As part of a new urban renewal project we obtained the previous master plan as a PDF (naturally). Reading through it we felt that we needed to understand what was proposed and how the proposals would look in 3D.
It’s a largish urban area and previously we would never even dream of modelling it at such an early stage of the project. Too much work to model in SketchUp and certainly not to just understand part of a report. Things have changed and now we are aware of what CityEngine can do we’re starting to modify how we approach jobs.
You wonder why I’m interested in CityEngine? Well I can see how it is changing our work and what it will change for us in the future. Less than a month into a project and we’ve modelled an entire urban area in less than 1/2 a day, just to understand something better.
Pre-CityEngine we would never have done this.
I’m often told that when I’m modelling in 3D I might as well be playing with Lego, so I’ve been working on a rule file that actually models Lego…. Ha! That will show them!
The serious side to the rule file is that it is teaching me some proper techniques for later use.
Notice how the height of the Lego block varies and so to does each individual piece…. My next modification is to make the lego height jump in brick heights not actual numbers.
This is a fun quick tip, instead of assigning a specific colour to each floor and building when not use the built in colorRamp function. Search for it in the help file for detailed usage here’s how I’ve used it:
I’ve taken a centre point and coloured the rooftop of each building using the colorRamp function. Basically it checks to see how far it is from a chosen point (fixed in the rule file) and normalises it so the value is between 0 and 1 and then uses that value to pick a colour in the depending on your chosen colorRamp.
I was recently asked to be the Guest Speaker at the wards dinner and ceremony at GISWORX’13, I was asked if I could say something motivational/inspirational for 5 minutes…. I hope this was okay:
“Good evening fellow geo colleagues and distinguished guests, I feel very honoured to be asked to present at this wonderful conference. I think we can all agree that GISTEC have done a marvellous job fitting so much in to 3 days, with such interesting presentations and workshops!
I was asked whether I would talk to you now about something motivational or inspirational potentially related to the conference themes.
But all I have come up with is the idea we all need to find time to play. Let me try and explain to you what I believe is the ….
… the power of play
Just a quick tip this one, and it starts to help you when you make very large city/urban models. When you are starting to add more detail to your rule file buildings like nice windows or doors (or in my case balconies and air conditioning units) it’s always best to create a simplified model at the same time. That way you can create a mechanism to speed up CityEngine, remember the more detail it has to draw the more PC resources it needs.
Once you’ve done this you can use the following rule syntax to enable easy switching off and on of the detail without losing the feel of your model. Remember your urban model maybe small now, but because you will inevitably reuse this rule file and asset, it’s best to ‘front load’ some of the work.
attr toggledetail = false asset_balcony = case toggledetail == true : "assets/detailedBuildings/BuildingFeatures/balcony.obj" else : "assets/detailedBuildings/BuildingFeatures/balcony_simple.obj"
You might well have guessed from the numerous blog posts and tweets that I have got quite a bit out of the last week or so!
Professionally the GeoDesign summit was very successful I got into discussions with a lot of people. Some of those discussions will lead me into a new direction at work but that is another blog post.
I’d like to thank a few people at ESRI for the massive opportunity they have given me as well as support. The following is a run down of those I met and have had conversations with that I can remember easily for blogging, please don’t be offended if you are not here, there were so many I had to choose just a few to write about!
Happy New Year everyone! After a successful break I came back to the office bursting with ideas for new CityEngine models and here is one I can share with you. It successfully combines a small but neat forestry rule file, allowing me to adjust tree height based on old and new growth in varying proportions (20% old growth, 80% new growth). I’ve used a road rule file from a middle eastern project. I’ve then downloaded OS OpenData which includes terrain, street network and vectormap data (https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendatadownload/products.html).
As you can see the model is coming along, what I really like is drawing freehand a road network that just magically appears on my terrain all textured up.
The terrain colouring isn’t perfect I know, but it will have to do for now until I can get some satellite imagery. I can see a real use for CityEngine beyond city visualisations, perhaps I was on to something with this previous post .
I think I may add something about this model to my presentation at the GeoDesign Summit, at the end of this month.