Representation | After Effects

5 / 5 A short diary of five introductory software sessions, covering Rhino (two parts), ArcGIS, 3D Scanning and Adobe After Effects. Delivered via The University of Greenwich as part of the Landscape Representation module within the Master of Landscape Architecture program.

The Task

A 3 hour guided demonstration through the main functionality of Adobe After Effects. The time focused on two exercises: first looking at more simple commands to move a balloon across the screen; secondly animating a series of aisles in a shopping centre.

Key Notes

The principle of animation is keyframing.

The older style – e.g. that Disney used – was an additive process, called stop frame. Digital animation does away with that and is interpretive. The aim is to strip it back to base functions e.g. twist, size, move, rotate…. Need to boil the actions down to principles.

Some basics

  • Composition > new composition > select Preset (PAL Widescreen Square Pixel)
  • Everything in top half is SD whereas below is HD
  • Window > workspace > standard (although this is likely the default)
  • Option of no. of views > 1 View is best (should be default)
  • File > import > file > select option to retain all layers > and make editable
  • Drag and drop the layers you want into the layer edit panel (bottom left)

Exercise 1

  • Scale balloon either manually, or open up the arrow options > Scale
  • Drag in the second layer (6) need to move to top, and then change position of ball
  • To set your first keyframe > on the active layer next to the principle e.g. Position, start at 0’ > click the stopwatch (indicates keyframe start)
  • Move to 10’ > click the diamond i.e. setting second keyframe > at the second keyframe of 10’, alter the variables of the principle i.e. move the object’s position to where you want it to be.
  • Repeat for any other principles e.g. Scale, Rotate. This is the approach for all work in this software: keep setting keyframes.

Exercise I

Exercise 2 – File Preparation

  • Photoshop > Turn image into a series of layers > create 8 layers > add a fill for the background > keep some pixels at the top and bottom so the software can use this as reference
  • After Effects > drag in all 8 layers and select the small cube option (3D) (if this isn’t an option, toggle between switches/modes)
  • Layer > Camera Settings > 35mm > Open up 2 Views (like Rhino) and have Top and Active Camera (you won’t be able to have these options if 3D is not switched on)
  • From layer 2, in Position, change the 0 setting to 500 pixels (moving it back); add 500 pixels per layer so by layer 8 it’s 3500 pixels back. Careful not to change anchor point instead……
  • Then scale each of the 8 layers so they are the same size. You can tell you’ve done it right in the Top view: the “cone of vision”!
  • In camera, change Field of Vision to 3500 (z axis) (i.e. the depth of pixels of the furthest away layer). You can then click on the camera and ‘fly around’.

Exercise II Creating Cone of Vision

Exercise 2 – Applying Animation

  • Camera layer/view > move from left to right > zoom in and down to play with the angle and avoid seeing the edges of the image > all using keyframes
  • Z rotation will tilt the camera. Play with the camera options – treating it like a real camera.
  • Test depth of field > top view > change focus distance > exaggerate aperture (bigger the aperture is will look like miniature). Try starting in focus at front 0’ then moving to back at 10’.

Exercise 2 – Applying Effects

  • Select layer > right click > Effect > Colour Correction > black and white (will change only layer 2); this is like Photoshop. You can drag and drop the effects. This is only layer by layer: could copy and paste the settings.
  • In order to apply effects to all layers, shift > select all including camera > Layer > Pre-compose > move all attributes > open new composition. Any actions now affect the whole image, but you can still have the original version folder to edit.
  • Effect > Distort > CC Lens = fish eye, will default to very extreme setting, but you can subtly round the corners
  • Noise & Grain > Noise > 3% is a nice subtle emulation of actual filmed footage, slightly changes what you see every frame and therefore tricks you into high reality
  • Window > Wiggler > will replicate a slight shake/wobble > edit this in Camera layer > shift and select both keyframes > Wiggler will be in bottom right > 3 per seconds > magnitude 0.5-1 i.e. barely perceptible > apply settings (makes it seem like a human natural wobble)
  • Puppet Tool > Select layer > select puppet pin icon > place on the drawing, making a joint > first at top of pillar > second at bottom > click back on first pin (Puppet Pin 1) and with arrow can play with the whole layer. Add loads of pins in order to reduce movement. Unpack Puppet Pin 1 > will find a stopwatch > can apply same method to animate. Could realistically use for e.g. someone waving in an aisle.

Exporting Animations

  • File > Export > Add to Render Queue > amend the three options in blue
  • Output module > format Select QuickTime file > Format options Ideal – H264 (what you see on screen comes out exactly as render)
  • Never use animation as = huge files

Export

Tips

  • At any time you can go back and edit the variables
  • The stopwatch always activates the keyframe, however pressing the stopwatch a second time will delete all the set keyframes
  • Rotate principle: if you just alter rotate it will rotate from the centre > can change anchor point > move the part of the image you want to anchor > the anchor spot (just by eye is fine) > move image back to the original spot > play with rotate and it will rotate from e.g. bottom left
  • Use Graph Editor to smooth out keyframes: diamonds will now show as egg timers to let you know you have made edits
  • Avoid too much movement in animating as it will look fake: perspective will be overly distorted: the ideal point will be the middle where the camera is
  • The more axis you animate over the more dynamic it will feel: try sweeping across, out and in all in one go

landscape architecture

 

 

Representation | ArcGIS

3 / 5 A short diary of five introductory software sessions, covering Rhino (two parts), ArcGIS, 3D Scanning and Adobe After Effects. Delivered via The University of Greenwich as part of the Landscape Representation module within the Master of Landscape Architecture program.

The Task

3 hour demonstration workshop, first spent introducing GIS (Geographical Information System) as a system and the background of ArcGIS, a software company owned by ESRI. Explored the 3D application of ArcGIS ArcScene and 2D application of ArcGIS ArcMap. Finally, we retrospectively learnt how to connect the content of folders downloaded from Digimap via ArcGIS ArcCatalogue.

Key Notes

ArcCatalogue

  • Download data from Digimap
  • ArcCatalogue > Right click > Folder Connections > Connect to Folder > connect to your Digimap data
  • Open ArcMap > click Catalogue (right-hand side) > drag and drop layers you want
  • Manipulating in ArcCatalogue will allow you to see MORE layers e.g. boreholes
  • Do the same in ArcScene, but note: in 3D there is no scale.

ArcCatalogue

ArcScene (3D)

  • Right click > scene layers > scene properties > vertical exaggeration e.g. 10
  • Customise > toolbars > animation > Camera > capture view (will combine to a smooth video)

ArcScene PropertiesArcScene Animate

ArcMap (2D)

  • Right click > Mastermap TopographicArea > Open Attribute Table (will give all the visual info in data table, and allow calculation of specific areas e.g. road versus buildings – can be treated like Excel)
  • Selection > Select by Attributes OR Select by Location > Select Layer > Add equations > Get Unique Values (will show number of features selected in the bottom left corner) > Right Click > Mastermap > Selection > Create Layer from Selected Features
  • Customise > Toolbars > Effects > Swipe (compare layers underneath)

ArcMap Attribute TableArcMap Select AttributesArcMap Swipe

Printing and Page SetUp

  • Bottom left – layout view versus data view (= equivalent of paper space vs model space)
  • Layers > Right Click > Properties > Coordinates > check it’s British National Grid, to align any imported data layers
  • Insert > New Data Frame > then drag the layers you want to use into this new layer
  • Insert > Scale Bar OR Legend OR North Arrow

Representation | Grasshopper

2C / 5 A short diary of five introductory software sessions, covering Rhino (two parts), ArcGIS, 3D Scanning and Adobe After Effects. Delivered via The University of Greenwich as part of the Landscape Representation module within the Master of Landscape Architecture program.

The Task

<1 hour practical workshop delivered as a rapid introduction to Grasshopper, described as a visual programming language and environment that runs within Rhino. Programs are created by dragging components onto a canvas. The outputs to these components are then connected to the inputs of subsequent components.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Key Notes

Start with a 4 corner surface and Command > Rebuild to 6×6 grid, and manipulate with GumBall into to a typical organic landscape topography. At this point Command > Grasshopper.

Some steps I remember!

  1. Parameters > Geometry > Surface > drag into workspace > right click > Set One Surface (click on the Surface you have just created in Rhino)
  2. Surface > Utilities > Divide Surface > drag into workspace > connect Srf box to S (surface?) > U and V are effectively X and Y axis and need a numerical value
  3. Parameters > Input > Number Slider > drag into workspace > right click to Edit > Rounding N > change Min and Max (we used 1 and 15)…. have now created lots of points on the single surface
  4. Vector > Plane Normal > drag into workspace > connect P to O and N to Z (don’t know why!)…. each point now has a separate plane, directly parallel to the surface
  5. Surface > Primitive > Centre Box > add a Number Slider and connect to X, Y, Z axis (or could have 3 separate Sliders)…. now have boxes that are all the same size
  6. Parameters > Geometry > Point > right click > Set One Point (click on the Point that you will have gone back and plotted in Rhino, which sits somewhere above the surface)…. forgot to screengrab instructions for this part onwards 
  7. Vector > Point > Distance…. so instead of linking the Number Slider to directly to Box we connected it through Point (I think); see the resulting screengrab
  8. Right click > Bake > select Layer you want to place it on > will now be in Rhino!

In short, this tutorial was far too quick and I haven’t actually figured out the main benefits of why you would you this software. However, the Grasshopper website has a link to 13 free intro tutorials hosted on Vimeo.

 

Representation | VRay for Rhino

2B / 5 A short diary of five introductory software sessions, covering Rhino (two parts), ArcGIS, 3D Scanning and Adobe After Effects. Delivered via The University of Greenwich as part of the Landscape Representation module within the Master of Landscape Architecture program.

The Task

1 hour practical workshop spent adding materials and render effects to a train station built earlier in the session. The software used was VRay for Rhino.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Key Notes

In Rhino, select Render > Current Renderer > VRay for Rhino > Asset Editor

In the Asset Editor, it defaults first to material selection (but you can continue to toggle between this and other options) Add Material > Generic > Quick Settings (to create your own by picking colours, reflection etc.)

Add Material > Generic > Quick Settings (to create your own by picking colours, reflection etc.)

OR click on the small arrow on the left-hand side to access Materials Library > drag and drop > right click > Apply Material to Layer (can check the status in the Layers panel).

If a Material Library surface is looking strange e.g. concrete is very stretched, then alter the Diffuse Colour and Bump settings under UVW, to 100 and 100 (will be just 1 as default).

To provide better context through a typical background, select Setting > Environment > Background > Blue Checker Box > List (top left corner icon) > Sky.

Use Interactive Render with your chosen Perspective. N.B. don’t alter the Resolution size at this point as it will be too time intensive. Play with adjustments to Materials, Sun, Camera, Background. e.g. Sky (Setting > Environment > Background > Blue Checker Box > List (top left corner icon) > Sky).

Representation | Rhino Intro II

2A / 5 A short diary of five introductory software sessions, covering Rhino (two parts), ArcGIS, 3D Scanning and Adobe After Effects. Delivered via The University of Greenwich as part of the Landscape Representation module within the Master of Landscape Architecture program.

The Task

1 hour practical workshop spent building a train station, in order to be able to explore VRay for Rhino (B) and Grasshopper (C) software. The individual build components comprised of rail tracks and sleepers, an elevated platform on concrete legs, glass roof and framework plus indoor bar.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Key Basic Commands Used

Polyline, Splice

Split, Trim, Offset, Join, Group, Copy, Move

ExtrudeCrv, Scale, Rotate, Rebuild

Gumball, SmartObject (on/off), Project, Near

5 New Commands I Didn’t Know Yesterday

  1. Array| an excellent shortcut that will save me a lot of time Cut and Pasting! Allows you to quickly duplicate an object in any direction and preview a draft version in pink. See example: rails duplicated on y-axis, where x = 1, y = 150, distance = 0.75m, z = 1. 
  2. ExtractWireframe | Useful new trick to quickly duplicate a wireframe onto a new layer to build skeletal forms or frameworks. See example: wireframe of the roof. 
  3. OffsetSrf | Using this wireframe layer, we next applied ExtrudeCrv then OffsetSrf to create a 3D framework. See example: creating a solid ‘space frame’ to support the roof. 
  4. Fillet | I’d used this before but never really understood it. Now I can clearly see the benefit of creating a clean curve from two straight lines. See example: base of train platforms.
  5. Sweep1 | Interesting command although I haven’t fully grasped how I would use it, as there doesn’t feel to be enough control. Sweep1 connects one rail curve with one cross section curve; Sweep2 connects 2 rail curves. See example: mushroom-like form of the station bar. 

Representation | Rhino Intro I

1 / 5 A short diary of five introductory software sessions, covering Rhino (two parts), ArcGIS, 3D Scanning and Adobe After Effects. Delivered via The University of Greenwich as part of the Landscape Representation module within the Master of Landscape Architecture program.

The Task

3 hour practical workshop, creating 3D shapes in Rhino. The final output was to build a pier, lighthouse, terrain, path and contours, that could be further modelled in Rhino as well as taken into Adobe Illustrator for digital enhancement.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Key Basic Commands Used

Creating 2D and 3D shapes: Polyline, Spline, Extrude, Circle, Pipe, PlanarSrf

Progressing from individual objects: Split, Join, Rotate

Shortcuts to save time: Copy, Paste, Move, Offset (ThroughPoint)

Developing digital images: Make2D

5 New Commands I Didn’t Know Yesterday

  1. Loft | Really easy way to fill a space between two joined curves to create a surface. Previously I’d been doing this manually with the 4-point surface command button. See example: base to the top of the lighthouse.
  2. Project Curve | Quick command used to draw a shape on one plane and then accurately project it onto another existing object, particularly useful when that object has curved sides. See example: the path which was drawn on C Plane then projected onto the varied terrain.
  3. ExtractSrf | I didn’t realise the strange geometric effect I often created was an error sign showing that two surfaces were meeting, and wouldn’t be accepted by a 3D printer. Extract Surface is a useful command to quickly delete specific sides. I had been using the Explode command previously, which creates extra work. See example: removal of the base at the lighthouse door.  
  4. Rebuild | A flat ground plane for the terrain was created with a 4 point surface. Rebuild command (with points visible) provides a default grid of an extra 10×10 points to manipulate. See example: dark green terrain with rolling hills.
  5. Project (a mode not a command) | Hadn’t been aware of this useful option (checkbox) to assure that you are always drawing all points on the C Plane. Switch off, and then work again in perspective to move the correct shape to the required location.