Monday, November 12, 2012

New Zealand textures for CityEngine

Working with 3D models is great fun but when it comes to finding good textures it may not be so fun anymore. I am working with CityEngine since mid last year and I am always on lookout for good textures. If they are free then it's even better. Searching on the web for texture packs and/or generic textures for buildings (mainly roofs and facades) wasn't very successful.

Luckily, in October I got in touch with Monier, one of the biggest brick and tile manufacturers in New Zealand. They were planning on releasing a texture pack suitable for use in 3D Max, AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, CityEngine and other applications that use plain image textures. Unfortunately, the texture pack was not ready in time for Esri Asia Pacific User Conference (APUC). I wanted to use the Material Library for rendering of buildings in CityEngine at APUC. On the very last day of the Conference I got an e-mail announcing the release of Material Library.

Material Library is now available as free download. From Material Library page choose your preferred format or if you prefer plain images go to the Individual Bricks page for wall cladding (bricks). If you are after roof tiles range select Tile Range or Individual Tiles.

Being a large brick and tile maker Monier has a large range of products and that gives us, 3D users, a very nice collection of textures. Also they have included bump/normal/displacement maps for both bricks and tiles. Here are  few examples.

Closer look at the bricks example screenshot shows different colours of mortar available, normal map and specular map too. A nice bonus!

For use in CityEngine I have copied all brick textures in a single folder and then just using fileRandom like below to select textures and then texture set of buildings in New Zealand set of textures.

attr wall_tex = fileRandom("assets/CEmonierbricks/*Mortar.jpg")
attr wall_normal = substring(wall_tex,0,find(wall_tex,"-",1))+"-normal.jpg" 
attr wall_spec = substring(wall_tex,0,find(wall_tex,"-",1))+"-specular.jpg"

Here is a quick example of few buildings using these textures in CityEngine 2012.

These images are from early version of the rule since I am not certain of correct sizing of textures. That information (proper size of texture in metres, e.g. single tile covers 2.2m x 2.2m)  is missing from texture pack currently. Hopefully, this will be included in next/updated release of Material Library.

Great job Monier!

Now that we have a good example from Monier it would be great if other manufactures (other types of cladding, doors, etc) would follow the suite. Anyone?

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