“not the same! 1024″
“not he same2! 512
Recognise these error messages?
Just a quick post, if like me you have an AMD (HD6900 series) graphics card and have been getting strange messages from Lumion 2.5, it might be to do with the latest version of the driver (13.10).
If you want to get rid of the error messages you need to roll back driver version 12.10… seems to have worked for me. You can get the old drivers here : http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/Drivers/ATI_Catalyst/old/
Or go to your device manager in windows, select the graphics card and on the Driver tab click the Roll Back Driver update… As with most things only do this if you’re confident you can get things working again if it all goes wrong!
- AMD/ATI graphics card: Warning about the latest driver (13.10) (registration may be required)
I’ve been working away on SketchUp and needed to do some test urban/residential areas in a fictional Middle East city… For some reason the videos are better quality on my PC to what has been uploaded and processed by YouTube. YouTube seems to have squashed them… I’ll try and fix it when I get time (my upload speeds aren’t great so I don’t really want to do it again just yet…)
So they are two different models using the same road layout but different rule files. Both use CityEngine to place or build the city model and Lumion3D to render and make the video (with a little edit from Windows Live Movie Maker). SketchUp has been used for a few of the elements (a villa, cars, sign posts and the tram!).
Middle East City Part 1 :
Middle East City Part 2:
I’m still using Lumion Free in my spare time, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be purchasing this software to produce imagery for some of our projects. It’s just so easy to make good looking scenes with these two packages, and quickly too!
Oddly I’m really proud of the satellite dishes, not their placement but the rotation which in CityEngine I can do globally so every dish can point in the right direction. This method can be used for other objects such as TV aerials or even whole buildings such as Mosques.
I’m always looking for new ways to combine data and visualisation techniques. Partly I’m inspired by the likes of the DigitalUrban blog but mostly I’ve always liked mucking about with 3D software and real world data (3D Construction kit for the C64 anyone?).
So here is what you need for what I’m about to do, there’s a lot of different ways of achieving the same thing and at different costs. Inevitably if you have lots of money the steps are more streamlined.
- ArcGIS or QGIS for creating and exporting your GIS data to …
- SketchUp Pro (to export as FBX files) or SketchUp Free (plus the OBJ importer/exporter and AutoDesk FBX convertor)
- CityEngine (no free alternative for this as far as I am aware but there’s educational licensing)
- Unity (I’m using the free version but Pro works as well!)
- Unity Web player (for running around your model in a web browser)
Okay this will be a very quick run down as I’m not going to go into the details. I suggest you familiarise yourself with each piece of software paying attention to the import export functionalities of each.
This guide, as the blog is in general, primarily a notebook of workflows for myself so I don’t have to remember them all!
Recommended reading? Digital Urban and this “Google SketchUp for Game Design: Beginner’s Guide”
- Create City Streets or download from OpenStreetMap
- Edit data in ArcGIS or QGIS (and save as shapefile) or even use SketchUp pro and export as dxf
- Import data (edited in ArcGIS/QGIS or otherwise…) into CityEngine shapefiles/DXF/GDB/OSM/DAE/OBJ *or you can import OSM data directly*
- Generate your city using various ‘assets’, for example, city streets and plots from a GIS or straight from Open Street Map data. Using rules you can create your own building models as well.
- Once complete export your city model to a FBX format, in CityEngine FBX export dialog box I change the Misc Options Global Offset and click the ‘Center‘ button
- You can also create more more models (signs, trees etc) that can be placed in Unity separately. In SketchUp Pro its just a case of exporting as an FBX file, but if you have SketchUp Free use the OBJ exporter and AutoDesks free FBX converter.
- Either you have exported the city model to the correct Asset folder for your Unity project or you can click on the Assets menu in Unity and select Import New Asset
- In Unity select your newly imported model and using the Inspector window change the scale factor to 1 select Generate Colliders and Import Materials choosing the right Material Naming and Material Search options. The click apply and wait while your model is prepared.
- Once complete drag your model from the Project window into the Scene window and position. Now drag from the Standard Assets–>Character Controllers folder drag and drop the ‘First Person Controller’ onto your model.
- Add a light by selecting the menu GameObject–>Create Other –> Directional Light and then position it in over your model in the Scene window. If you can’t find it double click on the Directional Light heading in the Hierarchy window.
- Add a SkyBox (yes with nice fluffy clouds) by selecting the Edit–>Render Settings menu heading and clickin the little circle to the right of the SkyBox Material heading in the Inspector. In the Select Material dialog box type ‘sky’ and a list of the skyboxes will appear. Select one of these.
- To create a standalone playable demo of your model first make sure it all works click the play button, if you fall off your model press the play button again to stop and make sure the First Person Controller is placed above your model and that you selected the create colliders on your imported model in the Inspector window.
- Select File Build Settings, click “Add Current” to build the scene you are working on. Now click on Web Player (or PC and Mac Standalone) and click Build and Run
- Navigate to the folder where the HTML file has been created an double click on it, if you have installed the Unity Web Player your model walkthrough should load up just as if you had pressed play within Unity itself..
I’m quite partial to a good workflow, so here’s the result of one I’ve posted on GeoPlanIT’s YouTube channel:
Lumion3D is a great rendering/visualisation tool I hope to be using much more in the future. It might not give you full control over everything but if you want quick and easy renderings of your models it’s brilliant. A word of caution though, you might want to upgrade your graphics card… (or like me your entire PC). You can download a free (limited feature) trial now from here.
Finally the ArcGIS resource center is starting to get some templates to help you through the workflows from ArcGIS to CityEngine!
My first presentation on Day One was entitled the “10 Minute City” to a largish group of people who made the trek to the basement instead of hearing about exciting developments in ArcGIS 10.1. Honestly, thank you for coming down and listening to us all, not just myself. VIDEO TO VIEW HERE After initial issues relating to my video not playing on ESRI laptops and codecs (I’ve never figured out codecs all I can say is it worked on my PCs and their offices ones too).
Here I demonstrated a workflow that used CityEngine and ArcGIS as the pivot points in creating a very basic city model for visualisation and analytical purposes. I hope this went down well and if people have any more questions about it (I know I skipped some of the detail) then please don’t hesitate to contact me.
My second presentation entitled “Games and the City” was to a much smaller audience, I gave a live demonstration and an insight into a workflow we’ve been looking at using specially built software with assistance of InfoLab21.
My quick quiz about what game and system this screen shot was from got no correct answers unfortunately (and I was going to give the person who guess correctly a snazzy GDL memory stick!).
Perhaps you would like to guess? (answer in the comments below, no prize though sorry!)
Both presentations should be available to upload from the ESRI site soon, I’ll also try and post it here soon.
Apologies to those of you who saw the presentation and saw it stall at one stage. I’ll blame it on the lack of a mouse mat, the awkward position of the mouse on the podium oh and my shakey hand due to nerves!
I stayed on the Geo-Futures track throughout, don’t get me wrong there was great choice out there. I would have been interested in seeing more, but on balance there was more of interest to me on this track. Last year I did jump around, this year I thought I’d try staying where I was, both approaches worked for me.
The following is quick run-down of what stood out for me, it’s not a review or judgement on anyone’s presentation. They were all good and very interesting.
- “The Transition to a Low Carbon economy” - Emily Martin, ESRI UK – More detail on this subject from day one. She gave me some interesting ideas that I want to explore further, I love that GIS can help us understand and assess the effectiveness of new technologies. Whilst giving us real monetary values and pay back times!
- “Games and the City” – My presentation which you can find out about here.
- “GeoDesign: Asset management in the Public Forest Estate” – Tony Farndon, Forestry Commission – I have great respect for anyone that manages forests (call it a family thing). I was interested in their use of 3D visualisation to see what future landscapes would look like with new plantings (I have some ideas about this to…).
- “Data in the Public Domain: Is Anyone Ready?” – Lisa Thomas, The Coal Authority – As a Durham Postgraduate Alumni, (Geographical Information for Development anyone?) I am aware of subsidence and old mine shafts (the library and much of Durham’s campus is on an old mine!) so I found this quite interesting. Dramatic pictures aside, there was a valuable point to be made about releasing their data to the public. As there needs to be a lot of knowledge required to understand some of the implications of the data that they hold. Personally I think that without educating people, no one is ready for this kind of data. Her points also linked quite nicely with Steven Feldman’s presentation. Also her interesting insight into the world of INSPIRE was an eye opener for me (being in the private sector) and now I understand why @alexrcoley couldn’t make it (too busy!).
- “The OS Road Map” – Dave Russell, Ordnance Survey – Good stuff from the OS (as always really), interesting to hear about where they think the money is, as well as upcoming 3D and other products.
- “Open Data – is it like giving a kid an AK47” – Steven Feldman, Knowwhere Consulting – I did attend last year’s presentation entitled “Navigating in turbulent waters”. I’ve not really spoken to him before this year but I certainly have heard of him! No bad things, of course, but he is one these presenters with a style that you remember. Personally I wouldn’t call it provocative or controversial but it comes close for some I guess. This presentation dealt with the question (in my mind at least) of whether OpenData should be open to everyone. In that, he meant that perhaps only professionals who use a rigorous and professional approach to analysing and publishing data should get to have a go. I may have paraphrased it a bit, but using the police.uk fiasco as an example of how not to do GIS was a good example. He also illustrated this with a ‘police crime map’ of where he lives showing a large number of crimes occurring right next to him.
But if you don’t understand the context of the data or how it is displayed (and it can’t just be some minor piece of text disclaiming the data) the information is useless. Other than for journalists! I would like to add, that whilst the data is made “anonymous” by a particularly stupid method, the data isn’t very anonymous in areas of smaller populations (or small streets). Anyway, it was a very good presentation, and you can tell it got my brain working a bit!
- “ESRI UK Online services “ – Dave Bayer, ESRI UK – Well I was glad our hosts had technical issues (made me feel better about some of my presentations issues), but I’m glad to see that ESRI is not standing still on the online front. It’s a shame they couldn’t access the server. But I’m looking forward to the OS opendata base maps!
- “Using new technologies to deliver savings in the Public Sector” – Duncan Hill, Europa Technologies – Interesting look at joined up approaches and integration of cloud mapping services into peoples systems. My company is not really big enough or doing the right jobs to benefit dramatically from this kind of approach (we’re on a per job basis), having said that someone else does manage our maps on a regular basis, thank you ESRI for including that in ArcGIS 10.
- “Real Time GIS” – Charles Kennelly, ESRI UK – The resident DJ (didn’t he play S-Club7 as an opener at last years conference?) also had technical issues, well if you put us far away from anyone else at the conference maybe this will happen! That didn’t faze him as he whipped out the latest cutting edge technology, pen + paper! Who knew you could do such things without a battery! I honestly found it quite refreshing to see a presentation done a flip-chart. Joking aside, he made some very interesting points about how computing power has come on so far that real-time GIS processing is a reality and that we should be thinking about it now because it is coming. He also warned against the dangers of focusing attention on the finished mapped product as being the ‘source data’. He suggested our attentions should be on the process to we used to get to those mapped products.
He’s right and I think I’d like to talk to him further about this in relation to what I do….
So, I hope that was of some interest to people, it’s one of my longest blog posts but conferences always get me fired up and thinking about new approaches. Which considering the title of this year’s conference is quite appropriate!
Let me have your feedback, if I’ve missed anyone out or have additional observations or information please leave a comment below. I will add your thoughts to the appropriate parts of the post as well.