Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding site and entourage components, part of Revit: Rendering.
- As you're getting a model ready for rendering, there's many, many little finishing touches that you can add to it to really start to give it some life and to bring out the realism in it. And probably one of the most obvious ones is to think about where the building sits or what's surrounding it. So in this particular file here, I've really emphasized that by actually removing any of the site information and you can see that the building is just sort of floating. So clearly if I went to a nice 3D view, like this perspective at entrance and even if we had shading turned on and shadows and a nice sky in the background, all of these topics that we'll look at in future movies, by the way, the building still looks odd because it's just sort of floating.
So, certainly don't wanna underestimate the importance of having some sort of a ground plain for your building to sit on. Now, at a bare minimum, you could just draw a floor slab and use that as a ground plain if necessary. But probably a better choice is to use a toposurface. And toposurface is designed to represent the actual ground plains that you want your building to sit on. Now, I could go to a site plan in this project. And I could go to the Massing and Site tab and I could click the Toposurface tool and begin drawing a toposurface.
But I'm not gonna do that because it's more common to actually build the toposurface in a separate project and then link it in as it's own model. So, this has already been done, actually in this model. If I scroll down on the Project Browser, you can see that under Revit Links, there is a link that's currently unloaded called Building Site. So let's open that file up and take a look around at what it contains. So I'm gonna go to Open. And here in Exercise Files, I'm gonna back up a folder cause I've stored that file in it's own folder called Links.
And the reason I did that is because we're using the Building Site file in multiple chapters. So we're gonna open it up there and take a look at what it contains. Now, it's a very simple site. You can add a lot more than what I've got here but it's got at least some of the basics in here that you wanna consider having. This green object and these gray objects are toposurface objects. So, if we select one of these, there's really two very common ways that toposurface objects are created in Revit projects.
If I click Edit Surface, you're gonna see a series of small points. Those points each have elevations. And you can take each individual point and change the elevations and it will start to sculpt the surface for you. Now this is a relatively flat site, so you can see that most of the points I click on have a similar elevation. They are only varying slightly. Now, I could come over here and use Place Point and add additional points. And if I added a point with a slightly taller elevation, you can see that it will have a pretty dramatic impact on the site because now all of the surface needs to converge on that much taller point.
I'm gonna undo that. And I'm gonna cancel outta here. But before I do, the other option, the more common option, to create a toposurface is to actually link in a civil engineering file first, which usually is gonna be a CAD file and then use that to create the points for you. So if you've got a file from your civil engineer, that's gonna be the fastest way to create that toposurface. The next step is usually to divide it up into separate surfaces. Now, that's actually pretty easy to do, if I select this surface here, what you'll see over here on Massing and Site is that we've got some different tools.
Split Surface, Merge Surfaces and Sub Regions. So if I do Split Surface and select this surface right here and I'll just draw a line and then click Finish. See how that actually cuts that into two surfaces. Once I've done that, I can come over here to the Material and assign each one to a different material. So if I made that one sand on that side, then this side is sand and this side is grass. Now, I'm not gonna keep it that way, so when I close this file I actually won't save it. But, you can see how the roads were created and the parking area and the other green areas, it was all done that way.
You just sketch out the shape of the roads and then you assign different materials to each of the pieces. What I did here then is I added individual parking components, just to add a slight touch of realism. And then to make the excavation here that the building sits on, this is something called a building pad. Now a building pad is kind of like a slab object but it's specifically designed to interact with toposurface and actually change the... you know, to basically cut a hole in the toposurface.
So when you select this building pad and give it a height, you can see that I've used a negative dimension here, it'll actually carve down into the site and basically cut a hole or dig an excavation for your building to sit in. And then the shape of this building pad just matches the shape of the building. But I think probably the most interesting object in this file is actually these trees. Now at first that may seem like kind of an odd statement because these are kinda simple little trees here.
In fact, if I zoom in on them, they kinda look like these really simple, little cardboard cut-outs. Well, actually what these are, if you hover over them or if you select them and look over here on properties, you can see that these are RPC trees. Now RPC is actually a company that creates content for Revit and other software. And so they've provided a large collection of trees that ship with the Revit product, that are part of Revit. And if you go to their website, they actually have several others that are for sale that you can consider purchasing if you like.
They also have people, they have cars and trucks and all sorts of entourage items that you can add. And what's unique about these items is that they've gone around and taken several photographs. And what happens when you render this is instead of seeing this simple cardboard cut-out, it swaps in the photographs. Now, I could do a quick rendering but I can also simulate that by going to a realistic shading mode here and when I do that, it will swap in the tree. Now, it's a little dark because it's up against the grass.
So if I kinda orbit the view here, you can start to see that a little bit better. And you can see that the trees are semi-transparent and instead of modeling each branch and each leaf, which would be a very large and heavy 3D model, they've just taken several photographs and these photographs automatically orient themselves to the viewing direction and they're very light weight. So it's a great way to add much more believability and realism to your renderings without adding a ton of overhead.
Now, you can create your own RCPs or like I say you can get more directly from the company. Those are some of the entourage items that you're gonna wanna consider. Now there's plenty more that you could include in here. I'm gonna close this file and I'm not gonna save it. What will happen is, if you come back to the view that we were in here, I can just simply come down here now and then I'll right-click on Revit Links and I'll choose the Manage Links command., I'm gonna select the Building Site and I'm gonna reload it.
So it'll go out and find it in that Links folder and when I click okay, it now places that site file in underneath the building. Now it's not a dramatic change, but it's enough to give the building something to sit on. And you can kinda see that blobby tree appearing here in the corner but as we've already talked about when you render, you'll actually see branches and so forth. And I always like to have a tree over in the corner because it helps frame the image nicely. So even if you're not really gonna have a tree there, sometimes I'll cheat and I'll put one in there, so that it kinda hangs into the corner a little bit and makes for a nicer rendering.
So definitely keep your site entourage in mind when you are composing your final scenes and your final views for creation of your renderings.
- Creating 3D views and 3D cutaway views
- Adding details to the model
- Creating and editing materials
- Working with the sun system
- Working with lighting groups
- Configuring render settings
- Preparing a cloud render
- Creating a walkthrough
- Rendering a plan