It has been broken down to 15 chapters.
It’s been broken down into chapters that explain each stage of architectural modeling and expounds on each.
This basically is an intro to architectural visualization and blender 3d.Architectural visualization is best explained as a previewing or showing something that yet exists. Represented using computer generated software from different angles if need be from the same project saving on time and money if we were to go the old fashioned way of technical drawings that was difficult to understand.
We get to understand the importance of detail in architectural visualization, as they make a whole lot of difference when it comes to achieving that level of realism desired of course together with a whole lot of things like lighting, texturing and going a step further and using external rendering systems like YafaRay. That’s where Blender 3D comes in:
Blender 3D is a 15MB open source software that is a very powerful tool in the hands of a skilled artist. Apart of of the mentioned facts concerning it, Blender 3D has been used to create whole 3D Movies like:
Elephant Dreams and Big Buck Bunny which can be downloaded from:
Pretty impressive for a 15MB open-source software.
Blender 3D can be run on different OS s:
- Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
- Mac OS X 10.3 and later
- Iris 6.5 MIPS3
Has very minimal system requirements of course depending on the project undertaken.For simple projects that require minimal detail.These are it’s requirements:
- 3-button mouse
- OpenGL graphics card with 16MB RAM
- 300 MHZ CPU
- 128 MB RAM
- 1024 x 768 free hard disk space
For a maximum performance machine:
- 2GHz quad core CPU
- 2 GB RAM
- 1920 x 1200 pixels display with 24-bit color
- 3-button mouse
- OpenGL graphics card with 128 or 256 MB RAM
Blender 3d doesn’t function on it’s own.It requires other softwares like:
Gimp for post-rendering edits and also in the creating of textures.
CAD pretty much provides the technical drawing for modeling which is very precise.It saves you a lot of time.
Presentation process after editing also requires some tools. In this case Ink-space or OpenOffice.org Impress.
The book further goes on to explain the relation between a CAD software and Blender 3D, making use of libraries to avoid time consuming process of modeling objects instead of just importing from a library.
Here’s a list of sites where one can get free models for Blender 3D.
- http://resources.blogscopia.com — furniture models in the native
Blender file format.
- http://www.e-interiors.net — lots of pictures and free models of
furniture. Most files are in 3DS or DXF file formats.
- http://www.linedstudio.com — more furniture models and scenes already
in Blender native file format.
- http://blender-archi.tuxfamily.org/Models — collection of models to use in Blender for architectural visualization. All are in the Blender native file format.
Blender has has some pretty impressive stuff in it’s gallery, to check them out….here’s the link:
The gallery is updated on a regular basis.
Chapter 2 is quite basic and covers Blender interface.This chapter is for those who are not so familiar with Blender, for those who are familiar with it…..you can jump this chapter.
It explores Blender interface from windows, menus, selecting objects and what not.It basically takes you through how go about about familiarizing yourself with Blender.
After familiarizing yourself with the Blender, in chapter 3 we learn the different aspects of architectural modeling and landscaping.
In Blender, we typically start with a cube.There are different types of objects in Blender like the curves,meta and surfaces.
Curves come in handy when modeling objects with curves, meta are sort clayish typically used in terrain modeling. Surfaces are best in landscape creation.
Coming back to meshes: We have planes, cube, circle,UV sphere, icosphere, cylinder, cone, grid, monkey and a torus.
Now ones commonly used are cubes, planes and circle in architectural modeling.
After having in mind what you want to make most commonly from a cube.We get into the mesh editing detail.To model something complex from a cube you need your way around a mesh editing tools in the menu named Mesh Tools in the editing panels.
In the process of modeling at some point comes the need for precise transformations.Which is possible in Blender. By holding down the control key on the keyboard and moving the mouse, we can use the grid lines as a guide and same applies for scaling and rotations.
We get to explore more tools used in editing like the looping tool that enables you to subdivide objects that would enable you create complex meshes.
We learn of merging of vertices, removing of double vertices. Extruding is major tool to creating new vertices and faces on an object. Extrusion can be done with vertices, faces and lines whichever suits the moment. It reaches a point where extrusion needs to be restricted to certain axis. By pressing either of the axis key,(x,y and z) this restricts transformation to that selected axis. Pretty helpful in some situations.We are given a pretty easy to understand illustration that helps describe this example.
After you are done with the basic concept of a modeled object, there’s times when you need to smoothen or create, maybe you need to create a building with several floors and the long way is pretty time consuming.That’s where modifiers come in.
Commonly used modifiers in architecture are array tool,boolean and subsurf. The subsurf tool smoothens models to desired levels, array modifier…creates copies of objects. In this case buildings with several floors will be done in an instant. Boolean tool gives more options to editing and creating complex meshes.
We further explore more modifier tools,working with groups to simply complex projects and proportional editing.
Modeling for Architecture.
The previous chapters were like a big intro to the actual architectural modeling.
This chapter covers the creation of floors, walls, roofs and other elements.
But first,we just don’t get into it.Some very important point s are made clear about architecture that are vital for architectural modeling.
For one,we get a brief explanation on the differences between architectural modeling and other forms of modeling one of them being scales of models are usually big because buildings by nature are very big.
Another key aspect of architectural modeling is planning.Time is money and hence planning is everything.
Planning is done in two ways depending on who is the author of the project.A project in which you are the author and one that a client is the author.One in which you are the author,there’s freedom to change things as you go along and one in which the author is client,freedom is not there unless permitted by the client.
The book also goes on to explain the importance of modeling with precision by using the background grid as a guide.This is done by holding down the ctrl key while scaling,rotating or moving an object.Another option given is using edge length where the values or length of an edge is visible by activating it in edit mode.
Working with layers which helps in reorganizing your work and simplify what would otherwise be complex project.
We then get into actual practice. Brito starts with walls which really don’t have a specific way of modeling because of different needs in a project.
He further goes on to explain and show how to model rounded corners using simple easy to understand images which would otherwise be tricky, openings as in windows and doors and how to go about them as they can be a real headache if not thought through.
He further explores floors and ceilings, using CAD files that should be in DXF formats which is the only format that Blender can read.
This chapter covers adding of detail to models..this as i said earlier plays a big role in achieving realism.Things like doors,windows,frames,door handles are pretty important.
He expounds on the making of windows having in mind the different kinds of windows like the double-hang sash window and skylight.One thing that stands out here is the using of measurements in the creating of a window so as to achieve the desired level of realism.The level of detail to be used is always determined by the location of the camera.A camera that is far away requires less detail on the object being modeled while that is close requires more detail.
Then he gets into doors…i have to admit,detail pretty much excites me.The explanation of windows and doors is pretty cool.
After we are done with the building,windows and doors comes furniture that further increases the level of realism.
As explained,furniture can be classified into two categories, internal and external furniture.
Internal is for what occupies inside a building like beds,furniture and external cars,fence and fountains.Allan explains as to why detail is required in some aspects of modeling of furniture.
We get to learn the option of either using a library or modeling something yourself.For reference images and free models..these sites will be of importance:
We are shown how to append models from external libraries by going to File menu, and accessing the append or link option.A shortcut to that is Shift + F1.
He explains how to model a sofa and a chair which is actually quite simple and after all that you have achieved something that will add some level of realism to your project.
After all the modeling is done comes materials.Chapter 7 covers how to create,organize and apply material to objects.Allan shows shows us how to go about doing that.
We need to have an understanding of how materials work in order to be able to achieve realism as well.Obviously that realism is achieved by understanding a lot of things as including materials.
What makes wood look like wooden surface and metal surface like a metallic surface? It’s all reflection.How light reflects on those surfaces.
An understanding of this will be big in 3d.
We get to explore working with colors, gradients, shaders which are used to determine how a material reacts with light.
Ray tracing is an option of achieving a reflected surface feel and of course these things models appear more realistic.
We learn how to create glass,,mirrors, glossy reflections ,retraced shadows and glossy transparency.
One thing i must mention is about wireframe.In architecture you might be required to represent a model in a structured manner for more understanding or to make a big impression and that’s where wireframes come in.In this mode one can see the structured form of a model hence understanding and explanation would be easier.
Materials was the first stage and only contributed a certain level of realism.Textures…that’s where the magic is!.Textures are described in an understandable easy manner as image files of surfaces 0f real life objects like wood, stone, glass and what not.Considering that some of these surfaces can be difficult to find or you might have to buy spend a lot of time on the internet searching for them, libraries come in handy.Creating your own textures and storing them in your library will be of great advantage to you in the future projects because most them are commonly used over and over in different projects.
This book explains on the different kinds of texture in Blender. Procedural and non-Procedural textures and how they are used in Blender.We further learn about texture libraries, how to apply textures, mapping both the normal mapping and UV mapping.UV mapping is an elaborate way of placing textures in their exact locations.
Free textures websites:
Chapter 9 expounds on UV Mapping.
This chapter is on lighting.LIGHTING!
You need to understand lighting well to be able to again get realistic results.Blender has different kinds of lights and all are unique to different environments. Brito tells of the different lights that Blender has and where to best use them.Whenever we have light there must be shadows, so how do you get soft shadows and how do you get sharp shadows, under what kind of lights.
We are given a small exercise that better explains how you understand this.
Chapter 11 goes on to delve into Advanced lighting based on two main techniques. Radiosity and Ambient occlusion and in what circumstances they are used.
Chapter 12 is about YafaRay. An external renderer that has features that normal blender rendering machine does not have such global illumination and raytracing. YafaRay is really good when you want to go to the next level in renderings despite the downside of higher machine resources being consumed hence longer render times.
Allan take us through the installation of YafaRay how to run it with Blender simultaneously, understanding the YafaRay setup, materials used in YafaRay and render methods.
So far all the chapters have covered Planning a project,modeling,handling materials and textures, and lighting.Chapter 14 is animation.Animation in architectural visualization most of the time means walk-throughs.
Just like a typical project you have to plan the animation process otherwise you might end up miscalculating the time set up for an animation buy either being less or just too much and by the time the rendering time is over after a couple of hours it will all be useless.
Allan explains the aspects involved in the process of animation like key frames, managing key frames, IPO curves and more.By the end of the chapter you should have a good understanding of animation in architecture.
At this stage the project is done unless maybe after all that time it has taken to render you find a flaw in the rendered image.Then what…..Gimp.Its an editing software for images that would be a really big help in terms adjusting the rendered images and also creation of textures.
This chapter explores Gimp.
So far we have been operating on Blender 3D 2.49b.Chapter 15 is about Blender 3D 2.50, a new version of Blender.It’s out already but i doubt a lot have used it much including me.It’s interface is different from the other Blender versions so you need to be shown around to know where what is but the shortcuts are pretty much the same.
We are told on how to manage windows in 2.5,how to go around modeling in the version.I have to admit i had to sweat a bit to get to know how to create models like a cube a plane and what not, i have to remind myself from time to time.
The differences between Blender 2.5 and 2.49b are pretty clear once you go through this chapter or if you already have, apart from the obvious interface…which is pretty cool.I like this one better, it’s more welcoming and you get that interest in learning it.
An area with many changes is deformations and animation,where anything can practically be animated.
After going through the book,there’s little difference from this book and the previous one.The cover itself is pretty much the same as the other one and i mistook it for being the same book as the other one hence giving someone the assumption that there’s nothing new to learn.
For those who have read the first book,you probably already understand what wasn’t covered in the previous book.I’d say this book is for those who want to learn and understand architecture and haven’t read the first book. There’s added information about architecture that is vital to understanding architecture,buildings and scenery.
Book Review: Blender3d_Incredible Machines
By Chepkech Kevin
Incredible Machines is a 303 page book written by Allan Brito and published by Packtpub Publishers (packtpub.com).He has written two others books, Blender3d: Architecture, Buildings and Scenery and Blender3d-Guia do Usuario. He covers the use of Blender and other tools for architectural visualization at his website http://www.blender3darchitect.com where he can be reached.
From the name, the book’s about making of machines, sci-fi not of this world unless maybe in your imagination. He covers modeling, rendering and animation of these machines and all the steps that lead to its completion such as UV mapping, dealing with particles and their animation, using curves and so forth. It covers three different projects starting with the most simple to a more complex one (transforming a robot).
This book is for game developers, 3d artists and product designers who strive for realistic images, 3D models and videos and also for those interested in creating realistic models using YafaRay and LuxRender.
Blender3d 2.49 is the version used in this book and some of minimum requirements given are:
Open GL Graphics Card with 16 MB RAM
300 MHz CPU
128 MB RAM
1024 x 768 pixels display with 16-bit color
20 MB free hard disk space
However, if you really want to get maximum performance, there is a more powerful configuration:
Open GL Graphics Card with 128 or 256 MB RAM
2 GHz dual core CPU
2 GB RAM
1920 x 1200 pixels display with 24-bit color.
There isn’t much to say about the software, only that you can run Blender on almost any operating system available. The following is the list of systems that support Blender:
Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, or Vista
Mac OS X 10.2 and later
Linux i386, x86_64/amd64 or PPC
FreeBSD 6.2 i386 and later
Irix 6.5 mips3
Solaris 2.8 sparc.
Chapter one of the book gives a brief history of blender, where and how to get it. Blender is an open source software available for free at the blender foundation website http://www.blender.org .It goes on to introduce other applications that run hand in hand with blender like YafaRay (http://www.yafaray.org) and gimp (http://www.gimp.org) which are also available for free from their respective websites.
He goes on to introduce incredible machines, what it means and how the name came about and how he has organized the book to tackle the three projects extensively.
Chapter two to five
Deals with the first project. There’s a brief explanation on why he chose that particular object as the fisrt project and the workflow for modeling it. He uses subdivision modeling but he explains why not polygon modeling and also tells us of other modeling techniques such as nurbs modeling and spline modeling and where they are suitable. I found the language to be an easy read and straight to the point. He introduces tools used to add detail such as:
How to use hooks in the alignment of objects
Spin tool to close up an object
Adding creases and rounded details
And finally using YafaRay to create an environment and setting up lights and adding materials to achieve that ultimate realism.
Chapter 6to 10
This is the second project bit more complex than the first one. He again gives the project workflow and goes ahead to model the object. Start by making the general shape of the machine and later on adding detail in such a way that you can’ miss anything. He uses curves to add cables and wires to the machine (I was so jazzed by this).
He tackles uv mapping and the use of blender particles.
In the rendering of the machine he further expounds on the use YafaRay and creates an impressive environment for the spacecraft as well as material.
Chapter 11 to 16
I have got to admit that I expected like a lesson on how to transform Optimus Prime from a truck to machine but that’s not what I got. If I did get that then I probably would be lost right now because it requires a lot of detail. Once I understand this fully then I would be in a position to give Optimus a try.
This is the most complex of all the machines and Allan begins by telling us what it is and how he goes about tackling it. The challenges ahead from textures and materials to animating it. In this last project he uses LuxRender instead and expounds on the pros and cons of LuxRender as compared to YafaRay and why he used LuxRender this time.
As he adds detail to the machine I got to discover functions of some modifiers I didn’t know what they did like the array modifier. He provides valuable information concerning LuxRender from where to find it (http://www.luxrender.net), and the process of installing it. I got to learn new things concerning an unbiased render engine.
I found the chapter on animating the robot long and boring, I have to admit animation isn’t one of my strong points being an impatient person I’d like to see fast results but from those long tutorials I have followed through up to the end have been worth it. The knowledge gained is very vital, the same with this chapter. He uses hierarchies, controllers, armatures and helpers. One of the functions of LuxRender is it can be used to edit and fine-tune an image within LuxRender which is so cool and afterwords using gimp to clean and remove the noise on rendered images.
There were a few grammatical errors although I got what the message it would be unfortunate for someone who wouldn’t and probably miss something important.
I found it pretty good and straight forward. Aspiring game developers and 3d artists will find this a book a good stepping stone to learning the first steps of game animation and achieving the perfect realism using the different render engines.