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Thread: GPS terrain for use in animation.

  1. #1
    icon kid
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    New York City, New York
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    52

    GPS terrain for use in animation.

    I'm looking for a way to use satellite imagery for animation. Specifically, it's for creating a flight animation of my Boeing 757-200. I've used "way points" in Google Earth to create flight paths but there are three drawbacks with it. 1) You can not make the camera point in any other direction except in the direction of travel, so you can't swivel the heading of the camera. If my plane is heading north the camera must point north -- if it's heading south the camera must point south, etc. 2) You can get some sense of curvature in a flight path but this is only simulated by making a series of points where the camera's velocity consists of perfectly straight lines. For example, if you have the camera move in a complete circle consisting of 24 line segments the camera will noticeably jerk 24 times because there is no way to apply spline controls to the points or otherwise smooth out the 24 abrupt changes of direction. 3) If you compile more than a few hundred frames you'll find that Google's frame capture rate is sporadic -- missing any number of frames from the capture which are filled in by duplicate frames which skews what otherwise would be a smooth-flowing background. Perhaps what I'm looking for is one of the Microsoft flight simulators whereby I could program a flight path but with no planes loaded -- just the camera, to which I could composite my own plane imagery over it.

  2. #2
    Member jgutwin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Posts
    46
    With Google Earth Studio (must request access) you can do fairly elaborate camera targeting. Imagiscope Travel & Tech has created a great youtube tutorial along with a python script showing how to import targets and camera movement into Blender. Then I export as fbx, then import into Lightwave and render my geometry over nice GE backdrop (complete with Google Logo in corner). It is a process, but might be just the ticket for you.

    In my experience it crashes if you do long complex scenes. Divide into segments for stability if that happens.
    John Gutwin
    Pepperchrome

  3. #3
    icon kid
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    New York City, New York
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    52
    jgutwin: Thanks for the tip. I looked at your suggested video. I had worked with Google Earth Pro but Google Earth Studio has a lot more to it -- like camera targets and spline controls. I should be able to accomplish what I want with it.

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