In this session, we covered the VBvisual Plant tool and how to visualize plants, whether by using a VBvisual plant, an image prop, or something created with the Existing Tree tool.
- 00:16 We began by looking at the VBvisual Plant tool. The challenge with using an image prop for a plant is how it looks at you turn it in a 3D view—it might look great from the front or the back, but not from the side. Plants from the VBvisual Plant tool look great regardless of the viewing angle. They’re created from a symbol that the VBvisual Plant tool picks up. The idea behind these plants is that they’re very easy to use for visualization—for early design work—which is why they’re in the Visualization tool set. You can choose different heights and seasons. The leaves are a series of textures applied to 3D polygons that make up the trunk and branches. They shouldn’t be used in situations where you want to use hidden line rendering, but they’re great for OpenGL rendering. However, they don’t automatically work like a Vectorworks Plant.
- 08:07 The challenge was whether a plant from the VBvisual Plant tool could be used as a Vectorworks Plant. We showed how this is possible. We converted the VBvisual plant into a group and saved it as a symbol. In Plant Tool Preferences, we selected the newly created symbol in the Copy from Symbol setting. Now, the VBvisual plant symbol was part of a Vectorworks Plant—the look of the VBvisual plant with the functionality of the Vectorworks Plant.
- 16:17 Image props are another method for showing plants. An image prop is made of two images: the photograph and a mask. In this case, everything that was black became the transparent part of the mask. The cordyline australis that we created looked great from the front or back, but not from the side. The way around this is to check the Crossed Planes option in the Object Info palette, or to use the Auto Rotate option. A plant made from an image prop is very realistic because it’s made from a photograph. We now went back to our Plant Tool Preferences and selected the image prop plant instead of the VBvisual plant in the Copy from Symbol setting. These are the options Vectorworks: Either you have something that looks great in 3D but isn’t very realistic, or you have something that’s very realistic but doesn’t work very well in 3D. Making an image crop can be very time consuming—you have to clean out all of the background bits using Photoshop or similar software. To make your work easier, find an image with a plain background, one where the sky or a blank wall makes up most of the backdrop. See “Preparing Images for Image Props” (epodcast067) on my website for a movie on how to make an image prop. Enviro Graphics (www.envirographics.com) offers images of plants and trees with monochrome backgrounds.
- 30:39 The Existing Tree tool also has a 3D Properties setting. In the Object Info palette for the shape, you can add a 3D canopy and trunk. The shape is rather blob-like, but you can add a texture by clicking the Apply textures to classes option and ensuring that the class has the proper texture selected. Adding the texture also makes the shape partially transparent.
Landscape March 2018 pm
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