The Video Category of the ribbon bar allows you to view fly-throughs and record these as videos as MP4 files. There are two ways of defining fly-throughs and the option that you want to use is defined in the Follow Panel.
- Path: This option allows you to specify that the route created for the fly-through follow a path defined by a series of point coordinates. For instance, you could simulate driving along a road.
If a path is selected, either an existing feature can be picked or a route can be clicked ad-hoc over a point cloud or DTM surface. To define the path freehand, click the Pick Points button and then pick points in the scene to define the route to fly along. As points are added to the route, a spline will best fit the path to try and iron out sharp kinks and harsh changes in direction. Once the route is complete, right click to cancel. There will now be a path displayed along the intended route. If the points are at ground level it may be an idea to enter a 2m offset in the Height Offset box, and click Apply Offset to move the fly through above the ground. Or have the offset already entered in the box so the height of the selected point will be offset as they are picked. If an incorrect point is selected it can be deleted by pressing the backspace key. Or once the route has been defined click Edit Points to go back and make changes to any point.
Note the Lock Pitch & Yaw boxes. These can sometimes be useful to fix the orientation of the camera.
Point: This option allows you to specify that the route created for the fly-through always look in the direction of a given point at all points along the path. In this case, the defined path can also be a circular orbit about the given point, defined by a radius
- To define the centre point to observe click Pick Target. This will place a marker at the picked point. Note that if a value is entered in the Height Offset box, this value will be added to the height of the picked point. With the Target identified, a Radius can be specified to control a circular flight path around the target. With a suitable radius entered click
- Orbit Target can be used when you are defining the Orbit Radius and Offset hight we would recommend clicking Orbit Target to view the path the camera is taking. The height of the circular flight path is set the same as the height of the target point, so this may need to be offset as well to get enough elevation to see everything and not pass through the terrain. If the radius of the path needs to be changed, just enter a new value and click Orbit Target again.
Flight Path controls
- Pick Points: Adds indicated points to the current flight path. Any values in the Height Offset field will be applied to the heights of the points as they are picked.
- Pick String: Allows a pre existing feature such as the centerline of a road to be selected as the path to fly along. Use the Point Density control to smooth the path if needs be.
- Edit Points: Opens a small edit window showing all the points in the flight path. Points can have their coordinates changed or be removed from the route altogether.
- Clear Points: Deletes all the points in the current flight path.
- Import Points: Imports a previously saved flight path.
- Export Points: Saves the current flight path to a file.
- Height Mode
- No Offset: Disables any offsetting.
- Vertical Offset: Applies the current offset to path points as they are picked. Or, if the path is complete the offset is applied to all the points in the animation.
- Fixed Height: The level of the points is set to the value in the Height Offset box.
- Normal Offset: Offsets the point in the direction perpendicular the face of a selected triangle.
- Height Offset: Sets the current offset depending on the current Height Mode.
- Apply Offset: Applies the current offset to the height of the path.
- Speed: Sets the rate at which the camera travels along the flight path. Note this value can be changed even if the animation is running.
- Colour: Sets the colour of the spline used to preview the route.
- Change Direction: Reverses the direction of the flight path.
- Show Camera: Can be used to show or hide the camera icon on the flight path.
- Show Path: Can be used to show or hide the flight path.
- Point Density: Smooths the current flight path. When using an existing survey feature this option is very useful in making the fight path more even and smooths out sharp changes in direction.
The top section of the video pane has the following controls:
- FPS: Sets the number of frames per second to output. Larger values will result in smoother animations, but also larger files.
- Hz Res: Sets the width in pixels of the output video.
- Vt Res: Sets the height in pixels of the output video.
- Play: Starts or continues the animation.
- Stop: Stops the animation.
- Record: Starts the recording process.
- Set Camera: Aligns the camera to the flight path. To preview an animation, click this button. then the Play button.
The lower part of the video pane shows the timeline, and an indicator to show where the camera is in terms of the total length of the fly though.
When recording the animation to a file, a box will be displayed after naming the file which lists all of the codecs currently installed. Codecs are required to convert the high resolution stills n4ce generates, into a video file of some sort. Choosing the wrong codec can result in poor results or huge file sizes. A good codec to try if it is not installed already is that from Xvid. Their codec can be found here (https://www.xvid.com/download/). Note, the PC may need to be rebooted in order for n4ce to find it. Once installed and selected, it is recommended that a change is made to the default settings of the codec. This is to stop the codec from crashing. See below for the necessary changes we recommend.
How to create a Flythrough Video
1. Select the Xvid Codec and press Configure.
2. Click Other Options on the next screen
3. Uncheck all of the options on the Encoder Tab. Then press Ok.
4. The animation will now be generated and saved to the given file when complete.