Live Interior 3D 2.9; create a material from a photo

Live Interior 3D (standard edition) can support your creation of a useful 3D model of your home.  The quality of the model is mainly a result of the craftsmanship you put into it.  One way to approach reality more closely is to incorporate materials based on real things into your model–such as a hardwood floor that you’re considering installing.

We were intrigued by strand-woven poplar flooring.  But it has a strong grain, and we were worried that it might be too loud.  To get a preview of what it would look like in our house, I obtained a photo of a floor sample, and Photoshopped it into a “tile”–a picture whose edges blend together when copies of it are placed next to each other to fill a surface.  Now I was ready to import the processed floor sample into LIve Interior 3D.

Navigate to the Material Editor

First, I brought up the Inspector (the currently selected object doesn’t matter), set it to Material (brown ball) and navigated to where I wanted the new material to be stored.Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 6.52.02 PM

  • If you don’t see a gear-wheel symbol in the bottom left corner of this window, click the green window-resizing button in the top left.
  • Switch the Materials Gallery to the type of material you’re creating.
  • Click the gear-wheel icon.  From its menu, select New material.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 6.52.17 PM

This brings up the Material Editor.  If you’re used to Bryce (a serious 3D modeling program), you may be a bit perplexed.  Here, a material consists of a material template (which is really just a tint and a toggle switch for shininess) and a texture (which is really just a photograph of something with texture, and is also colored).  The editor makes a double exposure of the two.  If both are colored, you get a muddy combination of the two colors.  It looks like a colored newspaper photo that’s been highlighted–not good.  When working with your own photos, it’s best to follow the suggestion in the online documentation and stick to white material templates.  So:

Specify your new material

  • Name your new material.Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 6.53.36 PM
  • After “Material templates” toggle to matte or glossy.
  • Select a very white material template.
  • Check “Has texture;” otherwise li3D will ignore everything you do in the texture area.
  • Select an appropriate texture category.  These categories confusingly resemble material types, but the two have nothing to do with each other.
  • In the bottom left corner, click “Import custom …

Import your photo

Navigate to your photo and click Import.Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 6.54.11 PM

Apply your new material

Now you can OK out of all these windows and apply your new material from the material library.

  • Get a full or partial 3D view of the part of your model where you want to apply it. 
  • Drag the new material “swatch” from the Inspector and drop it on the 3D view.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 6.55.12 PM

Adjust the application

When I did this, the boards of the hardwood floor were much too wide, and they were running the wrong way (they’re supposed to be perpendicular to the joists).  Happily, li3D lets you adjust the application of a material.  If you used the material somewhere else too, don’t worry about that; only the object you select in the model will be affected.

  • Make sure the 3D object “wrapped” with your new material is selected.  You can click it in either the 3D view or the 2D view.
  • Bring up the Inspector, and set it to Material.
  • Under “Object’s materials” at the top of the Inspector window, select the material whose application you want to edit (that is, the new material you just applied).  This makes the “Texture transform” part of the Inspector usable.
  • Click the “Texture transform” down-arrow.  This reveals settings you can edit to adjust how the texture (the material) is applied. 

You can change the dimensions of a tile, adjust the offset at which the tiling starts, and adjust the angle of the parallel rows along which tiles are placed.  You’ll see the effect of each adjustment in the 3D view in real time.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 7.01.59 PMUnfortunately, my floor sample wasn’t very homogenous; that’s part of poplar’s appeal.  So even tho the boundaries of the photo copies aren’t visible, the repetition looks bad.  It’s still hard to be sure whether this floor is going to be too noisy for our house.

Well, back to the store!

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