QuickStart Manual v1.0


The Big Picture

MovingParts is a simple plug-in that will animate images and effects over your video, directly from your editor's timeline. Designed for editors, MovingParts is fast and easy to use-- and it produces high-quality output.

It's great for animating logos and other images, creating animatics, highlighting action, blurring or pixelating faces-- and doing it quickly and easily. MovingParts will move, size, and rotate up to 32 independent images, overlaid onto the motion video beneath it.

Each moving image can be used as a "brush," to create effects like blurring and pixelization for highlighting or obscuring parts of the video, and can also track the video's motion.

In a Nutshell

About KeyFrames

A KeyFrame is a "snapshot in time" of the image's position and size. MovingParts uses KeyFrames to move from one position to another without having to define all the in-between positions by hand.

You simply need to define two KeyFrame positions, and the image will move from the first to the second position over the course of time you have defined.

The first KeyFrame is already defined for you (you have to start from somewhere), but you can easily change it to where you really want to start.

The manipulating of KeyFrames is done both in the Stage and the Timeline. The actual positioning of the image is done in the Stage, while the timing is established on the Timeline.

Getting Pictures to Animate

MovingParts uses bit-mapped digital images as images to animate. The images can be scanned from photos or magazines, shot with a digital camera, or drawn in a paint program, such as Adobe’s Photoshop.

Although MovingParts can work on images as large as 8,000 by 8,000, this will result in huge files and will take longer to render than is necessary. For most video applications, make the image the same size it will appear on the screen. For example, if it fills half the screen, try to make the image 300-500 pixels wide. Try to use 16, 24,or 32-bit color images for the best quality.

The easiest way to bring a picture into MovingParts is to scan it in, using an inexpensive (many are under $100) color scanner. Set the scanner to a resolution that will create an image is close to the desired size.

MovingParts accepts these images in the form of bitmap files, in the Windows BMP, Targa TGA, Win/Mac TIFF formats (uncompressed only), Photoshop native PSDs, and PICT files on Macs. The Windows versions can read Jpeg files if the MovingParts Jpeg driver is installed. Most paint programs can output these common types and can provide conversion from the myriad of other formats out there.

There is a great collection of clip art images available from Hemera (www.hemera.com) called Photo Objects ($30-$60). It consists of well photographed objects already separated from their backgrounds with alpha.

Understanding DPI and Pixels

Some scanners only allow setting the resolution in Dots Per Inch (DPI). DPI is the number of pixels generated for each inch of the original image scanned. For example, an 8 by 10 inch photo scanned at 150 DPI would yield a 1,200 by 1,500 pixel image  (8x150=1,200 and 10x150 =1,500). That same image scanned at 1,200 DPI would yield a 9,600 by 12,000, which is larger than MovingParts can handle.

NOTE: TIF image files are more complex to load and decode than other formats. This will translate into longer render times on editors such as Premiere, which tend  to reload the image from disk every frame. Use TGA or BMP files instead. They are identical in quality, but load faster.

Loading Pictures

Pictures are added to MovingParts by selecting the Load Picture option in the File menu. This will bring up a dialog box showing a list of all the possible graphics files in the current directory. The default graphics format is for all graphics files supported by MovingParts.

If the images you are looking for reside somewhere else, use the dialog controls to go to that folder. The default folder for images is always set to the last folder you loaded an image from.

Once selected, that Picture will appear simultaneously as a bar in the Timeline and as an image in the Stage window. 

JPEG Images

The Windows versions are able to load images in the JPEG format. In order to do this, you must download the MovingParts Jpeg Driver file from the Downloads section on our website. When you run it, it will extract itself into your default Windows directory. 

Macintosh versions will need to rely on the Automatic File Translation feature of the MacOS to seamlessly load JPEGs.

Using Pictures with an Alpha Channel

MovingParts will respect the values in the alpha channel of your 32-bit images. The Alpha Channel  is a fourth component (aside from the red, green and blue channels) that will determine the degree of transparency each pixel will have. This is useful in floating logos over a background, and making irregularly-shaped brushes. The two image formats that can hold an alpha channel are Targa (.tga) and Native Photoshop (.psd). 

The Current Picture

MovingPicture operates on the concept that, while you may have 32 images in the show, only one is active at any time, the current picture. Only the current picture has a yellow framing box around it.

Selecting the current picture on the Timeline

You can scroll through the pictures on the timeline by clicking on the Up and Down Arrow Buttons to the left of the timeline (or press the Page-Up or Page-Down keys).  If the timeline is expanded clicking on the desired line will set that line yellow and selected.

Selecting the current picture on the Stage

You can also select the current picture by click on it in the Stage area with the SHIFT key down.

Using Effects Brushes and Transparency

Using Transparency

The Transparency Slider under the left side of the Stage window will cause the image to fade in or out. It is fully animatable and its value stored in the KeyFrame when changed.

Using Effects brushes

The various brushes can be applied to an image by selecting the style from the Picture menu. The Transparency Slider's name under the Player Controls name will change depending on the type of brush you have selected and will control the degree in which the brush is applied. The default is 0 (meaning no effect is applied) ranging to 100 (meaning the effect is fully applied).

Moving the Images Around

By dragging various portions of the yellow image box on the screen, you can control what it sees, by changing its position, magnification and rotation. As you pass the mouse over the yellow box, your mouse cursor will change, depending on which part you are over.

Positioning the Image

Dragging the center of the box will position the move the image on the screen.  If you press the Shift key while dragging, will constrain the motion in the direction you are dragging most. If were moving left to right, the vertical position would remain the same, while the image moved in a perfectly horizontal path and vice-versa for up-down motions.

Sizing the Image

Dragging the corners of the box will allow you to change the field of view (the magnification size). Keep in mind however, if you magnify too far, the image may break up. 

Rotating the Image

Dragging on the circle in the left-hand corner will cause the box to rotate as you move left to right. You can exceed 360 degrees for multi-revolution spins, (such as in spinning newspaper headlines). If you press the Shift key while dragging, the rotation will snap to no rotation (0 degrees), as a convenient reset.

Setting Things Numerically

Right-clicking (Control-click on the Mac) within the yellow box will bring up a dialog box for changing the size, position and rotation parameters numerically.

Setting a KeyFrame

The yellow box already has its initial position KeyFrame already added at the first frame of where it appears in the Scene. This first KeyFrame can be easily reset to reflect where you want the motion to start.

Making a new KeyFrame involves two steps:

  1. Choose the frame in the Timeline where the KeyFrame should appear.
  2. Position the yellow box into the position and size you want.

A new KeyFrame will be added to the Timeline, containing the framing you set using the yellow box, and the position.

Auto-Adding Keys

There is a setting in the Options menu to change the ways KeyFrames are added. Un-checking the Auto-Add Keys item will not automatically add or update KeyFrames whenever the yellow box is move. Instead, you will need to ‘record’ the position by clicking on the Add Key button in the Player window.


If there is no change in the image’s position, size or rotation from the previous KeyFrame, a "Hold" message will appear between the two positions.

Changing an existing KeyFrame

If there was already a KeyFrame at that frame (indicated by the red icon on the Timeline), it will be updated with any changes you have made to the framing. At any given frame, there will be only one KeyFrame.

MovingParts will automatically figure out the in-between positions between this KeyFrame and the one that preceded it.

Scrubbing the Timeline

Dragging the cursor in the Timeline area will cause the position to "scrub" (i.e. the  frame moves with the cursor as you drag it). To scrub, click the mouse in a clear area of the Timeline that does not contain a KeyFrame. As you move the cursor left to right, the Stage will show the motion for that frame.

Changing a KeyFrame

Changing the Size and Position

Simply click on the KeyFrame icon on the Timeline and then reposition or size the image. The key icon on the timeline will turn red when you are within 4 frames of it, indicating you are in range to change it.

Changing the Time

You can move the time when any KeyFrame (except the first one) becomes active by dragging its icon in the Timeline to where you want it to go. 

When moving a KeyFrame on the Timeline, you can have all the KeyFrames that come after it to be moved in relation to that key's new position. Pressing on the SHIFT key when dragging a KeyFrame on the Timeline will shift all the keys that come after it up or back by that amount of time.


You can  change the slow ease of any particular KeyFrame. Right-clicking (Control-click on the Macintosh) on a KeyFrame in the timeline will bring up a dialog box that will allow you to control how the move will flow from that key to the next

Selecting the Use Default radio button will cause the motion to follow the default set via the Options menu setting mentioned before. The Ease Speed slider sets the speed in which eases in and out will occur. Drag the slider from 0 (slowest) to 100 (fastest). The timeline will show the setting to the right of the key icon.

There are also boxes in the dialog that will let you numerically set the position and size. This is useful when trying to position the image off screen, or some other particular place or size.

Please note that there may be a slight slow-down as a move goes around one of the KeyFrames. If this is a problem, turning on the "No curves" option will eliminate the slow down.

Removing a KeyFrame

You must first select the KeyFrame on the Timeline you want to remove (it will turn red), and hit the Delete key on the keyboard.

Cut and Paste of KeyFrames

The "Edit" menu contains the standard options for Cutting, Pasting and Copying the positional information of the currently highlighted KeyFrame (the red one). There are also 32 levels of Undo/Redo. When pasting a KeyFrame and there is no KeyFrame highlighted, a new one will be added to the timeline at the current frame position.

Showing KeyFrames on the Stage

Checking the Show Image Path item in the "Options" menu will cause the image path you have defined to be drawn as a yellow line on top of your image in the Stage. Red circles indicate the actual KeyFrame positions.  Clicking on a red circle will set the timeline to that KeyFrame.

Deleting and Changing Pictures

The Delete Picture option  in the Edit menu will remove the current picture from the show, along with any KeyFrames you may have added. The Change Picture option will allow you to change the picture, but retain any moves you may have done with it

Previewing your Moves 

The Play Bar under the Stage's window contains VCR-like controls to play whatever moves you have set up in it's window. The moves will play in real-time, but will drop frames if it cannot render it fast enough. 

Speeding the Rendering 

Setting the Fast Display option from the Options menu will freeze the current frame from the editor to speed up the animation playback. 

If a move is playing, clicking on the Timeline will cause it to play from the point in time you clicked. Clicking outside the Timeline will stop playing.

TV Safe Area Boxes

Clicking on the Show TV Safe option in the Options menu will draw a square box on the Stage screen, showing the Safe Action area. Within that box is a rounded corner box that defines the Safe Title area. These boxes will not appear in the rendered video.

Scrubbing the Timeline

Dragging the cursor in the Timeline area will cause the position to "scrub" (i.e. the  frame moves with the cursor as you drag it). To scrub, click the mouse in a clear area of the Timeline that does not contain a KeyFrame. As you move the cursor left to right, the Viewer will show the motion for that frame.

Navigating the Timeline

The Expand Triangle

If you have more than one picture loaded clicking on the Triangle to the left of the timeline will show up to 8 pictures in the expanded timeline. The scroll bar to the right of the timeline will scroll up and down to show a different group of 8.

Swapping the order in the timeline

You can swap the order (in effect the drawing order) of any picture by dragging the first KeyFrame up or down in the expanded timeline. It will be place after the picture you drop it on. 

Saving the Show 

Clicking on the close window box will cause any moves you created to be saved with your project and control returned to the editor. Selecting Apply Moves and Close from the File menu will accomplish the same thing.

If you wish to exit the MovingParts plug-in and not save the moves you have recently made, select the Quit (Don't Apply changes) from the File menu.

You can also save and load shows  to a file using the Save Show menu from the File menu. This is useful primarily when using the Producer  version as an offline tool. You easily can move shows (as MPS files) between the Macintosh and Windows versions of the Plug-in and/or the Producer versions of MovingParts. 

NOTE: When importing Windows MPS files into the Mac, you will need to make sure the file retains it's '.mps' extension. Similarly, when importing Macintosh files, you will need to select the All Files option to have the Mac show files appear in the file loading box.

Rendering from the Plug-In

Selecting the OK button will save the moves to the clip you have applied the Plug-In to. You  will need to render the move, as you would do with any filter or effect. This will take about 1 to 10 seconds to render each second of move (depending on your system).

Adding a Sound Track (Producer version only)

The Window's Producer version can load an audio file, so you can create montages of photos timed to a soundtrack. Clicking on the Load Sound Track option in the File menu will present a dialog box to choose the .wav file to hear. Canceling from choosing a file will cause the previous sound track to be deleted.

This is useful primarily for timing purposes and will not appear in the movie file. It will play from the first frame, for however long it is. The name of the active sound track is written at the bottom center of the screen.

Rendering Movies  (Producer version only)

If you want to make a movie file in the Producer version, select the Make Movie File option from the File menu. A dialog will appear with a number of options as how create the movie file.  

Height and Width

The height and width boxes control the movie's frame size. Make sure you set them exactly to what you editor needs (i.e. 720 by 480 or 730 by 486, etc.) Check the properties of an existing movie file to be sure. If the sizes aren't right, codecs (particularly DV and MPEG2)  will not even create a movie file, and the editor may need to re-scale it on import, causing artifacts and time-consuming re-rendering.

DPS Movie Files

You will need to have Microsoft's DirectX v8.0 on your computer and download the DPS File Driver from the website. You create a .dps movie file exactly like an AVI movie file, but select DPS files from the Save as type option in the file selection dialog when specifying the movie file's name.

About the Evaluation Version

The evaluation version of MovingParts is a full-featured version of the program with a single exception: A red bar will appear across the image. This bar will disappear when you receive an unlock key from StageTools, without the need  to re-install MovingParts.

Installing  MovingParts

Windows Files  are in self-extracting ZIP format to speed up the downloading process.  Simply double click on the .exe file and it will ask what folder you what to put them in. Close your editor, if it is open. Choose the proper place to extract them to (listed below) required by your editor. The MovingParts.hlp  file should be copied into c:\  folder (the root) for all Windows-based editors.

Macintosh Files are in a SIT format. Some browsers will automatically decompress the .sit file into a folder. If you do not see a new folder with the same name as the SIT file you just downloaded, double-click on it or drag the SIT file over Un-StuffIt (version 7). Inside the folder is the help file, called PartsManual.html, a "read me" file called ReadMe.rtf or ReadMe.txt and the application itself, called MovingParts. Move the resulting MovingParts file into the proper folder required by your editor if you are using the plug-in version. 

Registering MovingParts

Registering your demonstration version of MovingParts will enable you to remove the red bar from the image. Select the Register item from the Help menu. Each version of MovingParts contains a unique serial number that uniquely identifies your computer, which is displayed in the dialog box. Close the dialog box and Email that number to info@stagetools.com.

To find your computer ID, run MovingParts. When the menu bar appears and click on the Register menu option (in the Help menu on Windows systems). A dialog box will bring up a message saying what your computer ID number is. A key number, unique to your computer will be mailed back to you (assuming you have purchased it of course).

Select the Register item from the Help menu and enter that number in the space provided and your demonstration version will be turned into the standard version.

Render Options menu

Aspect Ratio

This will allow you to create different aspect ratio shapes (width/height), to either the standard 4:3 or 16:9 ratios. 

Advanced Options Menu

This menu will give access to a number of less commonly used options. Clicking on the Advanced Options item the Render" menu will bring up a dialog box containing the following options:

Flop Top Field / Flop Field Order 

Different editing systems and/or hardware differ in the order in which the top and bottom fields are arranged with a frame. The easiest way to diagnose this, is by creating a move the ends midway through the scene. If the motion stutters only in the portion of the scene that actually moves, try reversing the filed order using the Flop Field Order. If it stutters in both the moving and still portions, you will need to change the spatial ordering of the two fields within the frame by clicking the Flop Top Field checkbox. Some older cards, such as the Miro and Pinnacle DC series card require this to be flopped, but most systems do not work this way.

Alternative Image Folder

When onlining projects on one computer that were created on another, it is common not to be able to find the images, since they are referenced by links to folders that do not exist on the online, particularly when the offline in Mac and the online is Windows (i.e. Symphony).

Clicking in the box will allow you to select a select a file in that folder that you want to search. From that point on, if MovingParts cannot find an image in a show, it will look in that folder and try to load it from there. If it still cannot find it, it will either display the picture error box or load an error image, depending how the Show Pic Errors option is set.

Show Pic Errors 

When an image cannot be loaded for some reason, you can now choose whether on not you want a dialog box to appear (the default) or just have the image loaded with a placeholder image. This is useful when you are moving shows from editor to editor and the images may be in a different location on the disk.

Feather Alpha

This will try and feather the edges of your alpha channel, so the image's edges will merge more softly into the background image

Shortcut keys

[0] (zero)  Plays from beginning of show
[space] or [p] Plays or stops playing
[j] , [k] and  [l]  Plays reverse,  stops playing or plays forward
[tab]  Moves you from key to key in the timeline
Move back a frame
[+]  Move ahead a frame
[home] Go to start of timeline
  Go to end of timeline
[up]  Move the image up 1 pixel
[down]  Move the image down 1 pixel
[left]  Move the image left 1 pixel
[right]  Move the image right 1 pixel
[PgUp]  Go to last image
[PgDn]  Go to next image
[down]  Move the image down 1 pixel
[Ctrl-S]  Save show to disk
[Ctrl-O]  Load show from disk
[Ctrl-C]  Copy the highlighted key to the scratchpad
[Ctrl-X]  Copy the highlighted key to the scratchpad and then delete it
Copy the key in the scratchpad to the highlighted key
[Ctrl-Z]  Undo the last action that modified a KeyFrame (32 levels)
[Ctrl-Y]  Redo the last action via Undo
[Ctrl-Q]  Quit MovingParts and return to editor
[del]  Delete the currently highlighted key
[shift] Constrains horizontal or vertical motion when dragging image

Supported Editors

Download an evaluation copy of the MovingParts Plug-In

Order a copy of the MovingParts

The MovingParts Plug-In is available for Windows and Macintosh based computers for $149. (only $99 for MovingPicture users)




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