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Twilight is a very popular and inexpensive third-party renderer for SketchUp. This course shows how to create highly realistic 3D architectural drawings (including interior/exterior elements) with the lights, materials, camera, and render options in Twilight. Author Brian Bradley explains the importance of reflectance in materials, and shows how to manage and save rendering presets, how to correct for perspective, tone, and exposure in the camera, and how to create a variety of material types. The final chapter covers rendering your complete arch-viz scene for a couple types of output, including animation and composites.
Up to this point in our course, all the geometry we have in model has had a default gray material applied. In this video we're going to work at creating some diffuse properties in our scene. In fact, we will focus on just the diffuse, or color, properties for the floor of our interior. The steps of course we use for this one material can be applied to creating the diffuse properties for all of the geometry in our scene. To start with of course, we need a new SketchUp material, so let's click on our paint bucket icon and open up SketchUp's Material Browser.
I just want to make certain that I am looking at the In Model materials, so let's click the In Model button, and as you can see, we just have our default gray material. It's time now of course to create a new material in the scene, so let's click on the Create Material icon. I am just going to give this a nice descriptive name. We'll call this Wood Floor. And as we want to add a little bit of extra realism to our final render in this case, we're going to work not with a solid color, but with a bitmap image. So I am going to put a check in the Use texture image box. This of course will open up a Choose Image dialog.
We need to navigate to our Exercise_Files folder and come into the Texture_Files folder as well. Down towards the bottom of the files in there, we should find these WoodFloor_Diffuse map. I am just going to left-click to select that. With everything set up nicely, I can just click OK and then with our paint bucket tool still active, I am just going to left-mouse-click on our floor. Now, you can see the material has been applied, but our scale is a little bit off here, which is not surprising because we didn't really set the UV Scale up in our new material.
So let's come into the Edit tab, and down here in our UV Scale options, I need to set a value of 7 foot in here. So I could type that in, or I can give SketchUp the value in inches, which it will convert to feet for me. Now as you can see, our scale looks much better. Now, to be honest, without ever touching our Twilight Material Editor, we have done everything we need to do to set up the diffuse properties for our floor material. In fact, if we just come up to our Open Twilight Render icon, click on that to open the Render dialog, and then take a test render, you will see that everything is working just as we would want it.
As you can see, our floor material, or the diffuse properties for our floor material, are showing up just fine in the render. We are even getting some nice color bounce or color bleed in our environment because of the coloration in our bitmap image. We are, however, going to do a little bit more with our material before we leave it behind. Oftentimes texture artists, when setting up the diffuse properties for a material, will also add any bump properties that are required. This is because oftentimes the bump and diffuse properties of a material share the same source files.
So that's what we'll do. We'll add a little bit of bump to our material before we move on. Now, for this of course we do need Twilight's Material Editor, so let's come up to the toolbar and click the Material Editor icon. Once that loads in, we'll just move it into view a little bit. And of course using the From Scene dropdown, we will choose our Wood Floor Material. Once the material definition is loaded, you can see we have this Bump Map option. If I just access the dropdown, you can see we have a No Texture and Texture option. As we want to apply yet again another bitmap image here, I am just going to click on the Texture option and this again will take us into our Texture_Files folder.
In here we do have a WoodFloor_Bump image. This, however, is a little bit on the noisy side for my tastes. I prefer to work with this WoodFloor_ Disp map, which was originally created as a displacement map for another render engine, so I am just going to click on this to load it up as our bump map. Now, a problem we can oftentimes run into when we want to set up bump mapping inside our renders is the fact that our diffuse properties can tend to get in the way a little bit. In other words, the details in our diffuse bitmap make it hard to see whether the bump map is actually working correctly or not.
There is actually a piece of Twilight Material Editor functionality that can help us get around that. If we come up to our Color slot, you can see, at this moment in time we have this chain-link icon. This is telling us that the diffuse, or color, properties for our material are linked to our original SketchUp material. In fact, if we were to come and uncheck our Use texture image inside of the SketchUp material, it would not only disappear in the viewport, it would also disappear from our Twilight Render, and you would see that this section would just update to once again read a solid color.
Well, we can use this functionality to give ourselves a kind of override material. So if I just uncheck this icon, you can see I get a Select image texture dialog. This is because Twilight is assuming that I want to apply a different bitmap inside the slot. Now, whilst this technically isn't the case, just to make certain that Twilight is happy that I have made changes, I am just going to choose any of the files that are found in this dialog. Really what I want to do is access this dropdown and set it to be a solid color.
Now when I take a render, I'll be able to clearly see whether or not my bump map is working in the scene. In fact, just to make certain that it is showing up, I am going to set a value of something like 5 in here, which is quite high for a bump map, and we will come and we will take another render. As you can see, our bump map is working just fine, if somewhat overdone. The scale of our bump map is of course still correct, because if we take a look at our SketchUp material, we are still essentially making use off the UV Mapping, the UV Scale that we have already set up.
So long as we keep our Use texture image option checked, our UV Mapping Scale will continue to be applied to this material. So, most definitely a handy little piece of functionality in the Twilight Material Editor, the ability to unlink our color channels. Now, of course things can get a little confusing, because the SketchUp material still says that it is using our Wood Floor bitmap and the viewport is still showing that, but of course our Twilight renders are just using this solid gray color. As of course we do want to use our bitmap image, we can either relink our Twilight material or we can just set this to Texture and then browse for the appropriate image file.
And again, so long as we keep our Use texture image option checked in our SketchUp Material, our UV Scaling will remain completely useable. With our diffuse color properties taken care of then, we really do want to move on to adding a little bit more realism to our renders now. We just have a flat color render with a little bit of bump mapping applied, which reminds me, we do want to just go and make a change to our bump mapping. We can set this to a value of something around about .4 should give us some nice subtle bump mapping in our future renders. So with our diffuse color properties taken care of, we probably want to move on now to adding a little bit more realism to our materials.
We can do this in the next video by showing you how we can add reflective properties to our Wood Floor material.
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