Once you have defined the key frames (as described in Section 28.6.1) or read in a previously created animation file (as described in Section 28.6.4), you can play back the animation and FLUENT will interpolate between the frames that you specified to complete the animation.
To play the animation once through from start to finish, click the "play'' button under the Playback heading in the Animate panel. (The buttons function in a way similar to those on a standard video cassette player. "Play'' is the second button from the right--a single triangle pointing to the right.) To play the animation backwards once, click the "play reverse'' button (the second from the left--a single triangle point to the left). As the animation plays, the Frame scale shows the number of the frame that is currently displayed, as well as its relative position in the entire animation. If, instead of playing the complete animation, you want to jump to a particular key frame, move the Frame slider bar to the desired frame number, and the frame corresponding to the new frame number will be displayed in the graphics window.
Additional options for playing back animations are described below. Be sure to check Section 28.6.5 as well for important notes about playing back animations.
Playing Back an Excerpt
You may sometimes want to play only one portion of a long animation. To do this, you can modify the Start Frame and the End Frame under the Playback heading in the Animate panel. For example, if your animation contains 50 frames, but you want to play only frames 20 to 35, you can set Start Frame to 20 and End Frame to 35. When you play the animation, it will start at frame 20 and finish at frame 35.
"Fast-Forwarding'' the Animation
You can "fast-forward'' or "fast-reverse'' the animation by skipping some of the frames during playback. To fast-forward the animation, you will need to set the Increment and click the fast-forward button (the last button on the right--two triangles pointing to the right). If, for example, your Start Frame is 1, your End Frame is 15, and your Increment is 2, when you click the fast-forward button, the animation will show frames 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15. Clicking on the fast-reverse button (the first button on the left--two triangles pointing to the left) will show frames 15, 13, 11,...1.
If you want the playback of the animation to repeat continuously, there are two options available. To continuously play the animation from beginning to end (or from end to beginning, if you use one of the reverse play buttons), select Auto Repeat in the Playback Mode drop-down list in the Animate panel. To play the animation back and forth continuously, reversing the playback direction each time, select Auto Reverse in the Playback Mode drop-down list.
To turn off the continuous playback, select Play Once in the Playback Mode list. This is the default setting.
Stopping the Animation
To stop the animation during playback, click the "stop'' button (the square in the middle of the playback control buttons). If your animation contains very complicated scenes, there may be a slight delay before the animation stops.
Advancing the Animation Frame by Frame
To advance the animation manually frame by frame, use the third button from the right (a vertical bar with a triangle pointing to the right). Each time you click this button, the next frame will be displayed in the graphics window. To reverse the animation frame by frame, use the third button from the left (a left-pointing triangle with a vertical bar). Frame-by-frame playback allows you to freeze the animation at points that are of particular interest.