# Custom lookAt function goes wild

I have written a custom lookAt function based on a lot of posts from all over the net, and it works very nice... except when a rotation (which is stored in a quaternion) crosses some 'threshold'. However, it works flawless when the camera's position is on the same horizontal plane as the model I'm lookingAt

On the below GIF, all I do is hold a key to lookAt the model together with a left arrow key to move the camera along the right vector:

My following understanding about how this function should look like (in a brief):

1 .Calculate a quaternion rotation needed to rotate an object from it's facing vector and a target vector.

1.a. Calculate an angle between those vectors by taking their dot product and a perpendicular axis by taking their cross product.

1.b Convert angle-axis info to a quaternion using this formula.

2 .Multiply the main quaternion rotation by the quaternion received above.

If I'm right, I believe that I may have a bug in my code, but I'm not sure. My code below:

lookAt: function(vec) {
if (this.position.isEqual(vec)) {
return;
}
this.rotation.multiply(new Quaternion().twoVecToQuat(this.rotation.getForwardVector(), this.position.sub(vec)));
MVMatrix.setRotation(this.rotation.quaternionToMatrix());
},


// And the twoVecToQuat function based on Ogre3D quaternion library:

twoVecToQuat: function(v0, v1) {
v0.normalize();
v1.normalize();

var dot = v0.dot(v1);
// If dot === 1, vectors are the same
if (dot >= 1) {
return this.makeIdentity();
}
// If vectors are opposite
if (dot < (1.0e-06 - 1)) {
var fallbackAxis = new vec3().make(1, 0, 0);
fallbackAxis.crossSelf(this);
// If collinear, pick another vector
fallbackAxis.make(0, 1, 0);
fallbackAxis.crossSelf(this);
}
fallbackAxis.normalize();
this.axisToQuaternion(Math.PI, fallbackAxis);
}
else {
var sDot = Math.sqrt((1 + dot) * 2);
var invSDot = 1 / sDot;
var tempVec = v0.cross(v1);

this.x = tempVec.x * invSDot;
this.y = tempVec.y * invSDot;
this.z = tempVec.z * invSDot;
this.w = sDot * 0.5;

this.normalize();
}

return this;
},


UPDATE: Slin's solutions proved to be working (that one about calculating lookAt matrix), but I still don't know where is the bug in the quaternions library code. Working lookAt function below:

lookAt: function(at) {
if (this.position.isEqual(at)) {
return;
}
var zAxis = this.position.sub(at).normalize();
var up = upVec(); // World's up vector instead of camera's up vector will unroll the camera
var xAxis = up.cross(zAxis).normalize();
var yAxis = zAxis.cross(xAxis);
MVMatrix.make(
xAxis.x,            xAxis.y,            xAxis.z,
yAxis.x,            yAxis.y,            yAxis.z,
zAxis.x,            zAxis.y,            zAxis.z,
this.position.x,    this.position.y,    this.position.z);

this.rotation.matrixToQuaternion(MVMatrix);
this.copyEulerAngles();
},


I am not sure but this does not look like the formula you posted:

 var sDot = Math.sqrt((1 + dot) * 2);
var invSDot = 1 / sDot;
var tempVec = v0.cross(v1);

this.x = tempVec.x * invSDot;
this.y = tempVec.y * invSDot;
this.z = tempVec.z * invSDot;
this.w = sDot * 0.5;

this.normalize();


Unless I do not understand some of the sine/cosine relationships or approximations, it should instead be something like this:

 var halfCosine = Math.sqrt((1 + dot) * 0.5);
var halfSine = Math.sqrt(1 - halfCosine*halfCosine);
var tempVec = v0.cross(v1);

this.x = tempVec.x * halfSine;
this.y = tempVec.y * halfSine;
this.z = tempVec.z * halfSine;
this.w = halfCosine;

this.normalize();


But you could also just set your quaternion or rotation matrix directly instead of multiplying to it to get the same result. Calculating a look at rotation matrix is actually really simple as all you need is the direction to the target and two orthogonal vectors representing the up and right direction. Check this for more information: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/349050/calculating-a-lookat-matrix

• There are more than one way to obtain a quaternion from two vectors e.g. lolengine.net/blog/2013/09/18/… , but the interesting thing to me is that your version of it makes the lookAt function work kinda in a LERP interpolation fashion (first it immediately turns to the target, than it slowly fixes it's position to it's center while never reaching it - and it's because the tempVec axis has not been normalized before applying it to the quaternion form), but anyway, the camera acts in the same way after the same rotation is applied. Apr 18, 2014 at 8:34
• Also, regarding to the calculation of the lookAt matrix, I'm not sure what does 'at' and 'eye' variables mean - does 'at' means target's position and 'eye' local (in my case camera's) position? If so, this formula does not work for me (it stretches and deforms the camera view so I cannot see a thing). Code here. Apr 18, 2014 at 10:16
• For the look-at matrix replace those dot products with 0. Other than that it looks fine. And from your link I suppose that your initial implementation of your TwoVecToQuat function is fine. Your problem might be related to the way quaternion multiplication influences the angles, which is somehow not the way I usually imagine it to, although it is just the rotation of the two quaternions applied in rotation order.
– Slin
Apr 18, 2014 at 16:09
• I have noticed that rotation distortions happens when the rotation crosses -/+90 degrees in the horizontal axis, and -/+45 degrees in the vertical axis. I'm starting to think that it has something to do with a double-cover property of quaternions. I have double checked every function that is being used by this function, and their function's functions and so on, and everything suits formulas from Wikipedia and/or other functions library for OpenGL, and found nothing alarming. Do you know any debugging method that might help me in this case? Apr 19, 2014 at 16:56
• Maybe try this: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/53129/… if you want a smooth transition, use slerp and if you really need the difference calculate it by dividing the new quaternion by the old one. This should just work, if it does not, there is probably something wrong with the way you create the matrix.
– Slin
Apr 19, 2014 at 18:08