Category Archives: Architecture

How to Make a Seamless Texture (Tileable Texture)

By | Architecture, Design | One Comment

What is a “seamless” texture or a “tileable” texture?

Check out our blog post on ‘What is a Seamless or Tileable Texture?‘  It’s super short and will tell you everything that you need to know. However, to put it simply, a seamless texture is an image that can be placed next to itself (above, below, or side-by-side) without creating an obvious seam, join or boundary between the copies of the image. 

How do I create a seamless texture?

The most IMPORTANT thing is that you need the right image. If you start with the wrong image, you are destined for failure. The first question is: Does the image that you want to use do the product justice? If it doesn’t look sexy in the first place, don’t bother trying to make it seamless!

 

You should look out for things like:

Is the image taken in an even soft light with no shadows?

Is the image taken square on to the subject?

Once you find the right image you will need to crop the image in a way that the join is not evident once the images are tiled vertically and horizontally.  This will take a bit of trial and error, but after you have done it a few times it gets far easier!

Example of a good quality Seamless Texture. *Click to Enlarge*

What should I know before creating a seamless texture?

Before creating a seamless texture, you need to consider how you will be using it. For example, will the image that it is used in be printed on a huge bill board? If so, you’ll need a very high resolution image that does not pixelate when printed.

 

However, if you will be using it for Architecture, Design or Estimating (such as PlusSpec for SketchUp), you will want to keep the image resolution low, so that it does not slow down your software.

What software do I need to create a seamless texture?

Once you have selected and saved the image that you want to use to create a seamless texture, you will need to use a software that allows you to crop and manipulate the image. PhotoShop™ is one of the most popular choices, but it comes at a cost. However, there are free options, such as Gimp™ and Faststone Capture. There is a free version of Faststone capture, but the paid version is very affordable. We highly recommend it.

 

After you have loaded your image in the software that you are using, you will be able to zoom in on the area that you want to tile. You will be cropping the image so that when you place a copy of that image side-by-side, there will be no noticeable seam or join. Once you are happy, save the file as a JPG.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that you understand the resolution of the image. It may be beneficial to save a high res and a low res version. We recommend the following naming convention, although you can use whatever you like: “Imageproductname_range_manufacturer_size”

5 of the most common mistakes when creating a seamless texture

  • Incorrect crop
  • Too many pixels  or too much resolution for the end user’s needs
  • Uneven lighting across the image
  • File size:  very complex seamless texture used for BIM, CAD, VDC, estimating or rendering should never be larger in file size that 145kb.  The majority of brick textures should be around 20kb to 30kb. There is an art to getting visually high resolution with low file size. If you need a pro to do this or to get you started click here.

Tips and tricks for creating a seamless texture

Many people make the mistake of tiling the texture and re-cropping more of the repeated texture to make it look bigger as a swatch. This is not good practice as essentially you are creating a larger file size. There is a rule of the thumb that we try to adhere to, and you should too, when creating textures for CAD:

  • If a product is uniform in color, only a small area (Eg 3 bricks wide by 3 brick high) is required.
  • If the product is a natural product and you want to show variation (EG a brick blend) you will need to crop a larger number of bricks because you will get a repeating pattern that will not look real when it is placed in a model.

Another useful tip (which can be a bit tricky) is to flip your image vertically and horizontally and then crop it. This will enable you to get more variation in your texture before saving.

Can I take photos of products that I want to use for a seamless texture?

Definitely.  You can even use your mobile phone. Our tip is to take a photo on an overcast day. Make sure the camera is parallel to the image in both directions, as editing an image taken with the wrong Field Of View (around 30 degrees) will be difficult to tile. 

 

In an ideal world your camera has grid line and the grid lines line up exactly with the extremities of the texture required.

Where can I find examples of seamless textures?

Here are some free examples of  brick seamless textures in skp format.

 

Because most CAD software use seamless textures, many building manufacturers have a library of their products as seamless textures on their websites. This is the best place to look first.

Who can I get to make seamless textures for me?

Don’t have the time or inclination to create seamless textures? We don’t blame you. For a small price, we can help.

 

Contact Us to find out more.

What is a Seamless Texture (Tileable Texture)?

By | Architecture, Design | 2 Comments

By now, you’ve probably heard of a Seamless Texture. However, seamless textures can also be referred to as Tileable textures, 3D textures, Texture fills, Material Textures, and so on. To keep it simple, we’ll stick to using the term ‘Seamless Texture’.

But what exactly is a Seamless Texture?

To put it simply, a seamless texture is an image that can be placed next to itself (above, below, or side-by-side) without creating an obvious seam, join or boundary between the copies of the image.

Example of a Seamless Texture. *Click to Enlarge*

Notice how this image, when repeated, has created a continuous pattern. When viewing this texture, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to determine where one copy of the image begins and another one ends.

Example of a Non-seamless Texture. *Click to Enlarge*

Notice how the repeated image has created visible seams at the image boundaries. It’s pretty easy to see where one image starts and another one ends.

Example of an Average Quality Seamless Texture. *Click to Enlarge*Not all seamless textures are equal. The problem with the above seamless texture is that there is not enough variation, or randomness in the pattern. See how a very particular brick stands out, and repeats itself in a constant pattern? Ideally, seamless textures should avoid this kind of repetition –  as it is not aesthetically pleasing (or ideal anyway).

Who uses seamless textures?

  • Architects/Designers/Builders/Drafts people
  • Artists/Graphic Artists
  • Renderers
  • Game Designers

In this article, we will focus on the Design and Build industry: Architects/Designers/Builders/Drafts people.

Which CAD software uses seamless textures?

Almost every CAD software uses seamless textures in some form or another. Here are a few:

  1. PlusSpec for SketchUp
  2. Revit
  3. ArchiCAD
  4. Bentley (Microstation)

Why would I need a seamless texture?

Although many CAD software come with a library of seamless textures, there will be times where you need a texture that is not available. So, you’ll want to be able to find or create a seamless texture.

 

More advanced CAD software, like PlusSpec, use seamless textures for more than just representing a material, or a building product. In PlusSpec, these textures are used to control geometry, quantify and estimate materials, better communicate with clients, assist with sales, and more. PlusSpec textures represent actual manufacturers content (aesthetically, and to real-world scale). They are also geo-located and they sync according to the location of the user!

 

PlusSpec also has a super powerful Material Creator, so that users can create all of their favorite building products, or generic materials. However, to make sure that they look sexy and are scaled accurately – you’ll need to know all about seamless textures!

Where can I find examples of seamless textures?

Here are some free examples of  brick seamless textures in skp format.

 

Because most CAD software use seamless textures, many building manufacturers have a library of their products as seamless textures on their websites. This is the best place to look first.

Can I render seamless textures?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Rendering engines like Thea gives you the capacity to add features like reflection, bump and more. However, you can normally also replace textures with the rendering software textures, if required.

Who can I get to make seamless textures for me?

Don’t have the time or inclination to create seamless textures? We don’t blame you. For a small price, we can help.

 

Contact Us to find out more.

Can I make my own seamless textures?

Of course! Stay tuned for our next blog, in which we’ll show you how to create your own seamless textures.

Load paths and weight distribution can make or break a budget

By | Architecture, Construction, Design, PlusSpec | One Comment

Designers can now see load paths at design concept stage to reduce the cost of the engineer.

Hi everyone, I thought I should get a bit technical and talk about load paths and weight distribution and why I decided we needed it in PlusSpec, after all, we are not engineers right?

Diagram outlining a typical load path that an engineer may specify

Why? Isn’t this the job of the engineer?

Is it just me or does anyone else design with point loads in mind?  I build and design and found myself designing unneeded cost into projects and I should have known better. I decided to add in typical point loads in PlusSpec 2017 so you guys can benefit from my experiences., By the way,  I/we have not added notifications everywhere yet we did add them in trusses and wall frames.

What the hell is a point load?

Read More

Wearable Technology in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry: Microsoft Hololens

By | Architecture, Construction, Technology | No Comments

Wearable technology is the way of the future, in and out of the workplace. We didn’t realize we needed a smart watch until Apple and Samsung told us we did – and now half of us can’t live without one. Innovative and accurate technology is now at our fingertips (quite literally) more than ever, and that has now expanded into work site technology.

 

We seem to be doing just fine with the technology we’ve got, but wearable technology has been taken to a whole new level with clothing, smart helmets and eye-wear, which have been created to make life easier. Various innovative enterprises are now partnering and delivering worker’s (and definitely compliance officer’s) wildest dreams. These tech-savvy entrepreneurs are improving the way we design and communicate, making our job sites safer, efficient and sustainable. So, what’s the fuss all about?

Read More

Tilt panels and prefabricated concrete building components in Design, BIM, Estimating, CAD software

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Estimating, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Uncategorized, VDC | One Comment

Modular construction comes in many forms. Designing concrete prefabricated panels to suit transportation and load capacity of a crane can be a challenge. There are software packages that do this in a high LOD (level of detail), such as Tekla, which allows the addition of reinforcement and output of working drawings. In many cases this level of detail is not required at design conception and feasibility stages. In these cases software like Plusspec for SketchUp can be a great way to detail and pre-prepare for input into Tekla. The advantages of doing so become evident quickly, especially when it comes efficiency and cost calculation.

 

PlusSpec allows the creation of concrete walls in totality, yet it also has the ability to segment walls to suit manufacturing addition of voids/openings and transportation sizing. One of the many advantages is the output of quantities according to wall segments and connections.

 

The other benefit of PlusSpec is how you can output files. PlusSpec works inside of SketchUp, and for those who know Tekla structure would know that SketchUp files can be imported into Tekla very quickly and efficiently so that the BIM and virtual design and construction life cycle can be completed.

 

For more information visit: www.plusspec.com

The team at RubySketch recently worked closely with Brickwork’s new Pronto Panel system. Check out the construction details on the RubySketch library, which are FREE to download!

PlusSpec and Sketchup VDC BIM detail of pronto panel

We also recently released the Dincel Construction System in the wall tool inside of PlusSpec. So if you love using the Dincel Construction System, there is no better way to design &/or estimate with it!

Dincel Wall Tool

Is there a modular system that you would love to see inside of PlusSpec? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear what you’d like to see!

Check out some photos from a recent visit to a well known manufacturer/vendor:

Top