Thursday, May 1, 2008

ENDS 170 Project 3

This is our final project for my ENDS 170 course with professor Wei Yan. I had the great oportunity to learn several of the basic techniques in the powerful programs including Autodesk Revit 2008, Autodesk VIZ 2008, and Photoshop. These three programs were something completely new to me this semester. I was oblivious to any of the possibilities these programs carried with them. At the same time, I was intimidated by the programs because of the great potential they carry, but the more I worked on the programs, the more familiar I became with them and the more comfortable.
In this Final Project, we had to take our previous design from Revit (Project 2) and convert it into a DWG file in order to import it into VIZ. Once the file was imported into VIZ and after long hours of practice on the VIZ tutorials, we began working on the project. It was pretty challenging at first to get the materials to come the way I wanted them to but I was finally able to get results that I wanted.
In this ariel view, I was trying to show all of the buildings in my complex as well as part of the bay. I feel like this rendering is not as succesful as my next rendering because of the appearence of the material. The walls in my building are made of an Arch & Design material using the "polished concrete" template. I then went in there and changed the bitmap of the concrete with an image of polished stone I found in Google. I added a Bump map to add some texture to the material but not too much because I wanted to keep the polished look. I also had to add a Mapscaler to the walls in order for the stone texture to show up, and I had to resize the map in ordere to hide the tiling effect of viz.
That is probably one of the weaknesses of VIZ. It cannot create a texture that is continously flowing. At least, I do not know how to do it. It would be great if VIZ could generate textures and materials without the tiling effect. Sometimes it can be helpfull but a lot of the times it is hard to make the material look real.
This image is from the exterior looking up at the buildings and the landscape of the site. Adding materials to the buildings and everything else was pretty challenging. I like the way some things come out to be very realistic, but I do not like the fact that my inexperience in the program shows up in the quality of my work. I would have liked to know all the loop wholes of the program in order to create a more convincing rendering of the scene. For example, I would like to learn how to create a realistic grass texture using the various maps and tools provided by VIZ.

My Flyaround Movie:

This is a video generated by me using Autodesk VIZ 2008. It is part of my final project for my ENDS 170 class. In this particular video, I was asked to do a 10 second flyaround 0f my building which was designed earlier in the semester.

This flyaround goes all around the complex to show its characteristics. The concept I tried to use in the way the camera takes off to show you around is simple. I wanted to prettend like you were on top of some sort of flying machine. You suddenly begin to lift up and you can begin to see the whole complex. Then the journey takes you around the buildings and around my sculpture. You finally see the whole complex and you begin to decend from where you began the journey.

My Walk through:

This is the video I produced for a walkthrough of my gallery. I really wanted to make it seem like the viewer was actually going in to my gallery. I tried to simulate some of the human characteristics, by looking around and focusing your attention when you see a frame on the wall. I also added picture frames in my gallery, to simulate some of the things that would be displayed in an actual gallery. Since this is my design and my video I thought it would be fun to put picture frames of my friends and family. I could have easily made the frames full of famous paintings by artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Pallock, and many others, but it was my intention to have frames that represent me.

I was pretty pleased with my video, but I was still not completely satisfied. Because of the lack of time, I was not able to take several sample renderings to make sure the quality of my work was at its best. I found several disturbing errors in my video that I would like to fix at a later time. Even though we will be out of school by then, I want to make my video a little bit better by improving the lighting on the interior and the amount of frames I use to make it in order to slow down the animation. I used omni light for the interior, but because I also had a mrSun light, I had to change the intensity of the omni lights to a very high setting. Once I began animating, I changed the mrSun to a spot light in order to cut down the rendering time, but I forgot to turn down the intensity of the omni lights. I believe if I was to change the intensity of the omni lights by half, I would be able to achieve a better video.

Other than that, I am very pleased with this project and the program (Autodesk VIZ 2008) that we used. I was really able to explore the capabilities of the program. I really enjoyed turning Revit Design into a VIZ rendering that would look as realistic as possible.

The program has much potential, far beyond what I learned this semester. I wish to continue interacting with the program and experiment with several of the tools provided by it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ENDS 170 Project 2

Here is a rendering of my second project in ENDS 170 class. The assignment was simple. It required the students to take a section view of their previous project and use the Photoshop program to edit the rendering into an analytical image.

In my image I added the people and several works of art including work from Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, Van Gogh, Monet, and Michaelangelo. In addition, the sculpture I had designed earlier in a 3D composition is part of the gallery and there is people admiring it.

My gallery is mainly meant to be experienced through walking and admiring the works of art. For that reason, most of the people added to this image are walking around the building and the galleries admiring the works of art. The only exception is hard to see, but there is a boy admiring the work of Piet Mondrian sitting down on the floor in the second floor of the second building. Since my complex has a lot of landscape around the buildings, I decided to use it as areas where people can walk and admire the beauty of the landscape and the ocean that surrounds it.

Overall, I liked using Photoshop to crop the Revit rendering, people, landscape, and artwork. It took me a while to learn how to properly crop the people and place them into the image, but once I figured it out, it was pretty easy. Like with the earlier project, I know that if I had more experience with the program, my project would have turned out better. Photoshop is a powerful program that allows many possibilities. Unfortunately, I do not have the program in my computer so I cannot experiment with it and explore its possibilities. Other than that, the program is pretty easy to work with.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

ENDS 170 Project 1

The following is my first major project for my ENDS 170 class at Texas A&M University. The assignment was to to create a 3D model in Autodesk Revit from a previous physical model created in another class. We worked on several tutorials for weeks to get a basic overview of Revit, and become more familiar with the tools and possibilities that Revit has to offer.
However, this project proved to be a great challenge for many of us. While the tutorials offered valuable help and exposed us to many aspects of the program, they did not prepare us for the challenge in this model. All of the tutorials were based on simple geometries which made them very easy and user friendly to create. Several of my classmates and I had the challenge of creating complex geometries with irregular shapes and angles in another program outside of Revit. A few of my classmates took the easy way out and simplified their models a lot. I like to be challenged so I kept my original design and created the complex geometries in Autodesk VIZ.

Even though the task was difficult and confusing, our professor did an amazing job in helping all of the students that decided to use the complex geometries. He did everything he could to explain the steps we needed to follow in order to reach the desired outcome of the model. I had a very hard time at first because I had never before used Revit or VIZ, but the more I worked on the project the more comfortable I felt. Any time I came to a point where I was completely lost and nothing seemed to work, I would ask my professor and he would usually know what to do or find out later exactly how to do it or an alternative way to do something.
I know that many of my classmates would agree with me when I say that this project was very difficult. We were exposed to something we were not too familiar with and had a hard time figuring it out. However, I am thankfull for the help the professor offered and the experience I got from this model. I learned a lot of new things that I had not learned in the tutorials.

My design, like I mentioned earlier is based on a model created in another class. We were given the assignment to create a museum with three art galleries, a rectption area, a break room, and public restrooms. However, we had to use irregular shapes that were transformed from squares and rectangles. In order to reach this goal in Revit, I had to use VIZ to create the geometries of the buildings. It took me several tries before I could get all the geometries to work the way I wanted them to but I finally got it. After creating the geometries, I had to Export the shapes as an (STL) file and import it back in to VIZ. Then I had to export it back out as a (DWG) file and import it into Revit to create a mass. After all this importing and exporting, I had the mass I neede to make my buildings, and I began adding walls, roofs, and curtain wall systems by face.
The floors were the hardest part of the design because I could not get them to attach to the bottom of the buildings and their walls. After many trial an errors and after restarting seven times, I finally had my buildings down. After that I just added componets into the floorplans and experimented with different things. I loaded many families into my file and modified many of the elements' properties. Finally I added a few extra finishing details like furniture railing on the landscape and trees. I wanted to create gardens on top of my buildings' roofs, but unfortunately I ran out of time and I did not know how to do it.
Overall, I am pretty satisfied with my project. The only issue (like with many projects) was that I did not completely get to finish and do everything I wanted to do. I ended up restarting this project seven times and it consumed a lot of my time. I finally got it to the stage I needed it to be, but because of the earlier failures, I ran out of time was not able to add as much detail as I would have liked. Now I know just how much time it takes to make a BIM out of scratch and I will prepare better for our next model. I am excited to see what awaits me. I have learned so much from this model that I know that with further interaction with the Revit and VIZ programs I will be able to come up with a little bit more complex models and will not feel as intimidated to start on them like I was with this one.
I just wanted to explain my pictures a little bit. From top to bottom:
(1) The first picture I have posted is from an ariel view of my entire complex and the landscape. The blue thing on top of building three is my 3D Composition created earlier in the semester for this class and is sitting on top of the roof as an expressive sculpture that is part of the art galleries.
(2) The Second picure is a camera view of the interior of building four (level 4) looking up at level 5 and the stairs leading to it.
(3) The third picture is of the interior of building two (level 2) looking up the stairs into the curtain system and the third level.
(4) The final picture is an ariel camera view showing the exterior of building four and five and looking towards building three and the sculpture.