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Thread: 3D City Massing...?

  1. #1
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    Default 3D City Massing...?

    Not sure if other 'world class cities' are doing this now, but Toronto has made an accessible 'virtual city' of itself that's compatible with Sketch Up. Pretty well all buildings and map landmarks are proportionally scaled and rendered as untextured representations. Much like actual models surrounding an architects model of a new office or condo building for display. I thought I'd tackle North Toronto station for poops and giggles as a MSTS model. BUT - the poly count is HUGE! (35067 edges to be exact!) There's a LOT of extraneous innards that can be gutted from the model that I plan to do, and think the poly count will decrease considerably. However, it has 'Layers' I'm not familiar with, as 'curb shapes' and 'massings'? Should these be moved to Default Layer, or outright deleted? Also, things like intersecting faces takes a painfully long time. No doubt due to the overall MB size of the model. Is there any way to speed that up, or just bare with it till the poly size is lessened? For something like MLT's GTA route, this Massing business is a godsend over guesstimating scale and features from Street View and other sources. But on the other hand, these are pretty intense 'shells' that need a lot more prep work than dealing with things made with Building Maker or others 3D Warehouse structures. For the chap asking where did good old NA model structures go for MSTS, this 'massing' business may save the day for many. Or, may prolong the wait that much more? Is it me, or is all this technology giving us the proverbial 'six of one, and a half dozen of the other'? Had Google not given up Sketch Up to Trimble, and allowed users to upload models easily onto Google Earth, I could have 75% of the GTA structures done by now. They may have not looked the greatest, but would give the sense pretty good. Now with this 3D Massing, one can literally do prototypical and accurate modern structures for MSTS, but at a seemingly lengthier and more intense strain for the transfer? Or maybe practice and SU tips will make it easier for many of us? Anyhow, it's making me crap my pants for now, and I'm not giggling too much.

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    Hi,

    As far as the layers, what you do with them will depend on what's in each layer. And, unfortunately, not all model makers use the layers the same way.

    If the Faces in a layer are ones you want to keep, then yes, condense them to the default layer.

    Those Intersecting faces are why I stopped trying to use 3D Warehouse models. I found myself spending as much time cleaning up those extra endpoints that generate an excessive amount of polygons as I would spend if I made the model myself from scratch. At least starting from scratch I know where I'm likely to have left extra endpoints.

    It sounds interesting though, The "virtual city" models would take a lot of guesswork out of the dimensions as you said. One possibility is to load the virtual city model, group it, drag it to the side, then build the MSTS model beside it, jumping over to the the grouped model to get dimensions using the Tape Measure tool.

    Before exporting, delete the grouped model, then in the model info popup, purge unused at the Statistics box. That should clear out all the unused textures, guides, guidepoints, layers and such.

    Doug Relyea
    Making stuff that works, using outdated Software on outdated Hardware.

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    Thanks Doug. Yes, it's a lot of work sadly. But does look a heck of a lot better shape wise than some of those awful and unaligned Building Maker objects. I think what I may have to do with these is delete circular items such as clocks on the tower, curved window arch's, columns, and redo them myself as close as possible. As the closer I look at them and Unhide All - there's all these fine lines around them, eating up the poly count. So hopefully with some good photo texturing, and reconstructing on a clean flat surface I can re achieve the detail accurately, and do away with the sloppy poly count.

    Fingers crossed!

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    Hi Noisemaker,

    Some of the tricks I've used:

    Circular window on a flat wall. If the window is not recessed deeply, I'll make a TGA texture to include whatever brickwork follows the curve of the window. This then gets applied to a 2 poly square or rectangle set 3/4 of a Sketchup inch In Front of the flat wall as per the Dickey Tarkington tutorial at Steam 4 Me. Then I go inside the building, hide the flat wall, and hit the inside face of the window with the default "color", changing it back to blue. This way the plug-in does not write the two poly face that can only be seen from the inside of the shape.

    I do the same thing with windows that have a brick arch, but where I can, I get the texture "sized" to tile in both the horizontal and vertical direction, so that an entire side may have a two poly face with the horizontal brick, and again, 3/4 of an inch in front of that a smaller face with the tiling window with brick arches. And again, to that I go inside, hide the horizontal brick face, and "paint' the inside face of the windows with the default "color".

    To get the Hidden faces back, I select unhide all.

    The default circle comes in with 24 edges. I adjust that by right-clicking the edge, select the entity info, high-light the segments number and change it. 16 works good on large columns, I've gone as few as 4 on gutter drain pipes and truss rods on bridges.

    Where a column would hit the cap and foot, pull the column 1/4 inch thru the horizontal face. This leaves the horizontal face free of the endpoints from the punchout that would occur if the column intersects those faces. Delete the end faces of the column.

    Yeah, it's a lot of work out-thinking the polygobble. (or whatever it's called)

    MusIron1.jpg

    But it's why I have stuff like this. Got a bit bored one Saturday morning, and decided to see if this was possible, merely difficult, or just couldn't be done in Sketchup 8 free. That's not even an atypical downcomer setup for an 1890's Iron furnace. If I didn't know better, I'd think Dr Who needed to refuel the TARDIS with a by-product of the flue gas.

    Doug Relyea
    Making stuff that works, using outdated Software on outdated Hardware.

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    The way I approach models built in Sketchup, but NOT... originally designed for MSTS ( using Open Rails, or not ), or models "fetched" from the 3D warehouse ( I have about 100 on my "plate" right now, to "convert" ), and after having "spun my wheels" enough times / long enough , to make-up my mind, it simply "goes like this" :

    The model's textures ?

    I "save" / recycle all-of-those... ( especially if of the "photographic" types, and yes, there are some awesome ones, around ). With now working at "editing" such basic textures, of all sizes and "formats", as supplied with the original model, you can, now, create your very own "ace file" textures, in advance.

    For the model, itself, I always start with a completely different model, "from scratch", and use the "downloaded" model, for references only / dimensions / what have you.

    Now having a Sketchup model of my own...( even though if it still is a "clone"..., of the original ), I now have Full Control..., over all aspects, of the modelbuilding phase.

    And having "Full Control"..., over a model, that you can truly "call your own", is simply irreplaceable... ( and will prevent you from "painting yourself into a corner, trying to "mod"..., something that is already flawed / inefficient / or worse-off, "corrupted beyond salvation", from the ground-up ). Maybe I am a "Control Freak", after all, but I simply "distrust" the work of builders, whose models, were never meant... for MSTS, to even start with. I only trust builders, like... "This Guy called Noisemaker", etc ... LOL '-)

    Jean Brisson MSTS-only Route Builder

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    I think you're right Jean. As impressive as this '3D Massing' is, it maybe TOO much for us simmers to handle? The best was about 10 years ago, as Google Earth and all was getting going. At least for the Toronto area, there was 3 or 4 really good model makers. One in particular was named 'Wylliepoon' I think. He'd do great renderings of countless Toronto buildings that were not only accurate, but efficient in the use of polys and textures et al. And was so handy to go to Earth, zoom in on Toronto, click on a potential model, and pretty well have it open right up in Sketch Up. And/or rummage through the 3D Warehouse, or easily upload to it when a model was created or modified. Now it just seems painstaking on so many levels. Either a literal 'mass' of white structures that has to be careful extracted, cleaned, and textured. Or, with modern architecture now in Toronto, there's a primary model maker called 3D Condo Explorer. The models are exceptional, BUT - a humongous amount of poly's defining every balcony and detail. So the proverbial six of one, and a half dozen of the other' - spend countless hours reshaping and retexturing a Building Maker object to look somewhat more realistic and efficient. Or surgically trying to streamline an exigent complex model down to a realistic and usable level? And if one's capable of doing those two, it's probably quicker in the long run just to build the structure from 'the ground up' then.

    Oh well, back to the virtual drawing board.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisemaker View Post
    As impressive as this '3D Massing' is, it maybe TOO much for us simmers to handle? The best was about 10 years ago, as Google Earth and all was getting going. At least for the Toronto area, there was 3 or 4 really good model makers
    Comment : I also "lucked-out" for the (North ) Vancouver area, where a German... modelbuilder, had this odd "fascination" ( for North Vancouver ), and contributed truckloads..., of very nicely made / textured models, to the 3D warehouse.

    Then again, and mostly because the "Tiles" those would be located on, already... have high world objects count / are High Density areas, this forces me, once again, to simply build greatly simplified "clones" of such, "recycling" the otherwise excellent textures, from the 3D warehouse models, and "adapting" those textures, for use in MSTS.

    One 'side bonus", of making your own("clones" ), is that, for such as , for exemple, "residential" homes, etc..., you can made multiple copies, modify those slightly, and create brand-new models, for as little as an extra 15-20 minutes work.

    Another option, is to make different "versions", of the textures, themselves ( such as different "colors" for siding, different "material", for the roofing, etc... ), which gives you a lot of "mileage", out of "just the one" model, you started with . I have done so, for a few of your own models, creating 4 or 5 "variations", with just the textures themselves, and such additional "variety", really adds-up, and breaks-off any "cookie-cutter" look , on a Route.

    The Basic Idea, in building models "from scratch", even if to "clone" existing models, is that, once done, you can "modify" those, multiple times..., for as little as an extra 15-20 minutes of additional work, per model.

    As far as High Density area, I now only focus of what will truly... be "visible"... once running trains, in MSTS . Personally, I can no longer afford the time / energy, to build extraneous models, aimed mostly to "fill the space", that only so-called "Digital Tourists" ( I call them, "the helicopter Crowd", will be savoring / for such, their experience would be much better, going straight into Google Earth / Google Street view, etc ... ).

    Jean Brisson

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    Is a shame how many good people making models kinda got the rug pulled out from under them. Not that I'm any great model builder, but was nice to share what I thought was decent enough, or could be improved upon by others straight to my Warehouse page as I saved in SU8. Now I feel selfish in that I don't think my models are good enough to take the time and effort to upload on my page anymore. And/or like your German builder and yourself, I get on these obsessions about a particular building or area that sticks out like a sore thumb for me. IE; the restaurant across from St. Anne De Beaupre on the Quebec/Charlevoix route. As exceptional as the route is, that one area always bugged me. So I kinda did a half-arsed model to give it some closure. The other is North Toronto Station, which at best maybe at the far end of the Mactier Route's general starting point. But, it's close to where I live - and just gives it that 'personal touch' for me, whether I can see it or not after it's finished. Funnily enough, the station was done around 1916 - but only served passengers for 10-15 years. As Union Station was completed in 1927, and stole CPR's thunder. Ever since, the province took it over and installed a beer/liquor store in it. At it's birth, CP never installed the clock on the tower. And wasn't until 20 years ago, the station was remodeled to it's 'former original vision' - yet, at the same time making it a more posh liquor store as well. And there's been increasing debate whether the province should reclaim the station for GO Transit, and reduce the increasing congestion on Union Station? SO - from a modelling stand point, it leaves me in a quandary. Try to fashion it to it's 1916 style, for routes like Mactier or future projects involving that area? Go with it's current 'liquor' identity for modern realism? Or, do a modern 'generic' depiction, that could be modified to past, present, or future liking's? It seems this would be the ACME for us simmers now, historians, and civil engineers to all want to get their hands on.... But am I the only one nutty enough to be THAT concerned now? Now had I proposed this 15 years ago - I think we both can imagine the clamor and demand for something like this...



    But today....Ehh? Nothing special and/or who's going to get around to making it really worthwhile? For MSTS, City Of Toronto, or urban panning potential? We're at the height of a virtual and controllable utopia for ourselves. And it seems like B.B. King plays behind every dream we can conjure up for MSTS now.... "Oh lord, the thrill is gone! Whatever we had baby, oh that thrill is gone!" LOL

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    Very nice model ! All-around, it is that, it really provides this "instantly-recognizable" feel to the Building.

    Beyond that, one can "resist" trying to be "too..." prototypical ( or , say , "today's / 2016" ) "version", especially if those have been turned into Beer Stores, have a McDonald's and a Starbucks, as "anchor tenants", or, worse-of-all, outright seen such "Historical Landmark", turned into an all-out... "Greyhound Bus Depot" ( like in Vancouver ! ).

    Jean Brisson

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    Thanks Jean. But it's funny how so many survived for so long with Enocel's buildings, Ron Picardi's great houses and such, Paul Charlands great buildings and routes, and numerous others. We'd say to ourselves 'That's the EXACT bridge for such and such route and area" We'd sequestered it in with RE just so, get some of Paul's or others buildings that seemed to be close to those near the rails, and then use Enocels further back for the depth and density - whether realistic to reality or not. Nowadays it seems vice versa, at least for me. Do the building as a realistic distant landmark. Get some high detailed structures that resemble the buildings around it, and throw on a cheesy old billboard near the tracks to signify I should crank my view left or right while driving to get a glimpse.

    What's been changed to a bus depot in Vancouver? I hope not the old CN Station? But is such a shame how so many buildings are getting 'saved', but bastardized in the process. Was somewhat cute when a old corner TD Bank building was taken over by a independent eating establishment or music store, and cleverly named 'The Written Note' or 'The Feed Bank'. But now it's so blandly commercial ala McDonalds, Starbucks, or New Balance, etc. It totally removes the history and pride from the original structure, and becomes a confused query for those that realize the exterior is old. 'Why does it say Royal Bank Of Canada above the windows? Huh, I guess it used to be a bank or something? Much better as a Gap store now....' Kinda demeans the institutions that originally established them, and/or makes the visitor feel slightly awkward catching a bus at an old train station, or new neon Adidas from an old post office.

    And the worst is with something like the North Toronto Station, if come the day when Toronto realizes it should be a GO Station for commuter ease - maybe only half the front will survive, or just the clock tower. As space will be needed for parking, Starbucks, handicap ramps and elevators et al. Totally forgetting it's a transit station helping to simplify and ease congestion. But will make it so it's an ugly, confusing, and belligerent blister n the area that will make people think twice about utilizing it. But I digress....

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