Infrastructure Modeler has some very easy ability to create videos of fly throughs around your project. Today we're going to look at some techniques to make those videos even more interesting!
To create a camera path, you use the "ShowMotion" tools that are available from the on canvas toolbar:
- Open the ShowMotion tools
- Create a new camera path
- Choose whether it is a sequence of shots or a camera path (see dialog below)
- Create individual shots
- Push one of the record buttons
Be sure to choose a 'camera path' when creating the new path.
TIP: Using CTRL+LEFT CLICK allows you to move shots around in the sequence.
Here's an example of a flight around a model of a proposal solar cell field created by VTN Consulting.
What about flight paths?
A few folks have seen a video from me showing actual flight paths and airplane models generated in a video right out of Infrastructure Modeler. The question that I get is... "How the heck did you do that?" In a word... pipelines.
That's right, I've overloaded the pipelines data type to show really big pipes, way up in the air. Here's how I did this.
Create a new model with a custom schema
This is not a necessary step, but I got a little fancy and created a new model using a custom schema that has placeholders for my flight path and waypoints. You can download the schema by clicking the link in this paragraph or create your own by following an older blog post.
The new schema allows me to do things like toggle on and off the flight paths by themselves in the Model Explorer, while not affecting pipelines.
Load some data into the model
In my case, I chose to work with a model of Boston that we generate from some public domain data available from the Massachusetts GIS website.
Create basic GIS data to represent the pipelines and waypoints
I then cracked open AutoCAD Map 3D and created some simple GIS files (in my case I created shapefiles) with some custom attributes in the correct geographic area of my model. The structure of the files looked something like this:
- Polyline file - for flight path visual effect
- StartElevation attribute - Starting elevation of the flight path line
- EndElevation attribute - Ending elevation of the flight path line
- Point file - for camera positions and waypoint visual effects
- Elevation attribute - Elevation of the waypoint; typically the same as the start elevation for one of the polylines in the flight path file
- Tilt attribute - Tilt up or down of the camera while it travels the path; positive values tilt down (if desired)
- Rotation - Rotation of the camera when it travels the path (if desired)
- Name - Name of the waypoint (can be used in the camera path UI)
You'll need to then draw the paths you want, create the points, and edit the data table to populate the values that you want to represent your paths. It takes some trial and error, but you'll get the hang of it.
Add GIS data to the model as flight paths and waypoints (or pipelines and city furniture)
The next step is to add the GIS data to the model to create the visual representations of the flight path and waypoints, if desired.
For the flight path, just add the data file to the model and create it as a flight path, if you used the custom schema, or as a pipeline, if you did not. You'll use the start and end elevation attributes that you set in Map 3D as the start and end elevation of the flight path. Choose a style. Personally, I like to create a new style using one of the transparent textures to represent my flight path.
Note that you'll want to also set the X and Y size dimentions to something that will be visible way up in the air. I chose 100 ft.
Then you'll add the point file to the model and create the waypoints, or create them as city furniture objects if you didn't use the custom schema.
In this case, you need to switch to the Source tab in the configuration dialog and choose Set Elevation and the altitude field you created in Map 3D.
Don't forget to pick a 3D model for the waypoints. We've even got a 787 model in the Style Palette!
When you refresh these data layers, it may take a little while to generate them depending on how big they are.
Set LOD to maximum for the Flight Paths and Waypoints
OK... this is an important step. So that you can see your flightpaths from far away, make sure to set the Max LOD toggle in the Model Explorer.
Create the ShowMotion camera path
Activate the ShowMotion tools and select the Import icon in the main toolbar.
Select the waypoints (in my case "CameraPoints") file and configure them by setting the name, tilt, and z value:
Note that I set the Z to be "Altitude + 100" becuase I want the camera to be slightly above the flight path. Otherwise I'm going down the center of the path and that's not so visually interesting.
I also changed the path duration up to 5 seconds because I don't want to go too fast. I left rotation alone in this example.
After accepting my changes, I see a new path in the ShowMotion toolbar:
Now, I push the Play button to see what happens!
There may be a little trial and error on your part, but if the stars are in alignment, you'll see something like this:
A couple of other tips:
- This is a little outside the box, but keep trying... it really works
- I create a couple of extra camera shots at the end of the sequence to swing back around and look at Santa
- I also reset the position of the first point so that I could see Santa starting his journey
- With a little more attention, I could have fixed some of Santa's rotations to better match the flight path turns... or even used an attribute to drive the rotation
I hope this was a useful tutorial!