MovieSchool 1

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Movie Making

While PyMOL's capability to produce static images is quite powerful, there are some stories that are better told through movies, than static images alone. This little page will provide the necessary ideas, links, code and examples for making movies in PyMOL.

Your First Movie

Movies can be very simple, for example, animating an NMR ensemble:

# Your first movie.
fetch 1nmr

# to stop the movie when you're ready
# type 'mstop'.

What PyMOL did here was to fetch the file from the PDB and load it into an object with 20 states. Somewhere between then and issuing mplay PyMOL created 20 frames for your object and assigned one state to each frame. This created the animated effect as we scroll through the frames.

Movie Making for the Impatient

If you don't have time to or care to make more complex movies and want a movie now then read this section. It mostly involves the GUI for making movies, so get your mouse ready.

Simple Camera Motions

Simple 360 Scene Rotation

To make a movie that simply rotates around your scene 360 degrees, in the menu click on:

Movie->Program->Camera->X-Roll->N Seconds

for an N-second movie rolling over the X-axis. Chose

Movie->Program->Camera->Y-Roll->N Seconds

for the Y-axis roll.

Done! Press play.

Simple 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, Scene Rocking

This will show up to a 30, 60, 90, 120 or 180 rocking 'wedge' of the scene. If you don't want to rotate all the way around, use this.

Movie->Program->Camera->X-Rock->X-Degrees over N-Seconds

Done! Press play.


Nutating is like a wiggle-rock; try it and see.

Movie->Program->Camera->X-Rock->X-Degrees over N-Seconds

Done! Press play.

Zooming Around an Object

This is also known as camera movement. Let's make a simple program that just zooms in and out on a some atom.

Click any atom and zoom on it
Movie->Program->Scene Loop-> and if you want to nutate while at the scene choose Nutate otherwise choose Y-Rock.

Done! Press play.

  • Hint: Make multiple scenes, making sure to store each one. Then use the Scene Loop to automatically program a movie for you!

Real-world Example

First load the tutorial PDB:

load $TUT/1hpv.pdb
Action->Preset->Technical (on the object in the viewer gui)
Type zoom i. 200 to zoom on the ligand
Movie->Program->Scene Loop->Y-Rock->4 Seconds Each

Done! Press play.

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