Author Archives: Life Should Be 3D

3D Home Visualization

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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“Visualize Your Home Improvement Project in 3D”

photo of audience wearing 3D glasses - "The amazing miracle of 3D home visualization!"This is the title of a seminar on 3D home visualization that I’ll be giving this weekend at the Rochester Home Builders Association 2012 Home & Garden Show.

I’m truly excited to be giving a seminar at the show.  I feel that homeowners are just beginning to glimpse the value that 3D home visualization can bring to their home improvement projects, so I appreciate the chance to share even more information with them about the potential of this technology — in addition to chatting with interested folks who stop by the CastleView 3D booth, of course.

Basic topics I’ll cover in my talk include:

  • What 3D technology is — and what it isn’t
  • Some current uses of 3D technology for home building, remodeling, renovation, and redecorating
  • Specific examples from projects I’ve worked on with my clients, with lots of before-and-after images
  • A real-time demonstration of how 3D home visualization works, using Chief Architect X4 software
  • An overview of currently available options for using 3D visualization technology, from using simple DIY software packages (such as Chief Architect’s Home Designer Essentials) to working with specialty firms like CastleView 3D

I’m really looking forward to sharing my passion for 3D visualization with people at the seminar, as well as answering their questions and hearing about their home improvement projects.

When I wrote about last year’s show, I said:

Next year I plan to be an exhibitor myself, so I’ll be able to talk with people directly and get them excited about the benefits of “seeing it before you build it” with 3D visualization!

And here I am!

This promises to be a great show — in addition to all the seminars, exhibits, and garden displays, there will be culinary demonstrations (looking at this list makes my mouth water!), plus wine tastings from a variety of Finger Lakes wineries.  Can’t beat that!

Show info:

  • Saturday 3/24, 10 am – 7 pm
  • Sunday 3/25, 10 am – 5 pm
  • Rochester Riverside Convention Center
  • Admission is $8 (but save $2 with this coupon)
  • CastleView 3D will be exhibiting in Booth #815

If you’re in the Rochester, New York, area this weekend, I hope to see you at my seminar (1:30 pm on both Saturday and Sunday), or stop by the CastleView 3D booth #815 to say hi.

UPDATE:  If you weren’t able to make it to the Home Show and would like to know more about 3D home visualization, leave me a note in the Comments section below, or contact me through the CastleView 3D website.


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Another inspiration (#6)

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:
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Inspiring 3D renderings by Ramon Zancanaro

Here’s another entry in my “Inspirations” series — and wow, this one is really inspiring, especially to those of us who do 3D renderings of interiors and are always looking for realistic draperies, bedclothes, and the like.

Inspirational 3D rendering by Ramon Zancanaro

Inspirational 3D rendering by Ramon Zancanaro

This is one of a series of renderings done by 3D artist Ramon Zancanaro as a “cloth study” (see more on Ronan Bekerman’s blog).  The cloth was created using a modeling software called “Marvelous Designer” — an app for clothing designers, but obviously put to beautiful architectural use here (perhaps this would be called an off-label use?).

The face count on these cloth models must be astronomical (although I believe Ramon uses some modification to reduce the poly count).  My understanding is that he plans to do a “Making of…” video explaining his process, to be posted on Ronan’s blog.  That promises to be very enlightening, and I will include a link to it once it has been posted.

UPDATE 9/16/2012:  At last, here is the promised “how-to” from Ramon explaining how he used Marvelous Designer for the cloth modeling in this scene!  www.ronenbekerman.com/3d-cloth-modeling-with-marvelous-designer/

 

Here’s another fantastic example of Ramon’s 3D rendering work for you to enjoy.  Look at the cutwork on that tablecloth — fantastic!

Another inspirational 3D rendering by Ramon Zancanaro

I’m truly so impressed and inspired by skill and talent like this — I hope you are too.


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“Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by Step”

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D | Like CastleView 3D on Facebook

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Start the New Year off right:  Learn something!

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Chief Architect software user and author Terry Munson.  Terry’s latest book for Chief Architect, “Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by Step,” has recently been published and is available at www.chiefapprentice.com/Downloads.html.


Terry says:

Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by StepMy first book, Learning Chief Architect Step by Step, was based on Chief Architect X3. I then decided to write a new book focusing on the more recent version, X4 [released in July 2011], so that all the new features and enhancements could be included. So I now have two books for CA out, all in one year!  And I’ve almost finished a third book, Becoming a Chief Architect X4 Expert Step by Step, which I hope to publish by March 2012.

My intent with these books was to provide myself with readily available reference material on how to use the different tools and functions of Chief Architect software.  I kept forgetting how to do certain processes and was always spending time searching for answers in Chief’s help materials.  I’m a draftsman, not a writer, but as I got more and more into writing the book, I realized that others might appreciate something like this as well, which gave me even more incentive to keep writing.

The book is a step-by-step tutorial that takes the user from setting up defaults and templates to actually designing a house from start to finish. The user will draw a floor plan for a 2-story house, add cabinets, fixtures, appliances, stairs, roof, dormers, floor and ceiling platforms, foundation, site plan, terrain features, and whatever else is necessary for a complete home design. The book takes the user from setting up construction documents to presenting the model in 3D. They work with materials, trim and moldings, etc. It is a complete and comprehensive book for beginning and intermediate level users.

Material for the book came from various sources, such as Architectural Design Presentations (by Donald A. Totter), Working with Chief Architect (by Star Training Institute), CA’s reference manual and training videos, as well as from my own experience with using the software for the past 7 years.

After a frustrating search for a publisher, I decided to self-publish the book through Gorham Printing. The books are very high quality print (black and white), with a very secure binding — good quality work.

The softcover book comes with a CD that contains a PDF of the book (in full color), and includes the files needed for the exercises.  Both books are also available in e-book format. One nice thing about the e-book is that I was able to price it much lower than the softcover book.

When the first book became available, I got a rush of orders and was pretty excited. I got nothing but positive feedback for the book. Then Chief Architect’s academic dealer, Debbie Gray of Gray Technologies, called me.  She sounded even more excited than I was about the book. She told me that it was just what the academic market — high school and college teachers — needed to teach CA to their home design and drafting classes.  Because of her efforts, my book is now used in home design classes throughout the U.S. She also got me hooked up with CA’s authorized academic dealers, who are marketing the book.

I created a website, www.chiefapprentice.com, to help market the books, and plan to add an affiliate program as another method of marketing.  This is a very selective market, so it’s important to get the word out that these books are available.  If you have questions about the book, you can contact me directly at (253) 852-4022 or terrymunson2@msn.com.


Thanks, Terry. If you’re a Chief Architect user or student, I strongly encourage you to visit Terry’s website, www.chiefapprentice.com, to buy his book, and please spread the word to any other Chief users you know. If you’re already familiar with Terry’s books, please leave a review here in the Comments to assist others who are searching for help with learning Chief Architect.


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Wishing you a three-dimensional holiday season

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:
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Season’s Greetings, Everyone…

CastleView 3D wishes you a very 3D holiday season:
  • Delightful
  • Delicious
  • Deeply meaningful

It's Snowing!  Holiday Greetings gif image from CastleView 3D

(Click here to make it snow!  But it’s a big image–give it time to load completely)*
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As the year comes to an end, I get reflective about everything that has happened over the year.  This has definitely been an eventful year for me personally as well as for CastleView 3D — and the success of this blog is one of the highlights.  I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to you for reading Life Should Be 3D this year, and wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Let me know if there are any 3D-related topics you’d like to see covered here. I’m always looking for information on new software, tips on modeling or rendering techniques, and inspirational rendered images. And while you’re at it, how about making a New Year’s resolution to write  a guest post for this blog?  Just contact me with your ideas — I’m always on the lookout for interesting new ideas, projects, products, and points of view to share.

I hope your holidays are rich in everything that’s most meaningful to you.  See you in 2012!

Kathleen


*The snowfall is created using a fun little freeware app called Sqirlz Water Reflections.  Sqirlz is a quick way to add basic rain, snow, reflection, and/or ripple animations to any still image, and can save the results in AVI, GIF, or Flash format.  You can see another example I created using Sqirlz here.

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Recycled architecture

“I need an oil change and two tickets to Macbeth, please”

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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I love the trend of “recycled architecture”:  reusing and repurposing existing buildings.  I admire the creative minds that think up new uses for structures originally designed to be something else.  Turning old churches, barns, or industrial lofts into homes and condos, and converting railway stations or homes into restaurants are common examples of this, but there are lots of others.

photo of Pattaya Thai Restaurant, Penfield, NY, an example of recycled architectureFor example, a run-of-the-mill branch bank building in a neighboring suburb has been turned into a Thai restaurant. The first time I visited, it felt a little odd to be eating my Pad Thai near the location of the old bank vault. But the space has been beautifully adapted.

Another great local example of recycled architecture is SPoT Coffee, a popular coffee shop located in a classic Art Deco Chevy dealership. I can remember eyeing that location many years ago and thinking it would make a great bar or dance club — guess I was ahead of my time.photo of Spot Coffee in Rochester, NY, another great example of recycled architecture

photo of the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, now recycled as a museumIn Rochester, NY, where I live, we are blessed with many large, stately 19th- and early 20th-century mansions, remnants of Eastman Kodak‘s heyday, along beautiful East Avenue. Many of these old homes have now been converted into offices for doctors, lawyers, and professional associations, spas, and retreat centers. George Eastman’s home (photo above) is now the International Museum of Photography. Hard to believe that these were all once single-family homes!

Rochester really has some fascinating architecture, and the Monroe County Library has created a website chronicling a number of the adaptive reuse projects in the area which have helped preserve our beautiful and historic structures.

And now we get to the 3D modeling and rendering part of this post….

As a community theater afficionado, one of my favorite recycled architecture examples in the local area is the transformation of a sad, decidedly non-historic little building into a community theater rehearsal and performance space for Blackfriars Theatre.  The building most recently housed a used-car dealership, but looks like it might have started life as a gas station.  Here’s what the building originally looked like (image from Google Maps):

photo of a sad-looking building awaiting a new life as a community theater

In the initial stages of the conversion, I did a 3D model of the building and surrounding spaces for a client who was submitting a bid to do the landscaping for the project.  She proposed converting the corner section of the lot into a shared community space with a bench and plantings, and needed some quick graphics to illustrate her ideas. Rendering of a proposed landscape plan for the new Blackfriars Theater

Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, I don’t believe the developers hired her to do their landscaping.  But since I already had the building modeled, I decided to use it to do a little experimenting with lighting effects in a night rendering in Thea:

Photorealistic 3D Rendering of new Blackfriars Theatre at sunset

Since it’s not attractive, historic, or valuable in any way, this little building is exactly the kind of structure that, in the past, would most likely have been torn down to make room for new construction.  So I applaud the fact that these developers had enough creative vision — and a green enough conscience — to give it a new lease on life instead.

I’d love to hear about more examples of adaptive reuse.  What kinds of creative “recycled architecture” projects have you seen or participated in?


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Time-lapse video demo of 3D architectural modeling

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:
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An example of 3D architectural modeling “in action”

Today I’m sharing a cool video made by one of my “virtual colleagues,” Rod Kervin of Kervin Home Design in Courtenay, British Columbia.  Rod shared his video on Chieftalk, the Chief Architect user forum, and I thought it might be interesting to an even broader audience.

In the video, created using Debut Video capture software, you can watch Rod model an entire house in only 12 minutes — instead of the 82 minutes it actually took (and Rod is a very seasoned Chief user).  It’s a great opportunity to watch the process of designing a home using Chief Architect, whether you’re considering purchasing the software or simply curious about the design process.

Rod had this to say about the value of the video for him personally:

One thing that this time lapse does is reveal to me where I am taking a lot of time to get a simple thing done. The roof is one example, where I drew the roof over the back patio several times before getting it right….  This is also one of my favorite designs to play with. I am trying my best to keep to simple form in my designs, and this is an example of that effort.

Doug Park, Principal Software Architect at Chief Architect, also found Rod’s video valuable, and shared this comment on Chieftalk:

I found this to be interesting to watch as it helps me to understand how someone works. I could see this as a tool to show us how you work so that we can learn how to better design the program and perhaps how to improve our training…  This particular type of video is fast enough that I can see in minutes what would otherwise take hours.

Thanks, Rod, for giving us all a useful glimpse into the process of 3D architectural modeling by sharing your cool time-lapse video.


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Had enough turkey yet?

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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A 3D modeling project halfway around the world

In honor of American Thanksgiving last Thursday (the one day of the year when an estimated 88% of U.S. households are eating roast turkey, the traditional Thanksgiving meal), today I’m featuring some 3D modeling work I did for a client in Turkey.

This client is a builder, specializing in designing and building elegant villas on the coast of Turkey.  He had floorplans for his new project in Bodrum, and had already commissioned a few exterior renders.  But he needed some virtual interior decorating to show off the interiors.  He hired CastleView 3D to do the interior modeling only, since he preferred to do his own renders.

But of course, once the interiors were modeled, they looked so beautiful and inviting that I couldn’t resist generating a few renders.  Here are a couple of them.  The views out the windows are photos of the actual views from the house!

3D Modeling and Rendering of Kitchen/Dining Area of Turkish Villa

The image above is a kitchen with bar, dining area, and breakfast nook, decorated in a modern style but with classic Mediterranean touches.  (The wonderful “Sputnik” chandeliers were modeled for me by my friend and virtual colleague, Bryce Engstrom.)

3D Modeling and Rendering of a Tower Bedroom in a Turkish Villa

This image is a tower bedroom overlooking the Mediterranean.  Ne kadar güzel!  (Google Translate tells me that that’s Turkish for “how beautiful!”)  I can just imagine curling up on that round bed in the tower to read and gaze out at the amazing view.

3D Modeling and Rendering of a Tower Bedroom in a Turkish Villa

I also modeled and “decorated” a marble entry hall with inlaid floors, and a cinema room.  You can see my client’s renders of those rooms, plus the exterior renders and his versions of the rooms shown above, here.

Here’s the website’s description of this particular villa:

Mesa Construction has selected a 4 hectares land in a bay where the most luxury villas of Yalikavak are located…  From this land there is a wonderful view of the bay of Yalikavak and nature is really beautiful. Mesa Construction will build a luxury villa inspired by french style “belles demeures”, equipped with all american comfort (central air conditioning, smart home system, jacuzzi, elevator, …) but also full of the turkish charm. A unique combination to fully enjoy Bodrum’s life!

As of this posting, I believe this villa is still for sale, so hurry up and make an offer if it appeals to you!  You’d better believe I’d buy it myself if I could.

This was a great 3D modeling project to work on, even more amazing because it involved collaborating with someone literally on the other side of the globe.  It’s my fantasy that someday I’ll get to visit Turkey and see some of these beautiful villas in person.


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