In the previous post on Pendulums, Papervision’s line3D class was used to plot the orbit of a Foucault Pendulum in a rotated plane. But there was a problem – adding more line segments slowed the processor and as result line segments had to be removed. Aha! You just thought I had created some really cool effect by erasing the end of my line while making the front. No, without erasing, everything would eventually slow down to a stand still.
Let’s speed things up a little by using CS4′s drawPath method. Click on the image below to see the demo.
3D Lines in CS4
Discussion: Drawing Points and Lines
Keith Peters in his book does a similar example using CS3 line functions, but he doesn’t sort his filled circles. His circles are black, and when you run his demo it appears as if the application is z-sorting-but it isn’t. If you try to applying his zSort algorithm the connecting lines go hay-wire. They don’t know where to go and try to follow his black circles as they rapidly sort.
Here’s the Trick
Commonly when we run into such issues in Papervision3D we create dummy graphics for our wayward objects to follow. So in this case you create dummy graphics under your circles for your lines to follow. Thus, separating the zSortng of the circles from the positions of your lines.
There ‘s a little bit of double processing here, but it’s worth it. And it’s very typical of solving problems of this type. In the code below, you see the parallel creation of the circle (or ball) and the dummy marker (or mark).
var ball:BallCS4 = new BallCS4(10, 0);
var mark:MarkCS4 = new MarkCS4(0, 0);
mark.xpos = ball.xpos = Math.random() * 200 – 100;
mark.ypos = ball.ypos = Math.random() * 200 – 100;
mark.zpos = ball.zpos = Math.random() * 200 – 100;
The MarkCS4 class is your dummy marker and is an object of zero pixel size – how do like that one! The BallCS4 class is similar to the MarkCS4 class. But draws a circle instead of a zero pixel line.
BallCS4 uses the drawPath method to create its circle in CS4. Since there are no drawCircles methods in CS4 you have to create one. I used four radial curves (created by the CURVE_TO method), which looks fine for small circles, but you’ll need to add eight for larger circles. The radius parameter (below) determines the size of your filled circle.
A great article which explains this in more detail can be found on Senocular’s blog. Once you’ve got your “commands” and “data” Vectors loaded, you throw them into the drawPath function…and TaDah – sphere (or in this case filled circle)! Instantiate it as many times as you want.
Now that you’ve decoupled the spheres from the lines using the marker graphics you can now use Keith’s zSort method.
private function sortZ():void
balls.sortOn(“zpos”, Array.NUMERIC | Array.DESCENDING );
for(var i:uint = 0; i < numBalls; i++)
var ball:BallCS4 = balls[i];
myHolder.addChild(ball as Sprite);
The Big Limitation
The big limitation is that drawPath only draws in x and y – hey where’s the z Adobe? So to get around that limitation you have to use perspective scaling given in the code below:
var scale:Number = fl / (fl + ball.zpos);
ball.scaleX = ball.scaleY = scale;
ball.x = ball.xpos*scale;
ball.y = ball.ypos*scale;
That’s it, you’re ready to start using 3D lines in CS4. In an upcoming post, we will treat Creating 3D Springs and Making a Node Garden. And my favorite, 3D spring data visualization which I can’t wait to release. I’ve been working on this one for a while.
To see the entire code download the source above or click on the more button below.
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