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Five tips for getting started with CityEngine

Blog Post created by timothy_hales-esristaff Employee on Apr 17, 2012
buildings_colored-150x150.pngCityEngine is a powerful product that can build amazing cityscapes.  Digging into this software can be a little tricky at first; however, the more you use it, the easier the functionality becomes.  Esri CityEngine on the ArcGIS Resource Center is a great place to start, as you take on the learning curve.  There are some tutorial videos and data templates available that will help you to better understand the software.  In addition to these resources, here are five quick tips for basic functionality within CityEngine.


Downloading Tutorials and Example Data
DownloadContext.jpgOpen the Help menu > Download Tutorials, then download the desired Tutorials and Examples from the Download Tutorials and Examples dialog.

During the download process, the option to run in the background can be set in the data status window, so that you can continue to work on your scene while the data is loaded.



View Settings
cityengine_viewsettings.jpgThere are a wide range of view settings that can be accessed from the Viewport settings dropdown. To the scene, you can alter lighting settings, activate reference information (grid, axes, compass, etc.).

There are also settings for the 3D display, such as wireframe, shaded, textured, or textured display with wireframe. Also, take note of the shortcut keys for toggling these settings.









Save Screenshot
SaveSnapshot.jpgFrom the bookmarks button in the viewport, you can access the functionality to save a snapshot/screenshot. The output dimensions can be set along with additional information elements. There are a variety of formats available to save the screenshot (.png, .jpg, .tiff, .bmp, etc.).


CityEngine Shortcuts
shortcuts.jpgThe Key Assist can be accessed from the Help menu or by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + L.  This will open a dialog at the bottom right corner with a list of all the shortcut keys.

With the Key Assist Window you can press CTRL + SHIFT + L again, to open the Preference dialog, where the default settings can be modified.













Window Layout
WindowLayoutSmall.jpgThere are many windows available within CityEngine, and you may find yourself looking for a specific one, such as the Viewport or Navigator. The Window Menu will give you access to all windows individually.
Using the spacebar, you can maximize a window to the full screen, docking the other window on the right border. Predefined layouts are available via the Window Menu > Layout.

There is also the ability to save a custom perspective if you have a particular setup you like.
I hope these tips have helped get you started using CityEngine. If you need additional help, visit the CityEngine section in the Support Knowledge Base or the CityEngine forums.

Timothy H. - Raster/3D Support Analyst

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