Friday, August 1, 2008

Day and night studies

By changing the time of day, the mood of the room changes.

Everything here is modeled in Sketchup and rendered in Indigo Render. Items like chairs and tables were downloaded from Google 3D Warehouse.

Interior Spaces

With the right tools already installed in my home computer, I am now ready to do interior renderings. Modelling an interior space is like constructing a real home. The good part is that you do not have to be a really good handyman. You can make as much mistake as you want. To fix it, you just have to undo or delete it. I did 10 renderings for this and the client chose 3 for the poster. This was my first project.

It was fun working with the folks at UrbanGreenLiving. Since this is the first time I'm into this business, it's like Building Reality before it's Real 101.

All the interior space including the Scavolini kitchen were all modeled in Sketchup. All other typical items like fruits, faucets, stove, fridge, table, chairs & bamboo plants were downloaded from the Google 3D warehouse and All the scenes are rendered in Indigo Render.

Using trueSpace and Sketchup

These two free software packages are great. But they have some limitations. Some of the useful features like exporting to another format or rendering are disabled. You still have to buy the Pro version or buy a plug-in that can do the rendering.

Anyway, buying them is not really that painful since they are 95% cheaper than AutoCAD, 3DsMax, Maya and XSI.

trueSpace and Sketchup

I thought Blender was the only free 3d modelling/animation software. There are more. From 1999 up to last month, I never tried typing in 'free' when searching for a 3d modelling software. I thought nobody would just give away their precious work away.

I downloaded and installed these two softwares, trueSpace and Sketchup . How these two became free? Well, just google it!

Fluid simulations using Blender 2.46

Another item that interested me is fluid simulation. What I am trying to do is to do a scene where water is flowing from the spillway or powerhouse of the dam to the river downstream. I was looking for a software that can model fluid flow. Most of the popular 3D modelling and animation packages I looked at like 3DsMax, Maya and Softimage XSI do not have this built in feature. You still have to buy a plug-in called RealFlow from Next Limit Technologies. Each of these software packages cost between $5k to $10k without the plug-in for fluid simulation. To buy one of these to just be able to do the scene is not practical. The company I'm working in is into engineering design and consulting and not with the film industry.

I kept on Googling until I came across Blender . Not only is the software capable of fluid simulation but it is actually free. Before Blender all the modelling and rendering is done at the office. Now I can do it at home. Blender is 3D modelling, rendering and animation for the masses!

The first scene I did was a drop of grey colored liqid falling inside an invisible box.

The next one I did was this liquid flowing through an opening to an invisible pool.

Tsunami test animation.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vue 6

I came across Vue 6 when I tried to look for ways on how to put more trees, plants, clouds, etc. for the environments modelled in CAD software.
The usual way to add trees and plants in AutoCAD is to do a real 3d model of it. There are also plug-ins that use a billboard that has a picture of a tree on it. An example of this is the background of the transmission tower I posted earlier. But AutoCAD is not designed for this kind of work. When the trees in the model I am building reaches a certain number, the computer crashes.
The cool thing about Vue , is that it can place millions of objects inside a scene. Some test modelling and rendering was done using the personal learning edition I downloaded and showed the results to the boss. The company then bought a copy of the software.

I did a test animation of a group of plants and just used the default settings on the software including the light breeze.

Another feature about Vue that I liked is its ability to animate clouds to provide dramatic time lapse scenes.

I did some practice renderings of my company's projects. I need to know how to operate the newly bought software and to prove that the company will save money by having presentation work done in-house. My workstation can handle rendering work running in the background while I am working on my usual CAD drawings.

I tested the water surface simulation of Vue.

I tried a fly by animation.

Another flyby

More flybys

Another more of the same but with different lighting.

Test animation on focusing.

Apartment flyby.

Aircraft test animation

City development test animation.

Test rendering of forest with different times of day

My attempts at animation using AutoCAD

When we are not busy at the office, I always play around with AutoCAD. One day, sometime in August of last year, I decided to try animation. The previous releases of the software does not have any animation capabilities. Every year a new version of AutoCAD is released. Each release has new features not found on previous releases. The latest version we have at the office had animation function in it.

I started out by using simple geometric objects like balls and cubes. I then tried a 3d terrain. Lastly, I did a 3D model of one of the projects we are working on and inserted it to the DEM (digital elevation model) file we have. On this last test animation, I was able to convince our boss that this 3d modelling and animation can now be done in-house rather than having it subcontracted to animation studios.

I did a scene with heavy geometry on it to find if it work. It did work!

I again tried a more geometry heavy scene. This time I placed four transmission towers and dozens of trees. It worked again!

Early work using AutoCAD

From 2001 up to 2007, I only used AutoCAD in making 3d models and environments. Not only that this is the only software I know how to use, but the only one I have access to. My job as a CAD operator gave me the opportunity to explore the capabilities of the program. Even though my company does not require us to do 3d modelling, I just did it as a hobby. It is also nice to maintain another set of skills other than drafting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


When I watched The Matrix back in 1999, I was fascinated by the concept of this computer rendered world that exists only inside a computer.

A few months later I decided to take a 3D modelling and rendering course in AutoCAD (it was the only available course then) to experiment on building virtual objects and environments. And this was the start of my computer generated world.