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Create Architecture


Most of the materials of previous chapters are devoted just to the theme of the scene creation. If you are yet not familiar with this technique, we provide you firstly with a guide line to remind you some key topics on how to create and manage a scene.


Key topics on How to create and manage a scene


To create and manage 3D scenes with the architectural environment of your project, use the basic interface that is common for all products of the Shadow Analyzer Collection, and that is described in the chapter "Getting Started".


See the topic Use Toolbars to learn how you can create objects with the toolbar Factory, select and change their parameters with the toolbar Scene, set their coordinates and orientation with the toolbar Location, attach them to other objects or attach other objects to them with the toolbar Parent, decorate them with the toolbars Color and Texture.


See also the topic A Typical Session that is a very detailed step-by-step instruction on how to use most of the interface elements to create and decorate a simple scene.


To learn how to create a more complex architecture composing the simple building types and other 3D primitives, you can explore the example scenes of the folder "Examples". To find this folder on your PC, use the command "Folder Architecture" of the File menu.


Consider the example scenes from "e241_Buildings_Prim.sa1" to "e321_House.sa1". One of them is shown on the following screen shot.



Save these example scenes in a separate working folder (perhaps under other specific file names).


For the beginning try to manage the spatial properties of the objects. Use the combo boxes SCENE, PAR, CS, and their Edit or Spin controls to select and change the object dimensions, positions, and orientations.


Try the combo box REF CS (Reference Coordinate System) to understand how the objects are attached one to another. Explore the scene structures with the left panes of the 3D View window (see the topic Panes of 3D View). Use the parameter "Name" to apply the meaningful names to the key objects to easy distinguish them in the Tree view pane.


Play with other object attributes like colors and textures to get the feeling how you can decorate your scenes. Keep the following rule to find and change the corresponding attribute. Select an object in the combo box SCENE or in the Tree view pane. Then, select an item in the combo box COLOR. And then, use next control elements of the toolbars Color and Texture to change the object appearance.


Use the Copy Object/Family option to speed up the creation and editing of new scenes. In this way, you can reuse previous scenes and found your own archive of the most frequently used architectural parts and compositions.


Keep a reasonable complexity of scenes


Before to read next topics on how to Define Collector System and Visualize Shadows, let us discuss the theme of the scene complexity.


The reasonable level of the scene complexity depends on how you plan to use the scene. The questions are: when you need to simplify the scene, and how to do it rationally? 


When you edit a scene for a presentation of your project, you may include as many architectural details and decorations as you like to make the scene more realistic and impressive. All our products have a rather fast graphics to show a scene from different vintage points, when you use the arrow keys of your keyboard to rotate the scene in the 3D View window.


Also when you use the 3D View window to visualize shadows on your solar collectors to understand their origination, the spatial complexity of the scene or the complex textures usually do not slow down your work.


In opposite, when you use the "solar" windows of Shadow Calculator or Shadow Analyzer to analyze the daily shading numerically or to calculate the annual energy yeld of your installation, it is reasonable to reduce the complexity of the same scene. Especially it concerns the "Solar Year" window that works 12 to 36 times slower than the "Solar Day" window. The analysis and optimization of your collector system can require to repeat the same calculations many times for the slightly changing values of parameters, so a delay even in a few second on each operation can become inconvenient. In this case, it can be better to simplify the scene.


So the answer to the question "When to simplify the scene?" is simple: do not simplify the scene in advance, do it just when you feel an inconvenience in your work with "solar" windows.  


Now, let us answer the question "How to simplify the scene?".


Note that the textures are ignored during the calculations of "solar" characteristics, so you do not need to simplify or remove them.


The key factor for the duration of the "solar" calculations is the total number of faces of all objects of the scene. This number is shown in the rightmost indicator of the status bar.


Therefore, firstly try to remove objects (or some minor architectural details) that do not cast shadows on your collectors in any season. You can find such objects after the visual analysis of shadows that is described in the topic Visualize Shadows.


Then, try to reduce the number of faces of some "smooth" objects like cones, cylinders, spheres, etc., which have the variable number of faces. For example, you see the tree near the house on the screen shot above. This tree consists of the cylinder "24" and the ellipsoid "25". The number of faces of the ellipsoid is controlled by parameters "nm" and "ne", and can reach the upper boundary of 18*36 = 648 faces. In the case shown on the screen shot, this number is reduced to 4*5 = 20 faces.