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Viewports need to be linkable to DL cameras

Andy Broomell


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Yes.  I believe I asked for this in another thread.  When one pulls down the "View" picker in the OIP of the viewport, all of your cameras should be listed there.  That way the camera is NOT embedded into the viewport, which I have never understood the reasoning for.  The camera remains an independent object, and you can activate it as Andy wants to show different layer/class overrides, you can move scenery around, you can move the camera around.  


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Its surprising that Design Layer Camera views weren't implemented from the moment we had the ability to embed cameras into Viewports. It seems such an intuitive thing to want to do. It's been wished for for a long time now but never as well articulated as Andy has above.


As a stopgap the "Other" check box in the viewports section of the Eyedropper tool will copy a camera view from one viewport to another, but it also brings some of the Advanced properties with it so you would need to be careful when using it.. 

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I've just come to this after adding to a thread I started a year and a bit ago, where I expressed similar frustrations but not in such a clear way @Andy Broomell has done in his OP above. Pretty much completely agree with all of his suggestions. I hope people at VW are reading them. He's doing your work for you.


I find the way cameras work at the moment very confusing (with the result that I've generally simply avoided using them). Also, all of the scenarios outlined above are ones I regularly come across in an architectural context. By coincidence I made a few similar points in the thread I just updated ten minutes ago, here:




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Interestingly, a small part of this wish was fulfilled in VW2020, but unfortunately not the most important thing.


Essentially you now get a pop-up asking if/how the camera should be embedded into the viewport, but currently there's no way to connect a viewport's Point of View to a Design Layer camera. So I'm bumping this topic for VW2021.


New pop-up:




This is the part from my original post that we need (#1):

On 7/9/2018 at 6:54 PM, Andy Broomell said:

When you create a viewport there should be the following options:

  1. Leave camera on the Design Layer and LINK the viewport’s POV to this camera.
  2. Leave camera on the Design Layer and create a duplicate camera to be embedded into the viewport.
  3. Embed existing camera in the viewport (just like the current functionality).


Confusingly the new pop-up in 2020 also uses the word "linked"... It definitely got my hopes up when I first saw it. 😁


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I just submitted a VE for this on JIRA... VE-101307


Of course I forgot I had typed up this thread in 2018 so I ended up retyping practically the same thing in JIRA. But here's the request as it was filed:






When you create a viewport with a camera selected, you can choose to move the camera and embed it within the viewport, or to leave the camera where it is on the Design Layer and create a viewport with no camera, or to duplicate the camera into the viewport while leaving a copy on the Design Layer.

None of the options allow for the most useful scenario: to leave the camera where it is on the Design Layer, and to create a viewport that LINKS to this Design Layer camera.

(Note that the word “link” is used in the existing pop-up, but it’s bit of a misnomer and what I’m suggesting is something different.)



We need to be able to leave a Camera on the Design Layer and LINK a viewport’s view to that camera (or multiple viewports to one camera). Changing a Design Layer camera would update all linked viewports accordingly.



If you have multiple renderings of the same camera angle showing variations of a design, this is achieved with multiple viewports each with certain classes/layers visible. If you then need to change the point of view being shown, there’s currently no simple way to change the view of multiple viewports, since each would have its own independent embedded camera. The current process would involve changing the camera view of one viewport, duplicating that viewport multiple times, using the eyedropper tool to transfer visibilities and other per-viewport properties from the old viewports to the new ones, deleting the old viewports, then moving the new viewports into their proper places on the sheet. This process is very laborious and error-prone. Ideally a user could just alter the view of ONE camera object somewhere, and all viewports that are linked to that camera would update their point of view accordingly.



Imagine you’re in the process of designing a set for a tv game show which has several video camera operators located on platforms throughout the set for different camera angles. You set up a RW Camera for each position, then create a viewport showing the view for each of these cameras. The next day, you learn the entire set needs to rotate 90° and move to the left 10 feet on the soundstage. When you reposition the set on the Design Layer, all of the viewports are now looking at the wrong points in space. The viewport “Cameras” cannot be rotated along with everything else, and this is very problematic.

Currently you’d have to re-create all of your viewports again from scratch; this is a pain because each might have different visibilities, render styles, data visualizations, etc. Ideally, viewport-defining cameras could stay among the model, meaning you could just select EVERYTHING, reposition as needed, then simply hit update on your viewports. 



A version or two ago Vectorworks added the pop-up that gives you the option to link, to not link, or to duplicate a camera when making a viewport. (Again, the word “link” as currently used is misleading/confusing). As it stands, let’s say you choose to duplicate the camera so that you still have one to interact with on your Design Layer. Well now there are two completely separate places where the view information is stored. It is quite easy in this scenario to accidentally change the camera in one spot and forget to change it in the other, which is quite frustrating. This needs to be unified and simplified. Duplication should be avoided at all costs.



Assuming you avoid duplicating cameras since that’s error-prone, let’s say all of your cameras currently live within viewports, meaning there are no cameras in your Design Layer. This is problematic because now you can’t SEE where camera views are. When working on the model I want to see where my camera objects are because in the world of tv and film, everything is designed FOR camera views. Additionally, a director or lead designer might want to sit next to you and see in a groundplan all the camera positions, and they may want to adjust the positions or lenses on some of those cameras, all while you interactively edit things in the model on the fly. So we need to have the cameras remain on the Design Layer so they are collectively selectable and editable, all while still linking to your rendering viewports.



We need cameras to stay on Design Layers for the purpose of exporting models to other programs like C4D, or exporting FBXs. As it stands the cameras end up within viewports so they aren’t exported.



Clearly this would need quite a bit planning regard UI/UX since this new feature would affect a number of different elements, but here are some initial thoughts regarding implementation:



With a Camera selected: in addition to the existing View > Create Viewport command, there should be a button in the OIP that says “Create Linked Viewport” (very much like Create Section Viewport).

When you create a viewport, the pop-up would have the option to create a viewport that is:

  1. “Linked to the Design Layer camera.” (new!)
  2. “Embeds the camera into the viewport.” (to match existing functionality, if needed)
  3. “Not linked to any camera.”

When you select a Design Layer camera that has viewports already linked to it, this needs to be visually clear somehow so that you’re aware that any changes made will alter existing viewports. Plus the OIP should have a dropdown or button that somehow indicates which viewports are being defined by the camera, with the option to unlink or navigate to any of them. I also imagine there’s functionality that would be added to the Visualization palette in this regard.



This new functionality should be tied into the existing "View" dropdown. This dropdown should display the list of cameras that exist in the document so you can quickly choose one and the viewport switches to that view. There should also be an option to unlink the viewport from a design layer camera, making it independent. Or you could just switch to one of the standard views instead of the camera.

When you duplicate a viewport linked to a DL camera, the new viewport should also be linked to that same camera.

If you double click a viewport and choose to edit the Camera, it needs to be clear that you’re editing the Design Layer camera and that other viewports may also be affected.



Obviously there are a number of things that would have to be thought through, but in general this functionality would be a game changer and save huge amounts of time and headache. It would also be beneficial to every industry since cameras are used by everyone. This functionality has been requested a number of times on the forums over the years, and in my teaching and interacting with colleagues I've found that literally no one understands the current esoteric implementation of cameras and how they work with viewports. This would be a big step forward.



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