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Austin Shults May 6, 2015 Documentation / Tips & Tricks

Navisworks users can export an FBX file using the native file export capabilities within their software. Version 2013 and beyond has this export capability built in. To learn more about the settings for FBX export please review this link: knowledge.autodesk.com/support/navisworks-products/learn-explore/caas/documentation/NAVMAN/10-0/ENU/Autodesk-Navisworks-Manage-2013-Online-Help/files/GUID-853223FE-9DC2-4E8B-9AF4-2D5D1AB38E7F-procedure-htm.html

For the purpose of creating a Zebra Imaging 3D Hologram from your Navisworks scene please use the following settings.

1. Enable Polygon Limiting: set to 5 million

2. Disable the Lights and Cameras checkboxes in the "Include" Section of the dialogue box.

3. Use the default settings in the Advanced Settings section of the dialogue box.

4. In the "Texture" section, select "Copy to a single place and reference" option. Then browse to the destination folder for your FBX file to set the target path.

5. Click OK and browse to the same target path to store your FBX file.

When you have completed these steps, ZIP the resulting FBX file and associated Textures from step 4 into a single compressed directory and send to Zebra Imaging for processing. When your files are received the Zebra Imaging graphics team will assess your model and provide any recommendations, feedback, or graphics quote of fine tuning is required for your model. Included with your order will be one-hour of support from the Zebra Imaging graphics support team. If the time required for your project is beyond one-hour a quote will be provided for your approval before work begins. Final production of your order will not begin until final graphics approval, an official order, and payment is received.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Zebra Imaging technical support team by emailing support@zebraimaging.com. Or use the create a ticket feature of the online support system.


Austin Shults January 13, 2014 Documentation / Tips & Tricks

Creating 3D Holograms from 2D Image Files

In order to create a 3d model from 2 two-dimensional images within Zscape Preview you will need to create a "bump/displacement" image by converting the color image to black and white. Zscape Preview will read this image as the "elevation" profile for the output 3d model. The height of the resulting model will be tallest at the white pixels in the image and lowest at the black pixels. Grey pixels will be projected in between the white and black depending on their level of grey.

Step 1: Convert "elevation" image to a black and white .tif image file.

Step 2: Open Zscape Preview.

Step 3: Click on the Plus sign button to "Add Models". Or select File-Import Models. Navigate to the "elevation" .tif image.


Step 4: After selecting the "Elevation" .tif image you will be prompted with a GeoTIFF Load Options window. Click on the Texture Path "Browse" button to select your texture image, this can be any image you want but should correspond with the black and white "elevation" .tif image you created in Step 1.


Geometry Downsample: Applies a smoothing modifier to the resulting geometry. Higher numbers will result in a smoother model.

Texture Downsample: Applies a smoothing modifier to the image selected in the Texture Path field. This results in a lower resolution texture path. Higher number selections result in lower resolution texture path.

Texture Path: The image file that will be overlaid onto the loaded .tif image file. Inputs can be JPEG, PNG, TGA, or TIF image files.

Z is Height: Flips orientation of model to make Z-axis the up axis.

Recenter at Origin: Moves model to the origin point of Zscape Preview. (Zscape Preview automatically places models at the center of the image plane, this feature will only make a difference if adding model to a scene that has other models already loaded.)

Step 5: Click OK. See the resulting 3d model created from your image files. Apply lighting parameters, reflection maps, and other models to your scene to make it to your liking.

Hint: There is no way to adjust the geometry and texture downsampling values and texture path after OK is selected in the GeoTIFF Load Options window. To adjust the parameters set in the GeoTIFF Load Options window; click on the "New Project" button (save current project to compare results if desired), reload the "elevation" .tif image, adjust downsampling and texture path parameters and compare results. You can also compare results by adding another model to your current scene (without clearing current models). When the new model is created turn on the Model Manipulator and move it off of the original model to compare results.


Natalie Moore September 9, 2013 Documentation / Tips & Tricks

This document describes the capabilities and usage of "reflection mapping" within ZScapePreview™.

Basic description of capabilities


Reflection mapping allows you to obtain more realistic surfaces without increasing render times. ZScapePreview™ uses what is commonly referred to as "cube mapping" to do this. It can display a reflection map created in another program, or it can generate one from the existing scene content so that objects will appear to be reflecting the objects that surround them.

What is a reflection map?


In ZScapePreview™, the reflection map is completely separate from any texture maps that you may have already applied to objects. If creating a reflection map from within the program, it is created by shooting rays from the center of the scene outward, to create a cube map with values that can then be blended with existing textures or material values.

Cube mapping produces results that are similar to those obtained by ray tracing, but is much more computationally efficient – the moderate reduction in quality is compensated for by large gains in efficiency.

Note that changing the value of the Ambient, Specular, and Diffuse sliders will in no way affect the appearance of the reflection map. You can however alter the reflection map in an external image-editing program to blur it, or reduce its intensity.

Limits of Reflection (Cube) Mapping


- If you use an existing cube map (like one of the samples), there won't be any reflections of objects within the scene visible to each other. You can overcome this by choosing the "Generate" button.

- Seams can be a problem. For example, if you blur one of the sample cube maps, you will see seams. This can be overcome by making sure that the blur is "tileable" across the seams.

- Any objects that move in the scene would require the cube map to be re-rendered. This will only be a problem if you move an object after the "Generate" button is pressed.

- The reflection map is applied to all objects in the scene. The only control you have over this is to alter the Ks parameter in the MTL file. A material with Ks=0.0 will have a matte surface whereas a material with Ks=1.0 will be totally reflective.

- You should limit your reflection maps to 512x512 or 1024x1024 pixels square (on each side) to keep rendering performance high. A 512x512 map would be 512x3072 pixels in size, for example.

The ZScapePreview Reflection Mapping Interface


The controls for reflection mapping are found within a sub menu on the Advanced Settings portion of the interface.

1. Reset - Removes any reflection map currently applied to the scene.

2. Generate - Allows the user to create their own reflection map based on the materials within the image. Note that if there are no objects surrounding the central object, this won't have any effect. It requires some kind of objects in the environment to be reflected.

3. Load - Allows user to create a reflection map using an image-editing program and then load it into the scene.

4. Save As - Saves the current reflection map as a cube map. Note that this does NOT save any texture applied to an object. This provides the ability to have the program create the reflection map, then you can save it, alter it, and reload it.

ZScapePreview™ does not currently provide any way to dim or blur reflection maps that are applied or created. To do this, you will have to edit the map in an image-editing program using the workflows described in this document.

Included ZScapePreview Reflection Maps


We have included a few cube maps with the program that you may find useful. You will find that different objects and scenes can be enhanced by the careful choice of the map.

The classic chrome look can be achieved using the "blueskycube" map or the "steel" map.

Fabric looks good with the "satin" map.

Specular jewelry looks good with the "satin", "jewelry_light" or "lighting_goodforsparkle" maps.

The cube maps are located with the install directory under the "textures\cubemaps" folder.

Using the "Generate" button versus loading an existing cube map versus creating your own cube map


When you use the Generate button, objects in the scene will reflect off one another and be projected into the new cube map. Any existing cube map (sky for example), will NOT be used in this case. If you would like both objects reflecting off one another AND an external environment, then you will need to either:

1. Put a one-sided environment sphere into your scene that will be seen by the rays produced by the "Generate" button. After saving the reflection map, the environment sphere or other backgrounds can be removed so they do not appear in the hologram background..

2. Create both the reflections and sky images by custom creating a cube map from within a 3D package.
This allows you to control exactly what you get in your reflections.

So in summary:
Generate button - gives you inter-object reflections (1 bounce), but not any existing environment map.
Sample cube map - gives you the environment (sky for example), but no inter-object reflections.
Map created in 3D package - can give you both inter-object reflections and the environment.

Reflection Map Example - Chrome


Here is an example of applying the blueskycube.jpg and steel.jpg cube maps (Provided in the sample folder). Leave the reflectivity at a high value to see the image reflected clearly in the objects. Experiment with different maps to see which provides the best effect.

Reflection Map Example - Specular Jewelry


In this example, the satin.jpg image is applied to good effect on some gold jewelry. You should experiment with different maps to find the effect that works best. In this case, we had to modify the Ks value in the mtl file to be less than 1.0 (full reflection).

Using Reflection Maps From Online Sources


If you search the web, you can find all kinds of sources for reflection maps. A great one is the work of Emil Persson, aka Humus. (As listed under a Creative commons license).

Two Ways to Generate Reflection Maps for ZScapePreview


If you want to use something other than existing maps, here are two additional paths available for mapping reflections.

1. Within ZScapePreview using the Generate button.
2. From within your 3D application using a special workflow (Example: Andew Hazelden's cube map lens shader for mental Ray).


Using Andrew Hazelden's "Cube map lens shader" to render with mental Ray


To create a truly custom cube map, there is a plugin available for Maya on Andrew Hazelden's blog page. Follow the instructions on his page to install it for Maya, then you can easily render a cube map using all the features of mental Ray. These images can then be stitched together into the format used by ZScapePreview™.

See Andrew Hazelden's blog for more details.

How to Get Blurry Reflections


You can use an existing cube map and blur it to get a blurry reflection.

1. Start with a crisp reflection map.
2. Open it in an image-editing program.
3. Blur it, respecting the box borders - otherwise you will get seam lines
4. Save it back out.
5. Load it into ZScapePreview.

How to Control the Brightness of Reflections


Here are the basic steps to reduce the brightness of reflections.

1. Start with a reflection map.
2. Open the reflection map in an image-editing application.
3. Darken it by reducing its color values or opacity.
4. Save it back out.
5. Load it into ZScapePreview.



This should be enough information to get you started. Feel free to experiment with differing maps, combining different diffuse/ambient/specular values along with it. Let us know if you find a new way to use cube maps that we haven't covered!

Austin Shults September 6, 2013 Documentation / Tips & Tricks

Zscape Preview permits the use of cubic environment maps. Environment mapping simulates an object reflecting its surroundings.
They are also called "Reflection Maps" sometimes. They are different words for the same thing.
Imagine a very large cube shaped room where the floor ceiling and walls are printed with views a scene. All the images are positioned so that if you stand in the center of the room, you see the proper view of a scene.
In this case the images for the faces of the cube are stored as an image texture file.

What is an environment map?


When you look at a highly reflective object such as a chrome sphere, what you see is not the object itself but how the object reflects its environment. When you gaze at some point on a highly reflective surface, the surface at that point reflects the view ray—that is, the ray that travels from your eye to the point on the surface—into the environment. The characteristics of the reflected ray depend on the original view ray and on the surface normal at the point where the view ray reaches the surface. The "surface normal" is an imaginary vector which is localy perpendicular to the surface of the object. What you see is not the surface itself but what the environment looks like in the direction of the reflected ray.

When you use a cube map to encode what the environment looks like in all directions, rendering a point on a reflective surface is a matter of computing the reflected view direction for that point on the surface. Then you can access the cube map, based on the reflected view direction, to determine the color of the environment for the point on the surface.
This image shows a representation of a cubic environment map. Normally you would not be able to see the map image in the scene other than by seeing it in reflections in objects. We have removed one side so that you can see inside the cube. (On the left, the white edges of the cube are added here for clarity, they are not present in a cube map normally as seen on the right.)

More info here:

How it looks in Zscape Preview


The above image shows a simple reflective sphere in Zscape Preview with the same environment map. Note that you do not see the cube itself, only the simulated reflection in the sphere. When you create your geometery, assign colors with varied reflectivity, or "gloss". To get this mirror effect set gloss to maximun and adjust the Light Intensity sliders for Ambient and Diffuse to lower values to accentuate the reflective effects. The specular slider will adjust the size and intensity of the specular reflection from the ZScape light source.

How to select and enable an environment map in ZScape Preview


  • Download or create a map and store it on your system.
  • a zip file with a wide selection of maps is available here https://zebraimaging.box.com/reflectionmaps
  • Select Environment Mapping from the Advanced Settings menu

The Environment Map menu (AKA Reflection Map)


  • Select Load and select a map then click on Open to load the map
  • Click the Reflection Map check box to enable the map
  • Click on the Lit or Lit+DF to see the effecct.
  • Adjust your Ambient and Diffuse sliders in the Light menu to adjust the visibility of your reflection map.
  • Adjust the Specular slider to adjust the simulated reflection of the light source.

Special Effects with cubic environment maps

Cubic environment maps can be used to achieve various effects in a Zebra hologram.
It can be used to reflect a realistic environment or it can be used to simulate special lighting effects. This is particularly useful when representing glass objects in a scene.
The best way to show this is with a few animated examples.

Generated Reflection Maps Within ZScape Preview

A map "generated" within ZScape Preview. The map was generated before adding the central sphere. The spere then appears to reflect the rest of the scene.

Using Reflection Maps with Jewelry models

You can adjust the highlight colors to filter the refection map to create reflective gold effects.

Using Reflection Maps Over Colors

By setting the hightlight colors to values less than one, the underlying color can be seen through the reflection.

Shiny Text Effects

Note the red frame. The highlight color, (Ks in the .mtl file) can be set to only reflect red. This creates an anodized effect. Setting the RGB values to yellow-orange will create a gold effect.

How to adjust gloss in a material file (.mtl)

Here is a material from a material file. The parameters in blue have an effect on the envirionment map.
Material files can be edited easily to make fine adjustments to the materials. The designer can set some objects to reflect and others not reflect the map.

newmtl shinyred
Ka 0.1986 0.0000 0.0000
Kd 0.5922 0.0166 0.0000
Ks 0.5974 0.2084 0.2084 <<<this is the main parameter to adjust. The three numbers are the three colors Red, Green and Blue. White is 1.0 1.0 1.0
illum 2
Ns 100.2237

MTL File Characteristics:


Comments begin with a '#' character in column 1. Blank lines may be inserted for clarity. Otherwise, the file consists of a sequence of newmtl statements, followed by a definition of various properties for that material.

The quantities that may be defined for a material include:

Ka r g b
defines the ambient color of the material to be (r,g,b). The default is (0.2,0.2,0.2);
Kd r g b
defines the diffuse color of the material to be (r,g,b). The default is (0.8,0.8,0.8);
Ks r g b
defines the specular color of the material to be (r,g,b). This color shows up in highlights. The default is (1.0,1.0,1.0);
This will also filter the color of the reflection map. If KS is black then no reflection effect is seen.
d alpha
defines the transparency of the material to be alpha. The default is 1.0 (not transparent at all) Some formats use Tr instead of d;
Tr alpha
defines the transparency of the material to be alpha. The default is 1.0 (not transparent at all). Some formats use d instead of Tr;
Ns s
defines the shininess of the material to be s. The default is 0.0;
illum n
denotes the illumination model used by the material. illum = 1 indicates a flat material with no specular highlights, so the value of Ks is not used. illum = 2 denotes the presence of specular highlights, and so a specification for Ks is required.
map_Ka filename
names a file containing a texture map, which should just be an ASCII dump of RGB values;

More info here:

Making Your Own Cubic Environment Maps


The image above is a ZScape Environment map with a legend indicating the orientation for each square cube face. You can use this image as a guide to make your own maps in Photoshop or GIMP. Save the file in the .tga format.


This image is a composite of 5 example reflection maps derived from photos. The aspect ratio must be 1 x 6 as shown. These were 1024 pixels by 6144 pixels in size. They can be any size as long as they are 6 times as high as they are wide. These are examples from the zip file provided here:https://zebraimaging.box.com/reflectionmaps

Natalie Moore May 28, 2013 Community / FAQs


 Do you offer services to create a 3d model from a picture?




It is possible to produce a 3D model from 2D photographs, to do so you will need to use a free program from Autodesk called 123D Catch.

More information about the program can be found here:
Zebra Imaging and Autodesk 123D Partnership 
Autodesk Support

Here is a video we put together: