Category Archives: Design

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.

Understanding LOD (Level of Detail) for Design and Construction

By | Construction, Design | One Comment

LOD (Level of Detail) is the term used to describe how much information a drawing or model contains. Simply put, it is how you choose to show the construction details and materials of a project.

 

When we were designing and drawing with pen and paper only, there was never really an issue with LOD. However, now that technology allows us to model in 3D, the concept of LOD has blurred. There is a reason why Plans, Elevations and Sections are kept as simple as possible (Low-mid LOD). If we need to show a higher LOD, we create 2D construction details. This keeps the design fluid, and saves time.

 

However, now that we can design and draft in 3D, and a large part of what we draw is automated, why not just model everything, right? Imagine if your entire project had every material, product, connector/fastener!? Hell, it would be one giant detail. Surely, this is something that we should all be doing?

 

Wrong. Until our computers become way more powerful, too much detail can hurt you more than it can ever benefit you. First and foremost, it will slow down your computer to a crawl  – even for a small, custom home. But beyond the constraints of technology, it would impact your ability to quickly design and draft, and then make quick changes to your design. This would ultimately consume your time and profits.

High LOD should be saved for 2D/3D details or Actual Construction Assemblies.

But there is a balance. Obviously, if you can see (and are aware of) all of the different products and materials in your project, you can better mitigate design error and oversight. In fact, many of the available 3D BIM/CAD software only add to possible error and oversight. For example, are your walls showing structure only, or are they including surface finishes? We have seen many examples where a plan has been dimensioned from the finish surface, instead of the structure (or vice versa), without even being aware of it.

 

Moreover, these types of software don’t allow you to to see and manipulate the structure and materials, so that you can design and detail better.

Virtual Design and Construction software (VDC)

The good news is that there are emerging technologies that have determined the right balance of LOD. PlusSpec for SketchUp is a design and estimating BIM software that is also Virtual Design and Construction. The difference with VDC compared to BIM is that it provides a higher LOD, whilst still enabling very quick and flexible design changes.

In the above example, the circled elements in the 3D detail are elements that are simplified within PlusSpec. In a 2D/3D detail, you may show each individual brick and block. However, PlusSpec simplifies the required geometry by showing the bricks and blocks with a scaled image of the brick or block product. Why model 10,000 bricks or blocks, when you can show it with a simple surface (and still understand scale, and calculate the quantities)? In the 3D detail, the joist insulation is also shown with a thickness, and has been exactly fitted between each joist. PlusSpec simplifies this by showing the joist insulation with a surface. As the final example from this image, the 3D detail has included each masonry wall tie, and has also included the DPC. Again, PlusSpec simplifies this by showing these elements with a surface. The simplification of LOD in these examples ensures that you will be able to quickly design and make changes, while keeping your model size nice and light. Finally, it will still accurately capture the required quantities for Feasibility studies or a Quote/Estimate. As you can see though, the LOD is still quite high, which means that there is typically only minor work required for the actual 2D or 3D detail, which saves you even more time.

The problem with high LOD, is that you can get addicted to it. Before you know it, you can be yelling ‘MORE, MORE MORE!’ A good example of this is a masonry wall with stucco/render on the exterior, and plaster on the interior (or equivalent). You should not show all three layers (yet you would be surprised how often we are asked how to do this). To keep your model light and efficient, PlusSpec simplifies the wall by showing the structure thickness only. The finish material thicknesses are ignored, and they are represented with a surface material/product or colour.

The trick with LOD is that you want it to be as high as possible, without any negative ramifications (time to model, time to make changes, computer speed, etc). Simplicity is key!

If you use the correct LOD, you will be able to make design changes on the fly – and not get bogged down by unnecessary detail. However, if you use a VDC software, such as PlusSpec, you will be able to design and communicate more efficiently, and with less error. And don’t get us started on 3D details, which you will be able to take directly from your model, or model separately as a vignette. Check out our blog post on 3D details if you’d like to know more.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on LOD!

Inside 3D Residential: Supercharging Design with PlusSpec

By | Design, PlusSpec, User Stories | No Comments

3D Residential is a North American residential design and drafting company based in the greater Charlotte, NC area. In this blog interview with Director, Easton Hunter, we discuss how PlusSpec for SketchUp has changed the way that he is able to design, communicate and control client budgets.

Charlotte Lake House – Rendering of PlusSpec for SketchUp model. All images courtesy of 3D Residential. Read More

Choosing colours & fabric patterns – like a boss!

By | Design, Interior Design | No Comments
If you haven’t engaged a interior designer to assist with your selections and need to make timely decisions for the planning stage or the ordering process, here are a couple of considerations to make before selecting colours and textile design.  

Colour harmonies that are on song

  There is no such thing as a bad colour, only bad colour relationships. Colour psychology plays an important role in the finishing of interior and here are some techniques you may like to consider. They are Analogous, Monochromatic, Achromatic & Complimentary colour sets.   Achromatic colours harmonies have low saturation, therefore utilise white, black & greys.  This scheme is classic, timeless and gives you freedom to change the theme easily by adding accent colours, through coloured throw cushions, floral arrangements, linen, tea towels, etc. You can also add interest by selecting patterns and designs, which I have covered in the second part of this blog.   Monochromatic colours are tints, shades and gradients of one colour. This is usually used if you would like to make the room more of a backdrop to make the views or furniture more prominent and promote the inherent mood (e.g blue for a beach house, pink for a girls room) You can add interest through patterns, designs and unique furniture items. Monochromatic colour set for visual design   Analogous colours are any three colours which are side by side on the colour wheel. One colour is the dominant, and the other two will support the scheme. This scheme is similar to the Monochromatic but offers more colour variation.  The addition of neutrals and adding some low key shades (pastel versions) of the selected colours will aid in achieving balance. Read More

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

Sustainable Design and Construction: How to consider the environment with PlusSpec BIM software

By | Construction, Design, manufacturers | No Comments
New Year’s resolutions are often taken seriously for the first few days, but it’s not too long before old habits kick in. If one of your resolutions was to do your part to save the environment (and not just to lose those extra pounds you gained over Christmas) then let us help you make a difference by taking a look at Sustainable Design & Construction!   Our environment (and our responsibility to take action to maintain it) is often not recognised enough. Here at RubySketch, we have been busy acquiring relationships with manufacturers who support, design and supply Eco-friendly products, where these models are free to download in the RubySketch library for your use in PlusSpec! PlusSpec has become a key driver of success for many companies through the use of it’s intuitive technology.  Project stakeholders are able to effectively and efficiently communicate throughout the design & build process – and they can rest easy knowing that they are choosing environmentally safe products throughout the process.   In this post, we’ll focus on some of the Australian brands in PlusSpec that are doing their part to build a better future for the environment.

Taubman’s: Pure Performance

  You wouldn’t think by choosing a brand, you’d also be choosing a more eco-friendly solution when designing! We love Taubman’s Paint. The variety of colors and paint product ranges leave us in awe. Needless to say, they also address the environment and health and safety of the community through their products, too. taubman's_paint_window_in_plusspec sustainable construction design Taubman’s Pure Performance paint addresses many of the concerns of homeowners, such as allergies and chemical contents. It’s 100% water-based, contains Microban antibacterial protection, and is low in VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) – meaning it has a lower odour than high-VOC paints. If you’re not convinced yet, it has also received approval from the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.   Using Taubman’s Paint range inside of PlusSpec is incredibly easy. Edit the wall you’d like to use, then choose ‘paint material‘ under the material that you want to paint.   Colour consultation using Sketchup and PlusSpec Sustainable Design and Construction    

Eco-Friendly 3D Models We’re Proud Of:

Every product in the RubySketch 3D Library is special and has value, due to the time and dedication of each manufacturer to create something truly special for us to use in our construction projects! To name name’s, these are some of the Australian sustainable design construction products that you can currently find in our library and use in your projects:  

Weathertex

Weathertex has been a market leader for supplying external wall timber products since 1939, which are 100% natural and have a better than zero carbon footprint. Check out their models in our Library for you to download for free.  Their product range are also available within PlusSpec.  

EcoBuild Solutions

Ecobuild Solution’s Insulfloor is a durable lightweight insulated floor sheet that has excellent thermal properties and will help reduce your electricity bill. It’s rot proof and unaffected by vermin. Need a flooring option? You can get access to their free 3D models here and also in the PlusSpec software.  

AWS Architectural Window Systems

From paint, to walls, from floors to windows; Even your choice of window suppliers can have an impact on the environment! AWS windows are created from aluminium – a highly abundant, natural occurring mineral unlike fossil fuels. Selecting AWS, you can be confident your windows will last MUCH longer than typical PVC windows, are stronger and light-weight (no broken backs!). When the time comes for an upgrade or replacement, the aluminium can be re-melted, re-purified: RE-CYCLED! AWS in the RubySketch Library.  

Sustainable Design & Construction: Easier with PlusSpec

2017 New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be forgotten! Take action to improve your sustainable design and construction with the support of PlusSpec and our partner manufacturers, who create innovative and sustainable products for the design and construction industry. Create unique designs, estimate, and/or build projects with the added selling-point of “environmentally-friendly products sourced within PlusSpec”.
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