Artifice, Inc.

DesignWorkshop® Q & A, User Notes, and More Hints and Tips

Creating a QuickTime VR Panorama from a DesignWorkshop Model

1.	Set a View

Set the view from which you would like to generate the panorama.  Usually
something near the center of the space works best.

2.	View Lights & Textures

View the model in Lights & Textures.  Go to the set view for the panorama,
adjust the lighting as you would like to have it, and save the model as a

3.	Adjust Window Size

Adjust your Lights & Textures window so that it measures 112 pixels wide by
512 pixels high.  This can be accomplished by holding down the Shift key
while you click and drag the bottom right-hand corner of the window to
constrain the resize to a horizontal direction.  The window will be fairly
narrow.  To see what exactly the dimensions of the window are, go to the
File menu, Export 2D > Pixel Image... command.  This will show you the size of the
window.  If the size isnŐt quite right, just "cancel" the export and adjust 
the window until it is 112 x 512 pixels.

4.	Export PICTs

You now have a narrow window through which you can see a slice of your
model.  Now we will need to export PICT files from the model.  To do this,
go to the File menu, Export 2D > Pixel Image... command.  Save the PICT file.  Be sure 
to name the exported PICT files sequentially so that you know the order in
which they go.  Now select the Look tool.  Press the left (or right) cursor 
key once to shift your view 15 degrees.  Be sure to use the Look tool, as 
opposed to the Eye tool.  You now see the next "slice" of your model.  
Export this view, being sure to name it in sequential order from the first
one.  Continue to do this until you have 24 exported PICT files.  This will
give you 360 degrees of views from your model.

5.	Make the Panorama

Using Adobe Photoshop, or other capable graphics editor, open the first
PICT file.  Each PICT file is 112 pixels wide.  All the PICT files will
need to be lined up, in order, in the same image to make the panorama. 
This means that the image will need to be 2688 pixels wide 
(112 pixels x 24 PICTs) by 512 pixels high.  Place the first image at 
the edge of the panorama.  Open the next image in sequence, copy and paste 
it into the panorama.  Make sure that the edge of the second image lines up 
with the edge of the first image.  Open the third image and paste it into the
panorama next to the second image.  Continue to do this until all 24 images
are pasted into the long panoramic image.  Save the panorama as a PICT
file.  The panorama should show a 360 degree view of your model.

6.	Rotate the Panorama

The QTVR application we use to generate the QTVR movies requires that the
panorama be rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise (so the bottom of the
image is to the right).  Using Photoshop, or other capable graphics editor,
rotate the entire image 90 degrees counter-clockwise.  Save the image.

7.	Adjust QTVR Settings

Open the panoramic PICT in the "Make QTVR Panorama" application, available
free from an Apple Computer QTVR tools page.  You can open the panoramic
PICT by dragging and dropping it onto the application, or by launching the
application and using File menu, Open.  There are now a few settings to
adjust.  First, adjust your compression settings.  I have found that Video
compression with High quality works quite well, but you can experiment. 
You may also want to set the Default Zoom value.  The default is 75%, which
means that the QTVR movie will open up with a 75% zoom value.  If you would
rather, you can set it to 100% zoom or whatever you would prefer.  You may
also adjust the size of the window.  The default is 400 pixels wide by 300
pixels high.

8.	Create the QTVR Panorama

Having adjusted all the settings, you may now generate the QTVR panorama. 
You may get a warning that gives you a suggestion about the size of your
panorama image.  It may be a good idea to adjust this using Photoshop. 
Simply change the image size to the one suggested by "Make QTVR Panorama." 
Then go back and generate the QTVR panorama.  You now have a QTVR panorama
of your DesignWorkshop model!

Setting an Elevation View to a Rotated Object Instructions on how to set an elevation view for an object face that is not parallel or perpendicular to the North-South axis: 1. Determine the face that you want to see in elevation. Now select a face that is perpendicular to the one you want to see in elevation. 2. From this face (the perpendicular one), space-jump to the corner handle that is shared with the face you want to view in elevation. Take note of the x, y, and z values shown in the location bar. Now space-jump to the corner handle on the opposite side of the face and take note again of the x, y, and z values shown in the location bar. Note: be sure to be in the Plan working orientation when space-jumping to the verteces. 3. From the View menu, select Axonometric. 4. Now, select the Eye tool and enter the first set of x, y, and z values you recorded earlier. This is done by pressing the X key to edit the x field, and then pressing the Tab key to switch fields to the y and z. 5. Next, select the Look tool and enter the second set of x, y, and z values you recorded earlier. 6. You should now be in an elevation view, looking directly at the face of the object you selected!
MiniCAD -> DXF -> DesignWorkshop Translation Process Here is a detailed, step-by-step process for preparing a drawing or model in MiniCAD 6.0.3, exporting the drawing in DXF format, and then importing it into DesignWorkshop 1.5. 1) The first step is to simplify the drawing in MiniCAD. There are usually some objects in a MiniCAD drawing which should not be translated to DesignWorkshop, because they are unnecessary and/or might greatly increase the memory needed. Typically, working in MiniCAD on a copy of the 2D drawing file, you should delete graphic objects like dimension lines, dotted lines, plotter-type hatching, and text notes, which are not needed for building the 3D model of your project. Dashed lines and hatching are particularly hard to import from some applications because each line fragment may be imported as a separate graphic object, which devours memory quickly in DesignWorkshop. If you do need to translate an object to 3D which is shown in dashed lines in MiniCAD, we recommend changing the line style to a solid line type before exporting in DXF format. 2) Once the non-essential objects have been edited out of the copied MiniCAD drawing, you can export the drawing. Give the File menu "Export -> Export DXF" command, and in the dialog box this brings up, set the pop-up menu so the top line says "Export as DXF Layers". If your MiniCAD file is just a 2D drawing in MiniCAD, set the radio button to "Export 2D Objects Only". If the drawing includes 3D objects, set the radio button to "Export 2D and 3D Objects", and also check "Decompose 3D Symbols into 3D Polys". Then click the "Export" button, which will close that dialog box and bring up a standard Macintosh 'Save File' dialog box. Go ahead and save the DXF file wherever you want it. For DesignWorkshop, there are no limitations on DXF file names, but there are restrictions in some other applications, so it's generally a safe practice to always have your DXF file names end in ".DXF". Of course, this also helps to keep track of the type of each file. 3) After exporting the file, quit MiniCAD to free up much RAM memory as possible for DesignWorkshop. Check the memory setting for DesignWorkshop by selecting the application icon in the Finder then and in the Finder giving the File menu "Get Info" command. The Minimum and Preferred memroy settings for DesignWorkshop should be kept the same to avoid any confusion on how much memory DW is actually getting. The more RAM you allocate to DesignWorkshop, the fewer import problems you'll run into. Then close the "Get Info" winodw in the Finder. 4) Start up DesignWorkshop, with an empty new model. Use the File menu "Import -> DXF Drawing Or Model..." command. In the "Open File" dialog box that comes up, select the DFX file which you just exported from MiniCAD, and then click the "Open" button. DesignWorkshop will read the file and import all the objects into the current DesignWorkshop model. Note that you in DesignWorkshop 1.5, you don't get any feedback until this process has finished. 5) Save the DesignWorkshop model with the imported objects. If you can't see any objects, it is possible that they are present, but outside the current view. To check on this possibility, close the saved file, and then re-open it. (Whenever you open a file in DesignWorkshop, the inital view is calculated to show all the objects.) If you do close the model, it is a good idea to check the size of the DesignWorkshop file in the Finder, and make sure that DesignWorkshop has been allocated enough memory to work with it, using the allocation rule-of-thumb of 10MB of RAM for the DW application itself, plus another 1MB of RAM for every 100K of model size. (Remember also that for QuickDraw 3D rendering in the Lights & Textures window, the Macintosh needs to also have plenty of free memory outside of DesignWOrkshopfor the System to grab.) 6) When you have confirmed that the objects are present, you can go to work on on the DesignWorkshop model like any other DW file. If you've worked through all these steps carefully and are still having problems, it is probably time to send an example MiniCAD file to Artifice for us to test in more detail.
Subj: 7200 Graphics Extension Conflict Date: 96-10-06 17:29:40 EDT From: Artifice We have recently pinned down a conflict between DesignWorkshop 1.5 and the "7200 Graphics Acceleration" system extension. This system extension automatically installs on many (possibly all?) Macintoshes during certain system upgrades. The conflict with DesignWorkshop causes crashes when using the 2D Zoom In tool to zoom in more than 13000%. We recommend removing the "7200 Graphics Acceleration" system extension from the system folders of all models of Macintosh where you will be using DesignWorkshop.
Subj: Tracing Pixel PICTs? Date: 96-08-21 15:47:11 EDT Question from Ken Kuhlman Artifice, As you know there two kinds of picts, a pixel pict and an object oriented pict. You could always import the latter into D.W. but not the former. What I would like to do is import into D.W. a scanned image of a black line print of an elevation. This is a pixel pict. These elevations that I model contain many windows, doors, gables and assorted [stuff] builders put on their homes. Since I have modeled many of these features over the last couple of years I could just bring [the library objects] into DW, and place them over the scanned elevation. This would be much faster than building the model- having to look at string dimensions and laying a scale to get measurements- as I currently have to. Will I be able to import a scanned image? I have tried bringing an elevation into D.W. using "Background" but it just does not work. Because my homes have a lot of complex geometry you need to be able Zoom-In on the elevation. You must know that I am required to be accurate to the 1" accurracy. Believe me, these [people] I work for demand this! Ken *** Subj: Re:Tracing Pixel PICTs? Date: 96-08-21 15:51:41 EDT (rev.96.10.05) From: Artifice Ken, Thanks for taking the time to describe again what you're trying to do. For a solid right-now solution, we have recently added a new behavior to the Background PICT images in the DW standard window, so that in Plan and Elevation views the background is always scaled to match the model space. This way you can zoom-in and out at will as you trace the background. This functionality is part of DesignWorkshop 1.5 right now. Also, it is interesting to note that in DesignWorkshop 1.5, you can "import" a pixel PICT to the QD3D window by making it a full-face texture, and applying it to a block. Then this full-face texture can be viewed at any size or angle. Unfortunately, in DW 1.5 you can't draw in the QD3D window, so this doesn't solve your tracing challenge. In the forthcoming DesignWorkshop 2.0, scheduled for delivery in 1997, you will be able to draw in the QD3D window, so you'll be able to trace over a full-face texture, with pretty much total flexiblity. Ahhh, nirvana. Eventually. Here's another tip that may come in handy. Whenever a generic Object PICT is read into DesignWorkshop, it is scaled such that 20 pixels distance in the original PICT end up as one working unit in DesignWorkshop (typically, therefore, 20 pixels -> one foot). With this imformation, you can set the scale in your drawing program to 1:1, and the drawing program rulers units to Pixels, and then you'll know exactly how big the PICT objects will be when they come into DW. For instance, if you set the grid snap in your drawing program to 10 pixels, this will correspond to a snap distance in DW of 6". If you need to draw with higher accuracy than this, you can 1) draw your original PICTs larger by a known factor, like 2 or 4 or 12, and then group and shrink the imported PICT objects when you get them into DW, or 2) use DXF translation, if your drawing program supports it, or 3) use the direct translation plug-in now available for use with PowerCADD 3.0 and DesignWorkshop 1.5. Anyway, do keep letting us know what you think, and how it works for you. Thanks!
From: Brian M. Huculak Subject: Editing Objects w/Object Info Window The Object Information Window allows direct input of object data. (ie, rotation angle,size, Z plane, X,Y location, phase, etc) This method is usually quicker than using the rotation tool or dragging objects to revise Z elevation, etc. Do This : 1 - select the object 2 - select FILE MENU > GET INFO or select key command "cmd-I" 3 - press the 'I' key on keyboard to jump to first field of the Object Info Window 4 - press the "Tab" key to cycle thru the various fields 5 - type the data in the desired field and press "Enter" Regards Brian
From: Brian Huculak (Huc) Subj: Easy settings for sun studies The DW manual is confusing on this, so I wrote this note to myself as a formula, which makes it nice and simple :-) -------------------------------- For consistent 1/4,1/2 and 1 hours shadows cast for your sun study. Formula : Duration in hours x # of frames + 1 = # of frames to specify IE: 1/4 Hour Shadows from 0900 > 1600 hrs 1 > 1600 - 0900 = 7 hours 2 > 7 hr x 4 frames/hr = 28 frames 3 > add 1 extra frame 4 > Specify 29 frames Yields 1 shadow (frame) every 1/4 hour IE:1/2 hours shadows from 0900 > 1600 hrs 1 > 1600 - 0900 = 7 hours 2 > 7 hr x 2 frames/hr = 14 frames 3 > add 1 extra frame 4 > Specify 14 frames Yields 1 shadow (frame) every 1/2 hour IE: 1 hours shadows from 0900 > 1600 hrs 1 > 1600 - 0900 = 7 hours 2 > 7 hr x 1 frames/hr = 7 frames 3 > add 1 extra frame 4 > Specify 8 frames Yields 1 shadow (frame) every hour
Subj: Working orientations in elevation From: Artifice When you switch to a preset elevation view in DesignWorkshop, your working orientation is automatically set to match. This is convenient, but what if you want to work with a rotated orientation, for instance to measure and detail along the eaves of a gable end? The trick is to go into the axonometric view, then drag around until you are looking in precisely the same direct as the elevation view. (Setting the eye and look points in the location bar makes precision easy). Then save this view, perhaps with a name like "axon elevation" to remember what it's about. Now you can set the arbitrary working orientation you want (typically with z going in and out of the screen, and x & y in the plane of the elevation but rotated to some tilt), and measure at will!
Subj: Anti-aliased renderings From: Artifice High Resolution Images The object-based shadow casting in the DesignWorkshop modeling window makes it easy to create resolution-independent shadowed renderings. Here's a tip for putting these renderings to work. For many uses, it may be helpful to turn the DesignWorkshop image into a high resolution bitmap-type image in Adobe Photoshop. This is useful for compositing a rendering with a scanned photograph, or to do color corrections and produce an EPS or TIFF file for page layout and printing. The new Photoshop versions 2.5 and 2.5.1 include a plug-in function which handles this really well. To use this, first calculate the rendering in DesignWorkshop, then export it as a PICT file. Then use the Photoshop File menu Acquire>Anti-aliased PICT function, to open the PICT file. With this function, you can set whatever bitmap resolution you want to read the object PICT into. This means you can create large image files with smooth object images even when you're working on a small monitor. In DesignWorkshop 1.5, the enhanced ability to export Object PICTs with almost any degree of enlargement makes this even more valuable.
Subj: View Flipping From: Artifice We were recently asked if there's a way to set up DW to be able to flip your view back and forth between perspective views 180 degrees apart, like to jump between the front and back of a building with a single keystroke. Here's how: Use the Layout menu, Preferences item, View Control Sensitivity submenu. Then set the "Degrees Around:" value to "180". Now, when you have the Eye tool selected in the tool palette, one click of the Right or Left Arrow keys will flip your view around 180 degrees. A side effect of this setting is that your Eye tool will be "sped up" while dragging, but it should still be very usable. The same adjustment works for any Eye and Look rotation angle you want to use with the arrow keys. Tune to your personal preference.
Subj: 2D -> 3D via Object PICT Date: 95-06-16 17:26:17 EDT From: Artifice If you don't have a DXF translator for your drawing program, or for any other reason you want to briong a 2D PICT drawing into DesignWorkshop to work with, these directions for 2D -> 3D drawing translation using the Object PICT format may be helpful. 1) As for any 2D to 3D export, eliminate any unneccesary objects in the source drawing before exporting. 2) In the source program (such as PowerCADD or Blueprint) draw an unfilled rectangle of known dimensions which just surrounds the other objects in the drawing. Note the dimensions of this outer rectangle. 3) Export the objects to PICT format (or Save As..., depending on the terminology used in the 2D program). 4) Open a new DesignWorkshop model file in DesignWorkshop 1.5, DesignWorkshop 68K-FPU, or DesignWorkshop Universal. (Object PICT Import does not work in DW PPC 1.2.) 5) Import the object PICT file into DesignWorkshop (using the File menu "Import > PICT" function). 6) Select all the objects, including the outer rectangle. 7) Group these objects. 8) Use the Object Info box to set the overall size of this group to match the intended dimensions of the outer rectangle, as noted in step 2. 9) Ungroup and save the DesignWorkshop file. (This file can now be used in any version of DesignWorkshop.)
Subj: Shadow-Casting Preview Tip From: Artifice For a quick preview shadow-casting in DesignWorkshop to see the visual effects of shadows at various times and dates, first go to Wireframe rendering, then select and Hide a few representative objects, and then invert Hide so those few objects are all that are visible. Go to Shadow-casting, and adjust the shadows on the representative objects until you get the effect you seek. Finally, Cancel Hide, and render the whole model using Shadow-casting. This trick takes longer to describe than to do!
Subj: Rendering Huge Projects From: Artifice Since the Radiance rendering system has become available recently for the Power Macintosh, it provides another option for people working with large projects, which we normally consider to be anything with a DW standard format model file size greater than about 5MB, and for huge projects, over 20MB. These huge projects often want to be broken into a few partial-project models for faster modeling turnaround. Using Radiance through the direct translator built into DesignWorkshop, these projects can be rendered quickly and efficiently without having to recombine the parts of the model in DW first. As long as the separate partial models of a huge project are in correct registration to each other in the world coordinate system, they can be exported separately, model by model, and fed to Radiance as a set of related geometry files. The set of files can be automatically combined together by the Radiance rendering process. Since Radiance uses a very sophisticated internal spatial indexing system, its performance relative to other rendering tools tends to actually improve with larger models. If you're currently working at this level, and would like to take advantage of this approach, see the Radiance pages of this web site for specific details.

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