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This is a camera simulation library developed at the Computer Graphics Group, University of Siegen.

Supported cameras types:

  • RGB cameras, optionally physically plausible, with OpenGL-style materials and lighting

  • Amplitude-modulated continuous-wave Time-of-Flight cameras (AMCW ToF, e.g. PMD cameras), with 4 phase images, physically plausible, reusing OpenGL-style materials and lighting as far as it makes sense


  • Simulation:

    • light-transport based information (RGB, PMD phases and result)
    • geometry information (positions, normals, depth and range, object/shape/ triangle indices)
    • temporal flow information (2D and 3D flow)
  • Scene:

    • Arbitrary number of light sources (point lights, spot lights, and directional lights)
    • Light sources with measured intensity distribution and structured-light projecting light sources
    • Materials with ambient, diffuse, specular, gloss, emission and lightness maps; transparency (but not translucency); bump or normal maps; BRDF-based lighting (in the simplest case using the modified Phong model)
    • Builtin functions to create scenes using simple geometries (quads, cubes, cylinders, cones, spheres, tori, teapots, bunnies, etc)
  • Animation:

    • Simple linear animations of position, orientation, and scale
    • For camera, light sources, and objects
  • Oversampling:

    • Spatial, with custom weights (especially useful for PMD simulation)
    • Temporal (for correct motion artefacts in light-transport based simulations)
  • Noise and Effects:

    • Gaussian white noise
    • Lens distortion compatible to OpenCV (radial and tangential)
    • Thins lens vignetting effect
  • Import and Export:

    • Import of arbitrary models via ASSIMP
    • Export to RAW, CSV, PNM, PNG, PFS, GTA, MAT, HDF5
  • Other:

    • Multi-GPU support
    • Multicore CPU support for export (data export is typically the bottleneck)


Only Qt is required, nothing else. You can optionally use external libraries to extent functionality:

First build and install libcamsim. Then compile and link your application against the installed version of libcamsim (not against the files in its build directories).


Libcamsim requires an OpenGL 4.5 core context. You should typically create such a context using an offscreen surface (see the examples).

There is Doxygen-style documentation (build with CAMSIM_BUILD_DOCUMENTATION=ON to generate HTML), but the best starting point is probably to look at the example programs.

If you want to display results in an interactive application, create another context that shares OpenGL objects with the libcamsim context, so that you can render the textures that libcamsim produces. If you do this, you might need to call glFinish() on the libcamsim context after calling simulate() to make sure the result textures are finished before reusing them in another OpenGL context, since there is no implicit synchronization between contexts.

If you want to use multiple GPUs, create offscreen contexts for each of them (this step is system dependent). Contexts on different GPUs cannot share objects, so each of these contexts must get its own scene and simulator instances. For example, if you import a model file, you must add its contents to all scene instances.

Note that the bottleneck is almost always the export, not the simulation itself! Export data without compression, and use a write-efficient file format! For example, simulating and exporting 125 floating point RGB frames of size 800x600 took the following time in seconds for different file formats, without compression: 1.5 (raw), 1.5 (gta), 4.9 (ppm), 7.0 (pfs), 7.0 (mat), 7.2 (png), 7.2 (h5), 118 (csv). Most of the time, it is a good idea to export .raw or .gta and postprocess / convert these results afterwards.

Relevant Papers

The following papers are relevant for CamSim. If you use this software, please cite the appropriate paper, depending on the features you are using: