The book has 217 pages in 9 chapters.
This chapter covers an introduction to color and lighting basics.
For you to understand lighting and how to achieve it realistically you need to understand the basics of color and how they relate to each other.
From there we get to learn the different light s in blender then how to set up a lighting rig. There are of three types:
♣ 1 point light rig
♣ 2 point light rig
♣ 3 point light rig.
After understanding that, he now sets up a scene.
Chapter 2 is now about setting up different lighting scenes depending on the environment like outdoor scenes.
When lighting up a scene, there are things that must be taken into consideration before going ahead and just lighting up a scene. For example, if it’s an indoor scene than an outdoor scene.
For better understanding of what is being described, Aaron provides files to be used as practical examples hence better understanding.
Ambient light-its light reflected off of surfaces, that’s light not attributed to any specific light source.
In Blender 2.5, we have 3 ambient lighting features:
♣ Ambient Occlusion
♣ Environment Lighting
♣ Indirect Lighting
He further gets to explore and learn how to activate the different features of lighting, understanding how each feature affects a scene, how to customize each of the features for a particular scene and also how to use one rendering algorithm over the other.
After this you would be really pleased with yourself!
Adding light to a scene is only half the battle, we also have to learn and know how to add material to achieve a particular feel.
Chapter 4 goes about breaking down the process of applying material to an object. Blender 2.5 has four material types having 2 new ones in this version not available in the previous ones.
This can be very useful and saves you a lot of time. Surface mesh is the typical mesh we get normally when creating an object. Wire renders out meshes in wire frame.
The newly added ones volume, which creates a volumetric fog effect and halo which enables mesh to emit light and glow.
It covers all aspects of a material from diffuse and specular properties and shader models.
We are taken through the functions of the each feature available to meshes when adding materials and as always there we have experimental files to download and work with.
Chapter 5 explores indoor lighting. The previous chapter was about applying materials to an object depending on the scene/environment and the lighting to be used.
For this chapter we have been given a project file of an indoor scene to use in this chapter.
First, Layers. Using layers to enhance our render. To be able to light an object more than the rest. We explore this feature in this chapter. Apart from learning how to organize layers to achieve maximum render. This chapter is also about lighting an interior scene. What lights to use, how to place them and adding of ambient light.
A pretty good experience.
It was hard at first for me to actually get to start learning UV mapping. I found it tedious ,hard to understand and wondering if the effort is worth it.
But, it is. Normally when I take a look at a complex render scene. I get amazed and impressed by the detail of modeling, lighting and texturing. Which means the effort is well worth it.
Continuing with the scene from the previous chapter, we map a bottle. Unwrapping and applying custom made labels at specific parts of the bottle using Gimp to create the texture..
By the end of it all, we should have a pretty good idea of how to go about UV mapping.
Chapter 7 is a continuation in the texturing of the whole scene.
But we also get to learn about nodes and using them to create materials. In this case, glass material.
Combining Indoor and Outdoor Lighting techniques
It’s not always that we use the same lighting techniques; sometimes we combine them to achieve another level of realism.
It’s called Hybrid Lighting.
It was pretty exciting reading through it and learning a few tricks about lighting a scene freestyle. Which is probably how we start out anyway but at least now we do it with more knowledge about lighting, material and textures.
Hybrid Lighting: Materials and Textures
This chapter is continuation of building an indoor scene. We started out with light and in this chapter we continue with materials and texture side by side with reference image as a guide.
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: Architecture, Buildings and Scenery.
by Chepkech Kevin
I was really excited about this book and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
I have to admit my expectation of this book was totally different from what I got. What it does, is expound on important things to consider in the art of 3D Architecture, Buildings and Scenery.
This chapter is an intro to Blender and its software and hardware requirements which I wrote in my previous book review. This being a book about Architecture, Allan shows us how to work with files from CAD software such as AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, QCAD and other tools. Sometimes there’s never enough time to work on something and we have to retrieve already completed models mostly of furniture from a previous project or go through the internet to looks for them. Some of the sites that provide free models are:
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: A collection of models to be used in Blender for Architectural Visualization, all in the Blender native file format.
In these chapters, Allan explains on the workings of Blender, its interface and its tools from merging windows to using modifiers such as the array modifier in architecture.
This chapter focuses on modeling. When it comes to modeling other things not related to architecture like cars, characters and what have you there’s no pressure of precision modeling unlike when dealing with architecture modeling. Well, Allan explains how to go about getting the right and precise dimensions of models. It’s really cool to discover new things that you didn’t know about blender. He gives short examples to practice with.
We learn how to add materials, textures and UV mapping when there is need for more control over the texture.
Proper lighting can make a big difference in a virtual scenario or architectural model. A good lighting setup is the key which doesn’t come easy but with enough practice very much possible.
Knowing and understanding the different lamps in blender will greatly enable you to know which lamp is suitable for which scenario or model. In these chapters we get to learn about radiosity and ambient occlusion, global illumination with YafaRay.
So far it has been about still images but there is also animation. Animation in Architecture can make a strong impression to any person especially when selling your portfolio to a potential employer or marketing of a project. Blender has what other 3D software’s and that is interactive animation made possible with the Blender Game Engine.
As you read along, you will get to learn how to plan, set up key frames and manage them, edit animations with IPO curves.
One more thing that excited me was the video sequence editor in-built in blender. It allows us to edit and merge video files without the need of video editing software. There is more to learn about the sequencer (video sequencer editor) and animation process as you go along.
The post production process can be frustrating especially when the rendering process took so many hours ad the final result is not what you expected. This is where Gimp comes in. The brightness or color can always be adjusted with Gimp. You will get to learn more about Gimp and how much it improves a rendered result saving a lot time of adjusting the rendering engine.
This book is for those into architecture like me.Those into something else, sorry….this book isn’t for you.