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Keeping Up Appearances

Mark Ireland
October 7, 20092 min
This post is a quick interlude from schema mapping, and a short item about writing raster features to PDF using surfaces and appearances.

Hi FME’ers,
Here’s a quick interlude from schema mapping.

A workspace currently doing the rounds at Safe is from Core-Team developer Brittany and demonstrates our new Appearance transformers. Appearances are (in basic terms) another form of texture for 3D features.

That workspace takes a DEM dataset, uses the TINGenerator transformer to create a surface, and then applies a raster image using an AppearanceAdder.

Using a worldwide DEM the result is this rather stunning output, which was written out to PDF:

You’ll be able to find the workspace and a description courtesy of Dmitri on fmepedia at http://www.fmepedia.com/index.php/3D_Textured_Examples.

However, what really caught my eye about the workspace was this section in it:

It’s interesting because it shows we can apply a raster feature as an appearance onto a surface, and write that out to PDF (the 3D version). I’m not sure what the technical difference is between this and writing out raster features as-is, but it could be a useful workaround for anyone who wants to write raster features to PDF.

Of course, this being Safe, the developers are writing code faster than I can write blog postings. This morning I found out that:

  • True raster writing to PDF is now extremely close to being completed. It should certainly be in FME2010. Looks to me like it would be 2D and not 3D though.
  • The above section of workspace can now be replaced by virtually a single transformer – as the FaceReplacer transformer will shortly accept raster features as input and turn them into a textured face.

Anyway, this was just a little aside to demonstrate some of the new appearance-related transformers that now appear in the latest FME2010 beta. And I’m going to hit the publish button quick before the developers think of any more fancy updates….

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