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SketchUp Pro: Tools and Techniques shows professional users of Trimble's popular 3D modeling software how to create compelling 3D graphics. Author George Maestri focuses on the features available in Pro that make SketchUp a valuable design tool. He demonstrates the new Dynamic Components and shows how using them can add interactivity to a model. He teaches how to create custom Dynamic Components from models, which is a feature unique to Pro. He also explores SketchUp Pro's companion application, LayOut, a presentation tool that retains the editability of models even when they're embedded in documents. Last but not least, George shows how to export and import objects to and from other programs, such as AutoCAD and 3ds Max. Exercise files accompany this course.
Now that we have this house in Max, let's go ahead and take this one step further and just do a quick render, just to show you the possibilities of what you can do with an external rendering program and a SketchUp model. Now this is just one of many programs that can take FBX or any of the 3D formats that SketchUp Pro can generate. But let's just show you some of the possibilities here. So I've got this file. It's called ModernHouse.max, but I don't really have any lighting or environment in this file. So let's go ahead and bring that in.
I actually have a preset file out there, and we're going to merge it. It's in our Chapter 6 folder, and it's called Environment. Basically all it is, is a ground plain and two lights, a skylight and a spotlight. You can see those right here. There is a skylight, spotlight, and a grassy plain. So let's go ahead and just bring this up. If we want to, we can just go ahead and do a quick Render Setup. Well, one thing I'd like to do is actually set up some sort of sky for this, because we really have just gray in the background here.
In fact, if I did a quick render right now, you would see that the sky is basically black and I really don't want that to happen. So in fact let's go ahead and do this render and see what we've got. So as you can see we don't have a sky and also it seems like the light is a little blown out, and so we can actually play with this a little bit. So first of all, let's go ahead and put in a sky. We do that in Max by just doing Rendering > Environment, and we can use Environment Map. In fact, I'm just going to go ahead and use a Bitmap.
I'm going to go to this directory here, which is the standard materials that come with 3ds Max, and we have just a generic sky. You can certainly use any sort of sky you want, and just go ahead and open, and that will go ahead and put that sky in the background. In fact, if we want to, we could actually view that. We can actually under Viewport Background just go ahead and use the Environment Background, and then just go Viewport Background again and just Show Background, and we should be able to see that sky.
So let's go ahead and position our camera so that we like it. The other thing is that we have this render that's a little bit blown out. So let's go ahead into our Render Setup and I want to set this to scanline.radiosity.high and that should change the render settings, so that this will be a little bit less overexposed. And let's go ahead and close this. Then I want to go into Exposure Control as well. I want to make sure that Logarithmic Exposure Control is turned off.
We actually just take Exposure Control off for now. Let's do another render, and see what this looks like. So now that we have a sky, you can see how it looks a lot more realistic. And we can also do some other tweaks. If we wanted to, we can make the glass a little bit more reflective because it's really not coming in as a reflective glass. So let's go ahead and take one more little pass at this. We can go through this and actually find the glass. So we actually go through this and take a look at the glass.
One way to do this is actually go into Edit Mesh. We can see exactly what material it is by selecting the polygon that contains the glass and then scrolling up here until we can see what our ID is. Our Material ID on this particular polygon is 14. So we can go and find the corresponding one here, which is number 14, which is Glass_Gray. So that's the one that we have. It's a Phong Shader, which should be about right. We have an Opacity of about 50.
In fact, we can probably dial that down a little bit to make it a little bit more clear, but slightly more reflective. So I'm going to dial the Opacity down to about 20, but add some reflection. So I'm going to go into Maps and go into Reflection and for this I think I'm just going to do a Reflect/Refract Map, and just because these are flat that will work and then dial that down to say about 15 or 20, somewhere in that range, and that should work. So well let's go ahead and render this one more time and we'll see what we have.
And again, this is going to take a while. So let's sit back and relax. As you can see, the slightly more reflective windows give it a more realistic effect. So this is just a sample of some of the rendering that you can do in an external application, and whether it's 3ds Max, Maya or any other type of third-party rendering package, you can take a SketchUp model and create a fairly realistic image from it.
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