Page 1

Catchup EDITION 3

SKETCHUCATION COMMUNITY NEWS

Features Boo Clues - Cable Creation

Thomthom Time

LumenRT Review

Render Plus Interview

LumenRT

Soft Shadows Tehnique

Tadema ‘Behind the Scenes’

SmillaEnlarger

GoPano


Foreword... Hard to believe that we are already into the 3rd edition but the response so far is incredible. None of this would be possible without our very active and helpful community. So to each  Boo Clues with Eric Lay

Soft Shadows Render Plus Interview Smilla Enlarger Tgi3D SU Photoscan

Featured Member Thomthom Interview Mayor Mike’s Gadgets

and everyone of you we say ‘Thank You’. We have some great features this edition from Tgi3D PhotoScan to Soft Shadows with Dave Richards. Along with our usual visits from Jean and Eric and of course Mike shows us some neat gadgets and apps. Some surprise appearances from Al Hart, Thomthom and Csaba gets his hands on LumenRT for an indepth review.

LumenRT Review Construction Modeling#2

We hope you enjoy this edition and don’t forget to let us know your opinion. Rich

On the cover: Rhino Scan courtesy of Tgi3D

Editor: Richard O’Brien Information is correct at press time. Check www.sketchucation.com for updates.


Management Mike Lucey - Managing Director Csaba Pozsarko - Training Director Octavian Chis- Technical Director Richard O’Brien - Quality Director Moderators Pete Stoppel Chris Fullmer Dylan Morton Dave Richards Eric Lay TIG Thomas Thomassen Jean Lemire Jim Foltz Eeva Edson Mahfuz Majid Contributors Eric Lay Mike Lucey Al Hart Thomas Thomassen

Connect with us

Bjorn Kare Nilsson Dave Richards John Higgins Thomas Thomassen Csaba Pozsarko Dennis Fukai


BOO CLUES create a cable

Step 1 First start with a couple of connection points. Here we will join the two white circles on the faces of these cubes with a cable (pipe).

Step 2 Find the center points of the white circle connection points.

Step 3 Create a path with many different lines and intersections as guides. These will be used as a guide path for the F-Spline tool to follow. Start the path perpendicular to the circle or the connection will not look right. Step 4

5

This shows the F-Spline following the guide path. This example uses 100 segments rather than the default 30. Just type 100s and Enter in the Value Control Box after activating F-Spline. Or after creating your path you can type in 100s and hit Enter.


BOO CLUES create a cable Step 5 Creating the guide path and placing the spline might have to be re-done a couple times to get desired result.

Step 6 Delete construction lines leaving only the spline.

Step 7 Select the spline and run the PipeAlongPath tool. Again, take into account how far your spline is off the ground plane and size the diameter of the pipe accordingly.

Step 8 Create some connectors at the ends of the pipe to finish off the design.

by Eric Lay

What you’ll need... Fredo’s BezierSpline v1.4 TIG’s PipeAlongPipe v1.6

6


POST PRO soft shadows

An Easy Way to Create Soft Shadows Here’s an easy method for creating soft shadows for your SketchUp image exports without running your model through a rendering application. If you don’t need the photorealistic images rendering applications are so good at making, perhaps this method will do the trick for you. In this example I’m going to create the impression of two different light sources which isn’t available in image exports direct from SketchUp.

To start with, I made four scenes as follows. They are all from the same camera position. The only differences are in the styles.

Faces Style 'Shaded with Textures' and 'Edges' off

Faces Style 'Hidden Line'

7

The first scene is with the Face Style set to Shaded With Textures, Edges turned off and Use Sun For Shading selected in the Shadows dialog box. While in the Shadows dialog also set the time and date for your first set of shadows. You might also want to play with the light and dark sliders. Turning shadows on while making these adjustments is helpful but turn them off before creating the scene. The second scene is made with Face Styles set to Hidden Line. In this example I also added a sketchy line style but that is optional. Actually, exporting the lines separately is optional. You could export the faces with Edges turned on. I like to export them separately so I can manipulate the textured image without affecting the lines.


POST PRO soft shadows

For Scene 3 turn on shadows and turn off edges. Edge visibility is controlled in the Styles dialog box under Edit>Edge. You simply untick the Edges tick box. And, if you are adding another set of shadows, Scene 4 is made after changing the time and/or date.

Shadows 'On'

It is important to note that when you create each new scene, you should be seeing a dialog box prompting you to create a new style or modify the existing one. You want to create a new style each time. If you aren’t getting that dialog box go to Preferences>General and make sure the tick box for “Warn of Style Changes When Creating Scenes” is ticked.


POST PRO soft shadows

Fotosketcher

Now that the scenes are created, export the images to a folder. In this case I exported all of the images at 3000 pixels wide. The next steps involve editing the shadow images and combining the images. For the example I ran the textured image through FotoSketcher to get this image.

Then I opened that file along with both shadow images and the lines image in Paint.NET, a freeware image editor. Here you can see the results of applying a Gaussian blur to the first shadow image. There are other blur types available and you might find a different one more to your liking. You can also adjust the amount of blurring you get. And here’s the second image. You can vary the amount of blur if you wish.

Gaussian Blur applied in Paint.NET

9


After editing the two shadow images, go to the textured image. Create additional layers for the other images and in the Layer Properties dialog, set the blending mode to Multiply for each of the layers. Although it probably doesn't matter so much, I arranged the layers such that the Lines image would be on top, the textured image would be the second layer and the shadows would be on layers 3 and 4. Copy and paste the lines image and the shadow images each to their own layer. Pasting each image to a separate layer will allow you to edit that image independently of the others so you could change the color balance in the shadows or make them lighter or darker as desired. Once you've finished combining the images, crop as needed and save your work. by Dave Richards

Final compiled image


RENDER PLUS interview

Lots of people are familiar with Render Plus but what have you been up to of late?

Do you have any other new products that members would be interested in?

How about a peek into the crystal ball about what is coming next?

Rich, Jake and I are constantly making improvements to, and creating new versions of, our SketchUp Plugins and creating some new ones too when we get a chance.

We put out our new reporting product this year – SpaceDesign. SpaceDesign lets you count components and groups, and report on attributes - calculating totals, and creating custom reports.

Rich is working on a nice feature to create PDF file containing a rendered image of a SketchUp model, and an interactive version of the model itself, so a SketchUp user can send a PDF document to a client with a very nice rendered image, and then the client can click a button and use the mouse to orbit and navigate in the model itself.

We’ve seen the announcements of some of your new releases. What are the new products? One is RpImageFilters – this is a simple, free add-on which lets the SketchUp user apply some basic filters – such as brightness, contrast or sharpening – to SketchUp images. Most of these filters are available in imaging software – but it is much easier to do it directly from SketchUp. Also, the sequence of filters – for instance applying both contrast and sharpening to the same image – can be automatically reapplied after changing the SketchUp view or model – making it easy to get the effect you want.

SpaceDesign is very easy to use for a simple report of component names or descriptions, and counts. You can define your own attributes, or use Dynamic Component attributes. It’s easily modified to do complex calculations and reports. After we attended Base Camp in September, we rushed home to use the new Volume Calculations in SketchUp 8 to do reports and calculations based on volumes. By combining counts with linear lengths, areas, and volumes many users are able to do cost estimating, or Billsof-Materials directly from their SketchUp models.

We will be adding this same feature as upgrades to three of our products – IRender nXt, RPS 3D PDF and ProjectSketch – so lots of our users will be able to use this new capability. Thanks for chatting with us. I’ll be interested to see a sample when it is ready? Thanks for giving me the opportunity to let your readers know about some of our products. by Mike Lucey


RENDER PLUS interview

Exhibition Centre for Royal Norfolk Show Ground by Henry James-Allison of DFAL

Inspired by the art of Lebbeus Woods by Nico Stegemann

"create a PDF containing a rendered image of a SketchUp model and an i n t e ra c t i ve version of the model itself"


SMILLA ENLARGER

useful applications This edition’s Useful App is called SmillaEnlarger by developer Mischa Lusteck.There are Windows, Linux and OSX versions available. It used to be called ImageEnlarger and I wish they stuck with the old name as its easier to remember. However the name change is the only niggle I have with this super little application. Mischa’s description of the app states, ‘SmillaEnlarger is a small graphical tool (based on Qt) to resize, especially magnify bitmaps in high quality. (The used algorithm is an invention of my own)’ It may be a small graphical tool but its now one that is tucked away in my toolbox and used regularly to ‘blow up’ sections of images that simply would be far too blurry to use otherwise. The open-source and portable application was designed to help the user intensively ‘massage’ an image enlargement to keep it from looking jagged and filled with artifacts. Its possible to select the level of zoom using the zoom slider and the location of the zoom via the selection box. Once the selection has been made the user can begin tinkering with sharpness, flatness, dithering, noise levels and more. The preview function is speedy, encouraging previews of the process being selected thus ensuring a good end result. When the enlargement meets your requirements just hit the Calculate button to render the image. This again is a quick process. I found SmillaEnlarger to be on a par with PhotoZoom which says a lot. If you find this application useful, and I am sure you will, please make a donation to the developer in order that he will be encouraged to further develop this little gem of an application. by Mike Lucey

13


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

Before we get started it’s probably beneficial if you’ve read last edition’s Amorph review. As Tgi3D Photoscan is closely tied to this extremely useful plugin. So what is Photscan bringing to the table? First off you get Tgi3D SU Amorph bundled in with Tgi3D Photoscan with a few bells and whistles added in for good measure. But Photoscan itself is not to be considered a plugin. It’s a standalone application that exports to SketchUp and utilizes Amorph abilities. For those unfamiliar with stereophotogrammetry, which is essentially what Photoscan does, it’s a means of building a 3D view from a series of images. This works by using your camera’s focal distance (viewpoint) and the image itself to determine a X/Y/Z value from chosen points. Having used Laser Scanning equipment I was interested to see how Photoscan measured up and if it could take the pain away of tedious setup.

First up is the Photoscan UI which is fairly self explanatory. You can create/open projects or add images to projects plus standard undo/redo functions and zooming options. But the 2 most important funtions are your 'Draw Calibration Points...' and 'Build 3D Model...' buttons. These are the backbone of Tgi3D Photoscan and are super simple to use. It's all point'n'click using Photoscan to determine your accuracy.

What I'd like to point out is that Photoscan is wholly reliant on you to supply it with good content. There's no point trying to use this tool with images from the web or ones edited in some software. To get good results you need good images that are taken from different angles with overlaps between images. That's not to say you can't use those images but to make life easier I recommend using your own images.


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

Once your images are loaded they appear on tabs across the top of the workspace. You simply use the 'Draw Calibration Point...' tool to place matching points between images. To help place these points you can quickly toggle a magnified window using the SHIFT key. A typical workflow would be to pick a point on an image and locate that same point on as many images as possible. When finshed you right click and choose 'Match Points'. Repeat this until you've 8 points matched on at least 2 images then comes the calibration part. Basically, you run the 'Camera Calibration...' option and sit back while it crunches the numbers. It doesn't take long and it's results will either leave you quite pleased or dumbfounded! You see, Photoscan is all about input. Whether images or points it's still reliant on the user to make to most of the tool and the data.

'Build 3D Model..' doesn't actually build a 3D model like you would in SketchUp. It turns these points into visible point cloud that you can rotate and zoom around. While the point data and images are enough to know you heading in the right direction 'Build 3D Model...' allows you to see this cloud in a 3D environment.

In the image above you can see a typical result after running 'Camera Calibration...' with each point error easily identified. What this is telling the user is that slight adjustments are needed to get the optimum result. Now 6 pixels may seem insignificant but when you're using images that a pixel may represent a foot or a few inches then you can see that this type of data is vital.Simply clicking these point errors will jump to that point on the image so it's a fairly forgiving workflow. Now it's time to make something from these points!

So to give this point cloud scale you must assign a dimension between points. Simple right click 2 points in the cloud and enter a known dimension. It couldn't be simpler. So what's next? Nothing really! You're done with Photoscan so now you export your project to to either .obj, .vrml or .skp file format. I would like to point out that Photoscan has alot more tools that make calibration that much easier from point highlighting to camera info. But this is covered in their extensive manual so I'd recommend keeping it close for reference.


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

Since I started testing this software Tgi3D released an update to Photoscan which made the whole modeling side of things alot easier. Previously after opening your Photoscan model in Sketchup you slowly went about creating geometry manually. By using Amorph's 'View Lock' feature it was pretty easy to do but time consuming nonetheless. Now with the latest update they've implemented some killer features into Photoscan/ Amorph plugin. As well as squashing a few bugs and some new icons.

So now you're ready to launch your model into SketchUp. At first you're simply looking at what appears to be a photomatch scene. Images watermarked into SketchUp's workspace. You'll immediately notice that the world axis is pointing in some strange directions. Not really conducive to modeling accurately. I found that placing a point in Photoscan, that could be seen in multiple images, and assigning 0,0,0 xyz coordinates to it remedied this.

Now comes the fun part modeling. Because you've all the features in Amorph, plus some extra functions, you can create accurate shapes quickly. The most noteworthy feature that's in the new release is the 'Image Based Surface-Modeler. This takes the image and camera parameters that were calibrated in Photoscan and magically, through either voodoo or mathematics (probably the latter), matches a mesh to an underlying image. Prior to this you could use Amorph's Line/Curve matching tool to adjust geometry to match an image. But the Surface-Modeler has sped up the process tenfold. In the image opposite you can see how i went from a flat subdivided mesh to a very accurate approximation of the underlying image without having to lift a finger...sort of. Launching the 'Image Based Surface-Modeler' brings up a secondary toolbar which allows you to perform 5 functions Initial Estimate Single-Segment Surface Multi-Segment Surface Refine Estimate Upsample Mesh

18


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

A typical workflow is to draw a rectangle/square where you want to image match. Subdivide it using the 'Upsample Mesh' then 'Lock Vertices'. Move to another scene that allows you to see the same area and use 'Initial Estimate'. Depending on the level of subdivision this can take seconds to minutes. Once complete you're shown a series of green '+' to red '-' at each vertex that represent the quality of matching to the image. This can be further improved through either 'Single-Segment Surface' or 'Multi-Segment Surface' passes. These basically improve the results depending on whether the mesh can be unfolded or not. The final step is to 'Refine Estimate' which further improves the quality of the match. Once complete you move onto the next patch and repeat. It took twice as long to type this as it did to perform it in SketchUp! But the result is pretty impressive and the fact that you've still all the Amorph features to use it really means great results. In the previous version you could use the 'J' and 'K' keys to match curves to images. Whilst a good feature it was slow to do on large models.

But new in this release is 'Smart Surface' matching. It similar to the 'Image Based' mode except it's a lot more manual. You can use the Tgi3D 'Move' tool to align vertices to images and use the 'N' key to match both the current image and the 'Locked Vertices' image. I was surprised at the results as it allowed you to really define details that may have been missed.

to invest time to understand how to get the best output. The user manual while detailed does leave you with some unanswered questions. It lists each tool but doesn't quite explain how to apply it's features to best effect. The team at Tgi3D are working hard at producing some tutorials that show it's capabilities and just how easy it is to get to grips with. I don't think you could write a review and not mention the price. Photoscan is $999. Now, that may seem pricey and not what we're used to seeing associated with SketchUp plugins. But remember this isn't a plugin. It's a standalone application that has Amorph bundled in.

I think the main advantage with the Tgi3D tools is the control you have over your modeling. Whether hi-poly or lo-poly you still have the ability to produce great results. Now when you add all the functions of Amorph into the mix, like 'Smart Texturing', 'View Lock', 'Upsample' to mention a few, you really are given a total solution to modeling organically and accurately in SketchUp without drastic filesizes. What I did find, with using Photoscan, is that you do need

So is it worth it? That's really down to personal preference. If you look at it's competitors it's pricing is one of the lowest. That it works within SketchUp is another advantage coupled with the fact the it is easy to use and has tons of extra features that other photogrammetry applications don't have. If you read the Amorph review in the last edition of CatchUp you'll know that Amorph is an extremely powerful plugin. But the added features in the Photoscan/Amorph version really do allow for remarkable results.


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

"I no longer have to sit in a blacked out room adjusting numerous pieces of equipment" 20


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

bjorn kare

NILSSEN

uluรง

PAKBEN

Very active forum member Bjorn Kare Nilssen, Uluรง Pakben, is an architect at Pakben from Kristiansand in Norway, shares his thoughts Architecture & Restoration Ltd, a long established firm specializing in surveying, restoration and on Photoscan. reconstruction of historical buildings. He shares "As a long time photogrammetry user it was a sad day when his thoughts on how Photoscan has aided his my preferred program, ImageModeler, was sold, and then approach to projects. withdrawn into the dark shadows of the Autodesk realm - now only available to the Max/Maya crowd.

"Early in 2011, we tested PhotoScan on a previously completed restoration project of the historical stock It was a revelation when I found that Tgi3D had a solution, exchange building in Izmir, Turkey. The measurements PhotoScan/Amorph, and that it was even working right inside were taken by total station and laser meter in the original my favourite modeler SketchUp. It didn't take many hours into project. the 30-day trial period before I was hooked. This wasn't just a substitute for ImageModeler and PhotoModeler, but much more powerful, allowing me to recreate forms that I would never even have attempted with the other programs. At the same time allowing creation of new objects right inside the photogrammetry scene, using both the powerful Tgi3D tools and all the other SketchUp tools and plugins. Works great also for a lot more than photogrammetry!"

Even though the original photographs were not taken with PhotoScan workflow in mind at the time, we were able to use them for calibration and measurement to compare the results with that of the measurements of the original project with total station and laser meter. All the measurements we had with total station and laser meter fell within the confidence interval Tgi3D SU PhotoScan Calibration Tool reported for its measurements.

Tgi3D SU PhotoScan is easy to use even if you are not familiar with photogrammetry. Compared to other photogrammetry tools, the fact that Tgi3D SU PhotoScan does not require pre-calibration for cameras and/or fixed focal length, makes the process simpler and streamlined. I was pleasently surprised with the level of accuracy achieved on measurements from photographs. I feel that, with a powerful SLR camera and wide angle lens, PhotoScan makes the whole process much easier, faster, and cost effective with less time spent on the field, compared to A former Ceramic Artist/Sculptor who's thought using a total station. All these capabilities and its price in at the Oslo Academy of the Arts. He started comparison to its competitors makes Tgi3D SU PhotoScan an attractive tool for individuals, like myself, who require with 3D on Atari in 1986 as tool for architectural photogrammetry tools in their usual line of work."

Bjorn, who kindly donated some images for the review, is a custom software developer and 3D freelance artist since 1992, working with animations, archviz, photogrammetry, reengineering, design and also works with photo/ panoramas/VR tours.

ceramic projects, then 3DS and later trueSpace on PC. SketchUp user/fan since 2003. He is also pursuing his M.Sc. degree in Restoration at Architecture Department, Dokuz http://bknilssen.no Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey.


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

Part modeled from photographs so that the acquired specifications could be used for in-house repair purposes

The curvature of this propeller blade made it hard to take measurements and model by hand


TGI3D SU PHOTOSCAN review

Having used 'Home' Laser Scanners in the past I can safely say this is as accurate. Not to mention that I no longer have to sit in a blacked out room adjusting numerous pieces of equipment. All you need is a digital camera, a cloudy day and an object to get you started. What is worth noting is that Photoscan works on shiny objects like plastics, glass or metals where other applications advise you to steer clear of. That may seem trivial but if you've struggled with this type situation before then you'll know why this is worth mentioning. Overall my experience with both Photoscan and Amorph is very positive. I do encourage members to download the 30 day trials to see for yourselves. While the initial learning curve is steep it is worth investing time with this. There are no other applications that work so streamlined with SketchUp and give the user such control. by Rich O'Brien


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins

Over the last few months members at SCF have enjoyed John Higgin's (tadema) inspiring posts in the Gallery. Whether quaint cottages or derelict farmyards John's unique approach to both modeling and rendering always draws attention. We were privileged to get a 'Behind the Scenes' look at John's workflow. From scene setup to material tweaking, I'm sure you'll agree that it's a great insight into getting quality output from Sketchup and Vray. John, from Hartlepool in the United Kingdom, is by trade a ceramic tiler who's love affair with SketchUp began 3 years ago when he wanted to create a Bird Shed in 3D. Since then both his skills and style have flourished. Here, John shows how he approaches a typical scene. Read on....

24


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins

I’d like to make a village street type scene, so first a ground plane grouped, then block out buildings each grouped. This way all the blocks can be moved to approximate positions. Now two perspective lines to roughly represent the kerb line. I add colour so it shows up in a quick render. Next moving to the grouped blocks, working on each building at a time until I’m happy. It’s important to set your scene as soon as your happy. Later on in the render you can always replace an element that you not happy with. Using a proxy of other parts to cast shadows ect, is a lot quicker than re-rendering the full scene from scratch.

26


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins

It’s a great deal easier to adjust your textures before you render them. Below is just two textures worked in Photoshop, the stone texture to look white-washed. I usually alter most textures. A plain gray texture with its edges “burnt” makes a simple paving slab. As I place each texture a quick small render is made, if the texture needs altering now is the time.

27


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins

Working through the model, applying each texture and making frequent test renders until it is complete. Below is the finished model before a final better quality render. I placed PNG trees behind the church to cast shadows on the road.

28


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins

The final rendered image is ready, so in Photoshop I use separate layers to replace the sky, add vegetation and dirt etc until I’m reasonably happy with the final image.


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins


FEATURED MEMBER john higgins


Free 30 day trial


INDUSTRY INTERVIEW thomthom

So good they named him twice! We get to find out about Cookies, plugins and updates. Plus lots mores!.... You've an unlimited budget and time what plugin or feature would you make? There are two large projects: Plugin Manager - Install/ Update/Uninstall plugins. Integrated with plugin repositories. It's been a project I've wanted to do for a very long time, but as I've sketched down everything that needs to be done for this I've found it to become very extensive and time consuming. Especially as it also needs repository integration, which would mean developing such a system. And with limited time, other plugins has gotten priority. The other plugin would be UV mapping tools. There is so many tools and features in this area which SketchUp needs. The trouble is that the SketchUp API can be limiting in some areas - which makes it and extra challenge. Also, my knowledge of the math and techniques required up to par. oh... and a UI manager to customize menus and toolbars.

35

What's the cookie business about? It's my version of sharing freebies. There are many other schemes, freeware, cardware etc - but I figured I'd try out cookieware. Though it hasn't worked so well. So far I've not received a single physical cookie. :( What tips would you give to people considering delving into scripting? Look at some simple introduction tutorials that describe the general concepts of programming. This is the biggest barrier to break when starting to program or script. Once one has gotten a grasp of the general concepts it's easy to learn various languages. Start with small simple tasks to keep thing from growing out of hand too quickly. When you run into a problem that seem impossible to solve, try to break it down into a few very simple steps and observe where things break. And keep looking for articles and blogs about best practices as you'll learn a lot of what not to do from others.

Vertex Tools is one of your most popular plugins, is there anything we can expect for it in the future? Yes, I have in fact an update brewing. There are some minor bug fixes and a few new features such as a manipulator gizmo to quickly move/ rotate/scale selected vertices. In additions there are new commands to merge selected vertices, merge vertices within a given proximity of each other. The latter I've found very useful when cleaning up imported geometry where there are vertices only a couple of millimetres away from each other that makes the geometry hard to handle. There will also be non-uniform scaling which is sorely needed. The full feature list of 1.1 is still a work in progress. Any other commercial plugin in the 'todo' pile? BezierSurface, a project that has grown a lot since I first began experimenting with it. It's a toolset that lets the user modify geometry using bezier patches to build surfaces. The big benefit is that it's all parametric so you can go between low poly to high poly in an instant. I'm very excited about this project and I hope to be able to release new work in progress information and videos soon.


INDUSTRY INTERVIEW thomthom

"...mostly I'm snooping around plugins..."

36


INDUSTRY INTERVIEW thomthom

Who's scripts do you dig around in most?

What do you do away from SCF?

It's not so much who's plugins, but what type of plugins. When I began I poked about in just about every plugin to see how people made them.

I work as a modelmaker and visualization artist at an architectural office. Trained in physical modelmaking, but my recent work-life has been pretty much all digital.

These days I'm mostly snooping around plugins that has some clever algorithms like the fur and ivy plugins. Are there any plugins that GSU should integrate? I don't really think they should. I like to be able to pick and choose my own set of tools for SketchUp. I want it to remain basic. Let me choose how to bloat it. What would really be needed is a plugin manager, that let people install, update and remove plugins with ease. And preferably linked up to a repository for easy discovery of plugins - something that would increase the visibility of SketchUp's extremely useful plugin system. As it is now it's too hidden away from most users. Higher visibility of the plugins, more users will find it - so will developers that will make more tools.

37

Which plugin made you say 'Damn, I wish I thought of that?' Fredo's plugins when he introduced GUI that was drawn directly in the viewport. I like how it was used to display tools to the user only when they where needed. Plus they allowed for more complex UI than menus and toolbars. Star Wars or Star Trek? Trek Wars - cut and paste bastardisation of the both, producing epic battles between Q and Yoda. Maybe throw in a few scenes of Chuck Norris for the grand finale. by Rich O'Brien


INDUSTRY INTERVIEW thomthom

38


MAYOR MIKE'S GADGET gopano micro

Again I am writing about another gadget for my iPhone! As I have said in the past, I now use the iPhone for most of my photos and videos because its always to hand and the lens quality is now quite good also the iPhone 4 has a flash. Nothing quite like a good flash! While there are some excellent apps available for panorama making with the iPhone, they only take still photos and offer no video capture option. I have been following development of the GoPano micro for some time. I came across it on KickStarter and signed up for a GoPano. The original funding target was $20,000, however they reached $169,209 from 2,685 Backers within the timeframe. I was not alone in my quest from a 360º camera for the iPhone. The GoPano Micro is now at the manufacturing stage and I am looking forward to getting my hands on it and making some cool 360º interactive movies. Maybe some ‘Google Street’ style videos!

39

The GoPano device is attached to the iPhone then one records using the free 360 video app. The GoPano Micro will record everything all at one time. After the video has been recorded its possible to review the video from any perspective with a simple swipe of the screen. Its also possible to pan and zoom! The app will allow for uploading of the video on a web platform (in the making) and share the videos as well. Others will also be able to view uploaded videos via the Web also. For the tekkies reading this, I understand the GoPano micro lens uses an equiangular mirror composed of aluminium substrate to complete a panorama image simultaneously. I won't elaborate any further -:^

The GoPano project is headed up by Michael Rondinelli of EyeSee360. This company has been making panoramic tools for more the past 10 years and has a lot of expertise in this area. It was started at the Cargegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. Many experts are saying that 360 interactive video is the ‘missing link’ in broadcasting video as sound was to the silent movies and colour to the black and white TV. Yes, there was a time when TV had no colour! Pricing is advised to be in the $80 region plus shipping, not to bad at all compared to the other options on the market in the region of $700+. by Mike Lucey


LUMENRT review

Nowadays SketchUp users overwhelmed with different rendering applications capable of high quality output both in still images and animation. While 'Real Time' walkthrough applications are not that numerous there are more and more affordable solutions and the good news is that many of them run on an average computer. One of the newest products in this line is LumenRT by e-on software. Available in both 32 & 64 bit for Windows XP, Vista and 7 as well as Intel Mac OS X platforms. Though a 64 bit system is highly recommended for authoring LiveCubes as 32 bit systems are fine for playback. LumenRT is either CPU or GPU intensive depending on the task being performed. The pre-processing phase is CPU intensive while the navigation and viewing process is GPU intensive. The computer I tested it on has an Intel Core2 Duo E8400 processor at 3 GHz and an NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT at 1GB with Windows Home 32 bit OS – i.e. nothing special!

The basic concept of LumenRT is to render an interactive “live cube” that you can share with anyone and launch on any capable computer (512MB video card memory is required). This allows architects to share high-quality, real time environments with high fidelity visualization and accurate lighting, shadows and reflections but without sharing the source model files with clients. LumenRT’s output is fully interactive and will run on any computer without special viewing software making it easy to share designs and collaborate with anyone. The output can be navigated interactively in a self guided fashion using either the gamelike, walkthrough mode, or explored using a 3D style orbit mode similar to how programs like SketchUp operate. In addition, LumenRT LiveCubes can employ animation paths which allow you to direct and present the viewing experience in a predictable, predefined manner. The animation mode is also useful for self-running, kiosk style presentations.

Some of LumenRT's features are:

key

• High fidelity, photo-realistic 3D viewing • Accurate lighting, shadows and reflections • Fast interactive 3D viewing performance • Runs on any machine – no special viewing software required • Incredibly simple, pushbutton operation • Automated rendering output from both SketchUp Pro and Free • Display greater details with accurate lighting and shadows • Share models with anyone effortlessly • Explore and interact with models in real-time • Gain deeper insights on model features and aesthetics • Create interactive 3D walk-through's and presentations that will impress your clients


LUMENRT review

The rendering process is fully automated and requires no user intervention. Models are exported directly from inside SketchUp to the LumenRT application which runs as a background process. LumenRT uses the SketchUp geometries and materials along with the lighting, viewing and animation parameters directly from the model file.

LumenRT certainly has limitations however. With the current, generally available computing power (both CPU while generating the live cube and GPU when navigating in the rendered live cube), models that contain more than 500,000 faces (e.g. cities, models with lots of 3D entourage) are not recommended for LumenRT processing.

"easy to s h a r e designs and collaborate w i t h anyone� 42


LUMENRT review

Also, the LumenRT preprocessing time depends strongly on the total surface area of the model. A warning will appear whenever you try to process models with a total surface area over 4,000 square meters (roughly 40,000 sq/ft). The time required to process such models may become prohibitive (well, the message pops up but, unless the scene is really extremely large or complex, LumenRT would eventually export it successfully on my puny machine detailed above). LumenRT will try to “guesstimate” certain material properties by itself. Anything that has transparency assigned to in the SketchUp material editor will be regarded as transparent glass with realistic reflections or any material with the word “Water” in it will be transformed to water and LumenRT will automatically add gentle ripple and caustic effects. Also, stone and brick type materials are given a 5% bump effect by default. You can change this setting however by adding a string b=20% for instance to increase bumpiness to 20%. This value of course can be negative too. LumenRT uses the pixel lightness data of the image texture and in case the mortar

is white between darker bricks, you would wish to “reverse” the bump map. Similarly, specular and shininess values can be assigned by adding a s=20% or z=20% string to the material name. So a material named 'Red Brick' in the SketchUp material editor could be assigned bump and specular properties by simply editing the name to 'Red Brickb=20%s=15%'. Some users may think these tools are a bit “primitive” but in fact, they are rather “easy to use” and quick methods to produce fast and stunning results. If you find it too slow to see what change a certain effect makes in the look of a material it is best is to have a small test scene and try different combinations. If you save the material with the modified names, you do not have to worry about setting up them again (these names do not make any difference in SketchUp or other, third party software). Once you are satisfied with your settings, it is a one button click to launch the exporter. You have a range of options here: background (neutral white, bad weather, nice weather and blue sky), pedestal (none, asphalt, grass, sandy and white) and render quality (draft, review, superior and extreme).

When the export process ends, the live cube automatically launches. If you have animation (scenes) in your model, it will automatically start playing it exactly in the way it would do in SketchUp. You can click any time however to start exploring the model by walking around. All reflections (window, rippling water) will be displayed real time. By pressing F1, you get a help screen with the descriptions of the basic navigation controls (start SketchUp scene based animation in presentation or kiosk mode, take a snapshot, walk-through and orbit) but on the right, there are further buttons, too and this is where you can save the animation into a movie file and publish the live cube into a file that can be launched and viewed on any computer.


LUMENRT review

As an overall evaluation of the software: it certainly has it pros and cons. •

• •

extremely easy and quick to set up, the live cube experience can be very exciting yet by sharing it does not mean that you share the source file as well. material control is fairly adequate for the purpose; bumpiness, reflections and water rippling are realistic. collaboration, sharing, presentation is quick and easy presentation mode makes it easy to concentrate on giving the presentation itself while allowing the freedom to interrupt it at any time and interactively zoom in to something, look around or walk in the model not for landscape architects and with more complex (or extensive) models, render time can increase considerably. To make life easier, always test your materials in some very basic scenes. currently LumenRT has only one date and time so animation or scenes with different time of the day / date of the year is not possible yet.

LumenRT is definitely worth its price ($195) and if you can overcome the limitations and concentrate on the advantages it will certainly make both designer and client happy with the beautiful results. You can see some stunning examples here (stills, animations and even the live cubes to download). by Csaba Pozsárkó


CONSTRUCTION MODELING - Step 2

Extrude the scaled drawing into a modelbase deep enough to excavate and start the construction.

CT LE E S

E TH

Right-click the scaled drawing and Explode

GE ED

Then make it a Group while it’s still selected*

On Red Axis

Origin

Select the drawing and Move the benchmark to the Origin

On Green Axis

SEL ECT THE EDG E

Double-click to edit, then use the Move tool to crop

Layout guidelines for the foundation footprint

Drag components in from a component library** 10’-0”

Use Tape Measure to drag out guidelines

Push Pull the drawing to extrude the modelbase*

FOOTNOTES *When you explode and group the drawing it becomes an object that you can edit. **A component library is important to quick and simple construction modeling *The modelbase must be deeper than the depth of the excavation and utilities

Components add a visual scale to the jobsite Refer to the notes and dimensions on the drawing

Plumb lines extend up from the corners of the footprint


Rotate to operate the construction equipment

Intersection

Pieces are staged to simulate the process

Edit group, then use the Rectangle tool to cut the drawing surface

Plumb lines locate stringlines for foundation walls

Use Push Pull to excavate the modelbase

The stringlines are 3D rigs to hang components

Key-in the depth of the excavation as you push down

The “?” icon brings a Help pop-up for the active tool

U-TUBE

We’ll look at the Outliner and piecebased model organization in Step 3

Uniform Scale about Center

Select the edges and Scale from the center*

*Hold down the Ctrl key to scale from the center and form the angle of repose

Some videos tutorials from our books. Cropping Drawings Component Folders Operating Equipment Center Scale

DOWNLOADS

The Step 2 model with the components used to stage these screenshots.


CatchUp Edition 3  

SketchUcation Community News with indepth review, interviews and tutorials from leading SketchUp 3D artists.

CatchUp Edition 3  

SketchUcation Community News with indepth review, interviews and tutorials from leading SketchUp 3D artists.

Advertisement