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Billboarding Tutorial



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Source Code (VC6.0)

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Billboarding Tutorial

Spherical Billboards

The spherical version is a simple extension to the cylindrical case. After the object is rotated using the cylindrical approach, all that is left to do is to tilt the object until it truly faces the camera.

The axis of rotation is the right vector. As for the angle, a cosine can be obtained by the inner product between objToCamProj and objToCam.

As in the previous billboards a function can be defined to setup the billboard. The code is as follows:

void billboardSphericalBegin(
			float camX, float camY, float camZ,
			float objPosX, float objPosY, float objPosZ) {

	float lookAt[3],objToCamProj[3], objToCam[3], upAux[3];
	float modelview[16],angleCosine;


// objToCamProj is the vector in world coordinates from the 
// local origin to the camera projected in the XZ plane
	objToCamProj[0] = camX - objPosX ;
	objToCamProj[1] = 0;
	objToCamProj[2] = camZ - objPosZ ;

// This is the original lookAt vector for the object 
// in world coordinates
	lookAt[0] = 0;
	lookAt[1] = 0;
	lookAt[2] = 1;

// normalize both vectors to get the cosine directly afterwards

// easy fix to determine wether the angle is negative or positive
// for positive angles upAux will be a vector pointing in the 
// positive y direction, otherwise upAux will point downwards
// effectively reversing the rotation.


// compute the angle
	angleCosine = mathsInnerProduct(lookAt,objToCamProj);

// perform the rotation. The if statement is used for stability reasons
// if the lookAt and objToCamProj vectors are too close together then 
// |angleCosine| could be bigger than 1 due to lack of precision
   if ((angleCosine < 0.99990) && (angleCosine > -0.9999))
      glRotatef(acos(angleCosine)*180/3.14,upAux[0], upAux[1], upAux[2]);	
// so far it is just like the cylindrical billboard. The code for the 
// second rotation comes now
// The second part tilts the object so that it faces the camera

// objToCam is the vector in world coordinates from 
// the local origin to the camera
	objToCam[0] = camX - objPosX;
	objToCam[1] = camY - objPosY;
	objToCam[2] = camZ - objPosZ;

// Normalize to get the cosine afterwards

// Compute the angle between objToCamProj and objToCam, 
//i.e. compute the required angle for the lookup vector

	angleCosine = mathsInnerProduct(objToCamProj,objToCam);

// Tilt the object. The test is done to prevent instability 
// when objToCam and objToCamProj have a very small
// angle between them

	if ((angleCosine < 0.99990) && (angleCosine > -0.9999))
		if (objToCam[1] < 0)

The function billboardEnd() should be called after rendering the object as shown in the following example.


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