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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.
When using any render engine, cameras and the positioning they are given in a scene will play a huge role in the quality of our final output. Because of this, we will more certainly want to make good use of any tools available that can help us position and control our camera's point of view, thus producing a more pleasing composition in our shots. In our start scene you can see that we have a poorly positioned camera view. Poor composition such as this will detract massively from our final render, even if the lighting and material work in our scene is the best we've ever produced.
Fortunately, Twilight has a tool that can help even the most novice of camera users create a pleasing shot very quickly indeed. This is the Position Scene View tool and if we come up to our Twilight toolbar, you can see we have an icon that allows us to enable this tool. Its purpose is to provide us with an overlay grid that can make using certain compositional rules, such as the rule of thirds, very easy, as well as providing us with a set of controls that can allow us to make use of that grid. To get our grid to show up once we have initialized our tool by clicking the icon, we just need to bring our mouse into the SketchUp viewport.
Well, the shape and size of the grid we get will be determined by the render output settings that we have already specified in Twilight. Once this tool is engaged, we can now simply left-click in our scene, or we can even pick an object in the view if we want to, and then drag our mouse to orbit the view around that chosen point. This of course means we now have the ability to search for a pleasing composition in our shot in a very easy manner. Experimentation can be both fast and easy at this point. To produce a different set of behaviors from our camera controls, we can also hold down the Shift key.
If we do this and then left-mouse-click and drag, we see that we're now panning around our viewport. A third behavior can be produced by holding down the Alt key. Now if we left-mouse-click and drag, we see that we swivel our camera as if it were on a tripod. This of course is different from our initial orbiting behavior. All of these behaviors of course are critical when it comes to setting up a pleasing composition for our final render. The Scene View tool also allows us to set our camera focal point in the scene. We do this by holding down the Ctrl key.
Now as we move our mouse, you can see that our cursor has changed to a target icon. All we need to do now is simply left-mouse-click on any object or point in the scene and that will be set as the point of view, or the focal point for our camera. A nice thing about this functionality is that it doesn't change the composition of our scene view; all that happens is the focal plane for the camera is realigned in the scene. Although we can indeed augment this behavior by holding down both the Alt and Ctrl keys while clicking on a point in the scene.
This will actually swivel the camera to focus on a point we've selected, setting it at the center of our camera view, whilst also at the same time setting it as the new focal point for the camera. Which of these options we choose to use of course will depend upon the needs of our final render. There is no doubt, when setting up a scene for rendering, good composition is a critical element. The ability to easily manipulate the camera through well-thought-out tools can also be considered a critical element.
With Twilight's Position Scene View tool this job is made very easy for us indeed.
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