Create a Fly-through of Your 3D Model in Surfer

Surfer's fly-through feature allows you to create an animated view moving across or through a 3D model. The fly-through can be recorded as an AVI movie file for later viewing and presentations. Follow the steps below to create a fly-through:

  1. In a 2D plot window, create a map with 3D data (e.g. Post Map, Base, Base from Data, 3D Surface, Contour, Color Relief , etc).
  2. With the Map frame or a map layer selected in the Contents window, click Home | Add to Map | Layer | Empty Base.
  3. In the Contents window, select the new empty Base map layer.
  4. Click Features | Insert | Polyline. You can insert a polygon instead of a polyline if you prefer.
  5. In the Plot window, draw a line where you would like your fly-through path to be located.
  6. When finished, double click to end the polyline or polygon and then press ESC to exit Draw mode.
  7. Click Map Tools | View | 3D View. The 3D View window opens. Click and drag the model to rotate or tilt it to your desired view.
  8. Click 3D View | Fly-Through | Create/Edit. The Flight Path Editor dialog opens.
  9. For the Input Vector Path, click the drop down arrow and select the Base layer that contains the polyline or polygon you drew: 
    Surfer's Flight Path Editor dialog for creating a 3D fly-through
  10. Set the Position, Animation and Camera Aim fields to suit your desired output. For example:
    1. Under the Position section, you might want to set the Elevation to something a little higher than 0. A 0 elevation relative to the surface will have the camera directly on the surface, which might cause it to dip under the surface along the flight. You might want the camera a little above the surface for better viewing. 
    2. Under the Animation section, you might want to change the Duration (seconds) to increase or decrease the speed of the flight.
  11. Click Preview to check that your fly-through is satisfactory. If it isn't, make any adjustments as necessary and click Preview again to view the changes.
  12. When the fly-through is satisfactory, click OK.

You can now play your fly-through by clicking 3D View | Fly-Through | Play, or click 3D View | Fly-Through | Record to save the animation as an AVI movie file.

 

To make a smoother flight path:

You can increase the smoothness of your flight path by increasing the smoothness of the polyline or polygon that serves as the vector flight path input. When the line is smoother, the Fly-Through will also be smoother. There are two options for increasing the smoothness of the flight path line.

 

Option 1: Create your flight path using a spline polyline.

  1. In 2D plot view, select the Map frame that contains your map from the Contents window.
  2. Click Home | Add to Map | Layer | Empty Base.
  3. In the Contents window, select the new empty Base layer.
  4. Click Features | Insert | Spline Polyline.
  5. Draw the spline polyline where you would like your fly-through path to be located.
  6. Double click to finish the spline polyline, and click ESC to exit Draw mode.
  7. Use this spline polyline as the flight path vector input in the 3D view.

 

 Option 2: Use the smooth function on an existing polyline or polygon.

  1. In 2D plot view, select the polygon or polyline that will serve as the flight path from the Contents window.
  2. Click Features | Edit Features | Smooth.
  3. In the Line Smoothing dialog, choose a number of points to insert between the existing vertices of your vector object (more points will give a smoother line).
  4. Click OK.
  5. Use this edited polygon or polyline as the flight path vector input in the 3D view.

To maximize the quality of the fly-through:

You can increase the quality of your fly-through in the Flight Path Editor dialog. Please note that increasing the quality will also increase the AVI file size and length of time taken to record the video:

  1. In the 3D view, click 3D View | Fly-Through | Create/Edit.
  2. In the Flight Path Editor, under the Animation section, increase the Frames per second to 30 (or whatever you wish). Increasing this value will increase the smoothness of your recording.
  3. Click the Preview button in the to assess the quality of your fly-through. You may wish to further increase or decrease the Frames per second until you are satisfied with the result.
  4. Click OK.
  5. You can now click 3D View | Fly-Through | Record to record the fly-through with the higher quality settings.

 

Updated November, 2021

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