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Rendering Tutorial – Displacement Maps

Displacement maps are the third and most powerful of the common maps. Displacement maps can use the same black and white image that was developed for the bump map but instead of shifting the image while it stays flat, the Displacement map actually generates geometry by using the map as a heightfield where white is the most displacement and black is the least. So, instead of appearing to have depth, displacment maps actually give the texture depth. But because they are creating geometry displacement maps are also the most computer intensive and take the longest to render. So let’s look at our wall again. With no maps With just a bump map And finally, with a Displacement map As you can see the displacement map brings the texture to life and interacts with the scene’s light source. I have als...Read More

Rendering Tutorial – Bump Maps

Bump maps are the next step in giving a texture some life. Bump maps adjust the image but don’t actually change geometry, giving the texture the appearance of having depth. Like transparency maps, bump maps are black and white conversions of the original texture image but probably aren’t as extreme in their conversion, and keep a lot more greys than transparency’s usually do. In a bump map the image is adjusted based on grey scale values. White has the most adjustment while black stays flat. Shades of grey adjust accordingly. They are applied in the Map section of the Vray Materials editor in a similar way to the transparency map. You will probably have to attempt the bump map black and white conversion a few times before you get it right, this one isn’t perfect, it gives some glare to the...Read More

Rendering Tutorial – Transparency Maps

One of the best ways to get the most out of 3D renderings is the use of maps on your textures. A lot of times you will see renderings where the textures are and have no depth; they are basically a flat picture pasted on a wall. This is especially bad when the image is repeating and you get a pattern that runs the whole length of the object. Pretty much every render engine lets users apply maps but I am using Vray for Rhino because of its ease of use and because Rhino great piece of software. If you want to get some textures is great. In the above shot the image of Boston Ivy is repeated four times, creating a distinct line where the images meet. To get around this problem and give the texture image some life, render engines us maps which tell it the texture should be sha...Read More

Think Inside the Box

The green bike box that is! National Geographic contained an article last month called “A Bicycle Bump” which featured Portland, Oregon for it’s “171 miles of bike lanes, ten freshly painted green boxes (picture from the article above) that put cyclists safely ahead of vehicles, even some signals just for bikes.” And this isn’t the first time the yellow-bordered magazine has featured Portland. In the August 2008 issue, it named Portland the number one city in the top five bike-friendly cities in the nation. It’s of no surprise that biking is on the rise. With gas prices soaring, more and more people are parking the car and choosing to pedal to work. How do they measure this? According to National Geographic, it’s by the additional bikes being...Read More

Celebrate Skateboarding!

I recently walked past a parking lot that should’ve been empty but instead was full of kids having set up makeshift skateboard ramps. There must have been about 10 kids there. But the most interesting part is that there is a small area to skate just a block away from the parking lot and a brand new state-of-the-art skate park just a 5 minute drive away. And yet here are more kids out in parking lots. The demand for areas where kids can skate is continuously amazing me. This brought back to my mind the old never-ending discussion topic of skaters amongst landscape professionals. Do you deter them, instlaling all sorts of different metal shapes into your seat walls or do you let ’em ride? I definitely fall into the latter group to the point where I don’t just want to let th...Read More

Book Review: The Colors of Nature, Subtropical Gardens Gardens by Raymond Jungles

The Colors of Nature: Subtropical Gardens by Raymond Jungles By Raymond Jungles Monacelli Press PURCHASE From the Land8 Bookstore One might think that a person with the last name of “Jungles” would be destined either to be a wilderness explorer and nature-lover or a master landscape designer who creates lush tropical gardens. With Raymond Jungles, we have both. Raymond Jungles is the recipient of numerous awards and has been recognized in publication such as Luxury Gardens of the World (2008), Collection of International Landscape Designers (2008), RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Design (2009). In his latest book, “The Colors of Nature,” Jungles showcases more than 20 of his residential projects spanning over the last 20 years. From the a rooftop garden to backyard retreats, the book is full of...Read More

What a Picture is Worth

by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA Starting up a new website is hard, especially when you’re trying to create a niche that wasn’t there before — and are hoping to make a little money, too. Chris Whitis, along with partner Brian Phelps, has spent most of his free time over the past few years doing just that. is a searchable image database of the built environment. It has tens of thousands of high-resolution photos ready for download. It is, in a word, voluminous. Because sitephocus was specifically created for design professionals, the images are of things we actually want to see: streetscapes, rain gardens, bollards, paving patterns, etc. But the hordes haven’t exactly come running, and ASLA has seen the site as a potential advertiser, rather than a good reso...Read More

Letter to a Young Landscape Architecture Student (pursuing a career in healthcare design)

I got this letter from a soon-to-be-graduating BLA student who is looking to work in the field of healthcare design in landscape architecture. It’s a question I get a lot, so I thought I’d share her letter and my response on the blog. Hope it’s useful! “I found your website through the Land8Lounge Therapeutic Landscapes Network group. I am currenty a fifth year student, receiving my BLA and will be graduating in May. I am very interested in therapeutic landscapes and used the Therapeutic Landscapes Database you created frequently last semester in a Healthcare and Therapeutic Site Design Studio. Upon my graduation in the spring, I am looking to join a firm which focuses on therapeutic landscapes – or has a component of the firm which deals with designing for he...Read More

5 Examples of Better Bike Infrastructure (Tree Hugger)

5 Examples of Better Bike Infrastructure by April Streeter, Gothenburg, Sweden on 01.19.09 Bike transport innovations just never get the same mainstream media coverage – or popularity, even on TreeHugger – that car news enjoys. Yet so much is happening as bike sharing booms in cities and on college campuses across the world, ridership increases, and the bike industry is one of the few that is seemingly insensitive to economic mayhem! In the bike universe, small changes in infrastructure are making a big difference (mostly better) in bike commuters’ lives. So here we give you a few of the ideas becoming more popular in improving bike transport, safety, and...Read More

Contact Congress to Restore Funding For National Mall

I received this email from ASLA about the stimulus package and want to help get the word out to everyone on Land8lounge. On Tuesday evening the House Rules Committee stripped a provision from the stimulus package that would have provided $200 million to refurbish the National Mall. Please contact your Congressperson and Senators and urge them to restore this critical funding for our National Mall. This much-needed funding would not only help to address the $350 million backlog of maintenance projects associated with the Mall, it would also provide important jobs for landscape architects, engineers, construction and maintenance workers and a host of other local professions. Opponents of the Mall funding argue that it is wasteful or non-stimulative. However, many small businesses, including ...Read More

A little British water feature humor…

After walking through Potter’s Field Park in London I happened upon these water jets… Oh how I love British humor!

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