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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.
Another refractive material that most of us will come into contact with on a daily basis is water. Of course, this generally comes in many different forms: rainwater, seawater, river water. In this particular video though, we're going to walk you through the creation of our ornamental poolwater. Although this is somewhat similar to our glass material in terms of the steps taken to reproduce it, and of course the final composition of the material, there is just a little bit of extra functionality, a little bit of extra material quality that we're going to add to our water material.
Our first step naturally will be to create a new SketchUp material, so let's click on paint bucket icon, come into our SketchUp Material's Browser and come into the In Model materials. Again, I'm just going to start with our default gray material. With that chosen, let's click on the Create Material button and come and give our new material a nice descriptive name; in this instance, Pool Water should suffice very nicely. Now, we can if we want, add a little bit of coloration here, just so that we can tell the difference when we apply our new material to our water geometry.
That just tells us whether it has been applied or not. Do keep in mind though that any coloration we add here will be added into our Twilight Material definition, so we may have to tweak it once we get into the Twilight Material Editor. With that done, let's click OK and left-click to apply that material to our pool geometry. As with the creation of our glass materials, we do need to go and apply a Twilight Material template now. So let's come and open the Twilight Material Editor. And this time using the From Scene dropdown, I'm just going to go and choose my Pool Water material.
Once that is loaded in, we need to apply a Twilight template of course, so let's come up to the Templates menu and come down, in this instance, to our Realistic Glass Set. Because water is a refractive material and because we are looking directly into the body of water, we are really going to want to see our refraction process at work. It will add to the believability of our material. So we of course need to work with the Realistic Glass options. And if I just left-click, you can see there is actually a water preset in here, so let's just click to apply that.
Straight away of course we can see that a number of material properties are applied, including the all- important Index of Refraction value. The setting of 1.33 is physically accurate for water and is extremely important if our water material is to be believable. Just looking down at our preview, it's looking a little bit too saturated in terms of the color for my taste, so I'm just going to come up to our material swatch and I'm just going to drop the Saturation value down to something around about 15-20. I think I'll go for 15 in this instance.
Of course you can set the colors up here however you like. And I'm just going to move this a little bit more into the bluish region of our color picker, and again I'll just reset our Saturation value there. That looks okay for now, so let's click OK, and you can see we essentially get a clear water look to our material now. With that little tweak and of course the template applied, it's time to go and take a test render for ourselves. As you can see, everything appears to be working just fine. Of course just coming back into the Material Editor, we can work with any of the available parameters to change the look of our water.
If we want, we can change the diffuse color a little bit. We could tweak our alpha; we could drop this down a little bit to make it more transparent, rely less on the diffuse properties. I really wouldn't recommend tweaking the Index of Refraction unless you have a very specific reason to do so, because as we said, that value of 1.3 recurring is the physically accurate option there. We do, however, want to add a little bit more to our Pool Material. At this moment in time things are looking a little bit too flat, a little bit too static for my taste. And of course we do sometimes see water in this perfectly mirror-like state, but more often than not, we're used to seeing water with some kind of breakup on its surface, usually due to some kind of wind or breeze that is in the environment just causing ripples or movement on the surface of the water.
So that's what we'll do. We're going to use a bump map to apply just a little bit of life to the surface of our material. Of course the problem we have at this moment in time--if we just come back into our SketchUp Material Browser, and make certain that our Pool Water is chosen--if we just come to the Edit tab, you can see we actually don't have a UV Scale set up. This of course is because we're not using a texture image, which of course we are going to have to do if we want to apply a UV Scale. So let's just put a check in the box and from our Exercise_Files > Texture_Files folder, we're just going to apply this Water_Displacement map.
This of course means we now get access to our U and V Scale parameters. If you need to set this up interactively-- in other words, if you need to do a little bit of experimentation with the scale you want to apply--then I would suggest that you come back to your Alpha option and set a value of 100 in there, and you get now a completely opaque material. This means as you update the scale values, you'll be able to see exactly what that is doing to your applied map. In this case, I don't really need to experiment; I know the value I want to add in here, which is a value of 25 feet in both the U and V options.
Now, of course at this moment in time I have completely killed our water material by applying this black-and-white map in the diffuse color slot. But of course we can break that behavior inside the Twilight Material Editor. So let's come to the Color options and let's just unlock or unlink this particular option from our SketchUp material. Of course Twilight thinks we want to add a different texture map inside of the color slot. That's why we get this Select image texture dialog, but in this instance we can just click Cancel. This means that Twilight will now return our Color option to the Solid Color setting, which is exactly what we want, although we will have to make certain that our Alpha value is reset.
In this instance, I think I'll set a value of 15 and just rely a little less on our diffuse color. As you can see, this returns us to a nice clear water material. Of course, we still need to apply our bump map. We have our Scale set up; we have our Color Channel set up, but we do need to apply our bump texture. So we need to come to the Bump controls and set this to use the Texture option, and we're just going to use that same Water_Displacement map. I know the Size value is a little strong in here, so I'm just going to drop this down to something around about .45, and we should be set now to take another test render.
As you can see, we now get some very nice breakup on the surface of our water. We have a little bit more life in our material, and of course now we can really see the benefit of having physically accurate refractions taking place in our water material.
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