is easier, the
second more flexible.
The initial release of 4.0.3 comes with a small set of sample
animations in both gif and anm formats. More are available (or soon will be) in the
web scenery collections. To add one of these to
1. Bring up the Scenery Chooser using Tools > Scenery >
View Scenery Chooser or the button on the scenery toolbar.
2. Click to open the new animations
folder. (If you don't see it, try right-clicking the
Scenery folder and choosing Refresh.)
3. Press an image and drag onto the layout.
That's it -- it starts playing immediately. (To
stop, use the Scenery Edit tool, right-click and choose
Confession: most of the animations in our sample set
came from the Microsoft Office Online clip-art
collection. There do not appear to be restrictions
on distributing these, unless we missed some fine print.
The alternative to loading an image from the chooser is
to create the scenery object first and then attach the
image. The procedure is the same as when adding a
non-animated image, as follows:
1. Select the Rectangle tool on the scenery
toolbar, and drag to create a rectangle where you want
the animated image. By default this gets a beige
2. Select the Scenery Edit tool (green arrow),
right-click the new rectangle and choose Load
Bitmap. You get a standard file dialog.
This is the same dialog you use for static background
images. It is still used for that, but now
supports three more types of input:
a. Browse to an anm file --
the program will create an animated image.
b. Browse to a gif file -- the
program will examine it and decide whether to create an
animated or static image.
c. Browse to the first of a series of images
-- the program will create an animation and anm file
automatically. This process is described in detail
Once you successfully load an animated image, you get an
alert confirming the import and reporting the number of
An animated image created using Load Bitmap does not
automatically start playing upon creation. To
start it, use the Scenery Edit tool, right-click the
image and choose Start Animation.
with Animated Images
images work basically like other scenery objects.
Use the Scenery Edit tool (green arrow on the scenery
toolbar), click to select an image, then you can move,
resize, rotate, and restyle it as usual. It keeps
animating as you move it around.
By default, an animated
image has its proportions locked, so resizing the image will not
distort it. To rotate an image, drag the handle at its
select the Scenery Edit tool, right-click the image and choose
Stop Animation or
Start Animation, as shown ==>
Once you start an object moving, it keeps going until
you stop it, or until a trigger event causes it to stop.
If you save the layout while the object is animating, it
will come back that way the next time you open the
select, right-click and choose Properties. Most
properties of standard scenery objects apply to animated
see the following section.
Animated Image Properties
To view or adjust properties of an animated image,
right-click on it (using the Scenery Edit tool) and choose
Properties. The Scenery Properties dialog
appears, showing the new Animation tab.
This dialog is modeless -- it remains up while you
work on the layout. You can select different
objects on the layout and adjust their properties one at
a time, or shift-click to select multiple objects and
set all their common properties at once.
Type: Animated gif file
vs Image series/anm file. This is
read-only -- you can't change the type in this dialog.
Frames: number of frames in
the animation. Read-only.
Frames button: click to
bring up the Frames dialog, showing filenames and
durations in a little grid:
If the animation type is anm, then you can edit the
values in this grid; for animated gifs, the data is
uneditable [in fact, for the time being, the Frames
button does nothing at all if you are dealing with gif
rather than anm].
Times are in milliseconds. Filenames can be
changed -- they need not be numbered sequentially once
they have been listed in an anm file -- but they must exist and all be in the same
folder as the anm file.
This dialog appears automatically whenever you import a
sequence of image files.
Playing: check or
uncheck to start or stop animation. The setting
does not take effect until the dialog comes down.
Play once: check if you
want the animation sequence to play once and then stop,
instead of repeating continuously. This applies
whether you start the animation manually from the
context menu or automatically based on a trigger.
Rewind after play: check
if you want the image to revert to its first frame after
every play. If you do not check this box, then
stopping the animation will freeze it, and starting it
later will pick up where it left off. [Note: due
to a bug in the current version, you may need a View
Refresh to update the image so it will go back to its
Trigger type drop-down: choose
a trigger action, or None. At the moment there are
two actions available: when a train passes through a
station, or when it crosses a junction.
Trigger id drop-down: choose
the station name or junction id where animation is to
start and stop. The drop-down shows either station
names or junction numbers, depending on the trigger type
Preview window: shows a
thumbnail of the selected image. For the moment,
the preview is static and does not move, but this may
change in a future version.
Normally in the Background tab of Scenery Properties,
you can choose a different image for a scenery object.
However, what you cannot do is change the background
from static to animated, or vice-versa. If you try
this, an alert tells you it is not allowed.
Creating Your Own Animations
If you want to create your own animations, one method is to
obtain a program capable of making animated gifs. Many
such programs are available -- Adobe ImageReady, CyD GIF
Studio, Microsoft GIF Animator, several shareware titles -- but
TrainPlayer offers an easier way: create a series of images,
give them suitable filenames, and import them with one click
into a single object.
A series of images is a set of files in the same folder with
names ending in underscore, then sequential numbers starting
with 1; e.g., flagman_1.png, flagman_2.png, flagman_3.png.
Using Load Bitmap, if you browse to a file whose name ends with "_1," and there are
other files with the same name but different numbers, the
program will prompt and ask if you wish to create an animated
image from the series, like this:
Click Yes, and the program will create a file with the name of
the series and extension.anm (e.g., flagman.anm), then
load it into the scenery object.
When you create an animated image from a series of
files, the Frames dialog (shown
above) comes up so you can set the frame timings.
By default, all are set to 100 ms.
After a successful load, an alert informs you of the number of
frames, and the output anm filename if applicable:
If you create an anm file from a series of images,
and want it to appear in your Scenery Chooser, copy the
anm file and all the component image files to your
Scenery\animation folder. Note that the chooser
will display only the anm file, not any of its
If you create an animation sequence and want to send
it to us or to a friend, zip the entire set of images,
along with the anm file, and send the zip.
If you have an animated gif, and you want to modify
it, you will need to split it into separate frame files.
TrainPlayer has the ability to do this; in fact, it does
this job whenever you read in an animated gif -- the gif
is split into frames, which are saved in your Windows
Temp directory. You can capture these and use them
to make your own animation sequence. For details,
send e-mail and request information.
Trying It Out
A test runfile with the animation feature is about
ready to download. Instructions will appear on the
We hope you enjoy animated images.