Viewing Animations of Results
Simulation results from CarSim, TruckSim, and BikeSim models are viewed with an integrated animator called VS Visualizer. VS Visualizer uses the latest technology to provide high performance, with modern features such as smoke, mirrors, lighting, true shadows, variable levels of detail, and many more features supported in modern gaming systems.
Introduced in 2011 for our driving simulators, VS Visualizer is now standard in CarSim and BikeSim and will soon be standard in TruckSim. Here is a video showing the capabilities of VS Visualizer for animation with multiple cameras, heads up display (HUD), and syncrhonized plotting.
Easy to Use
To fit in with the rest of the software, VS Visualizer is so easy to use that training is not required. View an animation with one button click, and interact with simple sweeping mouse movements. For example, see this video from the CarSim Quick Start Guides howing how to interact with VS Visualizer.
- Use a single button click to view any existing run in the database.
- Change camera position and zoom in and out with the simulated camera using simple mouse sweeping motions.
- View road shapes that are generated automatically from the geometry specified for the vehicle math models.
- Control camera settings with a graphical interface in the database the same as used for all other parts of the simulated vehicle and testing.
- Assemble parts in the animation using the same graphical interface as used to assemble parts of the vehicle and control models.
- Each VS product comes with a catelog of 3D vehicle shapes that are used in the examples. They are automatically resized to match the dimensions of the vehicle model, and can be given new colors to help identify vehicles when runs are overlaid in animations. Here are the catelogs of shapes for CarSim and TruckSim.
Built from Standard High-Performace Technology
VS Visualizer was built to make use of technology originally developed for movie animations and high-level video games.
- All surfaces are shaded and rendered using the OpenGL library that is standard in Windows and other modern operating systems.
- Most video/graphics cards support OpenGL in hardware. VS Visualizer automatically checks the capability of the card to give the best performance possible for both high- and low-end graphics hardware.
- Shapes can be translucent or opaque, and can have photographic images and textures "wrapped" around them.
- Shape definitions were for the previous animator program were stored in open-standard OBJ or STL surface files that can be created with most 3D graphics and CAD programs. VS Visualizer supports many more formats, including the open standard OSG (Open Scene Graph).
Extended Features for Showing Vehicle Dynamics
VS Visualizer has extra features for showing vehicle dynamic behavior.
- Playback speed can be controlled continuously from full-speed (real time), to extremely slow motion, to pause. VS Visualizer also supports high-speed playback. This allows the careful study of complicated motions.
- Instant access to any part of the animation is provided with a slide bar, similar to the slide bar in a multimedia player.
- All motion is smoothed by spline interpolation, to avoid jerky display even with extreme slow motion.
- Results from different runs can be overlaid (a single button enables this mode) to visually compare results for different vehicles or conditions.
- Multiple images of the vehicle (called "ghosts") of past vehicle positions help visualize complicated motions.
- Shapes can be sized based on variables from the vehicle model. This feature is used to show arrows indicating tire forces.
- Shapes can be made visible or invisible based on variables from the vehicle model. For example, this is used to show brake lights.
- Shape transparency can be adjusted based on variables from the vehicle model. This feature is used to show tire skid marks.
- VS Visualizer also works in real-time, obtaining motion variables "live" from a running model. This mode is used to show the simulated vehicle when testing hardware in the loop, or when using a driving simulator.
- Multiple animations can run in real-time on different computers to support multiple-screen displays for driving simulators.
Animating Data from Tests and External Sources
VS Visualizer obtains motion information from ERD files that are generated by the math model solver programs. A Utility program is used to convert files from CSV (generated by spreadsheet programs such as Excel) to files to allow animation of data from outside sources. This capability has been used to animate measurements from physical tests, allowing "virtual races."