ArchiCAD Visualisation Course Outline
ArchiCAD utilises an inbuilt rendering engines to offer users a wide range of visualisation functions. In this course, Robert Mann from ArchiEd teaches methods for visualising an ArchiCAD model.
When purchasing the full ArchiCAD Design course, this includes:
- 34 short video tutorials instructing on how to use ArchiCAD as a tool for collaborating with others.
- Course Resource - ArchiCAD Visualisation project file (.pla)
This course assumes a general understanding of architectural drafting standards and methodology, construction principles, and is suitable for students and professionals in architecture and the built environment who have completed introductory courses in ArchiCAD.
We use ArchiCAD Version 24 Professional to deliver this course.
Whether you are studying and have the educational version of ArchiCAD or working within the industry and have the Professional package of ArchiCAD, this course is for you.
Although learning the skills and techniques are the same, please be aware that the Start Editions are not always compatible or have a reduced functionality to the Professional Package of ArchiCAD. This may therefore limit the use of our .pln file and template. See Graphisoft's compatibility chart for more information.
I recommend watching the videos in the following order. However, as they are individual topics you have the benefit of picking and choosing or revisiting a particular element at any time. Each video is labelled accordingly and you can see the length of each video (in minutes and seconds), making it a time efficient way to learn ArchiCAD.
Subject 1 - Refining ArchiCAD for Visualisation
This subject has 6 topics and runs for approximately 14 minutes:
1.1 - Template (2:14)
Using an effective template file reduces the required setup for each project. In this video we'll review the template, optimised for the processes of visualisation.
1.2 - Toolbars (2:58)
ArchiCAD's work environment determines our digital interface experience. In this video we'll review which settings will aid efficiency in visualisation.
1.3 - Importing Libraries (2:36)
Furniture and entourage objects add scale, function & style to a 3D model. Objects can be imported from ArchiCAD's own library, downloaded from within ArchiCAD's library interface, or imported from external sources. In this video we'll review the recommended processes for importing library objects.
1.4 - Importing Textures & 3D Texture Alignment (2:18)
Surface textures suggest scale and materiality to a 3D model. Beyond the use of ArchiCAD's own surface library, high-res and unique textures can be applied within ArchiCAD's surface editor, or imported from external sources. In this video we'll review the recommended processes for editing and creating surfaces.
1.5 - Surface editing using Open GL (5:42)
For fast surface editing, the basic and openGL surface editor allows for fast manipulation of basic surface settings. In this video we'll review how to adjust surface settings in the basic editor.
1.6 - Importing Surfaces (1:09)
The surface catalouge contains a wide range of surfaces not directly accessible through ArchiCAD's surface settings. In this video we'll review the catalouge, and import new surfaces into the project library.
Subject 2 - CineRender Settings
This subject has 9 topics and runs for approximately 19 minutes:
2.1 - CineRender Introduction (1:33)
Cinerender is ArchiCAD's advanced render engine, and its surface editor allows for extensive fine tuning. In this video we'll provide an overview of how the Cinerender surface editor works.
CineRender Surface Editing (CSE)
2.2 - CSE - Size & Colour (1:42)
The first two channels in the Cinerender surface editor allow the customisation of a surface's mapped size colour or texture. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
2.3 - CSE - Diffusion & Luminance (2:10)
The diffusion & luminance channels determine the brightness and contrast of a rendered surface. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
2.4 - CSE - Transparency & Alpha (3:00)
The transparency & alpha channels determine the transparency of a rendered surfaces whole or part. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
2.5 - CSE - Environment & Fog (2:08)
The environment & fog channels determine the clarity and distortion of a rendered surface. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
2.6 - CSE - Bump & Normal (3:30)
The bump and normal channels mimic relief & depth on a flat rendered surface. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
2.7 - CSE - Reflectance & Glow (1:45)
The reflectance & glow channels determine how reflective and shiny a rendered surface appears, and its impact upon surrounding surfaces. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
2.8 - CSE - Displacement & Grass (3:18)
The displacement & grass channels give 3D rendered depth to a flat surface. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
2.9 - CSE - Illumination (1:39)
The illumination channels overrides light bounce upon rendered surface. In this video we will review how to adjust these settings.
Subject 3 - Lamps and Lighting
This subject has 4 topics and runs for approximately 18 minutes:
3.1 - Lamps (4:04)
ArchiCAD lamps are the primary method of illuminating surfaces in a rendered model. In this video we will review how to place them and adjust their settings.
3.2 - Sun, Sky and General Lamps (3:25)
When creating exterior photorenders with the Cinerender engine, we can use a combination of lamps, surface illumination and, and in-built photorendering sun and sky light. In this video we'll test the ease and effectiveness of these, and supplement them with illumination from general light lamps.
3.3 - Interior Lamps and Lighting (4:43)
When creating interior photorenders with the Cinerender engine, we must rely more heavily on lamps and surface illumination to create realistic lighting effects. 3D Interior lamps may therefore serve three purposes; decorating the 3D environment, adding illumination to photorenders, and informing the documentation and collaboration through the addition of data-rich builing information modelling and its automated annotation. In this video we'll review the interior lamps usefulness at performing each task effectively.
3.4 - Interior Visualisation (5:55)
As ArchiCAD's interior lamps have limited effectivness in adequately illuminating an interior photorender, it may be necessary to add additional light sources. In this video we'll experiment with the interior lamp settings, surface settings, photorender settings, and add additional general light lamps to illuminate the project.
Subject 4 - 3D Views
This subject has 6 topics and runs for approximately 16 minutes:
4.1 Exploring in 3D (1:14)
The 3D viewport can be rotated when in parallel projection to represent a top, bottom, or side view. In this video we'll discuss this feature's use in creating rendered elevations, sun studies, and shadow diagrams.
4.2 3D Perspective Views (3:44)
When viewing an ArchiCAD model in perspective mode, 3-point perspective is the default. This true-to-life view can be varied by adjusting the view cone angle, camera position, and sun setup. In this video we'll review perspective view settings, and make adjustments to saved 3D views.
4.3 1-Point Perspective (1:32)
ArchiCAD's perspective mode can be adjusted to represent the 3D view as a 1-point perspective. This will force vertical and horizontal elements perpendicular to our viewing position to represent as parallel in the 3D view. In this video we'll create a 1-point perspective, and discuss its purpose.
4.4 2-Point Perspective (1:40)
ArchiCAD's perspective mode can be adjusted to represent the 3D view as a 2-point perspective. This will force vertical elements to represent as parallel in the 3D view. In this video we'll create a 2-point perspective, and discuss its purpose.
4.5 3D Styles (3:53)
ArchiCAD can represent the 3D window in a wide variety of customisable 3D styles. In this video we'll review & adjust the stylised representation of our 3D model.
4.6 3D Cutaway (4:36)
In order to visualise a small interior space, a section through a building, or a floor plan in 3D, it is sometimes necessary to create a cut-away view by temporarily hiding modelled elements that would otherwise block your view. The 3D cutaway and marquee tools allow us to produce this type of view in ArchiCAD. In this video we'll review its use in creating various cutaway views for visualisation.
Subject 5 - Types of Visualisations
This subject has 5 topics and runs for approximately 26 minutes:
5.1 Sketch Render (8:42)
ArchiCAD's sketch render generates a variety of visualisations that resemble various free-hand sketches techniques. In this video we'll review how to finetune the settings to produce the desired outcome.
5.2 PhotoRendering with CineRender (7:21)
Cinerender has the ability to create various effects when rendering. In this video we will discuss these settings and how to adjust to create a rendered model.
5.3 White Model Render (4:26)
While Cinerender's primary function is in the production of photo-rendered images. Its white model function allows for a faster monochromatic reduction of the model's surfaces to produce a compelling study render that is useful for preliminary visualisations, before the project has been highly detailed. In this video we'll review the white model settings, and adjust lighting levels to produce the desirable contrast levels.
5.4 Wooden Model Render (2:58)
Creating a physical balsa wood model is a time consuming practice. In this video we will create a visualisation that presents like a photo of a traditional wooden model. Like a white model render, this technique is useful in communicating a conceptual design, without the need for a fully developed ArchiCAD model.
5.5 Batch Rendering (2:39)
ArchiCAD can be set up to produce batch rendering. In this video we'll review how to set up a publisher set to produce multiple renders autonomously.
Subject 6 - Animations
This subject has 4 topics and runs for approximately 17 minutes:
6.1 Cameras (6:09)
Cameras can be used to pinpoint positioning for perspective views. Positional accuracy is essential when creating view loss studies, or photomontage scenes. In this video we'll review the settings when setting up a camera.
6.2 Setting up a Flythrough Animation (5:02)
Able to be rendered in Open GL, sketch, white model, or full colour using Cinerender, a fly-through animation allows the designer to take the viewer on a predefined journey through the 3D ArchiCAD model. In this video we'll review the settings for creating a fly-through animation, and discuss the workflow necessary to produce ArchiCAD animations.
6.3 Fixing a Flythrough (3:57)
Cameras are also used when settings up a fly-through. In this video we'll review the methodology of placing cameras in a path, and how to edit/correct them.
6.4 Sun Study Animation (1:41)
Sun study animations are useful in assessing the solar penetration, sun paths, and shading requirements within the ArchiCAD model. In this video we'll use a sun study to test the passive solar performance of the sample project.
Visualisation Course Conclusion (1:29)
Maximising ArchiCAD's BIM functionality in producing visualisations of project delivery allows for enhanced quality assurance and accuracy of drawn / modelled representation. As the implementation of BIM becomes industry mandated, visualisation within BIM environments will become even more important.