Putting 3D Google Maps on the Web (using Flash 10)

April 18, 2009


To this point, I’ve been putting Google Maps into Air applications due to the Flash Sandbox issue encountered in PV3D (discussed in a previous post). But in CS4, guess what, it’s not an issue. They go right on the web as you can see from the demo below:

Google Map in 3D on the Web

Google Map in 3D on the Web




Now here is how you do it, and it’s so simple you will not believe it. Use the code below to put your map into a movie where it’s free to move freely in 3D.


Placing a Google Map on a CS4 Plane is easier in Flex 4 (Gumbo) than it is in PV3D. All you do is throw your map into a movie clip using the code below, and then center it to get your map pivot right. The code snippet below sets your map in a movie clip, centers its pivot, sets map controls, places your movie in a Flex canvas, and centers your movie on the stage.

//Place your map in a movie so you can position its pivot

//Set your map pivot

//Add Map Controls
map.addControl(new ZoomControl());
map.addControl(new PositionControl());
map.addControl(new MapTypeControl());

//Put your movie in a Flex Canvas

//Center your Movie

The map also has two additional Flex components; a button, which stops it from spinning and a slider, which adjusts its speed and direction of rotation.

This is the great power of CS4 over PV3D. You can now bring native Flex components into your 3D environment in conjunction with your 3D objects. Bringing Flex components into PV3D is a difficult task and requires the use of the draw BitmapData feature. But with CS4 it occurs natively, and those components can be manipulated in 3D as well.

Hey that’s it, how crazy can that be! And all the controls and buttons are fully functional and in the right place.

Note: You could have just rotated the map directly, but you put it in a movie to control positioning and its pivot point.

The rest of the code is shown in the link below and discussed in greater detail in Chapter 7 of the book.

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Animating Multiple Pixel Bender Lights

March 21, 2009

Having multiple lights in PV3D is a desired effect. But after going through the lightmap classes, let me say that it’s impossible without an major rewrite. But with Pixel Bender all you do is add another term to your pbk filter…let’s do it!

Animating Pixel Bender Lights

Animating Pixel Bender Lights




It’s an amazingly simple process. Just add another term to your pixel bender light equation as shown below:

Adding Multiple Images to PV3D

Adding Multiple Images to PV3D

The example above only shows two lights, but you can have as many lights as you want just by adding additional light terms:

The pixel bender code looks like this

float2 outcoord = outCoord();
float attn = (brightness1/((distance(outcoord, center1)+radius1)))+(brightness2/((distance(outcoord, center2)+radius2)));

dst = attn* sampleNearest(src, outcoord);

Wow, only five lines of code to have multiple light sources – get out of here!

Animating Your Sources

Once you’ve set your shader up then animating it is pretty easy. If you aren’t sure how to set up your shader for animation, check out Lee Brimlow’s video on animating shaders. I do it a little differently than Lee, but not by much. Here are the steps for animating the lights:

  1. Increment your oscillation parameter osc++
  2. Calculate sine and cosine based upon your incremented osc
  3. Update your light positions
  4. Apply the update to your image

The fully documented code is shown below:

private function loop(e:Event):void{

//Increment your oscillation parameter
//Calculate sine and cosine
var cos:Number=150*Math.cos(osc/10);
var sin:Number=150*Math.sin(osc/10);
//Update your light positions
shader.data.center1.value = [sin+400, cos+180];
shader.data.center2.value = [cos+200, sin+180];
//Apply the update to your image
image.filters = [filter];
//Rotating your image holder

If you are aware of how hard this is to do in PV3D, you’re going wow…tell me more…and we will…

For the entire source code download the source above, or check out the link below:

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Adding Pixel Bender to Papervision3D

March 20, 2009


One of the things which I abhor about modeling in Papervision3D is texture baking. And if you’ve been in the business as long as I have you know why…it’s a labor intensive nightmare…and you can’t ever get it right. But with pixel bender you don’t have to bake your textures anymore and you can adjust your parameters dynamically using ActionScript.

Dynamic Shading using Pixel Bender

Dynamic Shading using Pixel Bender



YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8BnSqf0Z_g


Adding Pixel Bender to Papervision3D was a three step process:

  • Creation of a Pixel Bender Filter
  • Creation of a Pixel Bender Bitmap File Material Class
  • Creation of a Pixel Bender Bitmap Material Class
Adding Pixel Bender to PV3D

Adding Pixel Bender to PV3D

Before you start coding. Make sure you’ve switched to the Flash 10 player!!!

Step 1: In the previous post several pixel builder filters were presented.

Pixel Bender Filters and Algorithms

To create a dynamic light baker filter the simple light filter was modified by throwing out all the pow and exponent methods. The big trick is that exponential behavior can be mimicked by using inverse of distance –now that’s a processor saver. The final algorithm use is shown below:

lively3d Light Source for Texture Baking

lively3d Light Source for Texture Baking

The pixel bender algorithm is easily implemented using the code below:

float2 outcoord = outCoord();
float attn = (brightness/((distance(outcoord, center)+radius)));

dst = attn* sampleNearest(src, outcoord);

In addition to the modification mentioned above the alpha component is split off and set to one. This keeps the images from losing its alpha as you reduce brightness.

Step 2: Next you must create a Pixel Bender Bitmap File Material Class. This is simply done by making a copy of PV3D’s BitmapFileMaterial class and renaming it BitmapBendMaterial class and after changing the constructor and class names extend this class by the BitmapPixelMaterial class.

BitmapBendMaterial extends BitmapPixelMaterial

You’ll now create the BitmapPixelMaterial class.

Step 3: Make a copy of the PV3D BitmapMaterial class and name it BitmapPixelMaterial. Add the appropriate import statements and the pbj and image embed methods and create a shader as shown below:

[Embed (source=”filters/livelyLight.pbj”,
private var ShaderClass:Class;

[Embed (source=”assets/images/gainesHouse512.jpg”)]
private var myImage:Class;

private var shader:Shader

Next incorporate the code to get your shader and image working together:

shader = new Shader(new ShaderClass());
shader.data.center.value = [400, 306];
shader.data.brightness.value = [150];
shader.data.radius.value = [100];

var image:Bitmap = new myImage();
image.filters = [new ShaderFilter(shader)];
shader.data.src.input = image.bitmapData

Finally you must change your fill method to a shader fill method with a matrix method


That’s it! To check out the wrapper code download the source or click the more button below:

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Flex 4 (Gumbo) Fire Video on the Supper Club

March 13, 2009


Our group just finished the first part of the Beverly Hills Supper Club project. I realize that this is a sensitive area and lives were lost. The completed site will be a memorial to those loved ones that were lost in this tragic fire.

Here I demonstrated playing the Supper Club fire video on the Blender building skin. To see the demo just click the image below (drag the building with the mouse to rotate it and click the play video button to get the video to play):

Supper Club Video on a Blender Model

Supper Club Video on a Blender Model


Code (Only MXML File – Video too large for Google Code)



It’s pretty easy. Just follow the posts below which explain everything in detail:

1. Learn about netStream and netConnection

Adding Video to a Papervision3D Curved Plan

2. Learn about using video in CS4

Putting Video on a CS4 (Flash 10) Primitive

3. Learn how to build a CS4 shaded model using drawTriangles

CS4 Flat Shaded Tie Fighter with drawTriangles

4. Learn about Light in Papervision3D

Adding Brightness to PV3D Light Source

5. Learn how to model in Blender

3D Modeling

6. Learn how to export your Blender models to Papervision3D and CS4

New Blender XML Exporter/PV3D XML Primitive

The big trick to this is to create a simple parameter that allows you to switch between the shaded model and video within the triangle creation loop.

playMyVideo = false or true;

Run Shade Code if false


Run Video Code if true


var vertices2:Vector.<Number>=new Vector.<Number>();
vertices2.push(dispVec[facesVec[curFace][0]].x, dispVec[facesVec[curFace][0]].y);
vertices2.push(dispVec[facesVec[curFace][1]].x, dispVec[facesVec[curFace][1]].y);
vertices2.push(dispVec[facesVec[curFace][2]].x, dispVec[facesVec[curFace][2]].y);

//Draw Video into Bitmap
bitmapData.draw( this.myVideo);
this.myVideo.attachNetStream ( this.myStream );

spObjImage.graphics.beginBitmapFill(bitmapData,null, false, false);


Another trick is handling rotations correctly. To do this you need to use subtraction of your previous position from you present position (since you are appending rotation in this example). So if you are rotating forward the difference is positive and if backwards the difference is negative.

private function boardMove(e:MouseEvent):void {

var locX:Number=prevX;
var locY:Number=prevY;


Once you “get this in your head” you’ll undertstand “append” rotation in CS4 – otherwise it’s uncontrollably wild.

Now there’s on more “Super trick”. This application was originally created for an Adobe Air and was run on the desktop. So when you put it on the web the video will not work since it uses


looks like a terrible sandbox issue, but wait a second didn’t we get video on a prim in the previous post on Putting Video on a CS4 (Flash 10) Primitive…

Yes we did???

But this time we don’t have indices and uv data … shouldn’t we just give up or get some expert to tell us what to do…nah, just replace indices and uv data with null and it works…please don’t ask me why. Remember, I said this was a trick.

spObjImage.graphics.drawTriangles(vertices2, null, null,TriangleCulling.NEGATIVE);

And Tada, video on the Supper Club.


The full project will allow site visitors to leave messages in supper club rooms…building a flexpress flat-file data base to handle these messages is part of the TEI project… The advantage of the flat-file data base is that you can drop the program onto any server – hassle free and it works – no fancy install!

To see the entire code click the more button below:

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Getting Started with Gumbo (Flash 10)

November 28, 2008


We knew from the start in writing Professional Papervision that the technology would change mid-stream. Mid-stream is here and we are delighted with the changes. And we are incorporating them into your book. Yes, expect the book to cover Gumbo (Flex 4) – and much more.

I just couldn’t resist this graphic below. Is it a bird (gumby)? Is it a plane (dumbo)? No it’s Gumbo!

Flex 4 Gumbo

Open Source Flex 4 Gumbo

In addition to the power of the Flash 10 player, having the open source gumbo code opens up a whole new world of development possibilities.

In this tutorial, you’ill learn how to get started with Gumbo by doing the following;

  • Installing and configuring Gumbo
  • Creating your first program
  • Examining the Gumbo classes

I’m thrilled that Gumbo is here and have already started using it to extend the possibilities of Papervision. You’ll hear much about integrating Gumbo with Papervision in future blog post.

Gumbo Rotating Video Example

A great place to go for Gumbo examples is Peter deHaan’s blog on Flex Examples. I’ve been reading his blog since it first came out and he does really good work in Flex – almost an example everyday. I modified his rotating image Gumbo Code and extended it to play video, and have added a discussion on how to discover what is available in Gumbo. And how to work with Gumbo’s class structure. My extended example can be accessed by clicking on the link below – remember you need the Flash 10 player to run it!

Rotating Gumbo Video

Rotating Gumbo Video

You can watch the demo or download the source from the links below;

Demo: http://www.professionalpapervision.com/demos/web/gumborotatingvideo/

Source: http://flex3cookbook2.googlecode.com/files/RotatingGumboVideo.zip

The Big Deal!!!

So what’s the big deal? Why should you even care about Gumbo? Besides the performance enhancement and ease of use, Flex’s components are now native 3D – no more bitmapdata hacks to get them into Papervision – and if you are interested in building a Flash version of Second Life you just got a major boost. Second Life doesn’t handle data well – Flex 4 is a 3D data animal.

Installing and configuring Gumbo

YouTube (Part 1 Installing Gumbo – Part 2 below):

Getting Started Steps (Covered in YouTube Video)

All these steps are covered in the YouTube video, and they are included here so you can follow along.

1. To download Gumbo, navigate to the following URL:

2. Download the latest stable build or latest milestone – newest date. Download Adobe Flex SDK.

3. Save latest stable build to your hard drive and extract the files from the .ZIP file

4. In Flex Builder 3, select Window > Preferences from the main menu to open the Flex Builder Preferences dialog box. To add, edit, or remove a Flex SDK, select Flex > Installed Flex SDKs.

5. Click the Add button to launch the Add Flex SDK dialog box and click the Browse button to navigate to the directory where you extracted the nightly SDK build in a previous step.

6. Click OK to apply your changes and add the new Flex SDK. If you want to set the newly downloaded SDK as your default SDK, click the check box to the left of the SDK name. Click OK to dismiss this dialog.

If you want to compile your code against this new SDK you can select Project > Properties from the main menu, select Flex Compiler from the menu on the left, and select your new SDK from the dropdown menu in the Flex SDK version section. Note:Make sure Flash Player 10 is selected.

Also worth mentioning is that you can manage your installed SDKs via the Project Properties dialog menu by clicking the Configure Flex SDKs link, which takes you to the Installed Flex SDKs preferences.

Difference Between Builds

Latest Milestone Release Builds – Releases are builds that have been declared major releases by the development team – Releases are the right builds for people who want to be on a stable, tested release, and don’t need the latest greatest features and improvements

Stable Builds – Stable builds have been found to be stable enough for most people to use. They are promoted from nightly build by the architecture team after they have been used for a few days and deemed reasonable. The latest stable build is the right build for people who want to stay up to date with what is going on in the latest development stream, and don’t mind putting up with a few problems in order to get the latest and greatest features and bug fixes.

Nightly Builds – Nightly builds are produced every night from whatever has been released into the HEAD of the SVN repository. They are untested and may have problems. Some possibly will not work at all.

Different types of Flex SDKs available:

  • Free Adobe Flex SDK – An official Adobe product, with released versions found at http://www.adobe.com/go/flex3_sdk. The Adobe Flex SDK contains everything you will need to build and deploy Flex RIAs
  • Open Source Flex SDK – For users who want a package that contains only open source code, we offer the Open Source Flex SDK, which is available from this site.
  • Adobe Add-ons for Open Source Flex SDK – This package contains all of the items that are in the Adobe Flex SDK and not in the Open Source Flex SDK.

Code Creation and Working with Classes (Covered in YouTube Video)

YouTube Video (Part 2 Code Creation)

After downloading deHaan’s example of the rotating image load it into Flex and get it working. You’ll modify his code to get a button-controlled video (play, stop, pause) instead of an image rotating. Here are the steps below;

  • Add the Video Display import statement

import mx.controls.VideoDisplay;

  • Add a video1 private variable for your video

private var video1:VideoDisplay

  • Add video play, stop, and pause buttons and include their event listeners in the initiation function

fxVideoPlay =new FxButton();
fxVideoPlay.label = “Play Video”;
fxVideoPlay.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, playVideo);

fxVideoPause =new FxButton();
fxVideoPause.label = “Pause Video”;
fxVideoPause.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, pauseVideo);

fxVideoStop =new FxButton();
fxVideoStop.label = “Stop Video”;
fxVideoStop.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, stopVideo);

  • Add the buttons to the VGroup


  • Instantiate the Video Display, add its source, position, style, and add to the stage

video1 = new VideoDisplay();


video1.setStyle(“horizontalCenter”, 0);
video1.setStyle(“verticalCenter”, 0);


  • Finally add the play, pause, and stop button function for your listeners

private function playVideo(evt:MouseEvent):void {

private function pauseVideo(evt:MouseEvent):void {


private function stopVideo(evt:MouseEvent):void {


  • And that’s it! To see the code click the more button below.

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