User Interface

The user interface icons along the top of the screen provide camera controls and information to the user. Creation and control of actors is primarily performed through API commands (see our Design Philosophy for more information).

The features of the user interface.

The features of the user interface.

  • Workspace title

    This is the title of each workspace but it can be customized using the set_title_string method in the System library.

  • Connection indicator

    The yellow exclamation symbol will appear when there is no active external connection. This connections can be a pre-compiled real-time model, a user-compiled real-time model, or a script using the QLabs API’s.

Note

When opening QLabs for the first time, you may receive a firewall prompt. If you plan to control QLabs from a remote device or PC, then you will need to allow this connection. If you are controlling QLabs actors from the same PC, allowing this connection is optional. QLabs runs a server automatically when a Open World is opened which allows multiple connections (scripts or real-time models) simultaneously.

  • Camera selection

    A drop-down dialog listing all the active cameras. Any actor that has built-in cameras such as QCars or QBot Platform will automatically add their cameras to the list when they are spawned in the world. User cameras can also be manually added here. See Adding Cameras in the UI for more information.

  • Camera options

    Access the camera settings. These include the standard user-camera settings as described in Camera Options or device-specific camera options (see the relevant device API for more information).

  • Preset camera locations

    Some open worlds will have preset points of interest. These will move the default camera to this location.

  • Coordinate helper

    Used to help determine coordinate locations in the world. See Coordinate Helper for more details.

  • Web documentation

    This will link to the current student content. For instructor versions of the content, please contact Quanser Support.

  • Workspace options

    View the PC IP address and (in advanced mode) show all the graphics settings. See Workspace Options for more details.

  • Main menu

    Close all server connections and return to the main menu.

  • Diagnostics tab

    On the left side of the screen, clicking on the red tab will open the diagnostics panel which can provide valuable information about why an actor does not spawn when expected, licensing issues, and connectivity information.

Diagnostics tab on the left side of the screen can show valuable tips to assist debugging.

Diagnostics tab on the left side of the screen.

Adding Cameras in the UI

In order to add a new camera to the scene click the drop down under Current Camera and click on Add a Camera. This will add a new camera to the scene and open a window to display the camera options.

under the drop down menu you will see the add a camera option

Drop Down Menu for Adding Cameras in Quanser Interactive Labs

Camera Options

The camera options can be opened by clicking on the three horizontal lines next to the camera drop down box. There are several different camera options that can be changed.

Click the three horizontal lines next to the camera drop down to open the camera options

Click the three horizontal lines to open the camera options

  • Camera Location & Rotation

    The camera will initially appear in the location the current scene is showing, however this camera can be moved by using the basic keyboard controls to move to a different location. The copy icon next to each line can be used to copy the coordinates into your code.

  • Lock Camera Location

    To fix a camera in a specific location, navigate to that location and simply toggle the Lock camera location option. This will prevent manual motion of the camera, but it can still be moved through API commands.

  • Speed

    The speed of the manual camera motion can be increased or decreased by adjusting this slider.

  • Field of view (FOV)

    FOV can be changed by sliding the slider or inputting a specific value.

  • Cinematic camera

    This option enables the aperture and focal distance options. Disable this option to improve framerate performance.

  • Aperture & Focal Distance

    If the Cinematic camera option is toggled to on, then you can also change the aperture and the focal distance using their respective sliders or inputting specific values. To create a greater sense of depth, try setting the FOV to 30 degrees, set the aperture at 2, and then adjust the focal distance to focus on the object of interest.

  • Destroy camera

    The trash icon in the lower right of the dialog will delete the current camera. The default camera cannot be deleted.

camera options

The camera options dialog for the default (and custom user) cameras.

Note

You can also add a camera through creating a python script and checking out the Cameras object documentation.

Coordinate Helper

This function helps determine specific location coordinates which can aid in determining where to spawn objects or place cameras. Click on the toolbar button to open the coordinate helper dialog.

camera options

Coordinate helper dialog.

  • Enable click placement

    When you first open the coordinate helper, this option will be enabled by default. You can click anywhere in your scene to show the global coordinate axes at that location. Camera motion will be disabled until this option is disabled or the coordinate helper dialog is closed.

  • Location

    The current location of the coordinate helper. Use the copy icon to copy the current coordinates onto the clipboard so they can be used in your user code.

Workspace Options

Basic Options

By default, the workspace options will only show the IP address of your local network adapters.

camera options

Basic workspace options.

When connecting to QLabs from a PC or device that is remote, you will need the PC name or the IP address as shown. In the case of multiple network adapters, you will need to determine which network adapter you are using for remote communications.

Advanced Options

To enable the advanced options, return to the main menu and click on the options button in the tool bar. Under the modules section, click Show advanced options.

camera options

Main menu options.

Returning to an open world module, when you open the options dialog it will now show additional options.

camera options

Advanced workspace options.

  • Local adapters

    Shows the IP address of your local network adapters. When connecting to QLabs from a PC or device that is remote, you will need the PC name or the IP address as shown. In the case of multiple network adapters, you will need to determine which network adapter you are using for remote communications.

  • Show comms per second

    Adds a CPS indicator to the toolbar. The CPS indicates the number of packets per second that QLabs is processing. If you are performing image processing on camera images then the CPS will be tied to the framerate. See the QLabs Core Library Advanced Methods for an in-depth overview of the communications framework.

  • Show frames per second

    Adds an FPS indicator to the toolbar. This is an indicator of the graphical performance of your PC. Adjust the default graphics quality in the main menu options or the Advanced Settings in the workspace options to adjust the graphical settings to improve the FPS.

  • Advanced settings…

    Opens the advanced graphical settings for the workspace. See Advanced Graphics Settings for more details.

Advanced Graphics Settings

If you need to adjust the graphical features of the workspace either to adjust quality or the frames per second, you can use the overall graphics quality from the main menu for broad changes, but if you want finer control for your application, you will want to use the Advanced Settings from the Options dialog. If it is not visible, see Advanced Options.

camera options
  • Use main menu default

    Disables the custom options and defers to the low/medium/high setting from the main menu options.

  • Low/Medium/High/Custom

    Sets the sliders to corresponding defaults for each option.

  • Enable framerate limit

    Even if your PC is capable of running faster, this will limit the framerate to the specified value. A framerate limit can be useful to reduce the competition with real-time code that is running or to extend your PC battery life.

Note

If your code is being limited by your communications rate, try increasing your framerate limit to see if that improves your the CPS.

  • Bloom quality

    The quality of the flaring effect around light sources, highly reflective surfaces, or atmospheric effects. Setting this to 0 will disable the effect.

  • Ambient occlusion

    Indirect shadows that occur in corners and intersections of surfaces. Setting this to 0 disables the effect.

  • Screen percentage scaling

    Reducing this from 100% will render the screen at a lower resolution then upscale it to the size of your window.

Tip

If your application does not require you to see the virtual world as a full screen, you can scale your window size down to as small as possible to reduce the computational impact on your system and improve the frame rate. Images captured from virtual cameras will not be impacted by the window size.

  • Translucent lighting volume

    Affects the lighting quality in atmospheric and volumetric effects (clouds/smoke).

  • Shadow quality

    Adjusts how pixelated or soft shadows appear. Shadows tend to have the highest impact on FPS performance so if your application isn’t highly dependent on shadows to infer depth information, try reducing this setting first to improve FPS. Setting this to 0 will disable all direct-light shadows.

  • Shadow texel density

    Adjusts the relative number of pixels for each shadow.

  • Refraction quality

    Enables or disables the refraction distortion of materials (typically glass) that use this effect. If no refraction materials are in the scene, this will have no effect.