Watch Site Modeling In SketchUp Tutorial Video

A lot of professional 3D modeling work relates to architectural projects. For large scale developments, there is usually a site development or campus development element in addition to the buildings and other structures. Good site modeling is critical to creating an acceptable model for client projects because the environment needs to complement the structures.

This video comes directly from SketchUp & walks you through the steps to create a site model. Some highlights are how to use a mix of Google Earth & Google Maps views to understand the site; modeling new buildings from scratch; and creating utility scenes for studying.

You expect an official SketchUp tutorial to be pretty sweet and this one doesn’t disappoint. If you’re not into architectural rendering, then this may not be that fun to you, but I think most people doing models will appreciate the techniques and how he shows the capabilities of SketchUp.


If you haven’t already, then make sure you subscribe to the SketchUp YouTube channel.

Watch How to Create Thai Temple Model in SketchUp Pro 2015

Building architectural models from the ground up takes imagination, an eye for detail, and a solid understanding of your tools. In this video, we see a Thai Temple developed in SketchUp 2015 with the addition all the shapes, dimensions, spacing, materials and textures shown.

The video, from JMsketch04’s YouTube channel. It’s longer than most of the videos we share (38:03), but it’s worth the time.

I especially like the order of the modeling with a good use of library assets and a consistent workflow. If you’ve ever tried building a complex models or ones with lots of assets, then you know that you need an efficient process to make sure everything comes together and avoid having to redo work later.

If you’re new to SketchUp modeling or want to learn how to build models more efficiently, then checkout this video.

Where to Find .SKP Files

Regular SketchUp users probably already have a big archive of .skp files to draw on for projects, but sometimes you need something new and it helps if you can grab one rather than building from scratch. I did some wandering around the web and found some sources for .skp files. Some are free and some cost a bit, but the nice thing is that these sites are reliable — you can bookmark them and come back whenever you’re searching.

3DWarehouse – https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/
No surprise you’re going to find SKP files at 3DWarehouse, but it’s worth mentioning that they have a fun mix of models including architecture, people and products.

SketchUp Texture – http://www.sketchuptexture.com/p/3d-sketchup-model.html
SketchUp Texture has several collections of room and furniture models in the SKP format. I liked a lot of the stuff in the Houses and Villas collection. It also never hurts to have furniture models when you’re figuring out interiors.

TF3DM –
These guys have a little bit of everything. The quality can vary, but it’s worth checking out. I’d definitely check here for military vehicles.

SKPWizard – http://skpwizard.com/freeblocks.php
SKPWizard carries a good selection of office furniture models. They also have some vehicles, construction supplies, and electronics. I’ve visit here before starting on an office interior project.

TurboSquid – http://www.turbosquid.com/Search/3D-Models/free/skp
I’d say their free .skp offerings are mostly related to furniture or home decor, but TurboSquid also has some human and animal models, as well as, some building models. Check them out for starter models to practice on.

GrabCad – https://grabcad.com/library/software/sketchup
I’ve found some gorgeous building models here along with a variety of furniture, mechanical, and other objects. If you’re doing product or industrial design, then make sure you check here for things like gears and motors too.

David Hier – http://www.davidhier.co.uk/freemodels.html
Let’s take a moment to thank David for sharing some of his models for high-end designer furniture. He shares a lot of his stuff on TurboSquid, but make sure to check his site for goodies. His models might be good for a hotel room or lobby project where if you’re going for a contemporary look and feel.

Creative Crash – http://www.creativecrash.com/sketchup/
Creative Crash’s marketplace has a lot of goodies. The quality and prices will vary a lot and some models are a bit pricey, but you’ll find plenty of well done vehicle, electronics, exterior and environmental models to work with.

Nomeradona SketchUp, VRay Resources – http://sketchupvrayresources.blogspot.com/p/free-sketchup-scenes-and-models.html
There is not a lot here, but the few models are well done. I especially like the sofa and padded material models. Hopefully, they’ll keep adding to the site, but I’d pick up the sofa models now to have handy.

SketchUp4Architects – http://www.sketchup4architect.com/sketchup-components.htm
There is a good selection of models here with an emphasis on architectural components (rooms, doors, windows, floors, stairways, etc.). You’ll also find some people, furniture, and vehicles mixed in. This is a good resource for assets to construct rooms or other basic architectural modeling tasks.

SweetHome3D – http://www.sweethome3d.com/importModels.jsp
SweetHome3D offers several collections of models, some with hundreds of files included. In some cases, you’ll be directed away from the site, but I didn’t find anything shady — just more models. Pay attention to the licensing rules.

Modlar – http://www.modlar.com/information/3d-models/
Modlar is the place to get manufacture approved models of appliances, tools, industrial equipment and more. It’s heavy into sinks, faucets and other kitchen and bathroom models, but you also have industrial, furniture and flooring. A good site for anyone doing kitchens and bathrooms, or looking for some well done pieces to refine home models.

TruStile – http://www.trustile.com/design-planning/3d-cad-symbols/sketchup
This is vendor site so you won’t find a variety. That said, TruStile gives you models for about 40 different styles of residential doors. I suggest picking them all up and keeping them as resource for any residential housing project.

Popular Woodworking – http://www.popularwoodworking.com/sketchup-for-woodworking-models
Every model here is for something wooden. Fortunately, you can use wood almost anywhere. A decent selection of models though you’ll see a lot of tables and cabinets. Worth browsing for touches to add to a rustic cabin or home. You might also use the benches for parks or other outdoor settings.

Kolbe – http://www.kolbe-kolbe.com/architectLibrary/index.cfm?pcID=7&pID=169
Another vendor site. This one is focused on Kolbe windows. The models are well made and done to work well with any architectural models. Like with TruStile, I’d grab as many as you can now so you have the for later.

That’s it for now. I’ll keep looking and adding as I discover new sites. Leave a comment if you want to share some of your own models or let us know about some good sites.

Feature image: Asus P6T6 3d model by 3DRegenerator

Cool Video on the Merits of HDRI for 3D Rendering

The images you use as sources and output have a big impact on the realism of your renders. This video from dimensiont on YouTube looks at the value of using HDRI images when doing renderings. I think the video could use a different soundtrack, but the examples given are convincing.


In the video, you’ll see the difference in colors, shadows, lighting and reflections between high dynamic range images and formats like jpeg and png. The video does a great job of making the difference in contrast and detail obvious. It also gives you some hints to the value for different lighting environments though I’d say the video could use more lighting examples.

Watch this video if you’re working on placing made objects and people into real-world environments or struggling to fine-tune a render.

Cool Video: See How Rendering Works in Games

Found this video on the HappieCat YouTube channel. This video is focused on rendering in games, but it does a great job of explaining the basics of 3D modeling including the different technologies and math behind it.

I work for a 3D rendering and visualization company, but my background is in marketing. While I’ve learned a lot working with FluidRay, this was actually a great video for me to learn a little more about the concepts behind modeling.

I definitely suggest this video to anyone looking for a very straightforward explanation of what goes into modeling, especially if you like video games.

How to Integrate FluidRay RT with Modo for Easier Rendering

FluidRay RT Tutorial on how to quickly get started with the integration plugin for Luxology Modo.

Using the integration plugin will allow you to conveniently render models directly from inside Modo using FluidRay RT technology. This video will cover:

  • How FluidRay RT interconnects with Modo
  • Edit and render models in real-time
  • Applying materials & and changing surface appearance
  • Applying environment lighting

For more tutorials, check out the Tutorial Page.

Where to Find .3dm files

You can build your own .3dm files but it takes time and you may not get the best results. If you’re like us, then you’ve probably got a few spots you check for models, and you’ve also probably bought some sets over the years. But you always end up needing something you don’t have, and having to look around.

I did some snooping through my lists of sites to find ones that offered a good mix of .3dm models. Not all the sites are free or have large selections, but they are all dependable. Take the time to browse through a few of them when working on a project and you should be able to find what you need.

TF3DMhttp://tf3dm.com/3d-models/all/1/3dm
This site has a good selection of models, but they range in quality from high-end to beginner. You can find anything from full buildings to Black Hawk helicopters to a T-Rex. Prices vary a lot, and you need to be careful to check which license is available for each model.

CGTraderhttp://www.cgtrader.com/free-3d-models
A library of free 3dm models, heavy on automotive but you can find some animal, environment and product models if you look around for a bit.

GrabCadhttps://grabcad.com/library/software/rhino?per_page=20&query=3dm
Not a very large selection, but there are some nice ones here & the site has good search functionality.

AD-3D http://ad-3d.com/free-rhino-3d-nurbs-models/
This is a free collection — available for both personal and commercial use (but not reselling) — from Aleksandar Dimitrov. Mostly furniture models, but some exteriors like fields thrown in.

FlexiCadhttps://www.flexicad.com/download.php?lang=de&misc=1300
Honestly, it’s only 4 models here but its worth going to pick up the Audi TT model.

Aversishttp://www.aversis.be/3dmodels/
Not many here, but they are all decent quality. Click the links labeled “Rhino” to get the .3dm files.

Turbosquidhttp://www.turbosquid.com/
You’ve probably come across this site before. Big selection of models. You can search subject and then filter to get models compatible with Rhino. Pretty much everything here is high-quality, but you’re going to pay for it: prices range from US $5 – $500. Fortunately, you can filter by price. If you need a model for work, then this is a good place to look, but not sure its the right place for a student.

Craftsmansspacehttp://www.craftsmanspace.com/free-3d-models
If you’re looking for free geometries and pattern 3dm files, then I’d check here. Nothing to fancy is available, but you can use these models for things like fencing, icons, wall art without too many problems.

Yobi3D – https://www.yobi3d.com/
It finds 3D models on the Internet with simple keyword search. The models can be previewed in 3D right on your browser.

This list is a work in progress. If you’d like to have your model site, set or file added, then leave a comment.

3dsMax to FluidRay step by step for easier rendering

In this tutorial we are going to cover step by step the process of taking a 3dsmax scene, exporting it in .fbx, and rendering it using FluidRay RT. The following are a couple of examples of the results achieved. The original scenes were taken from Evermotion Archexteriors collection and originally came as 3dsmax scenes with textures, materials and cameras setup for VRay. Note that this tutorial applies to all 3dsmax scenes, not only those setup in VRay.

AE22_07-release

FluidRay RT Archexterior

Scene Preparation

Before exporting, we need to make sure that the scene is setup correctly, so that most of the information is retained in the process. There are a few things that need special attention, in particular:

  • XRefObjects proxies (we want the full resolution mesh exported)
  • Objects that are not part of the standard 3dsmax installation (such as VRayCamera, VRayMaterial, VRayProxy) and for this reason are not handled by the standard 3dsmax exporter
  • Complex texture networks that are not supported by the export format

For XRefObjects, make sure to uncheck the “Enable/Use local” checkbox, so that the full resolution mesh is used (see screenshot).

Max XRef

For VRay objects, we need to convert them to standard 3dsmax equivalents, so that they can be properly exported.

For textures, there are some nodes that are not handled by the exporter, such as color correction nodes or texture mixing nodes. In those situations, we need to remove the color correction nodes and connect the bitmap textures directly to the material.

We provide a Maxscript that does all this work automatically. Right before exporting, load the script in the Maxscript editor and press Ctrl+E to execute the script. You can get the script in the Addons Page.

Exporting

We are going to use the Autodesk .FBX format to export the scene to FluidRay RT. In the FBX exporter options, make sure that the to select “Preserve Instances”, “Y-Up”,  “Binary” (see screenshot).

Max FBX Export

The “Preserve Instances” options allows to keep instanced geometry as it is in 3dsmax, instead of duplicating the mesh information an wasting a lot of memory. FluidRay RT will then preserve the instanced geometry as well.

The “Y-Up” option converts the axis orientation from the “Z-Up” 3dsmax convention to FluidRay RT‘s “Y-Up” convention.

The “Binary” option is suggested to keep the exported files to a manageable size.

Importing

Just start FluidRay RT, then go to File->Import and select the exported .fbx file.

Tweaking the scene in FluidRay RT

There are a few things that need to be adjusted to get the best results: Bump Mapping, Organic Materials and Cameras.

Bump Mapping – The bump mapping texture is exported correctly, but the amount of bump needs to be adjusted. Select the material, then in the Displacement section adjust the “Amount” parameter until it’s visually satisfying. You can use the browser preview to make the process easier.Max-Bump

Organic Materials (Leaves, Flowers and Plants) – The exported material is not the best suited for plants. To achieve the best result, we need to change the standard scattering of the material to “Glossy Diffuse Translucent”. In order to do that, select the material, then, in the Graph Editor, right click on the scattering input of the material and click on Connect to a new -> Glossy Diffuse Translucent. If the original scattering had a texture attached to the diffuse input, you need to connect the texture to both the Diffuse input and Transparency input of the Glossy Diffuse Translucent node. You also probably want to increase the Roughness parameter to 0.1. Scattering

Cameras – The camera position and orientation is exported, but, due to some limitation in the .fbx import library, you will need to adjust the FOV and Camera Shift/Camera Tilt if present.

Conclusions

We shown the process of converting a 3dsmax scene to FluidRay RT. The process is pretty straightforward and normally doesn’t require much tweaking. Once you get the hang of it, it should take no more that 20-30 minutes to have a fairly complex scene ready to render in FluidRay.

If you want a more in-depth knowledge about FluidRay RT, check out the Help Page.

Also, if you have further questions, fell free to post on the Discussion Forum.

MaxScript to prepare for exporting to FluidRay

This Maxscript for 3dSMax prepares the scene for better exporting to FluidRay RT. In particular, this script:

  • Converts proxies to full-res meshes
  • Converts VRayMaterial to Standard Material
  • Converts VRayCamera to Standard Camera
  • Converts VRayProxy to Regular Mesh
  • Adjusts textures to be more faithfully exported

Right before exporting, load the script in the Maxscript editor and press Ctrl+E to execute the script.

The export format that provides the best results is .fbx.

Get this script in the Addons Page.

How to Combine FluidRay RT Light Channels to Quickly Adjust Lights

How to combine and adjust different light channels separately without redoing the rendering. This tutorial builds on top of the Light Channels Tutorial.

The final rendered image is just the sum of the contributions of every single light in the scene. By rendering every light to a different image, it’s possible to adjust the contribution of every single light before summing them up to obtain the final image. This video will cover:

  • Extracting light channel outputs from the renderer
  • Visualizing the light channels in the Render View
  • Changing the light channels scale and intensity in real-time
  • Using the Image Sum node to add together the different light channel outputs

For more tutorials, check out the Tutorial Page.