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Lumion Review / Be3D Pro Review / Interior Design / Boos Clues / Gadgets / Useful Apps / Featured Member / Bungee

Air

SKETCHUP LAYOUT STYLEBUILDER EARTH

Catchup
E DI T I O N 5
SKETCHUCATION COMMUNITY NEWS

Making of the RatBird


Placing a background in SketchUp AirDisplay for the iPad

Management
Mike Lucey - Managing Director
mikel@sketchucation.com

Csaba Pozsarko - Training Director


csabap@sketchucation.com

Octavian Chis- Technical Director


octavianc@sketchucation.com

Richard OBrien - Quality Director


richob@sketchucation

Moderators
Pete Stoppel Chris Fullmer Dave Richards Eric Lay TIG Thomas Thomassen Jean Lemire Jim Foltz Eeva Edson Mahfuz Majid

Contributors
Eric Lay Mike Lucey Julian Carassco Adriana Granados Csaba Pozsarko Dennis Fukai Richard OBrien

On the cover: Rat Bird


courtesy of Eric Lay

Editor: Richard OBrien


Copyright 2011 SketchUcation All rights reserved While the pulisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of of the information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any erros therein

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

his is an intermediate to advanced tutorial. The steps, from beginning to completion, will be explained but not all of the methods of achieving those steps will be. A good working knowledge of the basic SketchUp tools, as well as the plugins mentioned, will be a benefit in following along. For this tutorial I tried to keep the polygon count fairly low for each component of the airplane. Some parts may look segmented because of this. Certainly these parts could be created with many more segments in the arcs or circles but I choose not to for the sake of clarity. Finally before we start, it is a good idea to print the reference image and keep it handy while following this tutorial or to insert it into your model and reference it there. This tutorial was based on an painting by Christian Pearce which you can get here

Lets begin

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Start with the engine cowling. A series of arcs defines the shape then pull it out to create a ring.

Copy the ring then create a profile for the nosing of the cowling. A couple of arcs and lines to close the shape.

Use the follow me tool to finish the cowling nosing. Push the inner surface back a bit to create depth.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

Now copy the ring many more times to represent the body of the aircraft. Here you will use the scale tool along with the modifiers (control and shift) to shape the body. Start with the front of the body where the engine will be.

Continue to shape the body using the scale tool.

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Finish shaping the body as you like. Add a couple of cylinders to represent the flight path of a bullet out of the guns. This will help with the cowling and gun placement.

Add a couple of surfaces behind the cowling. Intersect these surfaces with the cowling.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

At this point it is a good idea to cut your model in half so you only have to work on one side. You will mirror these later. After intersecting the cowling scale the back side if it up a tad then cut an arc through it to allow the bullets to travel. Also cut into the body leaving a portion of the cylinder used for the bullet travel. Then draw some surface lines defining the shape of the gun placement. Now smooth the rest of the mesh on the body and the cowling.

Now start with the wing the same way as the cowling. Create a wing shape profile, push/pull it into a ring then copy that ring many times (21 total in this example).

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Draw an arc with the same number of segments as the wing then extrude the arc up. I used the Extrude Lines tool in the Projections plugin. Position the arc so it represents where you want the back of the wing to end up. The segments do not have to line up exactly with the wing segments, this is just for reference. Now use the scale tool to bring the back side of the wing edge to the projected arc.

Using the same reference arc, place it above and below the wing again for reference when shaping the wing.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

Shape the wing with the scale tool both top and bottom.

Now close in the end of the wing. For this example I closed the face, offset it a couple of times then pulled each face out using the move tool and auto-fold (holding down Alt). A bit of cleanup might be needed as the auto-fold method sometimes creates an odd mesh. At this time you may wish to thicken and stretch the wing using the scale tool on the entire wing as I did in this example.

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Remember to always create groups or components out of yourparts. This keeps them from distorting the mesh in ways you dont want to. I made these components. Now, to bend the wing you will select a portion of the wing and use the rotate tool. Do this a couple of times until you get the desired result. Then move the wing into the body and smooth all but the back edge of the wing mesh. Now for the back wing simply copy a portion of the main wing and paste it aside.

Make the back wing a component then scale and place it where you like then smooth it like the main wing.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

For the tail section make half the shape and mirror it. One of my favorite plugins is the Mirror tool.

Push the tail profile into a ring like the cowling, body and wing then copy the rings a few times.

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Use the scale tool to shape the tail, smooth it, close the end and make it a component. Now make a profile for the cockpit. This example is a simple half circle stretched upward with the scale tool.

Make a series of half rings like before.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

Use the scale tool to taper the cockpit back to the body. To start the windshield copy the arc shape forward, close it in and cut it about midway to form a flat top.

Now draw two vertical lines and pull the middle segment forward to create the basic windshield shape. Connect the windshield to the canopy as shown.

Erase half of the cockpit and make it a component.

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Lower it into the body of the airplane.

For the cockpit framing, draw lines along the surface delineating the frame from the glass. Now use the Joint Push Pull tool to extrude the frame. Smooth the canopy.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

At this point make sure all of your parts are separate components then mirror the entire thing. Now it is starting to look like an airplane.

Draw a support pipe underneath the back wing, make it a component and mirror it to the other side. Move the engine cowling towards the body of the airplane. Create a rectangular plane then draw a path for the exhaust pipe. www.sketchucation.com

BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Use the Pipe Along Path plugin to create the exhaust pipe shape. Make the pipe a component, move it into place then mirror it to the other side.

Now add some details to the pipe like bulges and holes. In the cowling, cut out a profile around the pipe. Add guns to the wing by placing cylinders and intersecting. Start to delineate the wing panels by unsmoothing certain lines. These give definition to the wing and make it look good.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

Intersect the cockpit with the body and cut a hole. Add some detail to the back wing and tail section. Add a plate to the back wing surround. I achieved this with the Tools On Surface plugin and Joint Push Pull Plugin.

Continue un-smoothing lines to finish the paneling of the airframe and cowling. Also, create a side exhaust panel.

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

Start drawing the engine with a circle, push/pull it out, offset, push/pull, scale, etc. until you get something you like. In this example I made a couple of piece that resemble what is in the reference painting.

Copy/Rotate the cylinder so you have 5. Move all the parts inside the cowling. Now start on the propeller like the wing.

Finishing the propeller it is more of the same, scaling and rotating the mesh. Then copy/rotate it just like the engine, so you have 5 propellers.

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BOOS CLUES

ratbird

Now smooth the propeller, add a gun sight, a mirror and a rod mast with wire to the tail.

Now make some bombs and missile racks. For the images on the following pages I removed the propellers and added a png image of propellers in motion. I found some nice textures on CGTextures.com and the pilot was found on the Google3D Warehouse.
by Eric Lay

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BOOS CLUES
ratbird

www.sketchucation.com

BOOS CLUES

ratbird

Fast, accurate and aordable photogrammetry and metrology tool

AMORPH www.tgi3d.com

SU

MAYOR MIKES GADGETS


bungeeair
Kensingtons new BungeeAir could be a real boon to the absent minded among us and Im afraid I fall into that category. Last week I lost my iPhone4 (left in my local Bank) and I felt as if I was missing a limb for a while until I located it. Its the same feeling when I loose my keys. Enter the BungeeAir. This new iPhone accessory could save the day as it warns when you and your iPhone and keys (with fob) are separated. Its basically a two part system that works like this.
The fob (on key chain) warns when your iPhone is no longer nearby. If the iPhone is separated from the fob, it will automatically sound an alarm and engage the screen lock feature on the iPhone. To locate your keys is just a matter of pressing a button on the BungeeAir App and the fob will emit a sound. The reverse also applies, just press the button on the fob and the iPhone will emit a sound.

The fob (dongle) itself will operate for 6 months before a battery replacement is needed. Kensington is launching these products in two flavors, one with a battery: BungeeAir Power and one with, the BungeeAir Protect. Pricing is in the region of $99.99 for the Power and $79.99 for the Protect. Possibly a cheap price to pay if it saved the cost of a new iPhone or expensive car keys, not to mention the inconvenience caused. The only problem I might have is that I could misplace both my iPhone and keys (with fob)! Well, I have thought about this and think the answer might be to team the BungeeAir with the ImWatch, an Android based smart watch that will be launched in less than a month. But thats another Mayor Mikes Gadget ;)

by Mike Lucey

www.sketchucation.com

INTERIOR DESIGN
how to make a look around background

How to place an image as a sky or environment background inside a SketchUp model? This question appears in almost every forum dedicated to Sketchup. As many know adding a background to your SketchUp model allows you add image files to your model and position images such that they act as a background. The way to do it is to save the image to your computer. In SketchUp go to Window > Styles, and choose "edit" in the choices. Select "Watermark" option. Click the "+" sign to add a photo as a Watermark/Background. There is a step through wizard to let you choose different settings. The issue with this procedure is to find a good sky/background photo you can use. And when I say good means that it has to have the same eye level as your model otherwise you will need to move your model up and down to adjust it to the image in the background. Beside this problem if you want to create an animation or look around the image will stay static while your model will vary its position. Below you see some images that explain these drawbacks. If you take a tree as a reference and use the Look Around tool the model will move but the background will not follow it. So this trick has not worked for me especially when I work in an interior space.

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INTERIOR DESIGN
how to make a look around background

An important variable in interior design is the relationship with the environment and the views we have of it from an interior space. Sometimes we can take photos on site and sometimes we need to use panoramic images to show our proposal for a project. If our project is on floor 30 we may need to place the skyline of a city but if we are designing for a glass house the eye level will be completely different. So here are my tips: In case I can take pictures on site: I take several pictures of the background and then use stitching software to combine them in a panorama. I save it in my computer.

I create a rounded shape to wrap my model enough to cover the interior views. If I have just a flat window on one wall the curvature will be much less than if the interior space has views around like this example.

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INTERIOR DESIGN
how to make a look around background

I create a texture and I apply it on a flat face. I adjust its position using fixed pins and specifying it as Projected. Be aware to align the flat face with the width and height of the rounded shape to avoid distortions of the picture or a tiled result. I sample the texture on the flat face and I apply it on the circular one.

I create a scene with the interior view I want to show setting the eye level as I need it. Note in the picture below that the background is too high compared to the model interior view.

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INTERIOR DESIGN
how to make a look around background
To adjust it I move the circular shape in the blue direction until I am satisfied with the result.

Now I can use the Look Around tool and the background will follow my model. Note: If you need a 360 degrees background you can have another circular shape completing a circle or an oval to walk around inside or outside the model. You can even incorporate a designed ground surface when it is needed.

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USEFUL APPS
airdisplay
One can never have enough screen real-estate when it comes to design applications. While I find the 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution of my MacBook Pro adequate for SketchUp, it becomes cluttered when I have a few dialog boxes open and more so when I need a reference image visible on screen at the same time.

The above image shows the MacBook Pro coupled with my iPad running under Avatrons Air Display. The app cab be purchased for $9.99 in the App Store and currently is at version 1.4.2. After downloading the app users then have to visit Avatrons website to download a small accompanying piece of software for their notebook or desktop. Mac OS X 10.5.8, any version of OS X 10.6 or Windows XP/Vista/7 will run the app. Once you have installed and rebooted your machine, youll need to ensure that both your iPad and your computer are on the same Wi-Fi network. If thats not the case (i.e. your machine is using a wired Ethernet connection, for example), you can manually create an ad hoc network to connect them. In my case I found it easier to simply have both on the same Wi-Fi network.

In settings its possible to enable, Move windows back to Air Display and the Touch Input option on the iPad. I always use the latter option as I find gives a nice touchy interactive feeling. I can highly recommend this application/combination as it has increased my productivity a considerable extent simply because it helps in facilitating an uninterrupted workflow.
by Mike Lucey

www.sketchucation.com

HARDWARE REVIEW
lexip be3d mouse
In last months Mayor Mikes Gadgets we briefly discussed Lexips Be3D mouse. Since then Ive tested extensively this piece of hardware to see if it lives up to the Ultimate Tool for 3D claim. Firstly, I had no prior experience with using a secondary device while working in 3D so I borrowed a Connexion Space Navigator off a friend to see how the Be3D mouse compared. If you havent used a secondary device while modelling then it can seem alien at first. In fact it took about a week to adjust to the Space Navigator while the Be3D was slightly quicker but more on that later. The mouse itself is fairly run of the mill to look at. More chunkier than your standard mouse but not like one of those hardcore gamer devices with a million buttons. button locations. Unless you The Be3D Pro is not just can operate the joystick with limited to 3D applications, it your pinky! can also be tweaked for any application somewhat. You On top of the standard just tell it the .exe location of mouse buttons Be3D Pro has the application you want to 4 other buttons. These are all integrate the mouse with and programmable but come with assign buttons for custom certain functions assigned actions. I did run into some depending on the application issues where certain functions youve open. were not happening but an email to the Lexip support is So to the nuts and bolts of using always dealt with promptly. it. First youll need to download the Lexip Control Panel which It comes packaged with resides in your system tray. Its 20+ profiles from Firefox to purpose is to basically load Zbrush so its not a one trick particular profiles based on pony. If you keep the Control the application your using. So Panel open while swapping for SketchUp it loads a pre- between applications you can installed button layout to start see it swap between these with. profiles. This does come at a small price though. Opening The joystick forward/back Task Manager you see it uses will zoom in/out, up/down between 80 to 100 mb. Not will tilt and the remaining a major issue but if your buttons allow you to pan, go concerned about this type of to Top view or ISO view. These behaviour then its food for are all configurable from the thought. Control Panel but at the time of writing it was in French. So So to the 6 degrees of some translation is needed if Freedom or navigating in 3D you want to tweak to buttons. part. This is done via a slightly different means whereby the The level of customisation mouse itself is mounted or is quite deep with keyboard floating on its base. I suppose shortcuts, combined shortcuts the best way to describe it and a whole lot more that would be to compare to a ball allow you to setup your mouse and socket joint. You pivot the to suit your needs. These upper shell about the mouse custom profiles can also be base. An interesting concept saved so you can setup the but does it work? perfect profile based around particular workflows. www.sketchucation.com

Currently its Windows only but a Mac version is on the cards in the near future. Lexip also plan to release a wireless version at some stage but for now its wired. Its also for right handed users because of

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HARDWARE REVIEW
lexip be3d mouse
The 6 DOF actually works quite well. Its very natural to tilt and pivot your wrist in order to orbit around a model in SketchUp. You are well aware of how easy it is to navigate in SketchUp with a standard mouse. But on large models it can get a tad tedious constantly rolling the middle mouse button or clicking and dragging the mouse around. This is where the Be3D Pro shines. With the zoom and tilt assigned to the joystick what I noticed immediately is hyperzoom is no longer an issue. Regardless of where your cursor is on the workspace the Be3D Pro zooms smoothly and because it is analogue it allows total control over zoom/tilt speed. The orbiting feature does take time to get used to but, like the joystick, its very smooth to control. By preselecting geometry in SketchUp the Be3D Pro uses this selection as the source of the orbit or zoom. This feature I found particulary useful with continued use. It did mean adjusting what are normal habits with a standard mouse to get the most from it. But perseverance does yield impressive gains in modeling time. What I did find initially in the test was a natural tendency to gravitate towards my regular www.sketchucation.com mouse. The Be3D Pro felt awkward and cumbersome to get to grips with. But so too did the Space Navigator. In fact the Space Navigator was something that I just couldnt adjust to as having two hands preoccupied meant constant toing and froing to the keyboard. The Be3D Pro at least allows you to keep a hand free for keyboard access. Overall, I found the Be3D Pro a great mouse for modeling. It doesnt reinvent the wheel but it approaches navigation from a unique slant. Like any new device theres a bedding in period but after prolonged use it becomes natural and fluid to use with SketchUp.

by Rich OBrien

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

graduated from architecture school in Paris Val De Seine in 2007. Almost immediately I went to Sydney, Australia to work in an architecture firm. I spent two years in a small company called Gordon+Valich Architects where i worked on different projects like housing hospitality dwellings competitions and public projects. We were only three people and I was project manager but it was amazing to be able to work on all the different steps of a project which is completely impossible in a bigger company. After two years I did three houses, one school, two restaurants and two competitions, the UTS Sydney UNI and the Boral Competition.

Before going to Australia I was already working for a company called Atelier SoA, which is also a small office but quite famous now, you can have a look at there website which is quite interesting. That company is really specialised in a sustainable approach of architecture. Now, Im working for ENIA architects where I have worked on the two night clubs in Paris.

Floating District

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

I passed my I degree without drawing any line on AutoCad!

discovered sketchup 8 years ago and it was a revelation for me. I wont talk about why I like SketchUp, cause everyone knows, but for me it was a revolution compare to the old standards. During eight years Ive been facing people who were telling me that SketchUp wasnt good enough to make detail or to communicate a project. They were so wrong! They were thinking that because it s simple it cannot do the same thing as 3DS max. I think, in terms of architecture, SketchUp is way enough to model a nice and detail project. Also, something I started to do was exporting .dwg files to get plans elevations and sections from my models. I passed my degree without drawing any line on AutoCad! Everyone was thinking it was AutoCad plans and elevation. I saved up so many hours by doing that ! Using all the different plugins, you have the ultimate software! Just to say something : all that im showing you are my personnal works but i ve been working on more than 100 projects in the last 5 years. I worked from studio to huge airports and sketchup can handle any type of projects. Also it can be usefull when you want to draw details etc at a 1/20 scale.

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

Space Centre

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

rehabilittion of an 50s residential quarter in Paris by Julian Carrasco & Florent Stanovici

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

St.James, Sydney

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco Boral

Container House

Using all different plugins you have the ultimate software

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

Here Julian shares his setup for SU Podium...

In Styles :
Put a blue sky 95% to the white Put front faces to yellow 95% to the white Profile Edges 1 When youre exporting a JPG from SketchUp keep in mind the resolution export. This is important if you want to use different layers in Photoshop, one from SketchUp and one from SU Podium. This will give another style with SketchUp edges that I really like. To get that rendering I export a black and white picture from SketchUp without shadows just to get the edges in front of the podium rendering.(do not put sky and shades in style section) Also do not put two points perspective as SU Podium doesnt handle it. It will change your point of view and wont match with your SketchUp export.

In SU Podium settings :
Choose background set in SketchUp Always click on APPLY after changing anything Activate shadows in skp Activate Caustics Some objects or components must be exploded to be rendered in podium otherwise there are textures pb.(always face camera components)

Dont forget to use the different preset settings that you can get on podium website. The light quality is excellent. A bit of post production in Photoshop and thats it! Anyway, I hope youll like this little incite about SketchUp/Podium workflow. If you have more questions just ask me.

by Julian Carrasco

FEATURED MEMBER
julian carrasco

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion

eside the many ray tracing, photo-realistic rendering applications, SketchUp users are overwhelmed nowadays, there are more and more so called real-time engines as well which use different techniques to render architectural (or any other) scenes. By today, hardware development reached a point where an average user can afford a computer that can perform well enough for these demanding applications. Below is a summary about a fairly new (less than a year old) program called Lumion which I have been testing and using for real projects for about half a year now. My computer specs are fairly average; 32 bit Windows XP + SP 3, 4Gb (on a 32 bit system, ~3.4 Gb) RAM and a 1Gb Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT video card. The whole machine is over two years old and it was not a top-notch computer even when I purchased it. My modelling application is SketchUp 8 (Pro). Whoever knows me from the forums can tell

that I am not a rendering guru by any means so this whole review is that of an average user with an average computer. Also, I am not member of any Beta testing group of Lumion so whatever is written below is a collection of my own experience and what could be picked up on the Lumion Forums. Lumion came out at the end of 2010 and since two Service Packs have also been released. Under the Service Packs, there are also so called Maintenance Releases we are at Service Pack 2, Maintenance Release 8 at the moment. With each Service Pack and Maintenance Release, there are of course the regular bug fixes but also, new features appear every time, too, so what we can tell is that Lumion is a quite actively developed application. Version 2 is expected to come out some time at the end of this year (maybe already in November but almost certainly by December) with many new features.

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion
is developed by also Lumion development softwareAct-3D,would developer of Quest3D, another visual 3D and game which Lumion Basic and keep adding Plugins to his/ her license. Once five plugins (at the moment it means all five available) have been purchased, the license will automatically turn into Ultimate. From now on, all remaining (future) Plugins are freely available for the Ultimate user. The system may sound a bit convoluted but since it was introduced (with SP 2), I have been thinking about it and find it logical and useful. If one knows what I do (archaeological reconstructions), can imagine that I would not really need (modern) cut-out / silhouette people in my scenes but the Special FX plugin with fire and smoke effects came in extremely handy.

otherwise be rather pricey for an average archviz freelancer or even a medium size office. Lumion employs many of the techniques applied in Quest3D to enable us to use an affordable solution. Licensing

Lumion has a sort of Floating license i.e. you can install it on as many computers of yours as you wish but only one instance should be used at a time. This is also enforced with activating your instance when you are logged in on the Lumion site (therefore activation needs a live Currently the following plugins are available: internet connection) but in order to do so, first you have to make sure to deactivate it on the Trees and Plants which means 250+ extra other machine before Lumion is activated. plants as the Basic version boasts with some Other than the activation/deactivation 140+ plants itself and which also comes process, Lumion does not require a live internet with a swarm of flies, butterflies and a cloud connection. of dandelions for some special effects. Versions

People and Animal Pack some 170+ silhouette people and animals with different Lumion like many game engines, as it uses colour and transparency options. a game engine is Windows only and uses DirectX (currently version 9) as its 3D display Movie Effects Pack again, as additional application. It comes in three flavours: Free, effects to the already available ones in Basic and Ultimate (for a complete comparison Lumion Basic like depth of field, lens flare, of the three versions, please refer to this paint effects or smart sharpen effect. chart where you will also find a complete list of features at the bottom of the page). Special FX Pack my favourite with water fountain, fire, smoke, fog, dust, steam all The Free version is basically a sort of trial customizable. version without time limit: it contains many but of course, not all the features of the Basic and Environment and Weather with waterfall even the Ultimate versions and has only some material and ocean (customizable colour, limitations like export size (720p for animation, waves and turbidity). 1080p for stills), bears a (not too intrusive) watermark and of course it is not supposed to be used for commercial purposes however a perfect tool to fully evaluate the program and get the feeling of working in Lumion. The difference between the two, commercial versions are the Plugins. Currently there are five plugins in Lumion but according to the development team, they are planning to add four or five more. The way it would go from Basic to Ultimate is this: one can start with

PRODUCT REVIEW
Some of the other Plugins that there are rumours about on the forums, in the development inside info area (I cannot add too much details here as there are none available): Artificial / interior lighting (this is something Lumion lacks for the time being) Animation currently it is possible to animate objects as well as to import animated objects but this seems to be developed further Sound effects like stereo sounds placed here and there and when we walk about, can hear the birds singe from left and right Technology
Special Effects Pack People and Animal Pack

lumion

Since Lumion uses a sort of game engine, the way it renders the scenes is quite different from the way ray-tracing applications do. Here the method is not physically correct and the result is not created by shooting photons so if you is aiming for a perfectly photo-realistic application for product rendering like furniture or glass-ware, Lumion is not what you should go for. Lumion uses a so called live cube where reflections, shadows and all are the result of some approximation and the hardware resource needs are decreased to the possible minimum. If I wanted to explain to another non-technically oriented user, I would say instead of physically accurate rendering, everything is faked here. I know the word fake is too hard but this is how Lumion can be extremely fast at rendering. Also things do not look fake only the technology fakes otherwise time consuming, ray tracing effects. Maybe we should keep calling it approximation instead.
Depth of Field effects

Ocean effects

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion

t also employs a level of detail (LOD) engine so that whatever is in the very far background, will not tax the system so much but whatever is in front of the camera is rendered more realistically and detailed. It disregards what is out of the view-port thus speeding up the rendering process although in movie mode, you can add some extra frame edge to add influences of objects, weather / sun and such, just outside the view-port. This will of course add to rendering time but can make certain effects such as ambient occlusion shadows and "God rays" appear more realistic. You can customize most settings to your needs. If you wish to display shadows in a bigger range, you can set them to display and in this case performance is not even affected since it basically changes the shadow resolution as well as the distance from the camera where high resolution shadows become lower resolution shadows only, to keep the memory consumption as optimal as possible. Same with reflections, ambient occlusion shadows etc. Lumion uses GPU for rendering. This means that it can be extremely fast but of course, speed and performance in any way will depend on the video card you have. As said above, my card is a fairly average video card and what I experienced with Lumion was very pleasing. Several SketchUp models (altogether around 50 Mb) exported to Lumion, thousands of trees inserted and a 2-minute, Full HD (1920x1080 pixel) video at 30 fps exported in some 15-16 hours (basically overnight). With any of the applications I have tried so far, this would have taken weeks. Some of the fancy features that I know are

important and interesting for an average user like myself note that many of these features are only apparent in exported movies since dynamic objects that move will obviously not move in a still image (moving things are marked with an asterisk* for simplicity):

Weather Editor

Plant Library

Landscape Editor

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion

Configurable weather: wind*, clouds*, fog*, sun* i.e. the whole environment is dynamic. In movie mode, you can add God rays, different environmental changes, time of the day change etc. Hundreds of plants* (trees, bushes, water plants, grass, weeds etc.) with different, automatic level of detail and which all react to the environment (i.e. they move when there is wind) . 3D people* and animals* that you can use to populate your models with. Birds are flying around (be careful where you insert them), fish are swimming, horses grazing, people walking and talking. 2D cutout people and animals for those traditional looking architectural visualizations. Terrain sculpting and painting tools terrain materials are procedurally applied to the terrain. When there is some sharp elevation in the terrain, rock material is automatically added the level when it starts being added is configurable. Terrain painting will add a nicely looking transition area between different terrain materials. Import mesh and paint it as terrain nicely blending it into the Lumion terrain. When you need some accurately shaped terrains (imported from SketchUp), you can easily blend it into the Lumion terrain however there is some place for further development here (see below). Import of height-map as terrain with some limitation (size and height) you can import a gray-scale image which then will create a Lumion terrain onto which you can start inserting your imported models. Import light-maps to light your interior scenes (currently there is no artificial lighting in Lumion see further info about Version 2 below however). To be honest, other than seeing some users experiment with lightmapped scenes from LightUp and 3DS Max, I have no experience with this yet. Different water* effects (available in the Basic package as well as scattered in different Plugins) like inserting a scalable water plane into Lumion itself (from the Terrain tools), turning any material exported from SketchUp into water (like the surface of a swimming pool) when such a water is slanting (like a cataract) and waterfall* material is used, it will nicely fall as one would expect; ocean* with waves, turbidity, wind direction, different fountains* etc. all dynamically animated in the scenes.

With the latest build the world origin is marked with a coloured co-ordinate system at the origin (the y and z co-ordinates are swapped compared to SketchUp but we know there are systems that work this way) and when moving objects, their coordinate in space are also displayed. These technically looking changes have been introduced in favour of users who need some reference points that they are used to in their modelling applications. Import SketchUp models as dae (or fbx, obj 3ds exported from SketchUp Pro). You can assign pre-defined Lumion materials to your imported model or tweak the imported material itself with additional normal map and different material feature sliders like bump, reflection, Fresnel, scale, rotation etc. From these imported models, one can even create a model library of his/her choice although some basic, additional models are also contained in the program. Imported models can be perfectly and accurately aligned in Lumion using their SketchUp origin as insertion point in Lumion (just like components in SketchUp have insertion points by default, their component origin). Any inserted object (imported model or native Lumion content) can be animated with basic tools (this currently means moving objects along a straight line like walking people, moving cars or rotating them). If you decide to change something in your SketchUp model, there is a possibility to reload the model in Lumion thus you do not lose whatever material tweaks you have done so far but the changes are simply added to the already imported model (see some issues with this feature below however). Export still images up to 7680x4320 pixels and animations up to Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) at ~30 fps in mpeg4 format or image sequence. As was said above, due to GPU rendering and the extensive use of the LOD technique, these exports can be extremely fast compared to other technological solutions. 3D output for side-by-side, stereoscopic 3D movies these movies then can be played back with different stereoscopic technologies. These stereoscopic 3D movies can be uploaded directly to YouTube for instance, for 3D viewing using a variety of technologies, including nVidia 3D Vision. The program also allows an interactive tour as presentation although here the user has to be careful as performance is highly dependent on hardware (i.e. the video card). Also, the LOD engine will start degrading details much earlier here than in export mode so too extensive models may cause problems for the time being. The ultimate solution will be an export function to a standalone walk-through executable.

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion
Some cons or rather features that SketchUp users may wish to see in the program as it is now, at the stage of current development. Note that these are very subjective and I collected them only on the basis of my own experience and possible needs as well as reading forum posts of other users. Also, many of these are already on the radar of the development team and are acknowledged as potential (or probable) fields of future development and additional features / fixes.
Although we can import meshes and paint them as Lumion terrain, there are some problems with this: Painting only works in top view because when we are in a side view, painting can be misplaced. The top view workaround works but tedious. If someone works on fairly flat terrains, this annoyance is minimal and will not cause serious problems. Imported mesh terrains cannot be edited with the terrain sculpting tools. One can drop any objects onto the terrain (useful when we add a bunch at a time but they are not aligned perfectly) however this cool feature will not work with imported meshes and objects end up somewhere sub-terrain. A feature where imported meshes are fully recognized as terrain would solve this issue as well as the above ones. Again, fingers crossed that it will be introduced one day.

Sometimes there are serious Z-fighting (flickering) issues just like with inexperienced users in SketchUp when they place two faces on top of each other occupying the same space. Here however depending on the distance this Z-fighting can occur even with faces just close to each other (just like edges bleeding through thin objects in SketchUp from a distance). There are ways to overcome this phenomenon using certain customization of the clipping planes and such but some fixes in the core engine will be the ultimate solution. Thanks to the development team also recognizing this as a major drawback, the solution is already on its way and will hopefully be introduced soon. As the current Collada (dae) exporter of SketchUp works, it will rename SketchUp materials to texture0, texture1, texture2 etc. The problem is that when we make some changes in the model then re-export as dae file and reload it in Lumion, the material names are not necessarily export from SketchUp in the same order as they exported before. One can thus end up with the grass on the roof and the roof tiles on the walls (but as per above, this is a SketchUp limitation and not a Lumion bug and annoys users in relation to other, third party programs as well). SketchUp Pro users therefore should use fbx for instance to export their models to Lumion and Free users now have a new Plugin by Aerilius to export their models to Collada with texture names retained. An ultimate solution would be an own exporter for Lumion however (also see below). Lumion can import animation in the Collada or fbx format. It would be extremely cool if SketchUp could export any kind of animation in these formats (or actually if SketchUp had any kind of native object animation) at all. There are animation plugins for SketchUp (like SketchyPhysics or KeyFrame Animation or even animation with dynamic components) but non of the exporters can currently export these (however there are built in rendering plugins which can render these animations inside SketchUp). This is of course not a bug but something SketchUp users cannot enjoy in Lumion at the moment. An own exporter would be very nice even if it incorporated any of these animation plugins and would be commercial. Parallel projection (and maybe even two-point perspective) mode. I myself do not use these much but I know architects can go nuts for them. Maybe even section cuts but that's already done by really cutting geometry (Zorro2, SectionCutFace plugins for SketchUp) when it comes to photo-realistic rendering anyway so I would not expect too much effort here. Custom backgrounds (both panoramic backgrounds and plain colours) which should only be added to the GUI actually since the technology and possibility to add our own sky domes with an interchangeable texture already exist (see this forum topic for ideas). Exact camera matching with the SketchUp view-port. Due to the completely different way Lumion works, this may be difficult but I tested a PhotoMatch scene in SketchUp with an exported image from Lumion with pretty nice success already a SketchUp user always has to be prepared for workarounds!. It will be possible however to import static and animated cameras in the future. Custom material library. Although Lumion comes with a rich library of some 300+ built in and optimized materials (with which you can always paint your imported models), I cannot imagine a user that would not like to add his/her custom materials. Of course, when I import a SketchUp model, it comes in with its own, custom materials which I can tweak as I like but currently I cannot save the material itself (although I can save the model with all the tweaks made already). Maybe this is the most needed feature.

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion

ome new features expected in Version 2 (some of these may be Plugins while others may be part of the core application i.e. available in the Basic Version, too). To be honest, here I am just guessing with some of them while others may not make it to the first release of version 2 but this is what I collected from the forums:
More advanced animation (probably coming as a separate plugin ultimate users can already enjoy importing object with basic animation from other programs than SketchUp) Interior / artificial lighting as was said above this is what Lumion does not currently have Walk-through export as a standalone executable (now it would be nice to have a standalone Mac version for architects clients, too, but due to DirectX engine, this may not be the case) 360 degree panorama export (was mentioned but I am not sure it will come in version 2.0) which would allow the production of nice background images either for Lumion itself or other rendering applications but also an easy way to produce interactive tours even on the Internet. The sky will include new cloud types and a night and day cycle with a moon and starsn this will definitely go nicely with the new, artificial lighting system!

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion Summary
With Lumion, the user gets a very fast, very easy to use rendering application. It is not super photo-realistic but has many effects and tools that will spice up any architectural scene even if the model itself is rather poor. A very big plus is the extensive plant libraries and (for contemporary architects) the different people and animal libraries which come with Lumion (lets face it: convincing entourage is the weakest point of SketchUp with its poly count limitation). I could even put this way: if one wanted to purchase only a collection of ~400 3D plants (that Lumion boasts now with), he/she would need to spend about the same amount of money the program (with the additional Plant Pack) currently costs. The environmental effects are stunning. They may be faked but who cares. Moving clouds, waving and moving water with its changing caustics, flying birds, plants reacting to the wind, fog (animated if you want), spraying fountains, time-lapse shadows with animated sun, animated volumetric lighting (God rays and such), burning (animated) fire and turbulent smoke are all so eye catching that they definitely raise the presentation to a higher level. An architect now can concentrate on his design instead of the surroundings. Actively developed. We can see, we have had more than a dozen of releases during the last 10 months. Bugs are fixed fast, new features added in a speedy pace and very important: it seems that we do not have to worry about it becoming abandon-ware as happened with some rendering engines just in the near past. As was said however, it is not a super photorealistic renderer. Also, lacking any artificial lighting (at the moment), it is best for day-time exteriors where you need not worry about light coming from different light sources and directions (although as was said above, lightmaps can be imported and used). Also, lacking precise control over soft shadows may be a lack of important feature for some but as the daytime lighting is always bright in Lumion at the moment, one does not really feel the need for those shadows (although they would be nice of course).

Not a cheap program at least compared to some other rendering applications used by the majority of SketchUp users. The Basic version is 799 and the Ultimate version (i.e. Basic plus five Plugins) is 1,499. But as said above, if you compare what you get (take only the extensive and growing plant and people libraries into consideration), it is not even that Fast. Extremely easy and fast to set up, import horribly expensive (and then take your time a model, tweak its materials, add different into account too). plants, people, water and whatnot and go to movie mode. Here just take snapshots and the All in all, it is an excellent program and if one camera engine will stitch them into smooth can justify the price, it is well worth it. For transitioning movies (forget the jaggy camera hobbyists (or those who wish to evaluate the paths in SketchUp!). One can create as many program), the Free version offers enough to be movie clips as he/she wants and export them enjoyable and useful and for the commercial with several transition effects or separately to user it offers a gradual expenditure according post-process in any third party video editor as to his/her needs. mpeg4 or image sequence files.

PRODUCT REVIEW
lumion

Finally, lets not forget that there is a competition going on until November 1 so you have time to produce something in any of the versions (Free, Basic, Ultimate). The prizes are as follow: 1st prize: $10,000 and a Lumion 2 Ultimate license 2nd prize: $2,000 and a Lumion 2 Ultimate license 3rd prize: $1,000 and a Lumion 2 Ultimate license
by Csaba Poszarko

SketchUcation Launches Mini Publications

ere at SketchUcation we have for some time been working behind the scenes with a number of our forum regulars that wished to produce, what we are calling, Mini Publications. These easy to follow, highly illustrated and informative PDF publications will meet a demand for SketchUp Users in many areas, Furniture Design, Interior Design, Architecture, Landscape Design, Modelling Skills, just to mention a few. The first Mini Publication being launched by SketchUcation is Lets SketchUp by Tom Fenn. Tom has identified, from his experience teaching primary school children and assisting their teachers, a need for a simple to follow book that will appeal to both children and adults with no previous CAD skills. To quote Tom, This book is aimed primarily at absolute beginners, whether that be children or adults, but generally those who wish to use Googles free SketchUp software from a precision design point of view, rather than those who just wish to model in a freestyle fashion.

Tom has most definitely achieved his aim with very easy step by steps. He makes no assumptions about the learners prior skills like other publications. The image below is an example of how Tom explains various concepts. Scale can be a difficult concept to understand when first encountered. Tom makes it easy for the young learner or adult with little or no CAD experience.

This 44 page Mini Publication packed full of step by steps and a Lets Make Bricks project that will get the absolute beginner off to a great start and at only $4.95 a great buy! To instantly download your copy of Lets SketchUp Book 1, click the links below:

$4.95
Multi User

Single User

$9.95

GO TO BOOKS.SKETCHUCATION.COM NOW!

CONSTRUCTION MODELING - Step 4

Modify the formwork to comply with field bulletin, place concrete, then set concrete blocks, anchor bolts and sill plate for the floor framing.
Take-off rebar and formwork with Tape Measure

Resize the pier footing formwork with the Scale tool

Use multiple Move Copy to center Jbar in forms

Use Scale tool to resize the formwork per the bulletin

Scale resizes each component without affecting all

BULLETIN

VolumeCalculator21.rb

PLUG-IN*

Typical field change


Place concrete in formwork as separate groups Right click the concrete block and select Volume

Drag out a Rectangle to match inside of formwork

Note the Inference as you push the rectangle down

Push-Pull the rectangle to bottom of footing

Use Inferences to match formwork corners

Generate a volume for each concrete group

Triple-click to Group and Name the concrete

Set parameters for the volume calculation *Download the plug-in to the Plug-in folder in the main SketchUp program file

Videos from our books. Multiple and divided arrays Scaling Components Anchors and Sills

U-TUBE

Use guide lines and plumb bobs to setup wall

Drag components in from your component library

Volume totals from the plug-in Hide formwork to stage concrete volume groups Use background components to stage the scene Lay the concrete block from the components library

Volume groups nested in each concrete section

Group block in lifts to track quantities Use Outliner to count quantities

Place anchor bolts using geometry of each block

Outliner becomes a materials list for the construction

47 full, 5 half block, standard 1 sack of mortar per 50 block 1 cu yard of grout per 110lf of cell fill 1 cu yard concrete, field mix 4 - 20ft 1/2 rebar, field cut, 7 anchor bolts

Resize to standard lumber lengths for piece count

Rotate lumber component and Scale to fit

Next Edition.....
Of course all your favourites will feature but well keep it festive seeing itll be close to Christmas. But weve two Davids going head to head showing off their wares and techniques. From what Ive seen so far its eye opening to say the least! Were debunking another Plugin but this time its not what you expect....sshhhhh! So thats it for CatchUp#5. Have a great Halloween and see you in December for SketchUcation Team