How to make a city skyline in CGA Code if possible

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03-28-2013 02:55 PM
PhilipSchroeder
New Contributor
Hey guys! I have a question, I have to make the downtown area of Chicago. The waterfront and CBD for a project at my student worker position. I was wondering if anybody had some good tips and tricks on how to go about recreating those models? Is there just some database I haven't found yet? Or do I have to input some serious code? I have only just started coding as well, so any help is much appreciated! Thank you!
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7 Replies
MatthiasBuehler1
Frequent Contributor II
Hi !

To start, check some tutorial videos :
http://forums.arcgis.com/threads/64843-CityEngine-Collection-RESOURCES-FAQ-HELP

Especially 4 :
http://video.arcgis.com/watch/1770/tutorial-4-street-import


It all depends a bit on how complex your models have to be.

Just boxes ? Or textures models ?


Let me know ..

Matt
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PhilipSchroeder
New Contributor
Yeah I have done those tutorials, and I have some of the basics down. I'm just curious about the whole importing from Open Street Map. I have imported the downtown but there is just so much data. All I need is streets and lots, because eventually I want to make a textured downtown, nothing too fancy because the computer I'm working on probably couldn't handle that. But I want the Iconic buildings to at least be in the right places and look correct.

Thank you so much for your help!!!
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MatthiasBuehler1
Frequent Contributor II
Then I'd go for OSM data or try to find some free GIS data ( e.g. .shp ) of the area.

For specific buildings, I'd recommend e.g. Google Warehouse to find the characteristic buildings ( landmarks ). You don't want to model them procedurally.

Read this too :
http://forums.arcgis.com/threads/72958-Bringing-Models-from-SketchUp-into-CityEngine-Recommendations


For the rest, the 'bulk' of the City, try finding appropriate facade images ( geotypical ) facades to use.

Ok so far ?

I'll have some more inputs after you have the base data in a CE scene.

Cheers !

Matt
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PhilipSchroeder
New Contributor
See what I'm confused about is how to get the OSM data into CityEngine. I have watched the video tutorial on it, and it wasn't a lot of help, because I mainly want to know how to get the streets and lots into CityEngine, then get some facade model and drag and drop it into the area that I want.

I am also confused on how you can download .kmz files and just "drag and drop" them into CityEngine. Its not letting me import them from the folder they are in because that folder isn't in the workplace, and I cant get that folder into the workplace unless I import it, which it is not letting me do.

Its all just really frustrating because the instructions given during the tutorials and even in the PDF's are so advanced for a beginner like me, what happens is the tutorial skips over what seem like "easy" steps but I don't know how to do those steps. Like changing the variable of the streets layer so they act like streets not just very long flat buildings.

So basically I want to know hows it possible to "drag and drop" .kmz files from Google warehouse, how to change attributes the get downloaded from OSM files. And how can I do those both efficiently from now on.

Thank you for all your help!!! This is all just so confusing at times.
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MatthiasBuehler1
Frequent Contributor II
Hi Philip,


1]
Importing into CE ( into the workspace ) is not the same as importing into the scene. To import via drag-and-drop, the files must already reside within the Workspace (e.g. data folder ).

Means that all you want to import into you scene, place it first in the WorkSpace.

From there, drag-n-dropped is supported. A few hiccups can accur here and there though. In this case, right-mouse click on the file and use the import command (choose the file type to trigger the import dialog this way ). Sometimes, this helps.

2]
To import specifically OSM data, find out which OSM layers contain your street and footprint data, then just import those only ( use the checkboxes. I'm no pro in this field, so I cannot help with the specific layer. I usually import all, check the data, then delete the crap I don't need.

3]
Did you see all the basic tutorials ? ( videos 1 - 6 ) ?
Did you see this : http://training.esri.com/gateway/index.cfm?fa=catalog.webcoursedetail&courseid=2567

4]
I can help you better if you break the questions a bit down in separate issues you're struggling with. E.g. the CGA part. Maybe create different threads of the things which remain..


Cheers !

Matt
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boycepostma
New Contributor
First of all, this is not meant as an angry rant :). I have been enjoying learning CE, and talking to people on the forums. I just wanted to throw some ideas out there from my experience of CE the last couple weeks which is not all that dissimilar from acadamymans.

I have been struggling with issues similar to academyman - in that it is usually not a specific issue that is causing headache, but more the counter intuitiveness of the UI that becomes frustrating or how sometimes procedures seem to work and other times they don't (most likely from user error :). I would imagine the software is a work in progress, so hopefully some of these extra steps to accomplish simple tasks get ironed out.

Right now it seems like there are too many different ways to get 'stuff' into the model. It seems like for every data set that you might want to import, there is a different way of getting it into the model (import, create new map layer, drag and drop) - which makes sense because the data is inherently different - but it seems like it could be simplified. For example, wouldn't it be great if I could just drag and materials from my assets folder right onto the surface of a building and have CE ask me if I want to apply to just this building or all buildings that are similar? Or if I want to have a random selection of materials, could I not select multiple textures. Or assume that whatever the projection of my first data import, all future imports will be the same projection.

Same thing with the imports from Sketchup. I haven't tried it yet, but I can feel academyman's frustration that one cannot simply drag the file from the desktop into the viewport, and then be prompted as to where and what scale the model should be imported (automatically copying or cutting and pasting the file from the desktop into the CityEngine workspace.) Or if I have a rule in a folder in the CE workspace, it would be awesome to be able to just drag it from any other project right into my current scene and have that rule and all attached assets be copied automatically into the project that I am working on. (instead of getting "TEXTURE MISSING" written all over my building shape because I didn't copy all the other files that go with it).

I guess what I might be getting at, is that this tool is extremely powerful with the right coding abilities, but it would be even more powerful if the viewports were interactive and but still procedural.

Something for the future would be a way to 'code' without coding. Perhaps something like a building creation wizard that could be used to create .cga's through the viewport. Think sketchup that prompts you for thresholds. I think this was attemped in the 'visual' UI for coding, but it isn't exactly intuitive, and you cannot see what you are creating while you are doing it.

As to the tutorials, they can be a little steep, I agree. I found that one of the most difficult parts of them was getting the data prepped before - through ArcMap. It would be nice if there was a better tutorial that very specifically addresses bridging the gap between software. It would also be awesome to get some tutorials on the coding syntax in general. I have a feeling many users will be coming into this with no coding experience, but could get it if they understood the basics of the language structure.

That's all I got. Thanks for listening. Thanks Matt for keeping these forums running and for your help. I am sure these ideas are not new, and perhaps where CE is headed. My attention span is dangerously too low for CE - I want using it to be like using an I-Phone - but of course this comes at a price of perhaps losing some functionality. It will be hard to walk that line.

THANKS!!! :) :) :)
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MatthiasBuehler1
Frequent Contributor II
Hi,


Thanks for the detailed feedback.

Indeed, it is not easy to keep everyone happy all the time. CityEngine is still such a young application and indeed has still some workflow things which need to be ironed out, but we're working hard on that part. Especially hard is of course prioritizing tickets to find a good balance.

More training materials are gradually produced, but this takes a lot of time.

We'll try to incorporate the feedbacks you've given, as I am doing it all the time also with the other posts on the Forums here.



Thanks again & kind greetings from Zurich !

Matt
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