✱ Q&A: Using Maxwell Grass 'Level of Detail' for Faster Renderings

Here's something thing that comes up every once in a while regarding using the Maxwell Grass extension - running out of memory. Those grass blades can take up a lot of RAM when rendering and if your surfaces that you apply the grass to are too large, the rendering can be extremely slow and sometimes even fail. 

And no one likes a failed rendering!

So here's a quick screen shot of some settings to look into when using the grass extension called Level of Detail (LOD):
 


Use the L.O.D. settings in the Maxwell Grass extension to control falloff of grass blades.
Click to enlarge.


Basically if you set it up correctly, the further away your scene gets from the camera POV, less grass blades are generated. You can control how this works. This is a HUGE deal when your surfaces are expansive. The image above is an extreme example because of how closely I placed the distance values together, but it illustrates how they work. Once the distance passes the Minimum value, the blades falloff to the Maximum Density and then hold beyond the Maximum distance value. This way there is no step in the amount of blades, rather you get a nice even gradient from full to partial density.

There's a bit more info about this in the Maxwell Render help documents near the bottom of the page which you can reference here.

Use this tip to speed your renderings up drastically!

This tip also comes in really handy when using my Maxwell Grass Preset Pro Pack. Check it out and take your images to the next level if you're using SketchUp, FormZ or Bonzai3d.


This site is supported by people like you! Every dollar helps, and goes directly towards the costs associated with running the site and making more tutorials.

Donate

I love to meet new people. If you think someone else would like this article or site, please share this blog post by using the share buttons in the lower right corner of this blog entry. The more you share, the better this site can get. Thanks!

✱ 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

Video: Subdivision Modeling and 3D Printing in FormZ 8

 

This is a great webinar by the folks at AutoDesSys showing the new capabilities of the subdivision surface tools in version 8 and how they can get you to organic 3d-printable objects pretty easily. 

AutoDesSys:

In this webinar we’ll show the power of form•Z’s subdivision modeling and 3D printing capabilities by walking you through a series of actual 3D printed projects modeled exclusively with subdivision tools and features.

In this session you’ll experience:

  • Powerful subdivision modeling and how it can be used in your project workflow.
  • Seamless conversion of subdivision models to NURBS or Quad Meshes.
  • How the inherent quad mesh personality of subdivision objects lends itself perfectly to 3D Printing.
  • How converting your subdivision models to NURBS adds an additional layer of flexibility to your design capabilities.
  • The advantage of minimal time involved with analyzing and prepping the model for 3D printing due to the subdivision personality.

 

✱ How to Print Large Format PDF Drawings to Scale on a Mac

With more and more of the world going paperless all the time, Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) has taken over much of the architecture and construction industry as the preferred file format for sharing drawings. In fact, many estimators and contractors that I work with don't have the ability to work with anything else. I'd love to just give them my BIM file but that's another rant for another time. For some of us, this could mean having to purchase (or subscribe to) the Adobe Creative Cloud to get Acrobat Pro or buy Bluebeam to be able to create PDF's. Granted, these professional programs allow you to do much more than simply create PDF's, but the cost of entry is fairly high.

There is an alternative. I've recently found a free open source PDF printer that solves a few problems called PDFwriter for Mac. Click through to see the tutorial.

Read More

Create a Realtime Walkthrough of your Revit Project with Autodesk Showcase

Even though my thoughts in my recent article on realtime rendering came to the conclusion that I wasn't willing to spend a ton of time on the bleeding edge of that technology, I haven't ignored it either. The truth is that the idea for that article came from me spending a decent amount of time figuring out realtime rendering using Autodesk Showcase, which comes with either a perpetual license or subscription to some of their suites. The funny thing that you probably can relate to is that I didn't even know Showcase existed or what it did when I found it. Luckily the office I work in has this type of subscription and I had a presentation to create, so the stars aligned.

I ended up making a tutorial that takes you through the process of getting your model out of Revit and into Showcase with a lot of steps along the way to make a successful and very nice looking realtime model. It is now live over on the Novedge blog where lots of additional people other than Method visitors can see it. This works well because this is certainly not an Autodesk-centric site. So if you're interested in my process for creating realtime walkthrough's, please go check it out and let me know what you think.

Click here to head over to the Novedge blog and read my tutorial.

✱ Methodcast 21: Put Yourself & Your Clients Into Your Projects with Spherical Panoramas and iPano

✱ Methodcast 21: Put Yourself & Your Clients Into Your Projects with Spherical Panoramas and iPano

Have you ever wanted to let your boss, friends, clients or anyone for that matter get inside one of your designs before it's built? Of course you have! This tutorial will take you through the steps to produce a rendering that will let you do just that. 

Read More

✱ Methodcast 20: FormZ for Architecture Webinar Q&A Follow-up

✱ Methodcast 20: FormZ for Architecture Webinar Q&A Follow-up

This Methodcast is a follow-up video that covers the questions that were asked during and after the recent webinar I gave on FormZ for Architecture. Make sure you go back and watch the first video to see how I got to this point if you haven't seen it already. Additionally, I throw in a few great tips and tricks along the way so make sure you catch it all.

Read More

✱ Methodcast 19: Organizing projects in FormZ and Bonzai3d With Views and Scenes

✱ Methodcast 19: Organizing projects in FormZ and Bonzai3d With Views and Scenes

This video tutorial builds off the last one on project organization in FormZ & Bonzai3d using the Objects and Layers palettes. This time I talk about the differences between the Views and Scenes palettes. I highlight the things you have to know when working with Scenes because it's not intuitive. Once you get this tip, you're going to love using them.

Read More

✱ Methodcast 18: Organizing Projects in FormZ & Bonzai3d with Objects and Layers

✱ Methodcast 18: Organizing Projects in FormZ & Bonzai3d with Objects and Layers

This video shows how I organize my architectural projects in FormZ or Bonzai3d which tend to have lots and lots of objects in the scene. I talk about the differences between the Object and Layers palettes, and which one I like best. I also give out a couple of hints about isolating and selecting objects in as well that make modeling a complex scene easier. 

Read More

✱ FormZ 7 Webinar Replay

✱ FormZ 7 Webinar Replay

Here is the hour-long screen capture video of the webinar I hosted with Novedge. The topic was architectural modeling in FormZ, and I started with a CAD floor plan and started building as fast as I could. We had a great turnout with a few minutes of live question and answers at the end from those that were watching live.

Read More