How to Create a Robot *.avi Animation using TUL

TUL (THOR Ultralight) is a free robotics program developed byAMROSE for use in research and education. It has a lot of useful features and here I will show how one can create a video of the robot using it. I will not guide the reader on basic use of TUL, these are  found in THOR Technical documentations and THOR Tutorial. THOR is a very useful tool and unfortunately this tool is less known to people outside the robotics community. The tool can be used for instance in simulation of human-models, mechanical models etc.

You will need:

  • Install TUL
  • Learn about TUL and its script formats ( *.wc workcells, *.tag files and programs,*.wu  workunits, *wp workpieces), which you can read in TUL documentation (takes about 15minutes of reading)
  • Download and install MonkeyJam
  • Have a *.tpg program created that you can simulate and want to export as *.avi

Here are the steps

  1. Open your *.wc or *.wu file
  2. Go to the Program tab and open your desired program *.tpg file (or create one).
  3. Simulate the program by right-clicking on it and choosing Simulate in the context-menu.
  4. Press the play button and let the simulation play
  5. After the simulation played choose Tools–>Animate… This will help you create sequences of images that can then be used to create your animation.
  6. A window will appear. Choose your Output directory and Start name (your image files will be incremented with a trailing number at the end of the start name). Choose .jpg Type for the image type. Choose S-VGA (if you want a good quality). You can play more with the other parameters as necessery.
  7. Press the Execute button as soon as you are satisfied with your settings.
  8. The robot will play the simulation again and simultaneously produce the .jpg images in the desired directory
  9. Open MonkeyJam
  10. Choose File->Import->Images… and browse through the directory where your images were created by TUL.
  11. Select all the sequential image files by Add Files>> (you can press the Shift keys and the arrow/mouse keys selecting the files and then clicking on Add Files>>)
  12. Select Import.
  13. Usually you will not need to make any other changes in the settings. But if you are familiar with animation, you can change the FPS the Composite and you can add duplicate frames (to make a better quality video) and play with other things.
  14. After changing the settings as you desired, select File->Export Avi…
  15. A window will appear and you can choose and set the video compression you want. For most Windows users Microsoft Video 1 Compression is available and easy to manage. You can also choose other Codecs and play with the settings.  But Microsoft Video compression will suffice for a simple robot animation.
  16. Thats it! The video can be now played by your favourite player.
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