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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.
Oftentimes when producing visualization renders, a SketchUp artist will be asked to mimic the use of a perspective control or shift lens as employed by many visualization photographers. The basic idea of such lenses is that they give photographers the ability to control the appearance of perspective in an image. The lens can actually be moved parallel to the camera's sensor. Architectural photographers often make use of this functionality to avoid convergence of vertical lines in tall buildings, but of course it can be used to straighten the verticals in any perspective photograph.
Indeed, if we take a render of our start scene, you'll see why this kind of functionality--the ability to correct perspective--may also be something that we need to do inside of our visualization renders. Clearly, we have a number of vertical lines that are, well, not really vertical. They're leaning quite badly in fact. Now if you're a regular SketchUp user, then you're probably thinking, well, this is not a problem; SketchUp has perspective correction tools built in. One thing we do need to keep in mind is that those tools don't always work with third-party render engines; happily this isn't the case with Twilight.
To demonstrate how these tools work, I'm just going to dismiss our Twilight Render dialog and come up to the Camera menu, and we're going to come down and all we need to do is enable these Two- Point Perspective option. And as you can see in the SketchUp viewport, our leaning verticals are now standing nice and upright. Of course, our composition is a little bit off now, so let's just frame things up a little more nicely. Now of course, we want to go and take a test render. We want to be certain that Twilight has captured that perspective correction for us, which, as you can see, it most definitely has, although there does appear to be a little bit of a problem. We don't have the composition in our Twilight Render that we're seeing inside of our SketchUp viewport.
This really is a limitation of SketchUp's Two-Point Perspective tool. Once we have enabled it, we cannot perform any further viewport operations. Well, we can perform the viewport operations, as you saw us demonstrate, but our render engine will not capture them. The render we get will essentially be from the point at which our perspective correction was applied. If we do need to improve our composition a little bit, then we have to make certain that any alterations are applied before we use our perspective correction. Of course, this means a little bit of trial and error when it comes to setting up our cameras, but with a bit of work we can get both our upright vertical lines and our pleasing composition in the final render.
Of course, we could perform these perspective corrections in an image editing application such as Photoshop, but seeing as we have such an easy-to-use and readily accessible control in SketchUp, one that Twilight can render, it seems to make sense to apply this kind of perspective correction at render time.
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