E x p r e s s i o n

This block is where you enter the expression data and access the multitude of Functions that come with messiah.  (Functions are pre-compiled expressions; sort of like mini plug-ins.)

It is generally recommended that you expand this side of the interface so you have more room to work.  The top three fields will expand to the full width of the interface.

Name:  Give your expression a name that will make sense to you and any other users who will have to work with your scene.  Type it in here and press Enter.

Exp: This is the field for the actual expression.  Whatever you type here will show up in the Expressions List when you press Enter.  The field can run the full width of your screen if you drag out the interface column (though pressing F3 or F4 should make it big enough for most expressions).  If you need more room, you can use any text editor (like Windows' "NotePad" or "WordPad") to write your expression, then copy and paste it to here.

Buffer: This is like the "holding tank" for the expression.  It can show the part of the expression you're working on prior to actually applying it.  If you left-click on the gray box to the right of the Functions pulldown list (after filling in a function's arguments), it will appear here so you can look it over, or add to it, or make other changes.  (Right-clicking on the button next to the Functions list will apply it, rather than putting it into the Buffer field.)

The button to the right of the Buffer field is used to read the channel information from the currently selected item.  For example, if you have the camera's Heading selected on the Edit Sphere and you press this button, you'll see [Camera:heading] appear in the Buffer field.  So if you have an expression like  [Null:xpos]*  and you right click on the box, you'll get [Null:xpos]* [Camera:heading].  That will take the Null's X position and multiply it by the Camera's heading.

Functions (pulldown list): These are the functions, which are compiled expressions.  Use this pulldown list to select which function you want to apply.  You can type them in on the Exp field, or use the pulldown list and fill in the arguments that will appear below.  After you fill in the arguments, you can left-click on to send the information to the Buffer, or right-click to instantly apply the expression to your scene.

The window below the pulldown list contains the descriptions and instructions for the individual functions.  Where applicable, there can be one or more function-specific pulldowns and data entry windows ("arguments") below this (see image above).

Important & Interesting Tip #1:  If you hold your cursor over the Functions pulldown and press a letter on the keyboard, it will jump to the first function with that letter, so when you open the list (using the pulldown) it will start there instead of at the top of the list.  This can speed up your work flow.

Important & Interesting Tip #2:  Create a variable then enter (2+2+2)/2 or any other expression.  Now when you type that variable's name in a numeric input field, the computed value will be returned. You can use this as a method to store named parameters that you can use anywhere in the program that requires numerical values.

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