Inspired by the treetop walkway in Kew gardens I thought I’d make a quick rule file to change a road network into one. Here is a screen capture of the result.
It is really quite simple and small as rule files go, and I still need to make proper handrails and of course an access point (stairs and lift). I used SketchUp to model the pylon and then adjusted the road width to a walkway width and the sidewalks are used as railings. Instead of junctions I used roundabouts and placed the SketchUp pylon model in the centre of the roundabout.
I hope to put this example and others up online in the near future….
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
This is interesting, I was looking at viewing CityEngine web scenes on my iPad and apparently it is capable (webGL is supported in adverts) but only if you jailbreak it. I’m not really prepared to go down that route, I might break it and then my 3.5 year old daughter would be mad at me.
So I looked at weather my new Samsung Galaxy S3 could view webGL content. Well no it can’t by default except when you download the beta version of Chrome Beta for Android! What you do is install Chrome Beta and type into the address bar Chrome://flags and then enable webGL, of course then you point your Chrome Beta browser at your favourite CityEngine webscene. So far it seems ok, there are times when the 3D is a bit sluggish, the big issue is that you can’t navigate the model by touch, so you have to really on the bookmarks. Also the slider for moving between two scenes doesn’t work. My guess is this can be programmed in, as soon as one of ESRI’s nice CityEngine developers (who read this blog?) feel like a quick side project for me….. ?
Don’t believe me? Here are some screen shots (not got a 3D view as the screen capture software won’t let me… I’ll try again later)
I’ll be holding an introduction to CityEngine workshop at GISWORX ’13 this year entitled “Using CityEngine for Urban Planning (the Instant City in practice).
I’ll introduce attendees to the basics of CityEngine and how I use it in a city master planning context. I will outline a couple of rule files that create quickly an urban block model with details such as building facades and lamp posts.
The second part of the workshop will take you through our process for creating and visualising a city neighbourhood in realtime from taking real GIS data through to rendered visualisations.
Hopefully I will also have the time to show attendees how they can share their models on line and off line.
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"