Hey guys,
I'm working on getting a freelance Architectural and Landscape Architectural rendering gig going using a newish engine called Thea, and wanted you guys to look at a few of the component models I have so far. Let me know what you think. The car and bench are tweaked Sketchup components that I re-skinned, the trees are from Tree[d], which the exception of the pine, which someone shared in the Thea forums. The Stop sign is original, and the people are default SketchUp people, and I'm not sure if they are the way I am going to end up doing people or not.

I'm trying to get these set so anytime anyone needs a design with a maple rendered, I'm ready to plug this in.

First, the trees. I spend a LOT of time with these trying to get not just the right bark, the and the right shade of leaf, but the right translucency, as its what seems to give the leaves a look of life. The redbud was a real trick since when it is in bloom its a very skeletal structure, and is VERY pink, but at times it looked almost on fire.


Ginko (Young)-


Next is the park bench. I used a Sketchup component, and tweaked the model SLIGHTLY, and reskinned it in thea.

The stop sign is the first piece I made 100% on my own, and I'm decently happy with. I have NO idea if you can get it to act like there is the reflective-prism film, so I just made it fairly reflective, but added a bumpmap so it doesn't reflect straight back like a mirror.

I'm pretty happy with my car. I got the model in Sketchup, and tweaked it to smooth some edges, add depth in areas like headlights, and then got the materials nailed down. The car here has its headlights off, but I do have two IES lights in the model so I can turn them on for night scenes.

Lastly, here is everything thrown together in one mish-mash. The key thing here is that the car, for instance, will never be the focal point of a model. so while as a stand alone you see
the polys, when its in a model as a set piece, the fact that it reflects the model and sits so well really makes it an asset if you ask me... but I'm not asking me. I'm asking you. so let me know what you think!

If you like the look of the engine (This is unlicensed version, full will not have the water marks), check out TheaRender.com

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Not bad Frank, not cartoonish. Looking forward to speaking with you at the meet and greet.
Like! :P

Actually the one thing I would say about the trees is that they could actually be a little bit more regular in form, especially the ginkgo and redbud. Obviously getting some irregularity to the form is necessary to achieve more realism, but the twigs sticking furthest out (mostly on the ginkgo) look a little too sparse and maybe a little too irregular. Maybe just fill them both in with more leaves.
The car is rad. It looks like a Mercedes-Maserati-Cadi-Charger hybrid... Classy muscle.

I agree with Amy's observation about the trees. If I came across them on a site, I'd want to trim up those odd branches.

The people are too white... My eyes get stuck on them. Is there anyway to add a bit of color to them to mellow them out without compromising the look you're going for?

Those are the only things I'd change. Otherwise, it looks rad. Very clean... nice texture and shadow.
The trees look pretty flat, especially the bark. Vray is the standard and Peter Guthrie has some pretty good examples via Onyx tree. http://www.peterguthrie.net/blog/2009/05/3d-trees/ The wheel well and wheel on the car need smoothing and the light cover is to transparent, almost nonexistent. Looking at the Thea page it says the engine has displacement mapping so you can try it out and see how it goes. i guess it gets into how photorealistic you want to go.

I haven't used Kerkythea in awhile but Thea at first glance Thea doesn't look that advanced on it. What are the rendering times on the trees. Can you use proxies?
Rendering time for a single tree isn't to bad, around 10 mins. I can proxy in Thea, I generally use them for when I have multiple trees, In engine it just shows as giant bounding boxes,then I have to render to get the actual tree to show, but It definitely saves on resources.

I tried some displacement mapping, the only issue is it tender to pull the materials apart at the edges if its not EXTREMELY carefully tweaked. I have SOME bump mapping on them, but need to work with both displacement and bump mapping to really get it to curve right.
Hi Frank.

If you want to get serious about your trees check out xFrog: http://www.xfrog.com/products/productStart.htm. It is the only company that I am aware of that allows you to export your texture maps and you tree models in one file. You export them in .obj file format and bring them into SU pro. See my discusion on the Sketchup Group: http://land8lounge.com/group/sketchup/forum/topics/3d-tree-models

Hope this helps.

Tree[d] allows the same thing. It exports to a 3ds Obj file, I know it opens correctly (with textures) in Thea, but I've heard of people having issues in SketchUp. The big reason I'm not using xFrog is that I don't really have $400 to throw out for the engine, especially when Tree[d] gets such good results for free.
Hi Frank,

I am curious. Can you create two tree models (one low res, one Hi res) The Xfrog files can be huge. If I could use Xrog's companion program...Xfrogtune, I could generate a low res tree model of the same tree. Place the Low res image in SUpro.

Come time to render the SU model can your rendering engine swap out the low res tree models for the hi res tree models so SU won't choke?
Looking at Thea's website it says that it can use proxies which is fairly common with render engines now, but you wouldn't place the low res tree you just place the high then turn it into a proxy so that it will display in the modelling program as a lower poly tree or even a box showing its extent.
SU does not support proxies see my discussion on SketchUcation: http://forums.sketchucation.com/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=32927&...

My workflow is basically that I model everything short of plants, benches, cars in sketchup, but I include 1' diameter planes where a tree should go, with a material named for the tree that goes there (So I have 5 circles painted with "Maple", 6 with "redbud"). I can then jump into Thea, and merge a maple tree model in. I select the maple tree and tell it to proxie auto-populate on my maple material no closer than 1 meter, and with random rotation and 10% scale variability. That way I get trees auto places, auto scaled, and proxied, giving a quicker, and more organic looking set of trees.
Waht is your work flow from Sketchup to Vue?


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