- some minor changes since this page was
written for v16 - green check mark now
replaced by 'OK' in dialog boxes in Allplan v2003; new uplighter on
by default in lighting dialog (apparently to illuminate ceilings inside
rooms - I usually turn it off as it looks silly in external views);
lighting and surface settings now stored for each project. Otherwise
most comments still apply.
Update October 2004- some changes in v2004, although most of the text below still applies. v2004 added the ability to choose the surface for a wall in the Wall Properties setup. Still no fix for the problem of textures not rotating with the object.
Update January 2006 - not a huge amount has changed in this part of Allplan over the years - some small improvements in lighting but I still use Cinema 4D for all my renderings.
The image at the top of this page only took minutes to throw together
(OK, so it looks like it... :) but it serves to demonstrate both the
ease of use of Allplan for rendering and some of the issues that arise
the image for a larger version and file size details...
note that textures are applied to all sides of single layer 3D elements...
brick wall texture is a higher resolution bitmap 'tile' than the stonework
- when you zoom in (right) the stonework looks 'fuzzy' because of
this. The stairs are in pen colours chosen to be similar to the desired
material and are always sharp but rather 'flat'. The post in the foreground
(right) has a reasonably high resolution timber texture. The floor
is a standard Nemetschek tile bitmap. All textures are applied using
a tool that has only recently been added to Allplan.
'Assign Custom Surfaces to 3D Solids /Archit.
Elements' has greatly enhanced the rendering abilities of Allplan.
Do not confuse it with the older method of assigning textures to pen
colours which has a similar icon:
Using the 'Assign Custom Surfaces... '
tool it is possible to point at a 3D element in any regular view (aim
for an edge when clicking) and a dynamic toolbar appears (as centre
Click in the space!
only does this allow you to select 3D objects in the manner of all
the 'Modify Format...' tools - i.e. select them all then confirm the
change by right-clicking in the workspace or clicking
but even better you can (by careful selection - aim for an edge) choose
each layer of a multilayer wall (as shown here above) for separate
textures. As with all Allplan tools you can use the
button to pick up texture from any existing elements. It is not obvious
but click inside the empty box under the word 'Surface'
and the 'Custom Surface' dialogue will
appear (as below):
buttons here are not self-explanatory - I highly recommend that you
press 'F1' for the online context-sensitive
Help and then the hyperlink 'parameters'
from that Help window and then 'surface color
and other parameters' once in the 'parameters' Help file.
Although I talk about 'textures' I really mean 'bitmaps that can be
tiled in a seamless repeat' - Allplan stores bitmaps and property
settings as a 'surface' file. Although it defaults to 'tif' format
most common formats will work (jpg, tga...)
dialogue can be summarised as follows:
'Surface' section (top) - you
must save any 'texture' or bitmap you
wish to apply as a 'surface' file so
that it can be used in Allplan (see below). This 'surface'
file also contains all the information that you set up in the 'Details...'
'Settings' section (middle)
'Color' allows you to choose a surface
colour for the 3D object from the many reference colours supplied
with Allplan - note that this is nothing to do with the pen colour
of the object as drawn.
Note also that very good results can be obtained by changing from
the default Allplan color palette to 'Brillux
Scala' or one of the others in the drop-down dialog box reached
by clicking this 'color' button.
'Texture' allows you to import a bitmap
in most common formats
'Off' I find is best left alone - it
turns off the texture (why is it in twice?)
- these actually refer only to Allplan 'surface'
files and are nothing to do with the importing of bitmaps.
The 'trick' here is to realise the sequence you need to follow:
1. Click the blank long button beside
'Texture:' and bring in your bitmap 'tile';
2. Click the button marked 'Details...'
which then opens the detailed dialogue:
understand all the options here (and some are duplicates of the last
dialogue) you need to read the online Help file... however, pressing
'F1' alone is not enough here
- you have to repeat the procedure outlined for the last dialogue
box - i.e. click the hyperlink 'parameters'
from the 'F1' Help window and then 'surface
color and other parameters'. The most common parameters
to change are the 'Scale' in X: and in
Y: to make your bricks say, the right size on the model.
glass you would want to change the 'Surface Properties' Transparency
setting and Reflection. Most of the other
settings are self explanatory because the finished effect is shown
immediately on the cube in the Preview Window.
Note that you can Save your settings here as an Allplan 'sfs' surface
4. Note that if you click the blue 'undo' arrow or 'Off' check box
you can re-import the bitmap via either of the two buttons in the
'Texture' section in the middle of the dialogue.
to accept the settings and close the dialogue which returns you to
the previous dialogue where, if you go straight to the
and do not Save the settings and bitmap as a 'sfs' file first Allplan
will pop up an error message:
Click 'Yes' or your settings will be discarded!
Once saved you will be returned to Allplan with your 'Surface' file
name in the dynamic toolbar ready to choose 3D elements to apply it
to - in the same manner as all 'Modify Format...' tools.
saves your 'surface' file for reuse. If you subsequently reload the
'surface' file and change any of the parameters then Allplan will
prompt you to save it again as above - a 'sfs' file is a combination
of bitmap and the parameters you have set for it's use in Allplan.
Thus you can import the same bitmap many times with different settings
which will all be saved as separate 'sfs' surface files in the
/nem/Allplan/STD/design folder on your 'data' drive (as defined
when you installed Allplan).
Of course you can go straight to the 'sfs' files from the 'Surface'
section at the top of the first level 'Custom
Surface' dialogue if you have given them sufficiently descriptive
filenames so that you know their properties.
You will note that by using the double chevron button on that first
level 'Custom Surface' dialogue you can pick up a 'sfs' file already
applied to a 3D element visible onscreen in Allplan and then edit
it and apply it elsewhere - note that it does not edit the surface
properties of the 'donor' element unless that 3D element is subsequently
selected after the new surface properties are saved.
large a subject to cover here even if I knew much about it!
Here is some general guidance on lighting setup within Allplan...
in the Animation module is
start.. Clicking on
the icon brings up the 'Light Settings'
dialogue shown below:
settings are on the left side of the dialogue:(click for larger version)
on the 'Sun...' button to set up it's
'real' position for any location but Note that you must set up the
North point here relative to your plan
and tick the 'Shadows' check box here
if you want shadows when rendering (these only appear when using one
of the 'raytrace' render options)
lights are not mentioned in the online Help F1
(I assume that they are a sort of static sun since they are called
'parallel light' - see Stefan
Boeykens' informative site (click on 'Lighting' and then 'Directional').
I usually leave these turned off for rendering as they mess up the
Camera light is a bit gimmicky but you can have fun with it
- it is like having a spotlight fixed to the camera - I usually leave
it turned off.
Ambient 'Fill-in light' - pretty
vital - uncheck the box and see what happens - your animation of the
model goes dark! Balance this with the 'Sun' colour setting.
Birn's book 'Digital Rendering & Lighting' he suggests avoiding
Ambient or Fill-in lighting altogether)
in these 'Sun' colours that I have set my lights to dark grey colours
- between 18 and 24 in the standard Allplan colours. You will also
find that the OpenGL driver for your graphics card will make a big
difference in brightness of these settings in the animation view.
Although I use the 3D Labs Wildcat 5000, I also still like and recommend
the Elsa Gloria III card but the cheaper Elsa Gladiac Geforce 2 GTS
is also good.
Update Feb 2002 -
I am told that Elsa recommend the Synergy III for budget workstation
use - it is about the same price as the Gladiac 921 but, they say,
it has a better OpenGL implementation (the graphics chip in the card
is the Quadro 2 MX).
March 2002 - Elsa has gone out of business
it would seem - unless someone can resurrect the company - for latest
drivers go to the Nvidia
home site and download their unified driver for all cards using their
Update March 2002 - Any Nvidia chipped workstation card will give good performance - and the games versions almost as good at much lower price. The PNY Quadro range are good - I currently use an FX2000 on my main machine.
Remember also that these settings can be Saved/Loaded
in the usual way (bottom left of the dialogue box) as they apply Globally
- to all projects!
position user-defined lights click the 'Set'
button on the right of the lights dialog (shown above). This will
cause the dialog to disappear and a dynamic toolbar will appear
which allows you to set, move, rotate and edit properties of lights.
It also allows the scaling of the light symbols seen in plan (enter
percentage in command line prompt - e.g. 50% to halve the apparent
FT once a light is set you can have it individually ON or OFF using
the properties tool in the dynamic toolbar - press ESC when the dynamic
toolbar is onscreen and the original lighting dialog reappears where
you can turn off and on all lights globally.
It is also a good idea to save your lighting scheme here as it will
be applied to every project now (new
feature in v2003 - each project keeps its own settings).
Note that there seems to be no UNDO available to lighting setup and
editing and when finally exiting the main lighting dialog use the
green tick button or press Enter - do not use ESC to exit or some
or all of your setup will be lost.
There is room for improvement in this module
of Allplan - setting the lights is OK but compared to doing it in
Cinema 4D or Lightwave/Lightscape/etc etc it is rather cumbersome.
The lights do just about show up in the animation window but again
not as well as they do in Cinema 4D. Generally I use Allplan to set
the sun position before exporting to Cinema 4D for doing the lighting
and rendering. Note you can replace the Allplan sun with a sun object
in C4D changes colour as well as brightness and position with the
time of year - amazing.
- to be honest I never do renderings in
Allplan - always in C4D - however I do use screenshots of the animation
window for client presentations all the time. You can use '20-20'
which was once supplied on Allplan CDs for screen capture rather than
the Save as bitmap feature in Allplan
- but then I use a high resolution display...  I now use HypersnapDX for screenshots.
Drop the screenshots into
an A1 sheet in Coreldraw or Illustrator - nice and large - and plot
them using a large format colour plotter (I currently use a Canon W6400 plotter).
Clients love it and it only takes seconds to do.
Update January 2006 - not a huge amount has changed in this part of Allplan - some small improvements in lighting but I still use Cinema 4D for all my renderings.
any comments or corrections