2.5 Camera and controller smoothing


Controls smoothing adjust the smoothing of parameter changes for the input and controls tabs. Camera smooth does the same for the camera controls. A high (particularly controller) smoothing value can prolong the interesting transitional effects that often happen during profile changes. Small smoothing values on the other hand are useful in avoiding jerky changes in the visualization caused by uneven mouse or MIDI controller motions.

Let’s first see how camera transitions work without smoothing. Hide the camera controls by clicking “Edit A” or “Edit B”. Check that your camera smoothing value is set to zero (0). Now try switching between the two cameras you configured and saved in 2.4 by left clicking on their corresponding slots (slots 1 and 2 if you followed the tutorial).

Now let’s try the same with smoothing. Move your camera smoothing controller to a value where you can start to see the effect (10-20) easily. Now try switching between the camera slots you configured again. There should be a noticeable difference in the way the camera moves between the two as smoothing is applied to the animation curve of the camera.

Experiment with camera smoothing and the camera slots to find ones that work for you and the visual you’re going after. After you feel you’ve grasped how the camera smoothing works, let’s try controller smoothing.

Controller smoothing works quite similarly to the camera smoothing, though the end results, from the point of view of the rendered visuals, are different. Let’s try a simple experiment. Change to “Live” render preview mode or open an external render window to monitor the results of our experiment a little better.

First set your controller smoothing to zero (0) and click on any of the preset visual profiles. Try doing this a few times and you should see an instant change of the rendered visual to the newly chosen one.

Next try upping the controller smoothing to a value where the effect starts to appear (10-20) and then do the exact same thing. You should now be seeing a smooth transition from the previously chosen preset to the new one. The effect is very similar to the transitioning effect demonstrated while profile mixing using the A/B mixer (explained in tutorial 1.5). The more smooth is applied, the longer and smoother the transition will turn out.

Let’s try another experiment. Adjusting the controller smooth value from zero to something else, try adjusting the Geometry/Count slider between a low and high value. Again watching the rendered output, you should be seeing the adjustments appear either immediately (zero controller smoothing) or smoothly with some delay (with controller smoothing turned on).

Experiment with controller and camera smoothing to get a feel on how they can be best applied for your visual work.

Important: Smoothing (neither camera or controller) is never applied to animation driven by sound or beat input. It is, on the other hand, applied to incoming MIDI and/or OSC.

Pro tip: Both of the smooth controls have a freeze button that “maxes out” the smoothing. This makes it possible to set the wanted visualization parameters and then release the freeze to move smoothly to the new parameters. Again: after hitting freeze, all edits that you do to either your camera or your visual profile will only show in the preview windows (A, B or A/B) and will only be applied when you unclick the said freeze button.

Pro tip: When a parameter’s value is changed, the smoothing parameter’s value is used as a time in beats in which 99 % of the new value should be reached. This allows the smoothing to work predictably even if Z Vector’s frame rate changes.

Congratulations on completing the second tutorial series! You have now gained more understanding in the basic features of Z Vector: using the input parameters, applying various filtering (masks) to an input, using and programming the camera controllers as well as using and controlling both the controller and camera smoothing.

2.4 Controlling the virtual camera
2.0 Basics: Input parameters, the virtual camera and smoothing