Tutorial: Architectural Rendering

. Reminder. Be sure to refer to this tutorial in future lessons. All lessons are cumulative over the semester and build upon the techniques covered in previous lessons. Not completing assignments will hinder your progress in future assignments.

Objective: To create two architectural renders from a structure in an outdoor environment using Bryce.

Figure 1: Example of tutorial

For this assignment, a single structure (dream house, castle, lab, factory, church, etc.) will be created as the centerpiece in an outdoor environment. The structure can be as simple as a one room hut or as complex as a castle. Realize the time constraints for this assignment and work "general-to-specific" (e.g. mountain ranges to individual rocks, living room to a cup, etc.) to avoid getting caught up in the finer details too early. Feel free to be as creative as you wish!

The Requirements for this Assignment:

  1. An outdoor environment.
  2. A single structure.
  3. Two rendered views inside and/or outside the structure (at least, one view must have the outdoor environment viewable and the other must have the single structure viewable).
  4. Everything must be created by hand. No imported objects and no Poser objects may be used!

Preparation

For this assignment, it is highly recommended that you should spend some time researching and examining landscape and architecture with a critical eye. Look at magazines, books, online, and your surroundings for inspiration. Figure 2. It is important to find something that interests you and have it inspire you to create your scene.

Figure 2: Look for inspiration!

Refer to previous modules for information regarding basic Bryce navigation, rendering, application of materials, etc. It is important to be familiar with Bryce fundamentals discussed in earlier modules to successfully complete this module.

Getting Started with the Landscape

Launch the Bryce software.

In the Menu Bar, go to File/New Document (or press CTRL+N).

In the Document Setup window, click on the round button next to Default. The Document Resolution should be 540x405. Click on the Check Mark to accept the settings.

At the top of the screen, click on the triangle to the right of the words Sky & Fog. In the Sky & Fog window, scroll down to the bottom of the window and click on Simple Gray Background. Click the Check mark to accept and exit the window.

Under the Nano Preview, click on the down-triangle to access the Nano Preview Options. From the drop-down menu, click on Director View. Now, the Nano Preview will reflect the Director View.

On the right side of the screen, click on the Wireframe Underground toggle icon. Make sure the blue horizon line is gone.

In the Camera Options, click on Camera to Director .

In the Sky & Fog Options in the Sky & Fog Palette, uncheck the Link Sun to View .

Next to the Trackball on the left side of the screen, click on the down-triangle to access the Trackball Options, see Figure 3. From the drop-down menu, click on Center to Selection. Whenever the Trackball is used, it will rotate the view around the currently selected object making it easier to work with objects.

In the Menu Bar, go to File/Save As and save the scene as landscape1.br7. As you work on the assignment, remember to save new versions of the Bryce scene (landscape2.br7, etc.). This way you can load any version of the scene to modify or continue working on at a later time.

More Methods for Selecting Objects

Here are several more methods for selecting objects in a scene:

TAB Key: Pressing the tab key will cycle through each object one by one in the scene.

CTRL-click: Holding down the CTRL key while clicking on an area in the Scene Window will open a list of objects located under the cursor. This is a very useful way of picking one object from a ton of objects.

SHIFT-click. Holding down the SHIFT key and clicking on an object will add or remove the object to or from the current selection. This method is a necessary technique for creating Booleans, which will be discussed later in the assignment.

Note: CTRL and SHIFT keys may be used simultaneously to select objects.

On a side note, holding down the Spacebar and clicking & dragging in the Scene Window will allow you to pan your view in the scene. This will be useful in large scenes.

Creating the Landscape

Bryce, at its core, is a landscape generator. Using fractal mathematics, Bryce creates landscapes mathematically as terrain objects in the scene. In the Create Palette, the first six icons represent terrain items that can be used for creating naturalistic objects in the scene, see Figure 4.

Figure 4: Terrain options in the Create Palette

The first three icons represent different types of planes available for inserting into the scene: Water Plane, Cloud Plane, and Ground Plane. All three are infinite planes and, when placed in the scene, go infinitely to the horizon line. By default, Bryce automatically inserts a ground plane into the scene (the gray grid at the bottom of the Scene Window).

Creating Terrains

Note: As you orient the objects in the Scene Window, remember to switch between views to arrange and align pieces. If navigating the 3D space in the scene is difficult, only use the Director View (

key), Top View (2 key), and Right View (3 key). With these three views, it is possible to complete this assignment.

At the top of the screen, click on the word Create to open the Create Palette.

Click on the Terrain object (4th icon). This will insert a randomly-generated terrain into the Scene Window.

In the Object Control, click on the "E" to edit the object. This opens the Terrain Editor workspace. See Figure 5.

Figure 5: Terrain Editor

On the left side, the Paintbrush Controls adjusts the paintbrush and terrain resolution.

In the center, the Terrain Canvas displays the grayscale image used for the height map for the selected terrain (white=highest point, light grays=high, dark grays=low, black=lowest point). See Figure 6.

In the top right corner, the 3D Preview shows a three-dimensional view of the terrain in the Terrain Canvas. On the right side, the Editing Tools creates and edits the terrain map in the Terrain Canvas.

Figure 6: Terrain Canvas

In the Terrain Editor under the Paintbrush Controls, click & hold down on the Grid Selector at the bottom of the toolbar. See Figure 7. In the drop-down list, select 512 – ultra-fine. By default, Bryce sets a grid resolution of 128-normal. For this assignment, be sure to use a grid resolution of 512 for all terrains created. This will allow for a smooth, refined look and offer more realistic detail to the terrains created for the scene.

Figure 7: Selecting a Grid

In the Editing Tools, click on the down-triangle to the right of the word Fractal. See Figure 8. A drop-down list appears with a number of different types of terrains. Click on one and then click on the round button to the left of the word Fractal. If the terrain in the Terrain Canvas is not interesting, try clicking the button again to generate another random terrain or choose a different type of terrain from the drop-down list.

Figure 8: Fractal drop-down option

Once an interesting terrain is found, try experimenting with the different Elevation Tools (Erode, Raise/Lower, Spikes, Mounds, etc.) available in the Editing Tools. To apply a tool’s effect, click & drag left or right on the button next to the tool. Each tool creates a different effect that is applied to the Terrain Canvas. For instance, the Erode Tool is useful for removing any sharp peaks in the default terrain. Remember that pressing CTRL+Z will undo an effect.

Also, the Paintbrush Controls may be used to "paint" directly on the elevation model in the Terrain Canvas. See Figure 9. Simply, clicking in the Terrain Canvas will enact the paintbrush function. See below for information on each Paintbrush Control.

Figure 9: Paint directly on the elevation model.

About Paintbrush Controls

The Paintbrush Size controls the size of the paintbrush. The size can be changed by clicking & dragging left and right on the icon.

The Paintbrush Hardness controls the hardness of the paintbrush’s edge. The hardness can be changed by clicking & dragging left and right on the icon.

The Paintbrush Flow controls the density of the grayscale value being applied to the Terrain Canvas. Clicking & dragging left and right on the icon will decrease or increase the flow.

Lastly, the Paintbrush Level controls the grayscale value of the Paintbrush. Dragging up and down on the icon changes the level and the red dot in the scale determines the current gray used.

When satisfied with the terrain, click on the Check Mark at the bottom right corner of the screen (In the scene, the terrain may have to be repositioned above the water/ground plane).

Resize and reposition the terrain as needed.

In the Material Presets, select a Plane or Terrain texture to apply to the terrain.

To create a more elaborate landscape in the scene, multiple terrains may be combined in the same scene. See Figure 10.

Figure 10: Example use of multiple terrains.

Creating Trees and Stones

You may add additional foliage to the scene as well. Keep in mind that your scene cannot entirely be foliage however.

If a tree(s) is needed, click on the Tree object (5th icon) in the Create Palette.

In the Object Control, click on "E" to edit the tree object, see Figure 11. This will open the Tree Lab. Feel free to explore the variety of settings available for creating the tree: the properties of the branches/trunk, the shape of the foliage and tree, and materials used. The settings are self-explanatory.

Figure 11: The Tree Lab options box.

Also, stones may be added to the scene to create detail in the landscape.

In the Create Palette, click on the Stone object (6th icon). Every stone created is randomly generated.

In the Object Control, click on "E" to change the level of detail on the stone. If the stone is far away, detail may be lowered to reduce rendering time. If the stone is near, detail should be increased to avoid "blockiness".

Creating the Environment

At the top of the screen, click on the triangle to the right of the words Sky & Fog. In the Sky & Fog window, select any interesting environment to apply to the scene. Click the Check mark to accept and exit the window.

At the top of the screen, click on the words Sky & Fog to open the Sky & Fog Palette. This palette will allow you to change the environmental conditions of the scene, see Figure 12.

Figure 12: Open the Sky & Fog palette to change the environmental conditions.

The 2nd icon represents the intensity of the shadows in the scene. Clicking & dragging left and right on the thumbnail decreases or increases the amount of shadows.

The 3rd icon represents the intensity and height of the fog. Clicking & dragging left and right on the thumbnail decreases or increases the amount of fog. Clicking & dragging up and down raises or lowers the level of the fog.

The 4th icon represents the intensity of the haze (atmospheric perspective). Clicking & dragging left and right decreases or increases the amount of haze.

The 5th icon represents the cloud height. Clicking & dragging left and right raises or lowers the height of the clouds.

The 6th icon represents cloud cover. Clicking & dragging left and right decreases or increases the amount of clouds.

For each of the five icons, there is a bar at the bottom of the thumbnail. Clicking on the bar allows the color of the corresponding property to be changed.

The rectangular box next to the Sun Control (Sun Dome) is the frequency and amplitude of the clouds. Clicking & dragging in this box changes these cloud properties. Finally, the little square to the lower left of the Sun Control (Sun Dome) represents the Sun Color. Clicking & holding on the square and selecting a color allows the color of the sun to be changed.

Change the sun’s direction until you are satisfied with the general lighting condition of the scene.

Experiment with the different settings available in the Sky & Fog Palette. If the scene does not look like you have envisioned, pick another Sky & Fog Preset and modify it until you are satisfied with the scene’s environment, see Figure 13.

Figure 13: Example application of Sky & Fog options.

Saving the Landscape

Save the final landscape as landscape-final.br7. Use "Save As" not "Save Image As"! This scene will be revisited after the completion of the structure.

Getting Started with the Architecture

In the Menu Bar, go to File/New Document (or press CTRL+N).

In the Document Setup window, click on the round button next to Default. The Document Resolution should be 540x405. Click on the Check Mark to accept the settings.

At the top of the screen, click on the triangle to the right of the words Sky & Fog. In the Sky & Fog window, scroll down to the bottom of the window and click on Simple Gray Background. Click the Check mark to accept and exit the window.

Under the Nano Preview, click on the down-triangle to access the Nano Preview Options. From the drop-down menu, click on Director View. Now, the Nano Preview will reflect the Director View.

On the right side of the screen, click on the Wireframe Underground toggle icon. Make sure the blue horizon line is gone.

In the Camera Options, click on Camera to Director .

In the Sky & Fog Options, uncheck the Link Sun to View .

In Trackball Options (down-triangle next to the Trackball), click on Center to Selection .

In the Scene Window, click on the ground plane (gray grid at bottom of window) and delete it.

In the Menu Bar, go to File/Save As and save the scene as architecture1.br7. As you work on the assignment, remember to save new versions of the Bryce

scene (architecture2.br7, etc.). This way you can load any version of the scene to modify or continue working on at a later time.

Note: For your architecture scene, do not create any terrain objects. As the scene progresses, the architecture should be floating in a void of gray. This will make it easier to take the architecture created in this scene and move it into your completed landscape.

To create your structure, concentrate on the use of primitives. Architecture, when broken down into its components, is constructed from simple shapes: cubes, spheres, cylinders, etc. If you feel comfortable with the Bryce interface and prefer to create your own structure, read the following sections on "About Booleans", "Creating a Boolean", and "Creating Scene Details" and go for it! If you do not feel very comfortable with either the construction process or the Bryce interface, read through the same three sections and follow the steps outlined in "Building a Simple House".

About Booleans

In the previous module, primitives were shown to overlap to create more interesting and complex shapes. In addition to overlapping primitives, Boolean objects can be created in Bryce.

A Boolean object is made up of two or more objects: at least one "negative" or "intersect" object and one "positive" object (seen here as a "negative" sphere and a "positive" cube). See Figure 14:

Figure 14

When both objects are selected and grouped, Bryce creates a Boolean. See Figure 15:

Figure 15

There are four possible states of a Boolean shape: Neutral, Positive, Negative, and Intersect. The states of the objects making up a Boolean object are viewable in the Object’s Attributes (click the "A" in the Object Control). See Figure 16:

Figure 16

Neutral: The "neutral" state is the default state of all objects in Bryce. They are unaffected by Booleans and their wireframe is solid lines. See Figure 17:

Figure 17

Positive: The "positive" state is part of the requirement for a Boolean in Bryce. It represents the object to be "cut". There must be at least one "positive" object to create a Boolean. In the Scene Window, the object’s wireframe is a solid line, like a Neutral Object.

Negative: The "negative" state is one possible object used for a Boolean. A "negative" object removes the shape of the object from the "positive" object, like a "cookie cutter". In the Scene Window, the "negative" object’s wireframe is represented as a dotted line. See Figure 18:

Figure 18

Intersect: The "intersect" state is another possible object used for a Boolean. If a "negative" removes the shape from a "positive", an "intersect" object would be that removed shape. In the Scene Window, the object’s wireframe is a dashed line. See Figure 19.

Creating a Boolean (Click here to see an example animation )

In the Scene Window, create the positive object(s). See Figure 20.

Figure 20: Create the positive objects.

Click on the "A" in the Object Control next to the positive object(s) and change the Boolean State to Positive and name it. See Figure 21. Click the Check Mark in the bottom right corner.

Figure 21: Change the Boolean State to Positive.

In the Scene Window, create the negative or intersect object(s). See Figure 22. The negative/intersect object(s) must overlap the positive shape for the Boolean to work. Be sure to use different orthographic views (From Top, From Right, From Front) to verify the overlap.

Figure 22: Create the negative objects.

Click on the "A" in the Object Control next to the negative or intersect object(s) and change the Boolean State to Negative or Intersect and name it. See Figure 23. (For the negative state, there is an option available for "Transfer Material of Negative Boolean", see Figure 24. Checking this option will transfer the material of a negative object to the positive object, see Figure 25). Click the Check Mark in the bottom right corner.

Figure 23: Change the Boolean state to Negative or Intersect.

Figure 24: Transfer Material of Negative Boolean option.

Figure 25: Transfer the negative object's material to the postive object.

Select all positive and negative/intersect objects used for the Boolean object by holding the SHIFT key to add/subtract objects from the selection and the CTRL key to select by name. The SHIFT and CTRL keys may be held down at the same time to use both key functions while selecting or deselecting objects.

Once all parts have been selected, click on the "G" in the Object Control for the selection, see Figure 26. This creates a Boolean.

Figure 26: The final Boolean.

In the Object Control, click on the "A" and name the Boolean. See Figure 27.

Figure 27: Name the Boolean.

If an object in the Boolean object needs to be modified, hold the CTRL key and click on the object. Select it from the drop-down menu, change the object, and it will interactively change the Boolean object.

Keep Booleans simple. Don’t overcomplicate Boolean objects. Odd results may occur with highly complex Booleans, like Booleans within Booleans.

Creating Scene Details

Examine the objects that surround you. You will notice real world objects can be created from primitives. For instance, a room is simply a "positive" cube (outer wall) with a smaller "negative" cube (inner wall) in it.

Need a window and/or door? Add two smaller "negative" cubes that cross the "positive" and "negative" cubes. See Figure 28.

Figure 28: Use Booleans to create windows and doors.

A cup can be created from a group comprised of a "positive" torus (cup handle), a "positive" cylinder (cup), and a "negative" cylinder cutting out the inside. See Figure 29.

Figure 29: Use Booleans to create a cup.

A desk is a series of cubes put together and so forth. The little details can easily make the environments visually enriching (cups, chairs, lamps, lights, ceiling fan, shelves, air ducts, etc.).

Remember that duplication (pressing CTRL+D) can be used on selected objects (cups, chairs, boards in a fence, etc.) to create copies of the object. Using the 3 R’s (Rotate, Resize, and Reposition) and different materials on duplicates can help create variety out of the same object and create a visually interesting scene.

Remember that multiple lights, certain materials (transparent glass, reflective water, bumpy textures) and intricate terrains can dramatically increase your render time. Be judicious about what you choose for your materials. Making everything glass may look good, but be prepared for the time needed to render the image.

How do I…

Create a lake? Sometimes, a water plane may be too much water and a localized area of water is needed, like a lake or pond. Try using a flattened cube or cylinder with a preset water texture to create the effect.

Make smoke? Try applying a preset cloud texture to an elongated rock or sphere to create a wisp of smoke.

Building a Simple House: Preparation (This link will show you an animation that will help in building the simple house. You may refer to it again after you start the assignment )

In the Menu Bar, go to File/New Document (or press CTRL+N).

In the Document Setup window, click on the round button next to Default. The Document Resolution should be 540x405. Click on the Check mark to accept the settings.

At the top of the screen, click on the triangle to the right of the words Sky & Fog. In the Sky & Fog window, scroll down to the bottom of the window and click on Simple Gray Background. Click the Check mark to accept and exit the window.

Under the Nano Preview, click on the down-triangle to access the Nano Preview Options. From the drop-down menu, click on Director View. Now, the Nano Preview will reflect the Director View.

On the right side of the screen, click on the Wireframe Underground toggle icon. Make sure the blue horizon line is gone.

In the Camera Options, click on Camera to Director .

In the Sky & Fog Options, uncheck the Link Sun to View .

Building a Simple House: Creating the Framework

In the Create palette, click on the Cube primitive.

In the Object Control, click on the 'A' next to the cube to bring up the Cube's attributes.

For the Object Name, rename Cube1 to Outside Wall. Also, enter 50 for X, Y, and Z for the Size and change the Boolean State to Positive. Click the Check mark.

Click the Lands Up button at the bottom of the Object Control.

Click on the triangle next to the word Edit at the top of the screen to open the Material Presets and pick any material you like. This will be the color of the outside of the house.

Press CTRL+D to create a duplicate of the cube.

In the Object Control, click on the 'A'. For the Object Name, rename Outside Wall 1 to Inside Wall. For the Size. change 50 to 40 for X, Y, and Z. Also, change the Boolean State to Negative. Click the Check mark.

Click on the triangle next to the word Edit and pick any material you like. This will be the color of the inside of the house (think of it as wallpaper).

Press the 2 key on the keyboard to switch to the Top View.

Holding down the CTRL key, click on the dotted (negative) cube and select the Inside Wall from the drop-down list. Holding down the SHIFT and CTRL keys, click on the dotted cube again and select the Outside Wall. Now, both cubes should be highlighted.

In the Object Control, click on the 'G' to group the two objects. You have now created an empty framework for the house.

Building a Simple House: Making Windows

Holding down the CTRL key, click on the dotted cube and select Inside Wall from the list.

Press CTRL+D to create a duplicate of the negative object. This new duplicate will serve as a window cutout object.

In the Object Control, click on the 'A'. Rename the object Window Cutout 1. For Size. enter 30 for X and 20 for Y and Z. Click the Check mark.

A tiny rectangular cube appears in the center. This cube represents a negative shape that will be used to cut a section out of the wall.

Again, in the Object Control, click on the 'A'. For Position, enter -25 for Z. Click the Check mark.

The tiny cube now intersects the wall. Press the

key to go back to the Director View. Click the Render button. You can now see a hole in the wall.

Press the ESC key to return back to wireframe mode.

With the Window Cutout 1 selected, press CTRL+D to duplicate the negative object.

In the Object Control, click on the 'A'. You will notice that the name of the duplicate is automatically renamed Window Cutout 2. For Position. enter 25 for Z. Click the Check mark. This creates another window on the opposite wall.

Building a Simple House: Creating the Roof

Press the 3 key to change the view to the Right View.

Holding down the CTRL key, click on the building and select Outside Wall from the list.

Press CTRL+D to duplicate the outside wall.

In the Object Control, click on the 'A'. In the Object Attributes, change the name to Roof. Change the Boolean State to Neutral. Click the Check mark.

Using the Resize and Reposition Tools in the Edit Palette, resize and reposition the cube so that it is a flat rectangular cube on top of the house.

Click on the triangle next to the word Edit and choose a material for the roof from the Material Presets.

Figure 30: Example of a simple house.

Saving the Structure

Upon completing the structure, save the final structure as architecture_final.br7 using File/Save As. This scene will be inserted into the landscape created earlier.

Merging Scenes

Now, the architecture will be inserted into the landscape.

In the Menu Bar, go to File/Open (or press CTRL+O). Locate and select the landscape_final.br7 file. Click OK.

In the Menu Bar, go to File/Merge. Locate and select the architecture_final.br7 file. Click OK. Now, the architecture has been inserted into the landscape.

If resizing, rotating, or repositioning is needed for the architecture (it may be too large or small for the landscape and may be in the wrong position in the scene), be sure to group everything from the architecture file immediately after merging.

Once the architecture has been placed in the landscape, save the scene as merged.br7 .

Render the Scene

Next to the Trackball, click the down-triangle to access the Trackball Options. From the drop-down menu, click on Tripod. Now, whenever the Trackball is used, it will rotate the view around your POV (point of view) making it easier to find views to render.

Remember that a good composition is essential for this project. No matter how elaborate or detailed the scene is, the composition of your image is the key. In the scene, you have the opportunity to find multiple instances of a good composition. Find two Director views that you find interesting (inside and/or outside the architecture).

Saving Multiple Views

After the first render, go to File/Save Image As and the Save window will appear. The File name for the first render is the word "architecture" and the number "1" (ex. architecture1 ). The Save as type is TIFF (*.TIF).

Click Save.

Press the ESC key to remove the current render from the Scene Window and find another point of view in the Director View to render. The second render must be different from the first render! Do not render the exact same Director View twice!

After the second render, go to File/Save Image As and the Save window will appear. The File name for the second render is the word "architecture" and the number "2" (ex. architecture2 ). The Save as type is TIFF (*.TIF) .

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