Step by Step
This section will provide a short tutorial on how to use the editor to create a room.
When you open the editor you will want to create either a new project or a new room within an existing project. We will start from scratch and therefore create an entirely new project. Please look for the small window labelled Projects. It lists all the available projects – right after installation there will be only one project called Demoproject (only available if it has been opened). To open the demo project navigate to ‘My Computer’ -> C: -> Program Files -> eXhibitionEditor3D -> demoproject.
We will now create a new project: click on the green plus sign. You will be prompted for a name, please provide one.
After creating the project it will be automatically selected and the tab labelled Rooms will list all available rooms within this project. This list will be empty, so we will create a new room. Right next to the Rooms tab there are some icons. To create a room click the green symbol with the plus sign. A room will be created – its default name is room0.
Now that we have a room we can change its properties. When the room is selected the tab labelled Properties will list all available properties. The properties are organized in a tree view (which you can disable using the appropriate button).
Ambient sound enables you to assign a soundfile which will be played in a loop as long as the room is shown (in a browser or the preview). Intensity defines the volume of this sound.
General properties are the name of the room and the visibility factor. Changing the visibility range will result in the objects getting harder to see the farer you move away. The size of the room defines its borders on the drawing area – note: there won’t be any walls shown.
To create objects in a room doubleclick the room and the Drawing Area will show up. With the tools located in the ‘Palette’ you can place exhibits and viewpoints in the room. But until now the exhibits will be empty because each project needs a repository.
Defining a Repository
To define a repository for a project you have to use either the plus symbol or the planet symbol of the Repository tab.
Clicking on the plus icon will result in the opening of a dialogue window which enables you to choose a directory of your harddrive or a networkdrive. This folder will be the starting point for selecting files and subfolders.
When you click the planet symbol an empty repository will be created. You will have to type in a path to the resources you would like to use. Using this is recommended if you want to use a relative path or define an HTTP address as repository.
Using Relative Paths
You are allowed to use relative paths for your repository. In order to use relative paths for your project’s repository the project has to be saved so that the starting point of the path will be known to the application. The starting point for a relative path is always the location of the project files.
Once the project is saved you can type ‘.\somefolder’ for the path. For this you can either click on the planet symbol or change an existing repository path.
Selecting Media Files
Selecting the media files is accomplished through the Content tab. Again, there are two possibilites.
Clicking on the plus icon will show you the typical ‘Browse’ dialogue of your operating system. Using this you are able to select multiple files at once and also choose files located in a subdirectory of the repository path.
Clicking on the pencil symbol enables you to type in a filename (with a subdirectory if you like), relative to the selected repository.
If you have trouble with media files please refer to the help section about formats.
In order to fill your room with exhibits you have to doubleclick the room name. This will open the Drawing Area with a simple groundfloor of the room.
To place an exhibit in the room you have two options:
Using the palette
To create an empty object click on one of the buttons labelled xxx Exhibit in the palette (the sidebar of the drawing area). xxx stands for either Image, Video or Audio.
Your cursor will change and show a small plus sign. Clicking anywhere in the drawing area will ‘drop’ the empty exhibit there. By creating an empty exhibit standard values will be used for width and height properties. You can assign the appropriate media file to the exhibit by dragging the representation of the file from the Content tab into the tab labelled Exhibit Content.
Note that it is not possible to drag a media file onto an exhibit! To change the content of an existing exhibit, empty or not, you will have to use the Exhibit Content tab. Select the exhibit – if there is a file assigned to it, delete it from the content tab using the red x button – and drag a file from the Content tab into the Exhibit Content tab.
Selecting a file and dragging it onto the room’s groundplan
When dragging an image onto the ‘stage’ it will be resized in relation to its original size. (You are free to change the properties of your exhibits later.)
You can change the position of an element by selecting it and dragging it around or by using the appropriate fields in the Properties tab.
To move an object one pixel at a time hold the ‘.’ key on your keyboard while using the arrow keys. Using just the arrow keys will alternate the selection between the room’s objects.
Selecting multiple Objects
You can select multiple objects by using the marquee tool you can find in the palette.
You can copy and paste (also multiple) objects by either using the context menu (clicking the right mouse button) or shortcuts (keyboard).
Scaling and Turning Objects
To change the orientation of an exhibit rightclick on the object and choose ‘Rotation’. You will then see various choices for turning the object. However, you are also able to finetune the orientation of the exhibit and choose a different axis of rotation as well, when changing the exhibit’s properties with the Properties tab.
To change the size of the object you have to edit the respective properties in the Properties tab. It is possible to maintain the same height to width ratio as the original file by activating the icon with the square and arrows. You can find this button in the main toolbar right under the menu bar. When it is activated it will keep the aspect ratio and when turned off you can edit either width or height without changing the other value as well.
Please note that whenever you wish to edit an object’s properties it has to be selected (regardless of whether it is a room, a project or an exhibit).
To drop a viewpoint onto the Drawing Area select the icon with the green arrow from the palette and then click whereever you want the viewpoint to be. Ideally it should be in front of an exhibit in order to show it. Also its rotation should be adjusted so that the arrow points more or less to an exhibit. Otherwise the exhibit won’t be visible.
Creating Virtual Tours
When there are multiple exhibits you will also need multiple viewpoints. To simulate movement respectively navigation from one object to another you have to connect the viewpoints. From the palette select ‘connection’. The cursor will change to show a plug at the lower right corner. Click on the viewpoint you want to use as the starting point of the tour. The cursor will get connected to the viewpoint with a thin line. Click on the next viewpoint and this line will form the connection between these two viewpoints. When viewing the room with the preview you can now navigate between the viewpoints.
Note: when a room has more than one viewpoints they have to be connected in order to render the 3D view! Also note that circular connections are not possible – the first viewpoint will automatically be shown after the last and the tour will start again.
Saving Your Project
In order to save your room you will have to select the appropriate project (make sure it is highlighted) and then the save button will become available. Please note that when you have selected a room or an object it is not possible to save, as the saving process is strictly coupled with a project.
On pressing the “save” button a dialogue will appear asking you for the destination of the project files.
Please note: It is recommended to create a new folder for each project, as there are at minimum two files associated with a project.
When clicking the button with the folder and the small red X in the toolbar of the project tab, the selected project will be closed. To delete a project you will have to delete the appropriate folder and/or files from the file system.
Backup and Restore
Backups are automatically made whenever you save your project. You can always restore your project from the last backup made by using ‘Restore’ in the program menu.
Exporting a Project
To get a file out of your project you will have to export it, saving alone won’t do. When you want to export your project make sure the appropriate project is selected and then click on the icon with the green upwards pointing arrow. This icon is part of the project tab.
You will be prompted a dialogue window where you can check or edit your repository information. Changing the repository path is recommended for when you plan to move or copy the X3D files to another location, eg. another workstation or a server.
X3D can only use absolute paths! When you used a relative path for your repository the export process will change the paths to media files to an absolute path.
You can also select the language version you want to export. Checking the ‘embed x3d files in HTML’ will create an HTML file which can be viewed with every browser, as long as the plugin is installed. Leaving this checkbutton unchecked will create an X3D file, which can be viewed with a specialized application like the FluxPlayer. The X3D file can also be used for embedding it later in an HTML file with any layout. If you plan to do this be advised that knowledge of HTML and embedding media files with it is required. To finish the export process you have to choose an export directory.
The editor provides you with a convenient preview function. You can either check how an image file looks by selecting the preview tab.
Or you could preview your room with the browser plugin by selecting X3D preview.
Viewing images is always possible, to preview the 3D room you will have to have at least one object and one viewpoint in your room. You can then click on the icon with the spyglasses to create the preview, as it will have to be rendered first. As soon as the rendering process is finished you will see your room in the tab.
To make the tab bigger and hide all the other tabs you can either doubleclick on the label or click on the icon on the far right of the tab.
To make it small again, it takes also a doubleclick on the label or a click on the icon on the right.
With actions you can assign special functionalities to viewpoints and exhibits. Actions are triggered when the user clicks on the object or when a viewpoint is reached. You can assign actions in the outline view of a room.
The available actions are:
- Play exhibit
- Stop exhibit
- Goto viewpoint
- Goto room
- Goto URL
This will start a media object (audio or video) when the action is activated.
This will stop a media object (audio or video) when the action is activated.
This enables you to create a special navigation. When activated it will take the user to another viewpoint.
When triggered this action will take the user to another room of the same project. This can be used to simulate a door.
With this you can provide an HTTP URL, which will be opened in a browser. Thus, also linking to media files which can be shown with a browser is possible. Alternatively, web resources such as forums and encyclopedia entries can be used to enhance the user experience.
Use the context menu (clicking the right mouse button) of viewpoints and exhibits for adding or removing actions. For exhibits you can either assign just one goto action or one or more play and/or stop actions. For viewpoints you can only assign one or more play and/or stop actions.