Weclome to the Jungle

Happy Leap Day!

I decided to test my skills to design a space, generate a 3D model, and produce a short video. I was recently in Los Angeles, and it inspired me to create a little back yard garden as a way to practice and try out some new techniques.

I started with a small L-shaped yard and the idea that the pond would be located at the far end as something to walk up upon and "discover" although it would also be visible from inside.

The shape of the patio and planters were figured out simultaneously. I then offset the lines to create the mounds with some massaging to relax it a little.

Once in Rhino, I used the contor lines to generate three complex shapes. The pond, the patio, and the mounds. Then, through a series of boolean operations, I had the base topography. Everything else was a simple extrusion.

In the past, I have used Lumion to create 3D renderings of my designs. I enjoy its ease of use and the quality of the output. However, it is cost prohibitive for me at the moment. I was excited to learn about Twinmotion. It is powered by the Unreal Engine, which is used in video game development. Best of all, it was free to download.

Twinmotion has a slight learning curve, but it is not too hard to get started. Things like the the plants and chairs were assets already loaded in the program. I was amazed how each plant varied slightly when I placed it. It is imperative that any models you import have a well defined and organized layer structure to facilitate assigning textures to objects. For some reason, one wall of my building was on the same layer as my patio.

I tried to reload the model to no avail. As far as I could tell, my layers were set correctly, so I am not sure where the error occured. I deleted the entire wall in my Rhino model, redrew it, and resaved the file.

Making a video was very straight forward. Essentially, you like a series of perspectives and the camera will move automatically between them. This does create a kind of jerky, robotic movement on the ground, but it is great for panning and zooming in.

Once my track was setup, I exported the video into After Effects to add the titles, labels, and arrows. I then put everything together using Premiere and uploaded it to Vimeo for you to enjoy.

Confession: the plant palette was chosen because the models were already included. Future research will include how to make and import my own assets because I would much rather have a native option. This does give me hope of providing a way to efficiently generate mutliple options to cycle through.

There is a lot of potential in being able to show a client the difference between a native and non-native landscape, or to quickly decide between a variety of materials and finishes, and be able to easily change them later.