Jump to content

WIP/project log interior


Recommended Posts

I want to try an experiment. I thought it would be interesting to follow a project through a series of posts. I see that Alex York has a thread like this going, I hadn't seen it before just now, but another should be OK, since his is a school project, mine is a regular rendering commission.

 

The purpose is to be instructive to less experienced forum members, comparitive to the pro's. Please add thoughts about each step, point out alternatives to how I am choosing to manage (or mis-manage) this project. Let's see how it goes. If it's a flop I'll beg Rick to delete the thread.

 

The project is a restaurant located in the American west, but not in a city. So I will not have to gather 'out-the-window' images. I will be required to include people, which is always an adventure for a restaurant. The initial order is for one view.

 

I WANT to render the final with Cinema4D, but am not sure if that will work. There will be many specific lights, and C4D seems too slow for interiors without a lot of 'workarounds' and fakes. I have always used Lightscape for this sort of rendering, so I can always use it again, but would like to move on to Cinema. We'll see.

 

I plan to use 3D figures for my people in C4D, probably render medium-quality versions and work over them in Photoshop to composite back over the render. Previously I have drawn and painted figures over a printout, scan, PS, comp. That will always work, but will textured 3D model figures that I will pose?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 185
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I met with the designer last week, proposed, got their files and paper drawings. The project is fairly well along, so the docs are very well developed, not likely to go through so many design changes as I often get from this design firm. I hope.

 

The client just called, he's sent my retainer. Time to get to work. I have five weeks, which is way more than I need, but since I am a horrible time manager it could be tight! I'm being paid directly from the property owner, which is a little un-usual, but fine.

 

My first issue is that the CAD files are written in ACAD2004. What will read them? I don't use ACAD, but bought VoloView to see paperspace layouts. In a real pinch I can print to Adobe Acrobat/Distiller in vector to 'capture' the paperspace/XREF layouts. But there are always files that Volo chokes on but other programs open. You gotta love Autodesk. Not really.

 

Datacad, Rhino, Formz, no go with v2004 .dwg Even when Rhino opens the file, you lose blocks. Blocks can be good, as you can replace a plan block with a 3D object and it will get all rotations, scaling. It's great for replacing windows in an elevation with 3D and then 'tilt-up'.

 

But all is not lost. I own SketchUp. I don't know how they managed it, but SU reads v2004 ACAD files and keeps blocks and text, and can then export the file into v2000 No paperspace, but don't get greedy.

 

Files converted, ready to read into Datacad to begin modeling.

 

Datacad because it is a good polygon modeler, and I'm very used to it. I will use FZ, Rhino or Cinema for some parts, but will start in DC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just curios here, but how/why is that you have managed to not use ACAD all this time. Certainly, a large portion of the architects you work with would be supplying you material in ACAD and it would make your life a lot easier if you had it to work with. Is it a principle you have? Again, just curious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just curios here, but how/why is that you have managed to not use ACAD all this time.

 

I started using Datacad for my perspective layouts several years BEFORE Autocad could even DO a perspective. And most of my clients were fairly slow to adopt CAD. I spent most of my career building my CAD models from scaled blueprints. It is only fairly recently that I get data in CAD for almost every project.

 

And Datacad, as well as many other programs, has always been able to open the previous version of the ever-changing .dxf or .dwg format. It was only with v14 on that ACAD stepped up the evasive action.

 

I have asked clients to save-as to an earlier version, mostly. For a while I had ACAD-LT (cost more than most full-featured CAD programs back then) but it is now useless because of the changes to the .dwg format. The upgrade is just too damned much. Better to have bought SketchUp. Happiness!

 

why is that you [do] not use ACAD...Is it a principle you have?

 

Yeah, the principle of paying 1/2 to 1/4 for a better product... I just never had the $3K - $4K to buy it, unless I was forced to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good post Ernest. Keep it coming.

 

One question so far: Do you require a retainer with 1st time clients only or do you do it for all jobs? And what percentage do you require?

 

I have never required a retainer from any of my clients & I have never not gotten paid for my work. For me it is just as easy to get paid in full at the end. I have, however, heard lots of horror stories about not getting paid. But most of my business is from referral so there is already a good basis of trust since everybody knows everbody else through either reputation or experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you require a retainer with 1st time clients only or do you do it for all jobs? And what percentage do you require?

 

I do not always ask for it. Architects are so bad at getting checks that I am usually done with the work before they get my damned retainer to me. I do most of my work for the same few clients, so we know eachother, I rarely ask for a retainer from them. But I began to do so again last year when one got to the point where evry check was 90 day.

 

I also will ask for a retainer on animation or a really big project, just for reasons of cashflow. Its one thing to risk $5K, quite another to risk $25K. I have only had a non-paying client about three times in 25 years, and all of those were persuaded by lawyers or judges to 'just pay the man'. However, many have been LATE, some VERY late. So retainers are nice, though not a requirement.

 

I would usually ask for about 1/3, though THIS project is 1/2 at the suggestion of the designer. I don't really care one way or the other, just show me you know HOW to write a check.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea of this thread also. You just need to make sure you keep up with it (if you can)

 

Ernest, for your file conversion problems, what about sending the files to someone you know with the proper Version of ACAD that could downsave it for you? I'm sure sometimes there's an issue of confidentiality, but in other cases it might save you a lot of headaches.

 

Of all the architects we work for, we were the first to go to Acad 2004, and a lot of them still have not, so we end up saving files for them in 2000 format all the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes thanks for sharing Ernest. I am not familiar with some of the programs you are using. I am using Viz 2005. Perhaps an experienced Viz/max person can jump in from time to time with a "Viz/max" version of your steps?? Either way, this is a really great idea and a big help for us newbs. Thanks. Will be reading with interest.

Regards, Kris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Workflow dilemma. Blocks (symbols).

 

Modeling the architectural space will be done with polygons, mostly in Datacad. But being a restaurant, there are lots of tables, chairs,funky lights, table settings, glasses, bar bottles. And the same one used many times. Typically I would use blocks for these. They transfer perfectly into Lightscape. You can start with a massing 'quicky' version for prelims and simply update the master later, all copies instantly update in situ. In fact, since the CAD plan has the chairs, tables and bar stools and lights as blocks, I can just re-define them to my 3D and they will all pop into being at all their correct locations and rotations. Pretty nice!

 

So what's the problem? Cinema does NOT read blocks. Cinema has an 'instance' object that is the same function, but they don't convert. So if I am going to be able to render in Cinema my work to arrange the furniture and lights will be wasted, other than for pre-vis purposes. I would need to explode the blocks first, import and make them 'instances' and then position manually.

 

I don't know which way to proceed. I suppose I could start with blocks to use Lightscape for the early parts and just re-do it for Cinema later. At least the blocks arrange themselves.

 

I will try to model the furniture in Cinema going back and forth with Datacad via dxf or 3ds. Cinema is much easier to use than FormZ, I find, and has some really nice poly-editing tools in v9. I know FZ is a great program, I just can't get into their weird workflow. Rhino is also good, but has some block issues of its own--it will create them but not import them. I guess we must wait until 'next version' for true block support in Rhino.

 

OR, I could use SketchUp for some of the furniture. While SU has built it's reputation of being so dang easy to use, Cinema can do everything SU can, and then some. It's just not as simple to jump in and get something done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

maybe you tried this, but can you postition all of your blocks in datacad, so that they are correct in position and rotation, then explode them before importing to c4d?

 

That would be the easiest. The weird thing is that if you don't purge the block records, then Cinema will add one copy of each block at 0,0,0 (meaning it reads the record, just doesn't know what to do with it).

 

The problem with that is that you lose the block/instance properties. If all Cinema will be doing is rendering, then that would work. But I would like to keep control over the blocks. If Cinema needs a certain change done to each for a better result I would not have the 'master/copies/ thing working anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

maybe you tried this, but can you postition all of your blocks in datacad, so that they are correct in position and rotation, then explode them before importing to c4d?

 

I didn't do much on this project in the last few days--meetings for other possible work, and work-avoidance behaviour.

 

OK, I've figured out how to proceed. It is not a perfect solution, but not too bad, and leaves my options open.

 

I want to use blocks to layout the furnishings, but cannot translate them into or out of Cinema. Would I be able to in Max? (Just curious). I'm hoping to get block reads into Cinema for next version, but I'm working with the one available now. So the best I can do is get the insert point to transfer by using a 'dummy' block nested in all my object blocks. It will be a small polygon (can't be a spline since Lightscape doesn't read anything but polys). By using a seperate layer name for it, I can explode all the blocks before sending to Cinema (either from Datacad or Lightscape) and delete the geometry but leave the 'locator' polygons in their place. In Cinema I will use a single copy of each block to be an instance and drop it under each 'locator'. I may need to manually move the instance to the locator (I would need it to have its own 'center' and not the layer's or 0,0,0) and rotate it, too. I was hoping to have an object that would read in with its own rotation (like, say---a block?) stored, but no.

 

The point is to use the 'block' concept in Cinema for low-detail prelims to final geometry later, with one master object updating all the copies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to use blocks to layout the furnishings, but cannot translate them into or out of Cinema. Would I be able to in Max? (Just curious).

 

Now I see where you are headed with that.

 

In my version of VIZ, blocks from AutoCAD, are seen on the layer that they are inserted into AutoCAD on if they were not exploded in AutoCAD. Even when they have their own layers as a seperate file. I have not figured out how to leave them that way, and be able to assign materials, I am sure I am just missing something. They do work, and do change if reloaded, but it is the materials issue that I have had with blocks.

 

What I have gone to for repeating elements, is creating a VIZ file unique to the table, or chair, or grouping from my CAD file. Set all of the materials and all, then merge it with my main VIZ file. If something changes to the chair like the back, or the shape, VIZ will let me replace all occurances, with the new one, updating all of them, either by piece, or all pieces of the small file.

 

I am interested to see how your solution works, and the progress this makes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great Thread. How bout some screenies? Maybe some showing the object manager and how you are structuring your C4D file.

 

My personal worklow would have been to build the table/chair settings in C4D with instances as you suggested. Never having the option of using blocks, I would have brought in the furniture plan with the wall geometry and simlpy arranged the table/chair instances by hand. I really do like your idea of using proxy geometry to "sketch" out the view/space/lighting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My personal worklow would have been to build the table/chair settings in C4D with instances as you suggested.

 

You're getting ahead of me. I haven't built much of anything yet. I'm planning HOW to arrange things. I would be doing more in Cinema if I could be sure I could get my finals rendered with it, but the lighting makes me not so sure. I have to be able to render in Lightscape just-in-case.

 

Instances are EXACTLY like blocks. Its a shame they can't be read or written via dxf by C4D.

 

I really could arrange most of the blocks/instances by hand. The positioning of tables and chairs can vary. But some things cannot, and those are worrying me. Especially the hundreds of wine bottles tipped, turned and arranged on racks not in neat rows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ernest,

 

If Dcad creates blocks instances how you like them in LS, why not go Dcad>LS>.3ds>C4D & Return trip if needed? Did a 3ds to C4D then to LS from a file I had open (wanted to see if it worked).

 

Material assignments ext tansfer in 3ds from C4d to LS, not that different from Viz to LS

 

WDA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Dcad creates blocks instances how you like them in LS, why not go Dcad>LS>.3ds>C4D & Return trip if needed? Did a 3ds to C4D then to LS from a file I had open (wanted to see if it worked).

 

There is no LS>3ds (unless you are using Max with the plug-in). If you go LS>FormZ>3ds you can. I just fired up FZ to load a simple LS file, write a 3ds. Forget it. It just sits there forEVER writing. I'm not that patient.

 

The main reason for not doing what you suggest is that you lose blocks as blocks/instances. You can transfer them exploded, of course.

 

Really I'm just being a chicken about committing to Cinema for final renders. I'm hoping this project proves it is OK.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...