The Vimdrones Designer is an Add-on of Blender that uses for Drone Light Show Flight Path Design. It could create any figures, like 2D or 3D animation, even with music beats. For its efficiently handling the transformation between drone formations and lighting effects, we could focus more on the drone light show design itself.
- One-click Formation
- Smart Formation Transform
- Auto Resign Lock Selected
- Flight Check to Avoid Collision
- 3D Animation
- Rich Color Design
- Support Multiple file formats Import
- With Sound Track System to Synchronize
- Music and Light
- Easy Marketing Design
System requirements for Vimdrones Designer Software:
- Operating system: Windows 10; Mac OS
- CPU: Intel Core i5 or better
- Memory: Minimum 8 GB of RAM or more
- Hard drive: SSD 120 GB. Recommended 256GB or more
- Network: TCP/IPv4 network stack, WiFi or Ethernet. Recommended Ethernet
- Install Blender 2.8 Series or above on your computer, Mac OS or Windows，
- Get Your Designer Software
- Open our website Vimdrones,click Login
- Already has an account, please Sign In. Don't have an account, Please Sign Up and then Sign In
- Select the version Mac Os or Windows to download the software
- Double click the [Vimdrones Designer-x.x.x.dmg], pull the Vimdrones Designer icon to the Applications file.
- Double click the icon to open the Vimdrones Designer
Type your emaiL and token, click Active Button
Click the file icon on the Upper right corner to open the Blender Path where you installation
Then click OPEN BLENDER Button
- Click LOGOUT to logout
- Click CONSOLE to open the flight check console
Press N to show/hide Properties, it will shows the Designer tabs(Vehicle, Led, Formation, Flight Check)
- Please make sure your device is connected to the network when using Vimdrones Designer
- It needs to click OPEN BLENDER Button in Vimdrones Designer interface to open Blender
- If you have multiple versions of Blender, please add the its name in Blender path
Getting started Blender
- Open Blender, New File -> General
- Press A to select all the objects in the 3D Viewport, then press X, D to delete the objects
More details about Keymap
From Blender To Real World
Blender and Real World axis relationship shown as below
drone light show design is based on 24 FPS which means 1s run 24 frames, this value should not be changed unless you know what you are doing
Create Drone Team
- Vehicle -> New Team -> Create
What is x qty, y qty, qty mean?
- qty represent the total quantity of your drone team
- x qty and y qty define your a single block shape in ground, as the image shown below
What is the distance
- Distance between two drones, the default value is 2m.
What do we have after create drone team?
- drones Collection (What is Collection?)
- distance checker Collection (quick preview for min distance between drones)
- effectors Collection
- Begin Scene Collection
End Scene Collection
Please keep the Collection name & Object name in default
How to set the LED glow strength?
- Led -> Settings, set the strength value, click update. The higher the value, the stronger the glow
How to remove the LED glow?
- If your computer configuration is not high, we suggest you to remove LED glow effect
Led -> Settings, remove the "√" in from of use_nodes, then click update
Pay attention(very important!)
Once you select use_nodes to start a project, don't change it to no use_nodes.
- Similarly, once you select no use_nodes, don't change it to use_nodes.
- These two modes are not compatible in a same project.
Takeoff the Drones
- In the Timeline window, Current Frame -> 0
Formation -> Append, select formations Begin Scene, click Begin Button
- Current Frame -> 1
Formation -> Append, select formations Begin Scene, click Append Button
(the drones are reach the location of the Empty Objects, and they will follow the animation of the Empty Objects)
- Select Empty Objects in the Begin Scene Collection, insert keyframe
- Set the Current Frame -> 600 (for example; 600 means 25s, press Ctrl/Command T to change time form)
Move the Empty Objects to Z:50m (for example), insert keyframe
What is Begin and Append?
- Begin: The frame that the drones begin to change the formation
- Append: The frame that the drones reach the location of the new formation(Empty Objects collection)
Change Drone Formation
Create Drones Vertex Group
- Formation -> New Material Collection -> New, create New Material Collection in the outline Editor. Double-click the collect to rename it(E.g Cube Material)
Add the Mesh Object/Objects(E.g Cube) in the Material Collection(E.g Cube Material)
- We could add more Mesh Objects into the Material Collection. So we can add animation to each object separately that make the scene more lively and interesting
- File -> Append/Import
We can append/import the objects from other files and use them as the Material of drone scene. For example, if we import svg. files, we should convert them to Mesh(Object -> Convert to -> Mesh from Curve/Meta/Surf/Text in the Menu bar)
Select the Mesh Object/Objects(E.g Cube),change Object Mode to Edit Mode
- In the Properties Editor, click Object Date tab, click the Button "+" on the right Panel border to add a Vertex Group.
- Double-click the "Group" name and edit to "drones" (It matches the drones collection, do not change to other name, like Drone or Drones)
Select the vertices of the Mesh Object (one vertex represents one drone), click Assign Button below the Panel
We could use the tools on the left to edit the vertices. Or from the Menu Bar Vertex to edit the vertices.
Add the vertices:Loop Cut is a very useful tool.
Delete the vertices: Select the vertices, press X key to Delete or Dissolve the vertices.
We could know how many vertices have been Assigned on the Status Bar(lower right corner)
Make a "√" in from of window -> Show Status Bar
In the Vertex Group Panel, we could click the Remove Button to remove the vertices which have been Assigned. And we could click the Select/Deselect Button to check which vertices have been Assigned.
Please make sure the total number of the selected Vertices (in theMaterial Collection) is the same as the number of the drones(Meshes in drones collection).
- Change Edit Mode to Object Mode
Change the Drone Scene
Formation -> New Formation, select the Formations Scene(E.g Begin Scene) which need to be changed, then click the Copy Button to copy a New Formation at in same location. Double-click the New Formation in the outline Editor to edit the name(E.g Cube Formation)
Formation -> Vertex Formation, select the formation(E.g Cube Formation) and its corresponding material_collections(E.g Cube Material). Click the Append Button. The Empty Objects in the formation will reach the location of the "drones" Vertex Group
What's the Append mean in here?
The Empty Objects in the select formation will copy the location of the vertices in the "drones" group of the select Material
- In the Timeline Editor, set up the Current Frame to begin the new scene
Formation -> Append, select formations(E.g Cube Formation) , click Begin Button
- In the Timeline Editor, set up the Current Frame to finish the new scene changing
Formation -> Append, click Append Button. Move the Playhead, we could see how the drone scene change(make sure the auto resign have been "√")
What's the auto resign mean in here?
Through the algorithm, the drone will be automatically assigned to a suitable position in the next formation, making the overall distance of movement the shortest.
Transform the Drone Scene
- Select the Mesh Object in the material collections, Item -> Transform. You could add keyframe of Location, Rotation or Scale to add animation of teh Mesh Object, so the Drone Scene can be transformed.
- You could also deform the Object vertices or control points, or add Inherited animation(E.g armature) to the Object to make the animation. The Object has the animation, then the Drones have the animation.
More details about Animation
About drone formation management
We use empties (Copy New Formation) and material (New Material Collection) to manage the drone formation. The keyframe is added on the empties when Takeoff and land, others are suggested to add on the Material objects.
- On drone:
Formation -> Append -> Begin and Append. After Append, the drone will follow movement of the empty(New Formation).
Led -> Led Magic -> Preview -> Add keyframe
- On Empty:
Begin Scene & Smart Landing Formation
- On material Object: After Vertex Formation -> Append, the empty will follow movement of the material.
So each formation is individually added with keyframe. When you want to adjust the formation, you can reuse the material(file -> Append). It is quickly to redo the project. Otherwise, if all keyframes are added on the drones, it is hard to when you want to re-edit. Maybe it needs to restart the project.
- On drone:
Auto Resign Lock Selected
Auto Resign Lock Selected: enables partial object locking when paths are Auto assigned
Lock Selected: Lock items and it will not resign in auto resign process
Clear Lock: claer all auto resign locked items
Show Locked Items: show auto resign locked items
How to use Auto Resign Lock Selected function?
- Copy from the current formation
- Please select the empties of New Formation that you don't want to move. Click the Lock Selected button.
- Then in the Vertex Formation, click Append button. Only the vertex without lock will make the transfer.
- Finish the transfer of the Begin and Append the drones in the New Formation
- Click the window and cancel the selected. Click the Show selected Items for check.
Select the empties that you don't want to Lock, please click the Clear Lock button.
- The empties number without lock should be the same as the assign vertex number of the new material object(s).
- Formation -> New Formation
Copy the Begin Scene as the End Formation. If we don’t set the time frame, it will copy its last status. Adjust the location and Scale of the End Formation. It needs below the last scene in the view.
- Formation -> Smart land
Select the begin_formations as the last scene of the show. Select the End_formations as the End Formation. Click Create Safe Queues Button. When the calculation is finish, it shows the INFO: “xx safe queues create(xx means the Quantity)” and “Calculation processing. It will take a while”. The larger the Scale of End Formation, the smaller of the quantity of safe queues create. It also create two new Collections: Smart Landing Path(show the path of landing) and Smart Landing Formation(copy the location of last scene). Set the time frame to Begin and End the Smart Landing Formation. The Empties of the Smart Landing Formation will follow the path to the End Formation.
- Formation -> Append
Before begin Smart Landing Formation, set the time frame to Begin and Append the Smart Landing Formation. We must remove the “√” on from of auto resign. So the drones will append the The Empties in order. Now the drones will follow the path to the End Formation. We could still adjust the Smart Landing Formation in Timeline.
- Finally, we copy the Begin Scene at frame 1 as Land Formation. Formation -> Append, set the time frame to Begin and Append the Land Formation.
Add Color to Drones
- Led -> Led Magic -> Preview
Select your target drones, select the color you like in color picker, click Preview Button, the drones color will be changed. (Select other drones, same operation as above)
Make a "√" in from of the is linear, click Add KeyFrame To All Button to add keyframe to all drones.We will the drone led color linear change
If we click Add KeyFrame To Selected Button, only the selected drones will add the keyframe
- remove "√" in from of the is linear, then Add Keyframe. In the Timeline, we can see we have inserted two keyframes, it means that the color of drones suddenly change.
Add Effector to Drones
Add Effector Color
- Click the effectors Collection in the Outliner. In the 3D Viewport, select Menu Bar Add -> Mesh, select the effector shape you like.
- In the Properties Editor, select Materials tab, click + New Button to Add a new material.
In the Surface Panel, click Use Nodes to remove the property(gary background means unselect). Then we could choose any effector color you like.
Add An Empty Object to Parent with effector shape Mesh
(This part could be skipped, it isn't affect the final effect)
- Led -> Effector -> Add
We add a Empty in the effectors Collection. In the Properties Editor, select Object Data tab, we can change the Display of the Empty. Usually, we make the same shape and size of the Empty and the Mesh.
- First select the Mesh, then select the Empty.
In the 3D Viewport, select Menu Bar Add -> Object -> Parent -> Object (Shift + P ). We can click the eye of the Mesh in the effector Collection to Hide the it.
When we transform the Empty Effector, so the Mesh transform. Now we can add some animations to the Empty Effector. When the drones inside the Empty, the color of these drones will be changed to the color of the Mesh.
If we add more Effectors to the drones at the same time, the color of drones will depend on the latest Effector
Set the Effector LED Type
What are the types of the Effector LED?
- DEFAULT: one color
- RANDOM: two or more different colors change randomly
- ORDERED: two or more different colors change in order
- duration: the higher the value, the faster the color changes
- linear: two color change gradual，if remove the "√" ,two colors change suddenly
- order: if the drones are inside two or more Effectors at the same time, we could set the valve to change the effector order. The higher the value, the higher the priority is to affect the color of the drone.
Select the effector mesh, add one or more material and set the colors
- Led -> Effector
- Choose selected_effector, set the duration, if linear, set the order, choose effector type
- Click update
- Play the animation
About the drone color
The LED light could be off (black) when the drones take off. Also, it needs to add a color keyframe to the drones at the beginning. Otherwise, if you add an effector, it will directly affect the color of the drones at the beginning.
- Led -> Led Magic -> Preview -> Add keyframe
The color keyframe is on the drones. We could check the keyframe on the Timeline. The drones will store the color material of the Base Color.
- Add Effector Color These is no color keyframe on the drones, but the Effector object will store the color material of the Base Color, also the animation keyframe. In a new project, you could use file -> Append to import the Effector objects.
- Led -> Led Magic -> Preview -> Add keyframe
Vehicle -> Flight Check, make a "√" in from of the enable
Open Vimdrones Designer, Click CONSOLE, open the Vimdrones Designer Console
we could set the Distance Limit, Speed Limit, Horizon Speed Limit, Vertical Speed Limit and Chart Duration, then click the Update Settings Button
Play the animation in Blender, we will see those Limits realtime. When the value reach the Limits, it will appears in the window. It shows that two drones reach the limit at that frame
When we don't need those information, we could click the Clear Button
- Open the console when you do the design and check the speed and distance real time. So you can adjust the speed and distance at any time based on the feedback from the console
- If the distance is larger, the formation looks more stable. If the distance is close, the airflow generated by the drone will affect each other.
- Position Scale: scale factor to coordinate, default is 1, if you want to change the pattern size this would help (do not change it unless you know what it is!)
- Z Axis Rotate: rotate degree in clockwise to coordinate, default is 0, if your flight field direction is different from your design, this would help (do not change it unless you know what it is!)
Export To Vimdrones GCS
- Vehicle -> Export click Export button and select the your folder to save
Export To Third Party Fly System
Vehicle -> Third Party Export button and select the your folder to save
|Ugcs||Drone Show Software||Outdoor||Download|
How to add your system to the list? Please contact us
Sample Path Video Youtube | Bilibili
Raw Data Format
1.txt -> drone id 1, fps equal blender settings
1 0.000 0.000 0.000 204 194 40 2 0.000 0.000 0.094 204 194 40 3 0.000 0.000 0.188 204 194 40
| frame number | x | y | z | r | g | b |
- Please make sure that the order of drones in the last formation is the same as the begin scene.
- Please do not change the output frame rate in default(24 fps). Keep the Export Settings -> Frame rate to 4 or less
How to design a Drone Light Show
- Draw down your minds on the picture book
- Create Material Objects in the Blender
- Through Begin and Append to transform the drone scene
- Add animation to the Material Objects
- Have a Flight check to the animation
- Add color & effector to the drones
- Adjust the End frame to the frame when drones land
- Export the Drone Light Show data
1. Remember to save a few more backups when designing
2. If we select a music for the drone light show background music at first, we can create drone light effects based on the beat of the music. The music data could influences the size or color of the Effector Object. So, it is very easy to grab every beat of music and let sound, light and electricity blend together perfectly.
How to render a picture or video?
1. Add the Camera
2. Set Restriction Toggles: Holdout and Indirect only on
3. Click Output Properties, set the Frame Range, choose the Output file location and the File Format
4. Click Render, choose Render Image or Render Animation
- Pay attention:
Render must uncheck Lock Interface. Do not export the files when rendering.
Example 1: Add Line Font Text
- Download blenderstrokefont.zip
- Open Blender and select File->User Preferences
- Click install Add-ons tab and then Install Add-on from File
- Select the downloaded file
- Make a “√” in front of the Add-on
- Check the ‘Add Stroke Font Text’ option in the add-ons dialog
Note: Please use Blender2.80 or 2.81
Add line font text
- Add a Mesh
- Select ‘Add Input Text’ option in the ‘Action’ drop-down
- Input the text to be rendered in the text box
- Select the font
- Set Font Size
- Select the Mesh in the properties of box
- Select the font and click ‘Add Stroke Font Text
Example 2: Add Text
- Open Blender through Vimdrones Designer. A -> X -> D, delete all the objects
- Add -> Text, we could see Text in the 3D view. R -> X -> 90 (Rotate 90 ° along the X axis)
- Change to Edit mode, delete and enter text
- Click Object Data Properties tab, Font -> Open Font, open the file to set the font. Geometry -> Extrude. Font -> Transform -> Size
- Change to Object mode, Object -> Convert to -> Mesh from Text
- Click Modifier Properties tab, Add Modifier -> Remesh. Remove the “√” of Remove Disconnected Pieces. We could set the Octree Depth & Scale. Click Apply the Modifier
Example 3: Add QR code drone formation
- Online Generate the QR code. Download the QR code image.
QR Code generator
- Open Blender in Vimdrones Designer. Add -> Empty -> Image. Click Object Data tab in the Properties window. Open and browse to your image
- Add -> Mesh -> Plane. Choose Display the Object as wire edges. Scaling the QR code makes it as big as Plane. Press tab to Edit Mode. Loop Cut the Plane and make one edge correspond to a row/column of dots
- Now we could add a drones Vertex Group. Select those vertices on the QR code dots and Assign the vertices to the drones Vertex Group. Add a New Material Collection and rename it as QR code. Drag the Plane to the QR code Collection. Save the Blender file.
- File -> Append, append the QR code Collection to Blender which it’s designing the show. We to start to make the QR code drone formation.