Sometimes in CityEngine it can be hard to figure out what’s going on. Whether that’s understanding scope (CityEnginers understand this can get complicated) or just simple metrics.
I’ll often use a combination of ‘print’ and ‘report’ to give me a better understanding of my code at any given point. What I also do is use bright colours (which have simple RGB/hex colour codes) to indicate whether a part of the code has been reached. once I’ve confirmed it works I continue the code.
Recently I’ve been working on some code where an understanding of the orientation of an model is important, not just as a world orientation but also relative to the initial shapes scope. As is the case with most of my work in CityEngine I start to wonder, how would I go about making something more visual for me? Thus I decided to spend some (okay probably too much!) time creating a procedural protractor. This allows you to switch between displaying an angle relative to the shapes scope, or the world.
I’ve used the Handle features in CityEngine to make interacting with the attributes associated with this rule simple. I’m starting to use ‘handles’ in CityEngine to expose attributes for users in a friendlier way.
To sum up for me I’ve found that programming language in Esri CityEngine called Computer Generated Architecture (CGA) is easier to pick up than traditionally programming languages because it is a visual one and by that I mean you create geometries.
I also get asked what PCs I run CityEngine myself, so here goes my list:
Asus Transformer Pro 3 (i5, 4GB RAM intel graphics card) – Works okay for small projects, I like using it for creating rule files ‘on the road’. If you want bigger city models don’t use this.
Razer Blade 15″ – (i7 8th Gen, 16GB RAM, 1060 GTX Nvidia) This is a fantastic games PC but also practically a desktop replacement, a new purchase for me but good for most things I would throw at my desktop.
Chillblast (i7, 32GB RAM,1070 GTX Nvidia) It’s the RAM that makes this great really and has the edge over my new laptop. Oh and I have 2 24inch screens attached.
For a client I’ve been working with CityEngine installed on Amazon Workspaces alongside ArcGIS Pro this seems to work pretty well so far but I haven’t push the limits (yet)!
ArcGIS Pro! If you working with Esri software anyway this is essential you can use it to publish easily your 2D and 3D layers. You can also use CityEngine to create Rule Paackages which can be used as advanced symbology in ArcGIS Pro. Users who only have ArcGIS Pro can use CityEngine rule packages which gives you more options to share your hard work.
ArcGIS Online for those looking to publish quickly an seamlessly to the web geospatial 3D data/models created in CityEngine you need to be using this. Obviously other platforms can be used, if you they can work with the CityEngine export formats.
I really recommend a 3DConnexion SpaceMouse (any of them) as well for navigating around all that 3D work. It’s not a replacement for your regular mouse but does compliment it greatly.
SketchUp is still a must have for all those fiddly details, CityEngine+SketchUp are perfect companions applications
I’ve been busy this weekend making some of my old demo videos more ‘presentable’! We (Garsdale Design Limited) purchased 3D Sedbergh off of CyberCity3D so that we had a test bed for 3D workflows and so we can go outside quickly and check the model ‘in the field’ as it were…
smart cities start with smart data
I personally wanted Sedbergh my home town in 3D as I’m quite frankly fed up of seeing cities get all the fun 3D data. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, forget smart cities, what about smart villages and towns?!
People really struggle with CityEngine and what it can do, this is understandable as CityEngine is a very versatile and technical software tool. We often start with pretty imagery and nice 3D models but we embed intelligence, the underlying 2D GIS data we already knew about. What we do (amongst other things) is create nice looking 3D basemaps and take your 2D data and make them attractive and importantly useful.
Okay this is a relatively old model from the 3DPathFinder we did last year. We’ve been looking at eefficientways of creating ‘higher end’ visualisations and one of the quicker routes is through LumenRT 2015. This has direct integration with CityEngine and can you add some really nice touches, like real weather and animated traffic and people!
Okay this video is relatively boring but hey, it took less time than previous methods we have used. LumenRT has a little bit of a learning curve when using with CityEngine, but we’ve had great support from them and the software seems to be kept up-to-date. CityEngine is a niche product and it really is nice to see other people using and supporting it, thank you e-on software!
On the week we’re all waiting (okay just me) for CityEngine 2013 I bought LumenRT Studio and GeoDesign plugin. Why? Well I like Lumion but the upgrade to the latest version would have been expensive and I was looking for proper CityEngine integration or at least an understanding of what I’m doing from a renderer. Lumion is good at smaller models for architects (it still has a place here) but LumenRT seems geared to larger models like the ones I’m making.
Initial impressions are very good you still need to know CityEngine but LumenRT makes it quite easy to move from a basic model to something that’s nicely rendered and you can fly around. The project I am working on at the moment is the biggest most detailed model I’ve ever done and LumenRT for the most part just copes.
I’ll probably do a bigger and better review when this project I’m working on is finished, in the meantime here are some nice screenshots I’ve made (apologies for the all night time shots, it helps cover a multitude of sins).
I’ve gone back to my rule file that tries to create a semi-realistic modern day historic Arabic city core, Yes it does have satellite dishes this is not a historic recreation of a bygone era….
The rule file can take existing GIS data (for example landuses per plot) and colour them based loosely the LBCS Code and colour values . The colours aren’t the greatest for 3D but there’s always a compromise.