It is assumed that your Origin system hardware components (including Viper cameras, Beacon(s), and Pulsar active marker clusters) have been placed in your volume and connected to a power supply, and that Evoke is installed and licensed.
To set up your Origin system, complete the following procedures:
You may also want to complete the following optional preparations:
- Ensure the Beacon(s) that you want to use are connected to a powered PoE+ switch and that this switch is connected to the host PC that runs Evoke.
- To benefit from the latest enhancements and bug fixes for your Vicon system, make sure your firmware is up-to-date (see Update camera firmware).
Evoke checks for supported Vicon devices before allowing connection. Currently supported devices include:
- Viper, ViperX, Vero, Vantage and Vertex motion capture cameras
- Vue video cameras (to provide full-color reference video, synchronized with the rest of the Vicon system)
- Beacon and Pulsar
Ensure Beacon is free of interference
Beacon channels are in the 2.4 GHz ISM band and numbered 11 to 26. To ensure smooth running of your system, make sure that there is no interference from other 2.4 GHz radio/Wi-Fi sources and that nothing blocks the signal between the Beacon and the volume.
To prevent interference and signal-blocking, follow these guidelines:
- Place the Beacon as close to the middle of the volume as possible.
- Place the Beacon high up, to minimize masking of the RF signal by participants.
- Do not re-use a channel number within a site or a co-located group of sites.
- Do not place multiple Beacons closer together than four meters.
- If channel n and channel n+1 are used in a site, do not use channels n-1 or n+2 in that site or adjacent sites.
- If channel n and channel n+2 are used in a site, do not use channels n-2 or n+4 in that site or adjacent sites.
If your system includes multiple switches, make sure the Beacon is connected to the switch that is directly connected to the PC.
Prepare the Pulsars
Turn on the Pulsars (press the power button once).
Check that the Pulsar firmware is up-to-date and that all the Pulsars are fully charged.
Check Pulsar firmware
Check the firmware for your Vicon hardware when you first set up your Origin system and periodically afterwards.
When updating, to avoid connectivity issues, check that all hardware is updated simultaneously to compatible firmware versions. For information on which versions to use, see the release notes.
To update your Pulsar firmware:
- Connect the Pulsars to the PC via USB, either by using the supplied recharging dock or directly, using USB cable(s).
- From the Windows Start menu, click Vicon, then Vicon Pulsar Reprogramming Tool.
- In the Pulsar Reprogramming Tool window, click Target Firmware and select the firmware file to update to.
- Before you update, ensure you have closed any other Vicon applications that you may have opened.
- To update to the selected firmware version, click OK.
When the firmware has been updated, reboot the Pulsars, either by unplugging them or by turning off the recharging dock.
If at any time, the Pulsars' settings become corrupted (for example, if the Pulsars become unresponsive and don't connect to the system), in the Options section, select Reset to factory default settings to reset them.
For information on updating firmware for cameras and Beacons, see Update camera firmware.
Ensure Pulsars are fully charged
If a Pulsar's status light appears pink or red, the battery is less than 20% charged.
To recharge Pulsars:
- Place them in the supplied recharging dock and connect to your power supply; or
- Recharge them using a standard micro-USB to USB cable
The average battery run-time for a Pulsar used at 100% brightness is around nine hours of continuous use. You can extend battery life by disabling Pulsars when not required for tracking, which will give up to 18 hours of typical use.
Note the following times to recharge Pulsar batteries:
- Recharge time to 80%: 1 hr (max)
- Recharge time to 100%: 3 hr (max)
Keep marker LEDs enabled while charging
From Evoke 1.2.2 and later, Evoke can configure Pulsars to keep their IR marker LEDs on while charging. This may be useful if you're using a backpack PC as a power source. The default behavior is still to turn off marker LEDs while charging.
This parameter is available both for Pulsar devices (on the System tab) and for Smart Objects (on the Tracking tab). When a Pulsar is linked to a Smart Object, it inherits the Smart Object value for Markers On While Charging.
When you install Evoke, a Vicon Evoke desktop shortcut appears on your desktop (and an entry is added to the Windows Start menu).
(Depending on the options selected during installation, you may also see icons for Vicon Retarget, which lets you create retarget setup files (*.vsr), used by Evoke for retargeting; and the Vicon Firmware Update Utility.)
- Double-click the Vicon Evoke icon to start Evoke and ensure the System tab is visible.
From this tab, you monitor and control devices connected to the software.
When you have finished setting up your system, you can save your current settings by clicking the Save button at the top right of the System tab.
The next time you need to reload your settings, you can select the saved configuration by clicking the Load Saved System Configuration list.
Windows power options monitoring
When you first start Evoke, you may see a warning icon on the right side of the menu bar, like this:
This icon indicates that the current power plan is set to favor power savings over performance. The power-saving features of Windows can significantly reduce Evoke's performance and increase output latency, depending on the power plan that is chosen and the processor support for power-saving features.
For more information and access to the Power Options in the Windows Control Panel, click the icon.
For best performance in VR, choose the High performance plan (or a plan created from the high performance plan).
Ensure optimal latency
To ensure optimal latency for all scenarios, on the Processing panel, ensure Low Jitter Mode is selected.
Using cameras with a resolution above 5 megapixels may result in sub-optimal latency performance. When using a virtual reality headset, this is not recommended.
Turn on the Beacon and enable pairing
Note that if the Pulsars are already paired to the correct Beacon, you can skip these pairing steps.
To enable pairing:
- Ensure that the Beacon is connected to a powered PoE switch and that this switch is connected to the host PC running Evoke.
- Turn on the Beacon.
In Evoke, on the System tab, a Beacon is displayed in the Connectivity section.
Check that the Beacon connection status is green.
- To perform a radio scan to check which Beacon channels are clear from interference from other radio devices and Wi-Fi, right-click the Beacon and select Radio Channels.
The Radio Channels dialog box shows the signal strength of the currently available channels.
The numbers on the left of the chart represent the signal strength in decibels.
The channel numbers along the bottom of the chart are buttons that enable you to select the channel.
The yellow warning triangles alert you that the channel above is in use (for more information, hover the mouse pointer over the icon).
The light blue bars indicate the average power for each channel and the dark blue bars indicate the maximum power.
In the bars for each channel, the white line represents the last sample taken.
Note that all Pulsars connected to the Beacon are temporarily disconnected while scanning is in progress as the Beacon can't scan channels and broadcast sync at the same time.
- Select a channel in one of the following ways:
- In the Radio Channels dialog box, click a channel number at the bottom of the chart to select the relevant channel; or
- On the System tab, ensure the Beacon is still selected and in the Radio section below, click in the Radio Channel field and select an appropriate channel.
If you choose a channel that is already in use, the Beacon does not turn on sync broadcasts and a warning is displayed.
- With the Beacon still selected, right-click on it and then click Radio Pairing.
- In the Radio Pairing dialog box, click the Start Pairing button for the selected Beacon.
Pairing mode is enabled, which means that the Beacon is available for pairing and any unpaired Pulsar that is turned on (see Pair Pulsars with a Beacon) will try to connect to it.
- To specify which pairing requests are accepted, in the Radio Host section at the top of the dialog box, select or clear Allow List Enabled for the required Beacon:
- If the allow list is not enabled, all pairing requests are accepted.
- If the allow list is enabled, only Pulsars on the allow list are accepted.
Other Pulsars are refused, but are displayed in the Radio Pairing dialog box so you can choose to accept the request.
To add one or more selected Pulsars to the selected radio host allow list, right-click the Pulsar(s) and then click Add to <host name> allow list. The Pulsars on the allow list are now accepted.
In the case of pairing requests, pairing must also be started to enable the Pulsar to connect.
Pairing/connection requests persist until you exit Evoke. If a Pulsar fails to connect, check its physical status. Evoke only knows about the last communicated status of the Pulsar, which may now be out-of-date.
For more information about the symbols displayed in the Radio Pairing dialog box and how to move Pulsars to and from radio hosts and their allow lists, see About the Radio Pairing dialog box.
- On the System tab, check that no warnings are displayed next to the Beacon.
When you start pairing or change an allow list configuration, the Beacon's sync broadcast changes. Any Pulsars that are in scan mode may try to pair or connect when they detect the change, but this can take a several seconds (longer if there are a lot of Pulsars or a lot of interference).
About the Radio Pairing dialog box
At the top of the Radio Pairing dialog box, the Radio Host list shows the number of clusters connected to and paired with the radio host, and enables you to choose whether the allow list for the selected Beacon is enabled.
Below the Radio Host section, the Assigned Clusters section lists Pulsars that are paired to the selected Beacon or are on its allow list.
- A green 'Play' symbol indicates a Pulsar that is paired and connected to the selected host's allow list.
- A blue 'i' indicates a Pulsar that is paired to the system, but unable to connect because it's not on the host's allow list.
- A red 'x' indicates a Pulsar that is unpaired. It cannot connect unless the Beacon is put into pairing mode (and the Pulsar is on the allow list, or the allow list is disabled).
- A yellow 'Pause' symbol indicates a Pulsar that is connected but disabled.
- A gray 'Play' symbol indicates a Pulsar that is connected but not linked to a Smart Object.
- A magenta 'i' indicates a pairing request.
- No icon indicates a Pulsar is missing (ie, it hasn't connected during this session).
- A partially selected check box in the Paired column indicates a Pulsar that is paired to a Beacon that is different from the one that is currently selected.
To perform the following operations on Pulsars in the Assigned Clusters list, right-click on one or more selected Pulsars and select the required option:
- Add to or Remove Add or remove the selected Pulsar(s) from the selected radio host allow list
- Clean the allow list. Remove any Pulsars from the selected radio host allow list that are paired to another radio host. This option is useful after load-balancing (see Load balancing between hosts).
- Unpair Unpair the selected Pulsar(s) from the selected radio host
- Transfer Pair the selected Pulsar(s) to another connected, enabled radio host
At the bottom of the Radio Pairing dialog box, the Unassigned Clusters section lists connection or pairing requests, and unpaired Pulsars. This list persists for the lifetime of the application session. To add Pulsars in this list to to the selected radio host's allow list, right-click on the Pulsar(s) and then click Add to Host <hostname> allow list.
Load balancing between hosts
The number of clusters connected to each Beacon must be balanced. If too many clusters are connected to one host then connection stability is reduced, and the time required to send commands to all clusters increases.
To avoid loss of connection stability and an unacceptable delay in sending commands to all clusters, we recommend that no more than 80 Pulsars are connected to a single Beacon.
To automatically balance the number of Pulsars between Beacons, click the Load Balance Hosts button at the bottom of the dialog box. This transfers the connected clusters so that an equal number is connected to each host.
After load balancing, you may find a number of clusters on one host's allow list are paired to a different host. To remove these clusters from the allow list, right-click on the cluster(s) and then click Clean Host <host name> allow list.
Pair Pulsars with a Beacon
After you have turned on a Beacon and made sure it is available for pairing, you can pair Pulsars to it.
- On a Pulsar, press the power button to turn it on.Tip
If you transfer a Pulsar between Beacons, you must un-pair the Pulsar so that it can connect to the new Beacon. To do this, during the 10-second period after booting, double-press the Pulsar button to un-pair it.
The Pulsar automatically searches radio channels to find the Beacon it is paired with, or if unpaired, a Beacon that has pairing enabled (see Turn on Beacon and enable pairing).
In Evoke, on the System tab, in the Clusters section, a Pulsar is displayed.
- Ensure that the Pulsar connection status is cyan (connected but not assigned a marker pattern).
If the Pulsar's battery level is low, a status icon indicates this.
If any other icon is displayed, see Pulsar status icons in Evoke to troubleshoot possible issues
- When all the Pulsars have been paired, turn off pairing mode. To do this, either click the Stop Pairing button or close the Radio Pairing dialog box.Tip
To deactivate a Pulsar, on the System tab, select the Pulsar and in the General section below, clear the Enabled check box.
In the Clusters section, the Pulsar connection status turns yellow. The marker LEDs turn off, to reduce power consumption.
On the System tab, in the Clusters part of the System tree, Pulsars that are paired with a connected Beacon are displayed. Adjacent icons indicate the status of the Pulsars: The following table describes each of the Pulsar status icons that are displayed on the System tab in Evoke. Gray Note that the overall system charge is determined by the device with the lowest charge (unless recharging – see the following note), which is shown at the top of the Clusters section on the System tab. The number of devices on charge is also displayed here. In the following image, the red battery icons to the right of the Pulsar names indicate that the batteries of the relevant Pulsars are low. The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is almost at 0%, ie, almost fully discharged (a Pulsar whose battery is fully discharged can no longer communicate with Evoke and disconnects, and the Lowest Battery Charge indicator then displays the Pulsar with the next lowest battery). In the following image, the yellow lightning icons to the right of the Pulsar names indicate that the batteries of the relevant Pulsars are charging (and the yellow batterty icons indicate that the charge is still low). The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is now at 13%.
Pulsar status icons in Evoke
Icon Meaning Cyan Connected but not assigned a marker pattern Yellow Connected but disabled Automatically disabled as not linked to a Smart Object Green Enabled and assigned a valid marker pattern Red Disconnected Yellow battery Battery has low charge (less than 20%) Red battery Battery has very low charge (less than 10%) Lightning bolt Plugged in for recharging Update Evoke has queued or sent new settings to the Pulsar but has not yet received a response No icon Loaded from a previous Evoke session but not yet connected to this instance of Evoke
The information displayed by the Lowest Battery Charge indicator depends on the number of devices that are currently charging:
On the System tab, in the Clusters part of the System tree, Pulsars that are paired with a connected Beacon are displayed. Adjacent icons indicate the status of the Pulsars:
The following table describes each of the Pulsar status icons that are displayed on the System tab in Evoke.
Note that the overall system charge is determined by the device with the lowest charge (unless recharging – see the following note), which is shown at the top of the Clusters section on the System tab.
The number of devices on charge is also displayed here.
In the following image, the red battery icons to the right of the Pulsar names indicate that the batteries of the relevant Pulsars are low. The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is almost at 0%, ie, almost fully discharged (a Pulsar whose battery is fully discharged can no longer communicate with Evoke and disconnects, and the Lowest Battery Charge indicator then displays the Pulsar with the next lowest battery).
In the following image, the yellow lightning icons to the right of the Pulsar names indicate that the batteries of the relevant Pulsars are charging (and the yellow batterty icons indicate that the charge is still low). The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is now at 13%.
Enable Evoke to track Pulsars and props
Both Smart Objects and basic objects define a pattern of markers that Evoke can locate from camera centroid detections.
Create Smart Objects
A Smart Object is the representation in Evoke of a type of object that has programmable active markers (eg, a Pulsar). Pulsars are smart in that they communicate with the Evoke PC via a Beacon. This enables a Pulsar to set its marker pattern, sync to the Viper cameras and report its battery level back to the PC.
To enable tracking of Pulsars, you must create a Smart Object in Evoke for each Pulsar that you want to track.
For more information, see Work with Smart Objects or watch the Vicon video:
Create basic objects
A basic object lacks the two-way communication of a Smart Object (eg, a Nova active strand). A Nova is a basic object as its active markers can be either on or off and it has to be controlled manually.
To enable tracking of props, you must create basic objects in Evoke for each prop that you want to track.
For more information, see Work with basic objects or watch the Vicon video:
Manage your tracking configuration
When you have finished setting up your Smart Objects and basic objects, you can save the whole tracking configuration (including all basic and Smart Objects) in MCP format for future use.
To do this, at the top of the Tracking pane, click the Save tracking configuration button:
The default location for tracking configuration files is:
When you want to re-use your tracking configuration, click the Load tracking configuration button to re-load the file.
Position cameras and Pulsars
With your Origin system installed and licensed, and after you have created Smart Objects, you can position the cameras and markers.
- Position your cameras around the volume, ensuring that two or more cameras can see every point in the volume in which you intend to track motion.
- Place Pulsars around the floor to outline your volume.
Check volume coverage
After you have positioned cameras and Pulsars in the volume, ensure that the cameras can see the whole of the volume.
- Ensure your cameras are physically connected to the system.
- Ensure your Origin system hardware is switched on, and that Evoke is running.
- On the System tab (by default located on the left of the Evoke window), SHIFT+click to select all the cameras or, for a large number of cameras, right-click and click the relevant Select All option.
- In the Workspace ensure that the Cameras view is selected.
- Using the default lens settings on each camera, ensure that:
- You can see Pulsar images from each connected camera.
- Two or more cameras can see every point in the volume in which you intend to track motion.
Deactivate unused objects
It's important to ensure that any objects that aren't currently in use are deactivated.
Evoke is constantly trying to find all enabled objects. Objects that are enabled but not visible in the volume (eg, Pulsars that are charging, powered off or out of the volume) may cause spurious object tracks, or impede the tracking of the objects that are visible in the volume.
To deactivate an object:
- On the Tracking pane, select it and in the General section below, clear the Enabled check box.
- In the Tracking tree, clear the relevant check box:
Update camera firmware
Vicon hardware is programmed with firmware to control its operation. Periodically, Vicon supplies firmware updates to correct or improve device functionality. You apply these firmware updates to your Vicon cameras and Beacon(s) via the Vicon Ethernet network using the Vicon Firmware Update Utility, as described below.
You are automatically notified when any component of your Vicon system is running out-of-date firmware, and given the opportunity to update to the latest version.
To ensure optimum performance and access to all the latest functionality, Vicon recommends that you upgrade to the latest firmware whenever it becomes available.
To monitor and/or upgrade system firmware:
- When you start Evoke or connect any Vicon devices into your system, Evoke checks to see whether the firmware for your cameras and Beacon(s) is up-to-date.
If your devices aren’t using the latest firmware, Evoke displays an icon in the toolbar to let you know that a more up-to-date version of the firmware is available:
- Click the icon to display more information.
Evoke displays a prompt that enables you to open the Vicon Firmware Update Utility (reprogramming tool).
- Click Yes to open the Vicon Firmware Update Utility. Note that you can also open the Vicon Firmware Update Utility from the Start menu (select Vicon > Vicon Firmware Update Utility).
Evoke closes and the Vicon Firmware Update Utility is displayed, showing all the connected devices and their current firmware version.
By default, all devices are selected.
- If you don’t want to update any of the devices, clear the relevant check box(es).
Note that if required, you can select devices to be updated that are already using the latest version.
- At the bottom of the Vicon Firmware Update Utility window, in the Choose Firmware version list, select or browse to the required firmware version.
- Click Reprogram to update the firmware for the selected device(s).
When updating is complete, the Firmware Version column displays the updated firmware version and the System Status line and the Reprogramming Status column display Complete on a green background.
If you do not have continual internet access, Evoke is unable to notify you when a new version of the system firmware is available. In this case, install the Vicon Firmware Update Utility on an internet-connected machine to detect and download the latest version of the firmware. You can then transfer this download to the local machine and use the Vicon Firmware Update Utility to update to the latest version of the firmware.
To downgrade to an earlier firmware version
To downgrade to a firmware version that was previously downloaded, open the Vicon Firmware Update Utility (from the Start menu click Vicon > Vicon Firmware Update Utility) and select the required firmware version.
Make any optional changes required
In addition to the preparations described at the beginning of Prepare your Origin system, depending on your requirements, you may also want to make the following changes:
Change camera settings
The default settings for Viper cameras are suitable for many typical usage scenarios. Viper cameras are sensitive to the infrared light emitted by the Pulsar marker LEDs. They are factory-configured with the aperture set to F8 and back-focused to a depth of field 0.8 m–∞. No additional hardware setup is required on site, however, in some circumstances (eg, if you have a small volume with little IR noise) you may benefit from adjusting the Threshold setting on the Processing panel in Evoke.
When using the Viper cameras' tap-to-select feature, note that taps that are also registered by other cameras mounted nearby are ignored. To minimize the effects of vibrations on the rigging, tap lightly.
Customize views and layouts
Evoke provides you with a number of ways to customize both what you view in the Evoke Workspace and the layout of the windows. You can change and customize the view to suit your way of working.
Set appropriate View Filters
While you're working with Evoke, you can set the View Filters to give the most useful view of your data.
The default view filter sets are for setup and retargeting. The View Filters for the 3D Scene view include options for solving and retargeting.
To add your own filter sets, in the 3D Scene view, click View Filters and in the Subjects section, click the New Preset button.
The options are displayed in a matrix, with columns for Object, Solving and Retargeting, enabling you to choose a view configuration that suits your current task.
Your settings, including any custom presets, are automatically saved, so that you can easily re-use them for different workflows.
For details, see the Vicon video:
The view filter presets are stored in the view presets file, by default:
The current view filter preset is stored in the view file, by default:
Change camera orientation detection
View frames in the Cameras view can be rotated to match their physical orientation, so that up in the image matches up in the real world. The orientation is determined from the camera calibration if available, otherwise the accelerometer on board the camera is used.
This option is enabled by default.
To turn on or off camera orientation detection:
- In the Cameras view, click View Filters.
- In the 2D Data section, select or clear Show Orientation.
- To choose whether to snap to 90° increments, ignoring smaller rotations, select or clear Snap to 90°.
Display the number of selected markers
To quickly check that all markers on a particular target are visible, you can select an option in the 3D Scene view to show the number of markers currently selected.
To display the number of selected markers:
- In the 3D Scene view, click View Filters.
- In the Overlays section, select or clear Selected Marker Count.
At the bottom right of the view pane, the Marker Selection count is displayed. If no markers are currently selected, a zero is displayed.
As you select markers, the Marker Selection counter changes to display the number of selected markers.
Save your window layouts
In addition to using the supplied Default tracking and Camera Calibration layouts, you can save your own customized layouts of the workspace and panels.
This enables you to quickly switch between layouts when either setting up the system or running experiences.
Custom layouts are saved by default to:
Change the auto-save interval
Evoke settings are automatically saved while you're using Evoke, as well as when you exit. The auto-saved files are located in the usual settings folder, which defaults to:
These files are replaced by the normal last run settings files when Evoke closes:
If any of the AutoSave files is detected when Evoke starts, you're prompted to confirm which files to load:
- To load the most recent (auto-saved) settings, click Yes.
- To load settings from the last successfully closed session, click No.
This feature prevents you from losing your settings if Evoke closes abnormally, for example, due to process termination, machine reboot, etc.
Note that the auto-save files are only updated if there have been changes since the last auto-save.
To change the interval at which files are auto-saved:
- On the Settings menu, click Preferences (or press Shift-P), then in the Preferences dialog box, click the User Preferences for <username> tab.
- In the Interface section, change the value in the Autosave interval field from the default (60 seconds).
Reduce processing rate for large numbers of objects
Normally, when the system is heavily loaded, to avoid dropping frames, you must reduce the system frame rate. When the (Advanced) processing option Halve Processing Rate is selected, you can keep the system frame rate high, but reduce the rate of subsequent processing (eg, object and character tracking). A high frame rate may improve tracking quality (particularly for fast movements) while subsequent processing is reduced, lowering processing load requirements on the host PC.
When using the Halve Processing Rate option, note the following points:
- 2D centroid detection always happens at the system frame rate
- Subsequent processing depends on whether Halve Processing Rate is selected or not:
- When cleared (the default), every frame is processed as normal
- When selected, every other frame is dropped (giving a tracking rate of 1:2)
- When using the Datastream, if Halve Processing Rate is selected, dropped frames occur at every other frame.