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Category: Workflow

Making the ‘Craftsman Rule’ more interactive….

Making the ‘Craftsman Rule’ more interactive….

In CityEngine you can use a feature called ‘handles’ to add visual controls to your models.  This means you don’t have to interact with specific numbers or values in the inspector.  It also means many more people can use your rules as they were intended.   The real issue here is how much control do you give you users via this method? 

As you can see there is a balance to be had between being highly configurable and being too configurable (i.e. too many attributes to muck around with!).

Early days on the handles, but I’m getting there!

Many people have reached out to me asking whether this rule file will be available for sale sometime.  The answer is probably!  Drop me a message if you’re interested and I’ll let you know how it goes.   Or keep an eye on twitter, LinkedIn or this blog for more updates.  I suspect I will have to stop sometime.

Procedural modelling the UK high-street

Procedural modelling the UK high-street

Some of our latest CityEngine work is looking at the high street and in particular here at home the UK high street.   Commercial buildings in a typical UK town are a mixed bag of traditional older buildings with some often badly maintained concrete buildings and the odd brick built modern monster designed and built in the 1980s.  More recent buildings like glass a lot …  We’ve been creating rules to describe building frontages, not all are pretty but that’s kind of the point! 

This set is early work for a project that we’re helping on for the Transport Systems Catapult based in Milton Keynes who are helping out the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) creating simulated virtual environments to test out way-finding technologies.  Stay tuned for some more outputs! 

City 3D GIS Building Renders

City 3D GIS Building Renders

Further to my CityEngine Quick Render post I thought I’d put through some of our GD3D buildings (sourced from CyberCity3D and processed for use on the ArcGIS platform sold via ArcGIS Marketplace) through the same process.  I think they look quite nice!   My next task will be to start showing more than pretty renders of buildings, I hope to add some metrics in and the do more nice imagery.

All this rendering of 3D models whilst not new to me is something I do very rarely, other people can do better but as with everything it is nice having some skills ‘in-house’!

CityEngine Quick Renders

CityEngine Quick Renders

I’ve been playing with my new ‘Craftsman’ style CityEngine rules in other workflows and pipelines.  The one I’m working through at the moment is some experimental renders, I know there are a lot of issues here but I’m not yet interested in spending hours working and tweaking my rendering program to get ‘just’ the right level of detail and dirt (there are better professionals than I for that).  It’s still amazing to me that these are proper GIS based models (they mostly designed to work with GIS data in ArcGISPro) with real dymanic metrics being now used to produce something that looks quite good (well I think it does).

I like how these renders make my craftsman style models look like something you may print out via a 3D printer.  Okay it I know it looks toy-like, and is somewhat dated in terms of visual renders etc.. (I’m not a entertainment industry/graphic artist professional) but I still like it.  Also apologies for over use of Depth of Field effect….

 

Collaboration with Transport Systems Catapult

Collaboration with Transport Systems Catapult

Ryan at the Garsdale Design offices overlooking the Howgill’s and Sedbergh. (Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales National Park)

Some of you may have noticed a post I shared on LinkedIn by a gentleman called Ryan Johnston from the Transport Systems Catapult (based in Milton Keynes) coming to our office here in Cumbria last Friday. 

Getting the train this morning to Cumbria for some collaborative work with Elliot Hartley #Garsdaledesign . Looking at how City Engine can help create fast environments for testing and stimulation.

Ryan was here to gain insight into how we here at Garsdale Design build virtual 3D environments from GIS data.  We use the Esri platform to do this and one of the key tools Ryan was here to get an understanding of was CityEngine and ArcGISPro.  As you all should know by now is that at Garsdale Design is well known for our CityEngine and 3D GIS expertise! 

In any GIS workflow data preparation is vital

This is part of the Peterborough way finding research project for the partially sighted. Helping to understand how spatially correct 3d urban models and VR technology; can help the partially sighted to navigate from the train station to the RNIB Peterborough head office.

Ryan’s visit was in relation to a way-finding project for the partially sighted in Peterborough, home to the head office of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).  Here the TSC has brought together a range of industry professionals (such as Garsdale Design and MK Surveys) to create a virtual environment to test various sensors, beacons and navigation methods around Peterborough town centre and the offices of the RNIB.   As this project progresses more information will be posted on the Transport Systems Catapult website

Ryan was here the whole day (interrupted only by a nice lunch at the Three Hares Cafe), and we discussed various project workflows, for example making all that nice Ordnance Survey MasterMap data 3D, as well as managing terrain data.   We looked at game engine workflows and the exciting possibilities of Unity as well as the new datasmith tool for Unreal.   Of course once we have a dynamic and flexible (i.e. easy to modify) 3D model we also need to look at analytical tools to help in the process of assessing various ‘way marking’ technologies.   Whilst the discussion was focused on the Peterborough project we’re happy to report that many of the issues we were addressing also would come in use for future projects too.

CityEngine 2017.1 beta demoing how the new viewshed tool could be used for bluetooth beacon placement

At the end of the day Ryan and I were able to make a quick mock-up of part of Peterborough to identify where CityEngine tools may help create this virtual environment.  We also looked at the 2017.1 beta version with viewsheds which could be useful in this particular project.

We had a great day and it was fantastic to work with Ryan, I’m pretty sure we could have kept going for a lot longer, but sadly a work day must come to an end sometime!   

 

 

CityEngine 2017.1 Beta (a sneak peek)

CityEngine 2017.1 Beta (a sneak peek)

Well I’ve been a bit busy as of late working on some exciting 3D projects and attending some really interesting conferences!  One day I’ll get around to writing about them.  🙂 There is so much going on in the 3D GIS space that it can feel a bit too much.  Fortunately that’s where our expertise lies, making sense of it all and helping clients.  

Viewshed from the Motte & Bailey in Sedbergh towards the M6

I’ve made some time though to talk a little bit about the new CityEngine 2017.1 Beta that I’ve just installed. But before I continue this is a sneak peek at a beta release some or all features I talk about maybe removed at the last minute, don’t plan your future projects based on this blog.  What I would say is yet again, if you are thinking of working in 3D and the Esri platform, CityEngine is worth a look, especially for planners.

The team in Zurich seem to be hell bent on adding new features quickly now especially for the Urban Planners among us!  I wanted to show you a very cool new feature/toolset called viewsheds.  This gives you live (see animated GIFS below) views of viewshed domes or corridors in the CityEngine viewport, giving you an indication of what you would see from particular vantage points.  You can change the colour for each area too (colour visible by all, colour visible by one, colour not visible by any) and place multiple viewsheds. 

Well I can think of a number of industries (and former trainees of mine) that would love this particular tool!  Now before you get too excited you can’t export these results yet (its a live dynamic view within the viewport).

If you’re looking for help either training for CityEngine (we’re the first to offer CityEngine training and have been using it longer than Esri even!), or you need help with 3D data capture, contact us directly.

Sedbergh’s 4G mobile telecommunications mast….

There are some usual bug fixes and a few new rule functions I can see coming up (I may write about these later), and there is a facility to import and synchronise feature layers hosted in ArcGIS Online!  This brings some potentially exciting opportunities and workflows but as a new feature I think as usual this should be used with caution, but the direction of travel here is interesting. 

Now one final thought: remember how a previous release of ArcGISPro (1.4) incorporated the ability to edit multipatch geometries using SketchUp-like tools?  Did I mention this really was first seen in CityEngine…?  Now, if I was a betting man (which I’m not) I would look at CityEngine features to see perhaps where new ArcGISPro 3D related tools may come from…. just a thought and I have no insider knowledge here…

oh, this is a lot of fun!

Nice work Esri R&D Zurich, nice work.

 

While you’re here it would be good to know what you think of CityEngine and/or it’s direction into Geodesign and planning.  Add a comment to continue/start the discussion (all comments reviewed/moderated).

 

CityEngine Rule of the Week

CityEngine Rule of the Week

It’s been a while since I’ve posted I know! Anyway this year the CityEngine team at Esri have been publishing ‘Rules of the Week’ videos not only that they’ve been publishing the actual rule files as well.

A great way to learn CityEngine is to look at the code other people have written, and who better to (ahem) copy form than the CityEngine team itself.

It’s a bit of a shame that the audio quality is so good in places but if you like CityEngine it’s well worth a view!