nVIZ Advanced Cameras Plugin

Installation

Autodesk VRED provides two paths for maintaining plugins. Please identify the directory where you want to keep the nVIZ Advanced Cameras Plugin. The paths are displayed in the VRED terminal window after launching VRED:

Download and execute the nVIZ Advanced Cameras Plugin installer. After the installer has completed, you need to copy the two following files to your VRED plugins directory:

  • C:\Program Files\nVIZ\PerceivedQuality\nVIZ Cameras.py
  • C:\Program Files\nVIZ\PerceivedQuality\nVIZ Cameras.ui

License File

Please contact nVIZ to receive your license file. The license file needs to be copied to the directory:    

  • C:\Program Files\nVIZ\Cameras\

After installation, the nVIZ Cameras Plugin can be launched from the context menu like any other VRED module – right mouse click on the Main Tool Bar or on the Quick Access Bar:

Cameras Project

All the settings defined in the Cameras Plugin can be saved to a project file and reloaded from there. The file format is *.cpb. The Plugin depends on an external process – the nVIZ Cameras Server – to calculate all the camera transformations. After starting the Server, you will see the ellipse path for the camera in the VRED view port and the camera ray pointing at the target node. The camera will stay in position also while the vehicle is driving. The ellipse will always have the target node as it’s center point.

  • Open Cameras Project: Opens an existing Cameras project. The Windows Explorer will be launched when clicking the button.
  • Save Cameras Project: Saves all the Cameras Plugin settings to a binary project file.
  • Start Server: Click this button to launch the nVIZ Camera Server process. The plugin depends on the Camera Server process to be running for the calculation of the camera transformations. NB: You cannot switch between the Ellipse Path Camera and the Hand-Held Camera while the server is running. I.e., you will need to shutdown and then restart the server to switch camera types.
  • Shutdown Server: Will terminate the Camera Server process.
  • Target Node: Select a node in the VRED Scene Graph and click the “>” button to reference the target node in the plugin. The camera will always be pointed at the XYZ-coordinates of that target node – indicated by the red camera ray. Use the VRED Transform Tool to position the target node.

Ellipse Path Camera

The Ellipse Path Camera tab provides functions to easily define an arbitrary elliptical path around a vehicle and then animate a camera flight along that path while the camera keeps looking at a dedicated point on the vehicle.

Elliptical Path Definition

Use the spin boxes or sliders to dimension and position the elliptical camera path around the vehicle. The blue ribbon will display the path in the VRED view port as long as the Camera Server is running.

  • Ellipse Major/Minor Radius: Defines the major/minor radius of the elliptical path for the camera. The center point is defined by the target node’s XYZ-coordinates.
  • Ellipse Height: Defines the height of the elliptical path relative to the target node’s Z-coordinate.
  • Ellipse Roll, Pitch, Yaw: Defines the rotation angles of the elliptical path relative to the vehicle.
  • View FOV: Sets the cameras field of view value.
  • View Roll: Sets the cameras roll value.

Storing Camera States

For a defined elliptical path, you can add any number of view points along that path and store the camera states in the list field. To move the camera along the path, use the Camera Position slider or spin box.

  • Add Camera State: Adds the current camera state to the list field.
  • Update Camera State: Updates the selected camera state to the current camera position and hotkey.
  • Delete Camera State: Deletes the selected camera state.
  • Hotkey: Defines a keyboard short cut you can use to activate the camera state. Useful for presentations in full screen mode.
  • Camera Position: Sets the camera’s position on the elliptical path.

Camera Animation

For camera flight animations, check the “Live Cam” check box. Then select any of the camera states from the list field or use the keyboard shortcut to activate any camera state. The camera will move along the elliptical path to the selected position and the resulting animation will be rendered in the VRED view port.

  • Animation Speed: Defines the time interval per angle increment, i.e., the speed of the camera flight.
  • Show Symbols: Check or uncheck this box to see the elliptical path ribbon and camera symbol or not.
  • Live Cam: As long as this box is unchecked, the view in the VRED view port is controlled by your mouse navigation. When this box is checked, the view will be calculated by the Camera Server and imposed on the active VRED camera: looking from the camera position on the path, at the target node.

Camera Animation Recording

Any camera animation as described in the previous chapter can be stored in the VRED time line. This will allow you to make use of all the standard VRED features for rendering movie clips in raytracing quality. Select different camera states while recording, then save the recording.

  • Start Recording: Records camera animations. You can select any camera state while recording, the animated camera positions will be held in memory. You will see the progress bar running while the recording is active.
  • Stop Recording: Ends the recording of camera positions.
  • Save Recording: Stores the recorded camera positions in the VRED time line.

Hand-Held Camera

The Hand-Held Camera tab provides functions to easily position a camera at predefined, reproducible positions around a vehicle and then take movie clips with camera shake for a very realistic impression of recording with a hand-held camera.

Predefined Camera Positions

You can maintain 24 predefined camera positions in a text file. The plugin installer will copy a template of the text file, which you can easily edit to your needs, in:
C:\Users\Public\Documents\nVIZ\VREDProCameras\nVIZcamDefaultPositions.txt
The positions defined in the file are relative to the target node.

  • Load Camera Positions File: This function will launch the Windows Explorer. Browse to your camera positions file and load it. Make sure the Camera Server is running. Click any one of the 24 radio buttons around the vehicle – indicated by “^” – to put the active camera in that predefined position. The displays show the position in the world CSYS.

Adding a Camera Shake Effect

Use the sliders or spin boxes to add a shake effect to your hand-held camera. The amplitude, speed and roughness factors for each shake effect can be tuned on the options tab.

  • Camera Shake Left-Right/Up-Down: Will add periodic translations to your camera. The effect will only be visible if the “Live Cam” checkbox is checked.
  • Camera Shake Roll/Pitch/Yaw: Will add periodic rotations to your camera. The effect will only be visible if the “Live Cam” checkbox is checked.
  • Shake Timer: This parameter controls the speed of the camera movement.
  • Hotkey: Define a keyboard shortcut when storing the camera state. This is useful to activate a stored camera state in full screen mode.

Adjusting a Predefined Camera Position

These functions allow you to adjust the predefined camera positions by moving the camera in a very natural way while keeping it looking at the target node.

  • Move Left-Right: Moves the camera left or right on a circular path around the target node while looking at the target node.
  • Move Forw.-Backw.: Moves the camera forward or backward in the direction of the target node.
  • Move Up-Down: Moves the camera up or down while looking at the target node.
  • View FOV: Sets the cameras field of view parameter.
  • View Roll: Sets the cameras roll parameter.

Storing Camera States

  • Add Camera State: Stores the current camera state and adds it to the list field.
  • Update Camera State: Update the selected camera state to the currently active parameters.
  • Delete Camera State: Deletes the selected camera state.