[Chimera-users] make a movie showing the process from an ASU model to the complete model of virus

Elaine Meng meng at cgl.ucsf.edu
Wed Sep 2 09:51:49 PDT 2015

Hi Zhihai,
First figure out the commands to do what you want to show in Chimera.  After that’s done, then you can add commands for making it into a movie.

There are several example command files for movies, but they are showing different things than you want to show.  However, they will be useful for understanding general things like movement, controlling color and display, adding title text, and the movie-recording process.  See the “making movies” page including discussion of content and links to example files:


For what you want to do, it sounds like you just need to open your asymmetric unit structure and then use the “sym” command to apply the symmetry.  However, I don’t know if your structure already includes the needed symmetry matrix information in it.  If not, you may need to specify it manually in the command.  See “sym” manpage:

Also be aware that you wouldn’t always do everything within the movie script.  You might just save a Chimera session that has all the pre-made structures and text labels.  You could then restore the session and just use the script to show, hide, and move things at the appropriate times within the movie instead of re-making everything every time.

I hope this helps,
Elaine C. Meng, Ph.D.                       
UCSF Computer Graphics Lab (Chimera team) and Babbitt Lab
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
University of California, San Francisco

On Sep 1, 2015, at 8:46 PM, 李智海 <21620101152414 at stu.xmu.edu.cn> wrote:

> Hi,
> I just obtained an atomic model of the asymmetric unit of an icosahedral T=7 virus capsid , and I want to make a movie to play the whole process from the ASU model to the full capsid model by imposing its icosahedral symmetry.
> Please show me some examples of the command lines to generate such kind of movies. Thanks!
> Best regards!
> Zhihai Li

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