Animation presets

Adobe Substance 3D Stager helps you easily generate simple animations with parametric orbit and spin presets.  These can easily be used to showcase your 3D products, packaging, and assets.

To use animation presets

  1. Select an object you want to animate (model, group, physical light, or camera)
  2. In the Properties panel, switch to Animation
  3. Enable Orbit or Spin preset
  4. Adjust the animation properties such as duration, angle, easing, and target (for orbit)
  5. Use the Timeline to preview your animation
  6. Go to Render mode to output your animation as an image sequence

Preset types

Stager uses animation presets to generate motion for objects using high level property based controls.  This means that there is no keyframing in Stager.  Each preset type has different behaviors and properties that control the object and generate the motion.


Spin will rotate an object around in place.


Orbit will rotate an object around a second target object.

Animation properties


Available for the orbit preset only.

Sets a target object that the animated object will rotate around.

Look at target

Available for the orbit preset only.

When enabled the orbiting object will always face the target object.  The Z positive axis of the object is used as the "forward" direction.

Target offset

By default, spin will use the center of the animated object's bounding box as its pivot.  Orbit will default to the center of the target object's bounding box.  Use the target offset to adjust the pivot of the animation.


The total time the animation will take to play,


The degrees the object will spin or rotate.  Can be set above 360.

The animation will complete over the time set for the duration property.


When enabled, the direction of the animation will play backwards.


Determines if the animation plays at a constant speed or with different speed effects across its duration.

  • Linear has a constant speed with no easing.
  • Quadratic and Exponential slows the speed at the beginning and end, at different rates.
  • Elastic, Back, and Bounce have creative easing effects.

Previewing animation

You can use the Timeline panel to preview, play, and control your animation in Design mode.  See the Timeline panel page for more information.

Editing with animation

The Stager scene cannot be edited while animation is playing or the timeline is not at the first frame.  When in this mode, you will see a notification in the viewport.  You can toggle the raytracing or edit render settings, but are unable to change selection, add assets, or edit properties in this mode,  Use the stop button to stop animation and return to the first frame in order to re-enable editing of the scene.  In a future update, it is planned to remove this editing restriction. 

Rendering animations as image sequences

Just like still images, you can use render mode to create final outputs for animation.  If your scene has any animated elements present, you will see additional render settings available.  The workflow for rendering remains the same.  

  • Choose your render settings
  • Choose which cameras you want to render (or the viewport camera will be used by default if no camera objects are added)
  • Choose your export settings, such as format and save location
  • Press the render button to begin rendering

Stager will iterate through each camera.  For animations, a folder will be automatically created and each frame of animation will be rendered as a new image and saved within the folder. This is referred to as an image sequence.

Each frame of animation will use the file name chosen in the export settings, with a prefix appended numbering each frame.  For example, frames 001, 002, 003, etc.  This automatic numbering is helpful for keeping images in correct order and automatically importing them into tools to create videos.

Render export settings for animation

Frame rate:  Determines how many frames will be rendered for each second of animation (FPS).

Time range

  • First frame only:  Exports only the first frame of the timeline.
  • Entire duration:  Exports the entire range of animation from first to last frame.

After selecting your export settings, you will also see a list of the cameras to be rendered, the duration of animation for that camera, and the total frames based on duration and frame rate settings. 

Converting image sequences to video

Adobe Premiere Pro

  • Create a new Premiere project
  • Choose File > Import and browse to your rendered Stager image sequence
  • Select the first image in the sequence exports
  • Turn on the "Image Sequence" option
  • Press Open to import the files and Premiere will automatically convert the images to a clip in your project panel

  • Right-click the clip and choose "new sequence from clip"
  • This will automatically create a sequence at the right size and settings
  • Adjust your video as desired
  • Use File > Export Media to export a GIF or video

FAQ and known animation issues

What limitations are there with animation presets in Stager?

Animation can behave oddly if using nested hierarchies sometimes.  There can also be issues if an object is animated with orbit and targeting another object that is also animating, or if targets are looping between the same objects.

You cannot currently edit your scene while previewing animation.  Use the stop button to return to frame 0 and continue editing.

Only 3D objects can be animated: groups, models, lights, and cameras.  The environment cannot use animation presets.

Animation presets always use local object Y-up and the object center pivot point as their pivot for spinning or orbiting.

What other types of animation can I create in Stager?

At this time Stager currently has orbit and spin presets for generating animation.  Importing animation or keyframe animation by properties is not currently supported.

Can I export video directly from stager?

No.  Stager only renders frames as images.  Video export is planned for a future update.