Author Topic: A few questions....  (Read 9706 times)

almunro

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A few questions....
« on: February 13, 2012, 12:21:32 pm »
February 13, 2012, 12:21:32 pm
Hi guys,

I have just come across Lumion and it looks like a great program. I work in the golf course architecture industry and think this may be a great solution to speeding up my workflow, as i currently use 3ds max & vray. After reading a few reviews (of v1 i believe) i have a few questions;

- In the latest version, is it possible to edit/tweak an imported mesh? I get given autocad files (contours with 3d values) and usually import them to max and make a terrain mesh in there, but as it usually needs a little smoothing in areas around bunkers etc i need to be able to edit it.

- Rendering a golf course I usually use a composite texture that contains my different grass/sand textures and their matching opacity maps, to create a single texture i apply to the mesh. how would i go about doing something similar in Lumion?

- Is it possible to render with alpha channels/maps so i can take the terrain elements and impose against a site location photo?

- Is there a foresting/scatter tool for placing trees and plants? Obviously working on large scale areas like golf courses would get tedious if having to place the plants one by one.

I think thats it for now. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Alex


Re: A few questions....
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 06:45:33 pm »
February 13, 2012, 06:45:33 pm
- In the latest version, is it possible to edit/tweak an imported mesh?
Hi Alex, this is currently not possible. There is however a Reload model function if you make changes to the mesh in 3DS Max.

- Rendering a golf course I usually use a composite texture that contains my different grass/sand textures and their matching opacity maps, to create a single texture i apply to the mesh. how would i go about doing something similar in Lumion?
Lumion only supports 1-bit alpha (black/white alpha channels), so you can't create soft borders between grass, sand etc with opacity maps (well, I suppose you could use black/white pixel dithering along the borders to make the transitions smoother, but this would be rather tedious).

Since smooth transitions between grass, sand etc seem important to this sort of project, perhaps you could export the entire terrain with 2 textures from 3DS Max:

1) Diffuse Color map slot: Large main texture (up to 16,384x16384 pixels depending on your graphics card). Think of this as a satellite image for the entire terrain.
2) Self-illumination map slot: Detail texture (eg, a white texture with grey noise)

A 3rd option is to apply the Landscape material to the imported terrain mesh and paint the sand, grass etc onto the mesh. However, you'll probably find that this material is somewhat limited since there's only 4 material types in each Landscape type, and you currently can't use your own textures in those slots.

A 4th option is to import a 1024x1024 heightmap (covering a maximum of 2048x2048 km) and use the native Lumion terrain. This allows you to modify the terrain on the fly. However, the same 4 material limitation of the Landscape material would apply. There's more information about creating heightmaps for the Lumion terrain here:
http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=2872.0

And lastly, you could ask some of the other golf visualisation people here in the forum for advice (search for "golf" - there's a couple of nice videos):
http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=2940.0
http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=2945.0

- Is it possible to render with alpha channels/maps so i can take the terrain elements and impose against a site location photo?
Do you mean making the 3D scene match a photo of your site? If so, there's no automatic function that can do this for you in Lumion, so you'd have to do it manually:
http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=2872.0

- Is there a foresting/scatter tool for placing trees and plants? Obviously working on large scale areas like golf courses would get tedious if having to place the plants one by one.
There are some shortcuts that may help a little. See the Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts thread:
http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=2759.0

(ALT) + Move selected object(s): Copy-paste selected object(s) by pressing ALT while dragging one of the selected objects.
Place object mode -> (CTRL) + Left-click: Randomly place 10 copies of the currently active object library model.
Place object mode -> (Z) + Left-click: Place a new object with +/-0 to 50% random scale.

It's a bit fiddly if you are using an imported terrain though, since ALT-copied trees don't snap to the imported terrain.

almunro

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Re: A few questions....
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 08:39:19 pm »
February 13, 2012, 08:39:19 pm
Thanks for the answers.

Not being able to edit the mesh is not a problem if i can reload it, as i can fiddle it with max's vertex tools. Alternatively a heightmap solution could be ok too and probably better if i cant snap trees to an imported mesh. Are you looking at adding this ability in future versions?

To be honest the only blended textures i tend to use are in the rough and under trees, but my main textures of fairway, rough, bunker and green can be hard edged.

Regarding the alpha channel question, all i want to be able to do is render the trees & terrain without the sky, so i can photoshop it onto a location photo, not while its in Lumion. I only need this for still shots obviously.

Currently i use scatter plugins to do my trees and love them as i can use maps and colours ids to spread types of plant in seconds, and create randomised forests with multiple trees very easily. Can or will you be able to import trees to Lumion?

And lastly, im looking at building a new system due to the new force in GPU rendering such as Lumion and Vray RT. Which would you advise, a GTX560ti 2GB or a faster GTX570 that only has 1.2GB of memory? If im working with large scale scenes, would the extra memory be better? Or a faster card is always better? Passmark wise, the 560 is just under 3000, and the 570 is around 3500. These two are at about the top of my budget at the moment.

Many thanks.
Alex


Re: A few questions....
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 02:36:31 pm »
February 14, 2012, 02:36:31 pm
Alternatively a heightmap solution could be ok too and probably better if i cant snap trees to an imported mesh. Are you looking at adding this ability in future versions?

Trees/plants and other objects can currently only be made to snap to other objects, such as imported terrains, 1 tree/plant/object at a time; the object will basically snap to whatever the mouse cursor is above as soon as you move it.

In other words, the commands above, ie,  ALT-copying & CTRL + Placing 10 objects, would only apply collision snapping to the object by the mouse cursor. It's probably easier to understand how it works if you test these commands in Lumion Free.

I am not aware of plans to extend this functionality so that it would work with multiple objects, but the developers, Ferry/Remko/Arthur, will be able to shed more light on this.

Regarding the alpha channel question, all i want to be able to do is render the trees & terrain without the sky, so i can photoshop it onto a location photo, not while its in Lumion. I only need this for still shots obviously.

For the time being, your only option is to place a large plane with a uniform colour in the background, eg, magenta, and remove this in Photoshop. I know it's not perfect and reflective materials that face the plane would obviously be affected, but it's a start I guess.

Currently i use scatter plugins to do my trees and love them as i can use maps and colours ids to spread types of plant in seconds, and create randomised forests with multiple trees very easily. Can or will you be able to import trees to Lumion?

Unfortunately, this sort of functionality is not available, and as far as I know, there are currently no plans to implement this, at least not in the short term. Remko will be able to shed more light on this topic though.

Which would you advise, a GTX560ti 2GB or a faster GTX570 that only has 1.2GB of memory?

This question is very difficult to answer without having access to both graphics cards as well as the projects that you're typically working on.

Generally speaking, the faster the card is, the better your framerate in Lumion and the shorter the render times will be.

Regarding memory consumption, if the graphics card runs out of memory, it will start to use the system RAM as a swap buffer.

If you are using all the graphics card RAM as well as some system RAM for geometry and textures, the performance in 3D applications such as Lumion may become sluggish. For example, when you turn the camera around in a large scene, it may sometimes pause for a moment, while the geometry and textures are transferred from system RAM to the graphics card RAM. Faster system RAM obviously reduces this problem.

The 64-bit version of Windows allows applications to use more than the limit of 3.5GB per application in Windows 32-bit, so if possible, always opt for Windows 64-bit. And 8-16GB of system RAM seem to work well for most customers who work on large projects.

almunro

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Re: A few questions....
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 01:00:32 am »
February 17, 2012, 01:00:32 am
Thanks for the answers!

newman

    Reputation: 2
Re: A few questions....
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 08:38:37 am »
February 17, 2012, 08:38:37 am
Morten: "However, you'll probably find that this material is somewhat limited since there's only 4 material types in each Landscape type..."
Can i ask - WHY? And what is more, when i want to paint my own part of terrain to away difference between it and near by Lumion's, there is no the same landscape texture in material editor. Why not to make pipette for getting neighbouring landscape material with it size, saturation, lightness and other parameters ?

Re: A few questions....
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 12:05:43 pm »
February 17, 2012, 12:05:43 pm
Morten: "However, you'll probably find that this material is somewhat limited since there's only 4 material types in each Landscape type..."
Can i ask - WHY? And what is more, when i want to paint my own part of terrain to away difference between it and near by Lumion's, there is no the same landscape texture in material editor. Why not to make pipette for getting neighbouring landscape material with it size, saturation, lightness and other parameters ?

I believe that the reason for the 4 material type limit + the vertical rock material is that they are already using 16 textures for the terrain (if you include the heightmap plus the diffuse, normal and specular maps for each material etc).

Remko is in a better position to answer these questions though.

newman

    Reputation: 2
Re: A few questions....
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2012, 09:34:56 am »
February 19, 2012, 09:34:56 am
Thank you Morton
I asked how to unite my surface texture to nearby Lumion's grass if sometime  that material is absent in the menu of grounds (may be that "basic" materials of Lumion's surfaces can be singled out in special group).  And even if similar icon presents in some isolated case , how to  select right parameters for visual merging with nearby surface ?

Re: A few questions....
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 01:18:32 pm »
February 20, 2012, 01:18:32 pm
Hi newman, the difference you're seeing is caused by the sun light.

The blending will be perfect along the border if the polygons of your imported terrain object are 100% parallel with the polygons of the native Lumion terrain.

If the border polygons are less than 100% parallel, the sun will light the surfaces differently based on the light incidence angle. To verify this, have a look at the attached screenshots, and notice how the imported terrain blends perfectly at night, when no sun light shading is applied to the models.

In other words, you have to try to make the polygons parallel with each other along the borders to ensure perfect blending.

Screenshots: Notice how the polygons closer to the camera blend well as they're almost parallel with the native Lumion terrain.

dre.of.cali

Re: A few questions....
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 09:36:47 pm »
February 20, 2012, 09:36:47 pm
hey guys
i have a question, too.

how can i delete my account? i can't find anything. :S
please write me a personal message.

thx guys :)

newman

    Reputation: 2
Re: A few questions....
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 06:05:22 pm »
February 21, 2012, 06:05:22 pm
Hi newman, the difference you're seeing is caused by the sun light.
Hi Morton.
Thank you for explanation. It is a great relief to know that difference I am seeing is only optical illusion.

Re: A few questions....
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 07:05:20 pm »
February 21, 2012, 07:05:20 pm
It's not an optical illusion. Perhaps I didn't explain this clearly enough?

The difference is caused by the sun light which will shade polygons differently, depending on their angle towards the sun.

If you have vertical polygons along the border of the imported terrain, and the Lumion terrain consists of horizontal polygons, these polygons will receive a different amount of sun light/shading.

This is the case in pretty much all DX9-based real-time 3D engines.

As I said above, you need to smooth the transition so that the polygons along the border of your imported terrain are as close to being parallel with the Lumion terrain as possible.

You can see it on the first screenshot that I posted.

The bottom 1/3 of that screenshot shows how to do it correctly, and the top 2/3 shows how not to do it (notice how steep the polygons are compared to the Lumion terrain).

newman

    Reputation: 2
Re: A few questions....
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2012, 06:51:26 am »
February 23, 2012, 06:51:26 am
Norton, problem is you are wrong - both surfaces in my screenshot are parallel - lumion's ground is flat and model has horizontal plane for lawn. As i think the difference is result of a little bit another  tuning of my lawn - scale, brightness etc. That data of neighbour texture is unknown to user, so it was cause of idea to get this data from pipette. 

Re: A few questions....
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2012, 12:23:13 pm »
February 23, 2012, 12:23:13 pm
You must be using an old version; there was a different UV scale on the Landscape material compared with the Lumion landscape, but that was in Lumion 2.0.

Please upgrade to Lumion 2.1.

I can assure you that the grass will look identical if you use Lumion 2.1 and the polygons are parallel.

newman

    Reputation: 2
Re: A few questions....
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2012, 06:29:13 pm »
February 23, 2012, 06:29:13 pm
Hi Norton.
Yes, i used very old version - new one is free and it have not ground materials. UV scale may be wrong but main problem is that material of model not the same as on Lumion's landscape. I can not find similar in the ground list. Can you help me and write what is a number of right ground? My number on the screenshot is -035-2048.