Tuesday, April 4, 2017

EB GUIDE 6.4 – The scene graph widget – PART I

Thomas Engelhardt

In the previous versions of EB GUIDE, 3D content was treated as self-contained building block similar to other 2D widgets such as Labels (Textfields) or other geometric primitives with one exception: 3D content could be animated at runtime playing back pre-built keyframe animations. While this enabled dynamic 3D content with minimal effort in EB GUIDE, it was difficult to build HMIs in two crucial aspects:  on the one hand, 3D content designers had to rely on the 3D modelling tool to iteratively fine tune material, lighting or viewing parameters to accommodate HMI design. On the other hand, HMI designers had to re-target the imported animation timeline to match the HMI model for correct animation playback.

Introducing the new Scene Graph widget in EB GUIDE 6.4.: With this widget, we expose the entire structure of the 3D scene loaded in EB GUIDE. For the first time, users have access to all relevant 3D scene parameters such as viewing, lighting or material settings that can be fully controlled directly from within the tool. This leads to the new improved workflow as shown below. 3D content still is created in dedicated authoring tools, and imported as FBX or Collada files to EB GUIDE, where the content is tuned directly from within our tool to accommodate the HMI design.


Improved workflow: With EB GUIDE 6.4, 3D content created in dedicated authoring tools (left) can be imported as FBX or Collada files to EB GUIDE (center). Individual parts of the scene are directly accessed from within EB GUIDE 6.4 to customize and control the 3D objects for your individual HMI design (right).


Using 3D content in EB GUIDE is incredibly simple. Drag the new Scene graph widget into your HMI model to add an empty Scene graph. Next, click the “Import” button as shown below in the Scene graph’s property panel to import an FBX or Collada file from anywhere on your filesystem. Note- this step automatically copies any texture referenced into your EB GUIDE project folder. If your imported scene contains at least one Camera, the scene is rendered in the area defined by the Scene graph widget on the screen.


Import: Importing an FBX file into a scene graph widget will expose the contents of the scene in EB GUIDE 6.4 for full control by the HMI.


Unfolding the Scene graph widget, you will notice several kinds of nodes contained within as shown in the image ‘Import’. The structure of the nodes widely corresponds to the structure in your 3D modelling tool such as Autodesk 3ds Max or Blender. All widgets that can be used within a scene graph are listed in the “3D widgets” section of the toolbox.

Look out for part II of the blog where Thomas will continue to describe what you can do with the scene graph widget.