Advice on Coloring Models

I’ve created a model of a deck and added color materials. The model looks alright in SU. But when I open it in Trimble Connect Visualizer, the definition on the edges of the boards is lost and this makes it appear that all of the boards are seamless. I didn’t do much to adjust TC Visualizer settings because it seems there may be other better workflows that could be used.

*All of the faces have the color applied.
*The model looks fine in TC Viewer.
*I’m not wedded to using TC Visualizer.

Are there SU settings that might help to get better results?

Are materials a better choice (vs. the color wheel)?

Should I go to V-Ray instead of TC Visualizer?

Here is an example of what I’m seeing:


Trimble Connect Visualizer.

Generally speaking, renderers try to reproduce what happens when light hits an object. SketchUp edges are visual aids that do not exist in reality, unless you paint the corners of your timbers black, and two adjacent faces show as a continuous surface. There are different ways to achieve a non-photorealistic look if you need it. The Visualizer is a “quick and dirty” solution not meant for advanced rendering, therefore it has few tweaking options. In V-ray you can try tweaking the edge conditions of materials if you want to emphasize them. Another way would be to export a hidden line view from SketchUp from the same viewpoint as a render, and to overlay the two in an image editor.

Hello Anssi, I selected the edges and painted them black but could see no difference in the TC Visualizer.

Non-photorealistic may be a look I want… because I’d rather give the impression of the deck without a bad-looking attempt at realistic-looking.

Would using a (cedar) material be a better starting point?

keep in mind trimble visualizer is a beta.

and yes the thing you show is the normal way rendering tools works.
you have 3 solutions :

  • use different colours. you want the vertical thing to look different from the horizontal things ? use two tones, they don’t have to be too different, just different enough.
  • use materials, and orient them. in the real world, if the woodgrain is different, you see it. if it all runs the same way, you get a sense of continuity
  • model the grooves. if things looks too flat, you can model the recesses and grooves between the pieces

here you see grooves and different tints. it doesn’t look like a massive uniform block.

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Painting the edges won’t change anything, cause visible edges don’t really exist on the real world, if you want them to be visible using TCV you have to do what Ansi told you or create a small bevel to every object and paint it with a dark color. Enscape has an option to make edges visible on the render, I don’t know if vray has this option, but both enscape and vray are paid plug-ins, you have 30 days free trial though.

It does.
You can also use that feature to drive the bump, so that you can fake rounded edges without actually model them.

*Yes - I’m going to TC Visualizer only because it’s there and handy (maybe it becomes a go-to and maybe not).

I skipped options 1 and 3. They make sense but they require multiple changes and I think ‘simple’ is better for now.

So I did a couple of material tests. The material differentiation seems like it will be enough. This test looks lousy but it shows the gist of what works:

With Material

Now I have to find materials.

*Funny side note but my poor results are part of why I have not used materials much at all.

Yes - that’s the part I misunderstood about his answer. I interpreted what he said as meaning the edges/corners would show if they had a dark color.

I ‘have’ V-Ray… just never installed it. Not sure if the included credits run out and then more have to be purchased or how that works.

If you use some decent wood grain materials and set the grain orientation correctly it will go a long way to helping to differentiate the parts. Even scaling down the texture you used here will help.

me too. I’m also too lazy to fire up twinmotion for 2 hours when TCV is riiiight there… (look for seamless textures, 15 free ones per day, it’s the smaller size, but it’s 8-10x bigger than the basic SU ones)
also, architexture. it’s an extension, on the main page of the extension warehouse. they provide textures, but you can also combine them and create your versions.

exactly what Dave says. take inspiration in the real world, same material, but different orientation and origin (old tree ? large lines. young tree ? thin lines.)

I went back to find a rendered image that’s had no post processing. This is the first one I found. Hopefully you can see the different parts.

I usually prefer to combine renders with hidden line image exports to create the fine shadow lines that occur between parts. I prefer to do that in post processing because I can more easily control the appearance of the lines.

Alternatively you can model the parts with gaps between them as they would have in reality. Radiused edges will create that. Then make the sun fairly harsh with raking light so there are shadows in the gaps.

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@ateliernab Went with both and Architexture… settled on the plugin for now. For testing I selected Western Red Cedar. This is probably too red,… It’ll actually have Spar Urathane or Superdeck Natural… so more Gold/Yellow. Good enough for a start.

I think I have a start on this. Broad sides are set. Not sure on end grain and cuts on posts. May need to return to get details right.

@DaveR The first image is nice and well within the range of detail I was shooting for: I can see the board orientation and there’s definition between pieces. More definition is visible in the second example.

So here there’s more definition between boards:

I went ahead and threw some material on the decking which has the gaps modeled just to see it:

I noticed that the texture appears badly ‘dimpled’. Is this a resizing issue?

Texture Dimpling

And it looks like I need to save a rotated version of the material :^) - no pic needed

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Yes. That’s only because of the inclusion of the hidden line export. I usually reduce that layer’s opacity in the image editor so the edges don’t stand out too much.

It looks like some sort of bump or other texture mapping is applied.

No. You shouldn’t need to do that. Apply the texture to the faces in the components/groups and rotate as needed. After you’ve applied and rotated the texture on the first face, you can sample it from there and apply it to other faces that need the same orientation. For example apply the texture correctly to the post and then sample it to apply it to the faces in the spindle component.

you’ve seen you can edit an existing texture from their catalog, or even create from scratch uh ? no need to to suffer the redness :stuck_out_tongue:
also, the luminosity / saturation parameters of your sun can help a bit.

I didn’t try TCV with actual materials, or really low def ones, didn’t expect it to sorta auto bump it.

by rotating the texture, Dave is talking about that

one single texture can be stretched or resized to fit a specific face.

This is usually just a product of the normal map intensityfor the texture being a little stronger than you would like.
Which plug-in are you using to show these?

Ah - yes. I was jumping between Edit->Face->Texture->Position and the Architexture Extension. Point taken.

:white_check_mark: : sampling 90s for correct orientation. Getting that sorted now.

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So tired of suffering from redness! I’ll get in and tweak it. May begin taking photos to use… I have a small sample now, not sure if it is big enough to create convincing texture.

As to the parameters. I did monkey with them a bit but I’m just getting the basics and putting first things first here… so get usable textures in place.

I’m tired of the auto-bumps already (could be useful for quality French cheese though).

One of my attempts was with a the Sample SU Cherry. 6’x6’ isn’t going to do the trick but I’m checking to see if a down size will look alright.

6" = Lower cheese and blur setting on Cherry.

10" instead of 10’ resulted in a dramatic cheese reduction for the Western Red Cedar:

It looks like I should have scaled it after I rotated it though because it’s on repeat mode…

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That won’t change anything.

We didn’t talk about it but you break the link between width and length of the texture and modify only one dimension.

Screenshot - 6_2_2023 , 12_49_08 PM

I’m just using Trimble Connect Visualizer. I know that some of the settings would help make this look better… but I’m still in the ‘get the materials on right’ stage.

Here’s a quick ‘tone down that whitewash’:

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Thanks for the clinic: clear, concise & informative.

But I’ve still managed to get myself into a goon-loop. I’m scaling (and it should have been only one dimension) to get a decent look on the post. Then (begin goon-loop), checking in the TC Visualizer. Longer scale mottles the faces more than I want. So smaller it goes.

But the deck planks are 16’s. When I scale for that I get warped on the post. I’ve inadvertently figured out a means of developing wood grain dimensioning sickness.

*No more TC Vis until I’m sorted in SU.

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