✱ Exporting FormZ Models to Lumion

I've been using Lumion (7.5) a lot lately to do fast renderings with heavy entourage because it's a beast of a program for this kind of thing, and it does it all in realtime*. Here is my recipe for exporting my models out of FormZ (8.5/6) so Lumion reads them correctly:

Export to FBX format (the image below indicates where the settings are located):

Form•Z's FBX format export settings. Click to embiggen.

  1. Use Project Units, and set project units accordingly in Lumion. I work in imperial units, and Lumion defaults to metric.
  2. Export as Single Group. This assumes you have assigned colors or materials to your objects in fZ because that's the only thing Lumion cares about.
  3. Choose the Facetted option. I don't know if this matters or not, but I assumed Lumion wouldn't want parametric objects.
  4. Export Visible Layers Only. FYI This is a huge bonus that fZ has over SketchUp. What it does is self-explanatory.
  5. Click the Transformation button to bring up the Export Transformation dialog.
  6. Un-check Flip X
  7. Un-check Inverse Faces.
  8. Scale your model by 2.54 if you are using imperial units, because the FBX importer in Lumion thinks every model is in centimeters by default (you could also do this directly in Lumion after importing).
  9. Keep Fix Smooth Shading checked and set to 40, otherwise Lumion will try to over-smooth everything.

I didn't try to export textures because I do all my texturing in Lumion if possible. I would assume JPEG is the best option if you need materials. By default, fZ is set to TARGA format. Your mileage may vary.

This method worked perfectly for a complex terrain model with lots of additional detail covering a large site area. If you have questions, or a better way to do this, please do so in the comments below.

* if you have a beast of a computer to run it on.

✱ Q&A: Troubleshooting Emitter Lights in Maxwell Render for Beginners

I got an email regarding troubleshooting emitter lights in SketchUp using Maxwell Render over the weekend, and I thought I'd post my answers here because it could be useful for you. Lots of people struggle with emitter lights when they're first starting out using Maxwell Render and think that the software just doesn't work when in fact you're probably just used to the brute-force techniques required by other rendering programs. I know this because that's what happened to me when I first tried using emitters in Maxwell. 

Read More

✱ Bonzai3d QuickTip - Flatten CAD Drawings

Learn something? Please consider supporting us by making a donation. [Learn more…]

Similar to Methodcast 9 where we were using SketchUp, in this QuickTip I show you how to flatten a CAD drawing that is all over the place into something you can draw on top of in Bonzai3d. This is a workaround for an export bug in Bonzai that should be corrected in the next release, but this may be useful for other things once that bug is fixed. 

If you haven’t started using Bonzai3d yet, you should. It’s got a lot of horsepower and is really fun to work with. You can get a free 30 day trial here

✱ SketchUp QuickTips - Flatten crappy CAD drawings

Learn something? Please consider supporting us by making a donation. [Learn more…]

Make your files behave! This video teaches you how to flatten crappy CAD files that you thought were 2d, but were actually really sloppy 3d drawings so you can use them as a base for a 3d model of your design.

Sometimes we get files that look like they are 2d but really aren’t. The lines go all over the place in 3d space, but from the top view they look fine. I’ll show you how to use a workflow that smashes all those lines down flat so the file is usable and you can start extruding shapes over the top of it.

We start out in AutoCad, but this really applies to any Cad package. Then we move the file into SketchUp and run it through the ringer!