What's the best way to organize scenes, hotspots, and teleporters?


  • Each geographic location should be in its own scene.
  • Every variation within a hotspot should be from the exact same vantage point.


Our Visual Vocal web portal content authoring tool lets you organize your content in many different ways. That said, when we step back and look at the kinds of content people are publishing, we have arrived at some best practices for constructing Vvs.

Any Vv is meant to tell a story and to solicit feedback from end-users. To support this story you will want to have a clear, concise flow through your content. For the sake of clarity we'll use the example of representing a campus or large corporate park to tease out these recommendations. You may find yourself presenting a few different kinds of content:

  • Photographic imagery of real locations: typically captured with a panoramic camera or app
    • EXAMPLE: 360 panoramic image shows the view from in front of an existing library building.
    • METHOD: A scene is used to hold and present the reference photo of the library.
  • Overview or establishing panorama image: sometimes from a canonical view or from an aerial vantage
    • EXAMPLES: computer generated aerial panorama of the entire campus or a 360 photograph from the middle of the main campus quad
    • METHOD: a scene, usually the primary scene, shows the aerial view of the campus. Teleporters within this "hub" scene link to all the other scenes or locations. Every other scene has a teleporter that returns the end-user to this establishing hub scene. 
  • Panoramic computer generated imagery (renderings) of architectural designs: from a particular vantage point
    • EXAMPLE: a rendering from a typical audience seat in a large classroom, showing what the audience member can see of the the stage, exits, and other people
    • METHOD: A scene is used to hold and present a rendering of auditorium from one audience member's seated point of view where the center of the image is aligned with the center of the stage.
  • Renderings of the same location but with different designs: different window patterns, surface treatments, and etc.
    • EXAMPLES: renderings that convey the effect of different styles of curtains, lighting, and ceiling materials, all from the same audience member location as the previous vantage point
    • METHOD: Within the audience member viewpoint scene there is a hotspot superimposed over the top of the stage proscenium. When opened, the hotspot shows options, each of which corresponds to a different lighting configuration. When an option is selected, the viewpoint remains the same but a different rendering shows the effect of changing the lighting.
  • Renderings of the same location but in different styles: wireframe, realistic, sketchy, and etc.
    • EXAMPLES: For the outside of a student center, different parts of the design are at different levels of approval. A sketchy look is used to show aspects of a design that are projected to be later in the project or have not yet received final approval and a high-quality rendering is used for those aspects that are further along.
    • METHOD: Each different rendering style is presented as a different image within its own variation. These variations are themselves organized within one hotspot that is centered on the exterior of the student center.
  • Renderings of the same location but with different information overlays: temperature, mechanical loads and stresses, occupant circulation, and etc.
    • EXAMPLES: A rendering (or even 360 panoramic photo) near the campus library shows historical walking pattern data to help decide on where new walkways should go.
    • METHOD: when looking at the outside of the campus library a hotspot is visible. Inside this hotspot several variations, each of which shows walking data from different times of day. Switching between the variations does not change the viewpoint but it does show different data overlays that are artfully but clearly composed with the underlying imagery.
  • Comparisons between existing buildings and proposed designs: a panoramic photo might help represent the familiar and a rendering would be used to show what a future design would look like in the same place and from the same vantage point
    • EXAMPLES: a panoramic photo shows an unattractive parking lot next to the student center. A rendering shows what it might look like if the parking lot were replaced with a performing arts center.
    • METHOD: a panoramic photo is used for the scene image. A hotspot within the scene replicates the photo as its first variation and a rendering of the performing arts center is shown from as close to the same vantage point as is shown in the scene photograph.


Organization of scenes

Individual locations from a particular viewpoint are meant to be encapsulated in what we call a "scene." Differing viewpoints of the same location would each be best shown as separate scenes. When you want your end-users to travel from one viewpoint to another, you will present multiple teleporters, each teleporter taking the end-user to a different scene. Each scene has an associated teleporter within each other scene. If there are four scenes, when you open a particular scene you will see three teleporters, each connected to one of the other scenes.

If you find that you want to use a central geographical location as the starting point, overview, or hub for all subsequent imagery, we recommend that you use the associated imagery as your primary scene. The primary scene is the first scene that end-users encounter when they open a Vv.

You may find that you do not have enough scenes within your Vv to show every desired location. If that happens, we recommend that you break your overall story into smaller collections where each collection is its own Vv. At first that may feel ponderous but this strategy has several advantages:

  • smaller download size for each Vv
  • more focused design discussions as each Vv is centered on one targeted area 

There are several ways in which you can organize scenes, each with various end-user characteristics. As a reminder, the order of scenes, as displayed in the web portal does not correspond to the order in which end-users will experience your scenes, with the exception of the first or "primary" scene. The first scene is the scene that will be shown the first time end-users open a particular Vv. For information on how to specify which scene in the primary scene, refer to the helpdesk article, "How Do I Change Which Scene Shows Up First?"

  • LINEAR: 
    • Each scene only has one teleporter such that end-users can only linearly progress from scene to scene. You may optionally provide a teleporter from the "last" scene back to the "first" scene.
    • VV_structure_-_linear_01.png
    • There is a primary scene that gives an overview of the entire project. Within this primary scene are teleporters to "satellite" scenes that represent sub-locations within the overall project. Each satellite scene, in turn, has a teleporter back to the primary overview scene.
    • VV_structure_-_hub_and_spoke_01.png
  • GRAPH:
    • Every scene is linked to every other scene via a collection of teleporters. If there are four scenes, each scene would have three teleporters within it, linking every other scene.
    • VV_structure_-_graph_01.png

Usage patterns for hotspots

When you want to show design variations, but all from the same vantage point at the same location, we recommend you encapsulate that collection of design variations within a hotspot. A hotspot lets Project Owners and end-users (stakeholders and viewers) switch between seeing different design variations without any perceptible change in viewer location or viewpoint.

There are many different ways in which you can use a hotspot:

  • Convey different semantic information:
    • You may want to overlay different data oriented information on top or within a geometric model. This could include lighting simulations, walking patterns, or even different sub-systems such as electrical or mechanical.
    • Hotspot_usage_-_semantic_info_01.png
  • Present different geometric configurations:
    • Hotspot_usage_-_geometric_variations_01.png
  • Use different visual representations:
    • Hotspot_usage_-_different_representations_01.png

Alignment across variations

When you are asking end-users to compare images of one particular location, it's best that the images are all contained within one hotspot. It's also best that the images are aligned as closely as possible, both from location and in terms of vantage point. Take the example of comparing comparing an existing building to a proposed design: renderings of the scene should be created such that the center of the rendered panorama corresponds to the center of the captured panoramic photo. It's also desireable, as much as possible to match the eye height and field of view. Because of this, it's best, when possible to create the captured photos first and then try to edit the 3D scene camera used to create the rendering to match the photos. If you make your renderings first you might create renderings from viewpoints that are very difficult to photograph in the real world. When you arrive on site to take your matching panoramic photos, you might discover that there's a tree right in front of where you rendered your more abstract scene.

Additional information

We look forward to learning more about your particular design storytelling needs. Please send your scenarios to us via email at or by commenting directly on this support website.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request


Please sign in to leave a comment.