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Category: Visualisations

Procedural Amphitheatre

Procedural Amphitheatre


In a free hour (literally 1 hour), I created a CGA rule that creates a procedural amphitheatre.

It is full circle or circle segment based (0-360 degrees), has attributes for inner and outer radius.

 Additionally, I can drive:

  • Number of radial stairs
  • Number of levels
  • Number of sitting rows
  • Walkway width
  • ..

If you’re interested in reconstructions of historic or ancient cities: Contact us!



Sedbergh 3D meets CityEngine and LumenRT

Sedbergh 3D meets CityEngine and LumenRT

Sedbergh Demo Video Title

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.


This Sedbergh model we’ve added some landuse data (polygons and points) these represent trees, Listed Building status and community buildings.   For planners and architects imagine visualising your plans for a site with this technology.   If you want to view and interact with a Sedbergh model (not quite the one on the video) you can do so here.



Downtown Miami meets CityEngine and LumenRT

Downtown Miami meets CityEngine and LumenRT

Downtown Miami Video title

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!


If you’re interested in this you might like the interactive webscene that was used as the base data for this., you can view this on Garsdale Design Limited’s ArcGIS Online site.

Once again our friends at CyberCity3d must be thanked for the data, and e-on Software  for LumenRT.


Auto-texturing in CityEngine & export to LumenRT

Auto-texturing in CityEngine & export to LumenRT

Update : Now with added video

Just a quick progress report:  The LumenRT stock rule files and textures with simple modifications can be used on other projects.   I’m using CyberCity3D’s

RealLondon3D data here which I’ve very quickly used a texturing rule file and then exported out to LumenRT.

It’s fun to get to this quality of render in under 15 minutes…
Some textures have not been as successful as others
Night time effects can hide most mistakes…
LumenRT comes with models and rule files that add real lighting effects
I wish CItyEngine could handle terrains better….

Initial impressions on LumenRT 4 Studio + GeoDesign plugin

Initial impressions on LumenRT 4 Studio + GeoDesign plugin


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).


Modelling an Historic Arab City Centre in 3D using CityEngine – Revisited

Modelling an Historic Arab City Centre in 3D using CityEngine – Revisited

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….


Checking out landuses, yes I know the mosque is oddly proportioned…

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.

White is good…
A white model plus dusk as a time frame isn’t as successful as I had hoped…
Someone needs to get faster to render better looking trees than that…
My favourite view from the multi-storey car park…

CityEngine and Fossils?

CityEngine and Fossils?

So I’ve said before CityEngine is so much more than for Cities with that in mind I used CityEngine to export some Fossil 3D models to a webscene….

This is getting out of hand…. (click on image to view in 3D on

The 3 3d fossil models came from this new website which is an impressive project :

The GB3D Type Fossils Online project, funded by JISC, aims to develop a single database of the type specimens, held in British collections, of macrofossil species and subspecies found in the UK, including links to photographs (including ‘anaglyph’ stereo pairs) and a selection of 3D digital models.

I’ve been looking at new things outside of cities to model and display within ESRI’s WebGL webscene viewer so this was a perfect test.   To view this model you need a web browser that supports WebGL (currently Internet Explorer doesn’t) and a reasonable download speed…. you’ve been warned.

 Fossils from GB3D WebGL webscene

An evening with CityEngine?

An evening with CityEngine?

evening with cityengine_escape_tech_esri

So is this the first real CityEngine event in the UK this year?  I’m hoping we get more!

Unfortunately this event is right when my holiday is so I can’t make it, but I recommend that if you’re interested in 3D cities and can make it, you should go.

Oddly this event seems to being held by Escape Technology (a creative industry company) and ESRI Inc. not ESRI UK (although they have promoted it via twitter).   This is probably down to the history of CityEngine being developed by the now bought out Procedural based in Zurich (now ESRI R&D Zurich), and the hybrid nature of CityEngine with one foot in two differing types of industry.

The great thing about CityEngine is it has uses in the creative industries of movies, computer games and graphic design as well as Urban Design and planning.   This event seems geared to the creative types, but that doesn’t mean urban designers and planners shouldn’t go and find out more about this great product.

Click here to find out more about the event and register and if you go tell Dominik Tarolli I sent you!

Now I hope this even paves the way for a CityEngine event for urban designers, planners and architects!



An Evening With EscapeTechnology and CityEngine!
15th August 2013, The Wheatsheaf, Rathbone Place, London
The Escape Technology team are pleased to be hosting an evening with CityEngine.
On Thursday August 15th join us at The Wheatsheaf, on Rathbone Place, for an exclusive evening with Esri, the team of masterminds behind CityEngine, the tool of choice for 3D modelling of urban environments, architecture, simulation, game development and film production.
The evening will include a full presentation packed with CityEngine tips & tricks and the Esri team will be on hand to answer any questions.
We’ll finish the evening off with some drinks, snacks & a good old’ natter!

6:00pm – 6:30pm – Registration
6:30pm – 7:15pm – “Hacking Cities: The Future of 3D CityModeling” with
Dominik Tarolli & Pascal Mueller
7:15pm Onwards – Drinks & Networking