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ArchiCAD - Landscape Tips and Tricks

Date: Friday, April 24, 2015

ArchiCAD as a user friendly Architectural application is not just best for actual building design, it has a number of tools which are very useful for design freedom in terms of model enhancements. In this case I would like to focus my attention to the tools which can be useful for Landscape design. Particularly from the latest version ArchiCAD 18, which incorporates the Maxon rendering engine Cinema 4D.


Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 9.05.50q AMGrass as a CineRender photo option (available from ArchiCAD 18) can be manipulated and set to create from realistic grass to several other  different shapes of plants. By default Grass does not show when rendering with CineRender, one has to activate the Grass option by ticking the Grass check box in the surface settings Panel (Options > Surfaces...) and it is quite easy to change the appearance of the Grass in this panel, Color, height, density etc. in the image below the shown plants are all derived from Grass settings which can be a supplement of default plants included in ArchiCAD or alternatively a substitute which can creately reduce the model size, hence better performance because they will only reflect upon rendering process.

NB: Click on images for full preview


Download ArchiCAD 18 .pln files here. The files are already preset to Render Grass and produce the results shown in the image above. Open and click Photo Render Projection button. You may also check the settings of the following materials: "Grass - Green Render" and "Grass - Green Grass" in all files (Go to Options > Surfaces...).

Terrain and Corresponding Road

Tools for creating a Terrain have been incorporated within ArchiCAD for quite some time since previous versions. There are several methods of creating a Terrain, for example, Importing DWG into ArchiCAD and extruding the contours, Creating Own Contours or Importing Surveyors Data.

Even though the methods of Terrain creation are simple, I will demonstrate one, which is through surveyors data. When in possession of text file surveyors data. Go to Design > Place Mesh From Surveyors Data..., browse for the Surveyors points and place in ArchiCAD. The Mesh will auto Extrude to correct points

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 9.05.50 AM

The tricky situation after creating the terrain would be the extrusion of corresponding roads, in this situation we also have a number of options to create, say a sloppy road. It could be either through Morph and/or Solid Element Operation, See attached clips below for demonstration.




Decorating Stones

For Natural stones used for decorating. Morph can be modeled to create a number of several different stones. A picture below shows Rocks created with a Morph Tool and rendered in CineRender.


Related Articles:

Grass (CineRender Surface Channel)

Morph (Boulder Creation)

New Surfaces In ArchiCAD 18

ArchiCAD 18 plns' Link: