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How to draw/animate routines

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For years I have been manualy drawing kite routines out, copying them for the whole team then spending ages trying to explain what the pretty little pictures mean. Sometimes it is very hard to visualise what is required.

There have been several solutions to this over the years but my current favourite is using Microsoft PowerPoint 2003. This enables you to animate quite simply (though labouriously) and you can of course use photo's of your favourite kite. This really helps when you have a team that is spread over a wide area ;)

Here is an example of the begining of a routine I wrote some time back. (some of you will have seen it)

It is a first attempt and a bit rough around the edges but I hope it gives you an idea of what can be achieved.

This should be viewed using Power point 2003. There is a link to the free viewer in the previous post.

So my questions are, what other techniques are out there and which is the best one?


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I've animated routines in the past using Adobe After Effects. If you dont want to play with some animation software, you could always try stop-motion

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Hi Stephen!

Because our members live not close together I did use MACROMEDIA FLASH to animate our routine. Ok, the handling of FLASH isn't easy first time, but I use the animation for our homepgae, also.

For fast results, your Powerpoint-Solution works also.


Stefan www.team-4-fun.de

Hi Stefan, love the animation on the web page. I spent ages trying to make the kites go backwards but it didn't work! :P

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So you guys don't know of any application/website out there that lets you design out routines? Hrmmm... I'm a software developer - I'm guess there would be interest for a tool like this? Nothing complex. For example if I wanted to sell it the most I would ask for it is $15

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So you guys don't know of any application/website out there that lets you design out routines? Hrmmm... I'm a software developer - I'm guess there would be interest for a tool like this? Nothing complex. For example if I wanted to sell it the most I would ask for it is $15

I would be very interested in seeing something like this. It would be even better if you could run the animation at the same time as playing the music.

It would then be possible to send the routine to some judges and get feedback on choreography before you even fly the routine. Ideally it would need to work for indi, pair and team.

Let me know if you need any input from a team flier.

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I would be very interested in this system too. As Stephen said, we have spent too many years writing these things on paper and handing them to each other. A more elegant solution would be ideal.



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Hrmmm... no promises people, I'm swamped with a lot of projects at the moment, but this is something I can start hashing out at least :) Keep the suggestions coming, solicit ideas from friends and such. Line twists - check. Support for dual and quad - check. Here's a more detailed description. You start the program, choose a music track, select a kite icon (delta, Rev, foil, etc) and select the number of kites. Then you enter the editor which lets you select a kite for initial placement on the "field". Once kites are placed you can plot paths by drawing lines on the screen. The kites will follow their own lines. To choreograph to the music, you select a location on the music track's timeline and then draw a new line, and the program will tween the kite's motion along the line between that point on the timeline and the last edited timeline point.

Hrmmm, that may not make much sense for those of you not familiar with timelines and animation tweening (like in Flash). I'll try to whip up a very quick demo sometime this month.

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Shucks, the primary tech I was looking to use to develop the app doesn't have the audio capabilities I need to create a timeline for the music, like I had hoped. So hang tight while I do some more research...

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I haven't ever flown in competition due to my lack of time to choreograph a routine. This sounds like an excellent idea to cut down a lot of that time and help many competitors. I'd be willing to bet there are MANY more that would be interested if you can do a dual line version as well as a Quad line. I'm in when ever you figure out the details.

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hey everyone - found a promising lead, continuing to move forward on this.

In the meantime I want to ask what you all mean by supporting quad line as well as dual line. I've never competed nor flown in formation (tho the latter I've done somewhat and I've seen plenty of both) I don't see the difference. certainly you can do more things with quad line than dual, like flying backwards, reverse spins, etc. If that's what you mean then yes, stuff like that will definetly be supported. It'll all be intrinsic actually. In the program you'll be able to make your kite avatar fly like a dual or quad - you'll just know which is which.

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Oooh man, I'm getting excited. I just dropped in a resource for the engine I'm using and tested it out and it works! I can now get song lengths and skip to positions in a song, which is pretty much all I needed. Now I just have to whip up a quick demo to test things out. I expect to have something basic to show off by the end of the month - stay tuned!

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Okay people, here's the full feature list so far for Kite Routine Builder (KRB - working title):

Easy to use, single-screen interface

Everything that you need to get set up and started will be presented on one screen. Occasional dialog boxes will pop up, such as saving a routine file, but otherwise the interface will be simple and straightforward with windows you can close/reopen to see more of the field at once

Routines exportable as a file for playback in external KRB playback app or as video

It's pretty pointless to purchase a copy of KRB just so you can see a routine in action. If I can't export a video file directly from the main KRB app, I will build a smaller KRB app that can be distributed easily so other people can view the routine, but not edit it.

Point and click routine paths

Setting a path in the editor will be as simple as pointing the cursor on the screen and clicking, a new node will be created and a line drawn, as well as a keyframe added to the timeline. The line on the screen can then be edited to form a curve of varying degree.

Single, Pair and Team min/max time limits imposed for Precision/Ballet

When creating a Precision routine, the editor will not allow you to select a routine time that is greater or less than the min/max regulation time for the chosen discipline. When creating a Ballet routine, the editor will not all you to load sound clips that exceed the min/max regulation time limits for the chosen discipline. (Choosing a Freestyle routine will not impose any time restrictions)

Interactive timeline for pacing routines

By controlling the location of keyframes on the timeline, you can adjust the speed of the kite as it flies various sections of the routine

Kite motion dictated by 2-line and 4-line settings

The editor will track the orientation of the kite avatar and will not allow, for example, dual-line kites to fly backwards, hover or perform any other quad-line maneuvers

Animations for kite tricks in routine

When flying along straight line paths, you can insert animations to simulate tricks such as fades, axels, lazy susans, etc

Line wrap display

As kites wrap around each other, the editor will track the number of times lines have twisted for various kites. Individual kites can be toggled to display what other kites they are wrapped around and how many times.

Support for an unlimited number of kites

Single, Pair and Team settings will limit the number of kites allowed on the field, but a Freestyle setting will allow as many kites as you want to help choreograph mega-flys

Kite avatars

3D models of a delta and Rev kite will be used to represent 2-line and 4-line kites. Possible feature: skin creation in order to make kites look like yours. Delta kite avatars can be assigned 4-lines as well.

Zoomable, unlimited flying field

Make your routines as big and grandiose as you wish, zoom the camera out to get the big picture or sweep in and pan around for a closer look at a particular maneuver.

Collision detection

The editor will not allow kite avatars to intersect with each other or the ground. Note that this does not mean lines the kites follow on the screen cannot intersect. Collision detection will occur only during routine playback

And for some eye candy, I've sketched out the basic interface:


Help Wanted

I need a 3D artist to whip me up a Delta and Rev kite model. These models will be animated to do tricks later, for now I just need the basic models

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