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Everything posted by davidstvz

  1. Yes, it seems if you have changed the applied material, then applying again from the library will insert a new copy (even if you don’t rename the original). But if you apply a library material already in the plan that hasn’t been edited, then it will just use that reference instead of inserting a new reference which can be edited separately. The only way to leave the original untouched is to use the tool with the spray paint icon, choose from plan materials and click the copy button. It’s a little unintuitive.
  2. Quick question: is there a quick way to apply a material as a copy using the dropper tool? I just want to grab a material with the eye dropper, then apply it as a copy (so I can set a different rotation from the original). I know a bunch of other ways to do that, but they're all kind of slow.
  3. Thanks, I hadn't noticed the Azek profiles. There's still not a proper brick ledge, but some of these are thicker and probably the best option short of manually creating a sill, or upgrading to chief to customize your own molding profile.
  4. Yes, the problem is there sadly aren’t any molding profiles with the size and shape of a brick ledge, so all you can do in HD Pro is disable the exterior sill and manually create a ledge with soffit, closed geometric shape or custom counter or backsplash tool.
  5. davidstvz


    I didn’t know there was a fireplace tool. I will have to try it. I modeled a fireplace by placing a doorway without molding and then building my own firebox from soffits inside the opening. This gave a better and more custom result than any of the prebuilt fireplaces I saw in the library.
  6. davidstvz

    Polyline Solid

    HD Pro doesn’t have polyline solids but you can accomplish a lot of the same shapes using the custom countertop or backsplash tools instead. You can also convert from countertop to polyline and back again. Just right click a closed pol line or counter top and look for “convert”.
  7. With default settings, the program turns on the nearest 20 lights (nearest to the camera), but I think it starts with the lights in the same room as the camera. So if you have a room divider that can affect the result. If you want to take full control of lighting for renderings, you should open the lights dialog (I think it’s under 3D in lighting) where you can start by turning all lights off then only turn on the ones you want. At the top of that dialog you can see the setting showing that it only uses 20 lights. You can either crank that up or check the box below which causes it to use every light in the plan that you’ve turned on. Make sure your turn off unneeded lights before engaging that setting or else you will be waiting a very long time while it calculates lighting and shadows for potentially every light in your plan at once. Also, this assumes you’re using HD Pro. I’m not sure what features the lesser versions have.
  8. Solver: yes, my mistake. Radio buttons.... I really butchered that term! DJP: yes to be more precise, I should say that copies of material definitions are stored in the plan file, but as you say the definitions don't include texture data, only references to the texture files. This doesn't seem to be a problem for anything using the core catalog texture data (I suppose that data is in the default search path or something), but is a problem for custom textures.
  9. Short version: search for a material called "milk glass" in your library. It seems to look identical to this Laquer Finish you found in the Urban Chic template. Long version: plan files can contain materials which aren't in your libraries. In fact, every material used in a plan is copied from the libraries and stored in the plan file. So, there can be many materials in a plan or the templates which aren't in the libraries. Best thing to do in this case is look for an alternative which might have a similar finish to what you desire. You can then change the color or texture and the "sheen" will stay the same. Note that there are properties of materials which can only be edited by Chief Architect users, though HD Pro will put them to use and display them properly. This allows you to purchase or download catalogs of fancy materials that couldn't be created from scratch in HD Pro. The properties of this Laquer Finish rely on some of these hidden properties which also seem to be shared by Milk Glass. You can tell hidden properties are being used if on the properties tab none of the radial dial buttons are activated for "brightness" or "shininess". If you do click any of those buttons, you will inactivate the advanced settings for that material and instead use the basic settings afforded by HD Pro. EDIT: For the shipping crate finish, you'll want wood obviously, but a rough wood without any kind of stain or sheen to it. If you can't find wood with the correct finish, you might find some non-wood material and then change the texture association to wood.
  10. True, the different room/wall heights do allow for different roof pitches along a wall. What the program doesn’t allow is a change in roof pitch associated with a single long wall with the same height (even if you split the wall and set two different pitches).
  11. I agree in general as you can tell by the widely different settings I used to get the shots above. I was just looking for tips and tricks I hadn’t discovered yet if anyone has them. One thing I’d like to do is make darker sun shadows or figure out a way to adjust them in any case. That might be best done after the fact with a photo editor.
  12. First, you're right about this. You can divide an exterior wall and set two different roof pitches, and the program just picks one. It's kind of maddening to be honest. I found two ways to deal with this. You can start by trying to make two separate roof groups. If there are rooms corresponding to the rough outline of each roof section, put them in two different roof groups (select room, open object properties set different group numbers above 0). This will cause two independent and non-interactive sections of roof to form. The other way to do it (short of manually drawing roof planes) is roof baseline polylines. With that, you can make your roof very easily. I've outlined some techniques for using them in this thread: They don't seem to have caught on, but I find them very useful. By the way, your roof here is actually very, very simple. It shouldn't be hard to draw this using manual roof tools.
  13. I think almost any device will work pretty well (provided it's not really ancient or extremely lacking in basic resources). The trick is to disable all of the fancy features for your basic 3D editing work, and only enable the fancy features when rendering final shots that need to look good. I have a bad habit of navigating around with my physically based rendering settings maxed out because my computer still does it fast enough for it to be functional, but I'm much happier if I take a moment to switch to standard mode until I really need PBR. If you're buying a new device, my number one recommendation is to make sure it has an SSD (solid state drive) rather than a traditional spinning platter hard drive (usually abbreviated HDD). For a slow drive, every single change you make causes an UNDO to be saved to your hard drive. This is literally a full copy of your plan file, however big it might be. A fast drive goes a long way to speeding that up. Second best advice is to just double check that you don't have an absurdly small amount of RAM/memory (8 GB is plenty and not expensive these days; 16 is better and 4 is limiting). As for graphics, I run it regularly on two machines with wildly different graphics cards (one a GeForce 1060; one a Quadro with a fourth the rendering power). No noticeable difference in performance for me. I also occasionally run it on an old Surface Book without any trouble.
  14. I'm wondering what settings and tricks others are using to get good PBR shots. I've found the default settings for physically based rendering (exposure 0.2 and HSB all 0.0) don't look very good in most settings. I've gotten some good looking shots, but using very unintuitive values for the settings. It seems the only settings we have to work with are found in "3D -> Rendering Techniques -> Technique Options" on the "Physically based" tab, and of course the lights themselves and material properties. We can change camera exposure, and HSB (hue, saturation and brightness). In the camera settings, I have all shadows, reflections, bloom and edge smoothing active (and in edit->preferences->render I have edge smoothing on high). For well-lit shots (indoors and out), I've found I can usually correct the contrast by cranking the brightness up to about 80.0 and adding just a little saturation (about 5.0). From there, I set the exposure to vastly different numbers to get the shot looking right. Outdoor day shots work well with exposure near default of 0.18; I use 0.20. In fact, this looks almost identical to using default settings and then running Photoshop's automatic contrast correction on it. Strangely, I've found that decreasing the sun's lux value from 100,000 all the way down to 10 only has the effect of reducing a little bit of bloom in the scene. You probably can't even see the difference unless you switch back and forth using a photo viewing app. Going below 10 makes the scene progressively darker, but not as if night were coming on, it's just as if the exposure needs to be different. I might be able to get better contrast using this effect, but haven't sorted that out yet. Outdoor night shots with many lights look good with very low exposure of around 0.005. I added an invisible lamp to the shot below with a low brightness of 500 lumens and placed it about 30' above the camera (point mode; shadows disabled). This added some gentle ambient lighting, otherwise the roof would have been pitch black.I could probably tweak this shot a bit. Indoor shots need something in between depending on how many lights are involved and how bright they are. For example, my fully lit kitchen shot has exposure at 0.10 (brightness still 80.0). I had to set the undercab light lumens very low (100 instead of 1200) to keep them from washing out everything. For the cabinet-lights-only shot, I reduced the lights further to only 25 lumens, reduced exposure to 0.05 and brightness down to 0.0. I also turned on the living room can lights and made them very dim to add a little extra ambient light. I probably could have done a better job of that by putting an invisible light above the island. One problem I have not solved yet is that indoor shots with the sunlight coming through windows tend to look a little too washed out. I can't seem to find settings I like for this scenario. First the kitchen in the morning with no lights on, and then in the afternoon with all kitchen and living room lights on. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears. There aren't a lot of settings to play with, but there are definitely some hacks to make the output look better. Photoshop can be involved if necessary, though it would be great if HD Pro can output good images directly.
  15. I would say that device will do just fine. If you're having any performance problems at all, it will be when navigating around in the 3D views in a fully detailed house (and this is probably an issue no matter how powerful your PC is). If that is ever a problem, you can set up one camera with graphics features minimized for navigation and editing, and set up physically based rendering cams with all the bells and whistles for generating nice images when you need them. HD Pro has many nice features over Architectural. You won't use them all, but here are some I've found most helpful. The sun feature is what convinced me to upgrade. Manual roof and ceiling tools Advanced cabinet tools North pointer and sun angles for accurate sun shadows based on your longitude and latitude
  16. davidstvz

    Shadow Glitch

    I'm using Physically Based rendering in HD Pro 2021 and sometimes I get this processing and shadow glitch on certain objects where the shadows are pitch black. I thought it was a glitch in the Tru Stile manufacturer catalog for a moment (because changing to a core catalog door fixed the problem) but then I noticed that some "closed" geometric shapes I had placed were also affected. I've tried restarting, deleting and recreating my camera, deleting and recreating my sun angle (that helps with shadow problems sometimes) and rebuilding 3D. Is there anything else I could try to fix the shadows?
  17. If you want to paint bricks with custom colors, you might have tried blending a color. However, this gives a stained appearance rather than painted. I've realized that materials such as brick and wood plank have 3D "normal map" images associated with them in HD Pro (not sure about lesser versions). You can't see it directly, but I found out when using a custom texture when the colors didn't line up with the normal map. In any case, if you copy a brick material into the user library the normal map associations come with it. Then you can edit it, go to the texture tab and clear the filename for the texture. If you then edit the "material color" on the pattern tab after deleting the texture, you'll still get the shadows associated with the brick normal map (in the shape and texture of bricks) but without the underlying texture coloring. This essentially gives you a solid painted look while keeping the texture of brick. The effect can be subtle, especially in bright sun or from far away. You might also try it with some bricks from manufacturer catalogs as well which should have different 3D data associated with it than what the core catalog materials have and might look better to you. It works for wood planks and any other material with the 3D surface data as well.
  18. davidstvz

    Brick Options

    Ah, now that is a very useful thing to know! I was thinking of writing my own brick texture creating app, but no need to reinvent the wheel.
  19. davidstvz

    Brick Options

    Yes, I'd looked through these. I just took another close look. If I were building a castle, I'd be set! There are plenty of good stones to work with. For brick, it looks like Mutual Materials is the only one with a real selection of bricks. Still, many of these are unusable, particularly any of the ones with accents of any kinds. They look cartoonish and extremely repetitive. The flat colors are pretty good if you're building a house with flat colored bricks, or minimal variation in color. Coronado Stone (Thin Brick), Cultured Stone (Cultured Brick Veneer) and Eldorado Stone (Brick) have a few bricks that might be useful. I just can't seem to find something that works well though.
  20. davidstvz

    3D Gardens?

    No, like the garden bed, the terrain feature has a constant thickness. It's like having cylinder when I need a sphere or dome. You can use a spline to make an arbitrary curved shape. I guess I will try using a dome. EDIT: there's a shape called "shallow dome". You can adjust it's height and make it elongated or circular. This actually works perfectly on top of an existing flat garden bed. The garden bed can be used to define the perimeter and the dome can be used to add some elevation along the center. If there's no better way to do it, I'd highly recommend doing this.
  21. The most common shutter in my area on new builds is the "plank shutter", except it always has the two cross pieces the same as a cottage shutter. The cottage shutter would probably look alright, despite the 4 planks instead of 3, but the gaps between planks really make it look off.
  22. davidstvz

    3D Gardens?

    I've tried adding some depth to a garden bed by elevating the terrain underneath, but it seems the garden bed either suppresses elevation of terrain and remains flat, or else sits on top of elevated terrain looking silly. Is there a way to do this with the garden tool? If not, what's the best work around? Right now, I'm thinking I could place some shapes such as domes and apply the garden bed texture to it.
  23. davidstvz

    Brick Options

    It seems like options for exterior brick are very limited. The ones that come in the core catalog remind me of bricks used in building houses 30 or 40 years ago. If there is any kind of accent bricks, the texture ends up looking very repetitive. A couple of the "used" brick options look alright and seem more like bricks you typically see on builds done in the last 20 years, but there's a serious lack of options for modern bricks. I can't say that I've found any in the manufacturer's catalogs that look very good either. Many of the materials in those catalogs don't seem optimized to fit into the semi-realistic graphic style of Home Designer textures. I made my own larger brick texture (larger so that it could be less repetitive) with some success and learned that there is an underlying "normal map" which limits you. You need to get rid of the normal map association if you make anything larger than 1024x1024. I would like to buy a library of better looking and more varied bricks, but I don't see one for sale.
  24. Are the multi-select and apply texture to the entire plan options available in Suite? You may have to spray the texture on individually Another option (if this is available in suite) would be to redefine the wall type. Go into one stucco wall, open object properties (ctrl+e) then on the "wall type" page/tab click "define" next to your siding type wall. Change the siding there to some stucco of a color you like and it should change every wall on the house. However, if you've started applying new materials, the walls will no longer have the "default" material and therefore changing the wall type won't change what you see on the wall any longer. It's always best to leave everything at default when possible and change the underlying default settings.
  25. davidstvz

    brick ledge

    I started using HD Pro 2021 with a file I had originally created in HD Interior 2015. It turns out that was the root of my problems. When I created a new plan file and redrew the house, brick ledges were created correctly. If you're working from a file (or template) created in an older version, you may need to start over.