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Modelling roof tiles

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I've modelled the roof tiles for my little refurb project (hey, because I can!) and was wondering if there was any magic scripting or anything like that I can use to lay them out.

I've laid them out manually as it is but wondered if there was better way.

In fact I still have some work to do on them. I made them into a hybrid symbol but now I have to carefully go through them all in top plan view and consecutively send the correct ones to the back.

Edit: Actually I imagine duplicate array might do it for me, I'll look into that. I've never used duplicate array for any complex before.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Yes you might be getting a bit carried away there - it would be fun to see what you come up with though! I think if it was me I'd use move by points to do the bottom row then look at it in side elevation and use move by points (with the entire row selected) to get the rest up to the ridge, assuming this is a fairly straightforward roof,

Looking forward to your screenshots!

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Christiaan, haven't really delved into this but you could give the Seating Layout Tool a go!? You'll need to do a bit of calculating to get the rise and run correct and the spacing etc. but once that is in place it should work, this also gives you an option for having a certain representation in Top/Plan if you want......seeing you already have created the hybrid solid....

Edited by Vincent C
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Thanks guys.

But honestly, that's something I rarely (if ever) would model...

The thing is all the modelling I've done at work has been on large projects, which means everything revolves around efficiency (not that I'm necessarily good at this).

A small house seems like the perfect chance to push the boundaries. One day we're going to have the computing power to model everything single thing right, even down to the nail?

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my 2p:

avoid the seating layout tool

stay with 3d as you're going to need to change the pitch or you'll need a separate hybrid symbol for each pitch.

model it accurately but simply first - you can always edit the symbol & get fancy later.

Consider making symbols of rows of tiles

Duplicate array will be your friend on this one.

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I would make the array 'flat' in a symbol. Then 3D rotate the symbol to get the roof pitch. Thus If you need to change the pitch you don't have to keep reassessing the array offset values.

BUT one of the VW bugs is that if you edit the 3D symbol all instances loose the rotation.

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Undulating roof tiles, to me, are not "3D" enough to model on a building, because they are in a flat plane, and can more easily be shown by mapping a Renderworks texture on the roof surfaces. You can bump the texture to create a shadow depth.

I'm not doing this to look good in 3D, I'm doing it so my sections and scheduling are as accurate as possible. I'm doing it so I can take a section through any part of the building and not have to touch it up in 2D.

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So the seat layout tool looked like it was going to work but I couldn't figure how the final-step layout user interface works (and I couldn't check the help files) so I gave up on that.

Duplicate Array worked well. Couldn't get my head around rotating them after the array though. Here're the steps I used:

1. Modelled tile (at desired roof pitch)

2. Went to top/plan view and traced over tile with polygon to create 2D top/plan view.

3. Created symbol

4. Created a row of tiles

5. Created a second row of tiles and moved them into position on the x, y and z co-ordinates relative to the first row (in top/plan and right view).

x=half width of tile

y=1/3 length of tile in top/plan view

z=I new from my 2D eaves detail

6. Selected both rows and executed a duplicate array using the following cartesian offset figures:


y=2x y-figure from above

z=2x z-figure from above

7. Went outside and checked the number of rows of tiles on my roof were correct and they were bang on ;)

*If you create a symbol out of the two rows after step 5, as bcd's suggestion, then you can easily add or remove tiles to the ends of your roof.

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I did almost the same thing a while ago, but I just created a working plane on each roof face and inserted the tiles as symbols.

Then I duplicated array to to make more than were needed and used the split tool to trim them to the edge of the roof face.

But I benefited greatly by not really knowing how roof tiles are supposed to be installed!


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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest BillV

This is a roof tile made with a bump texture. The bump file was made from a photo supplied by the NZ manufacturer. Simply change the colour in the edit function.

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  • 3 months later...

I modelled individual tiles on a recent project - textures and bump maps only work on Renderworks renders, I was using Hidden Line. What's more, modelling the tiles individually gives a more realistic profile at the verges.

I discovered that you can perform a solid subtraction on a symbol without converting it first. perhaps everyone else knows this, but I didn't. It was a pain cutting tiles all the way up the hips, but apart from that, not too much trouble.

I duplicated the tiles using the Move By Points tool to create one 'column' then I duplicated the 'column' using Duplicate Array in plan view.

I haven't had particular problems rendering with the tiles switched on. I rendered the roof plan using Hidden Line, which avoided the hybrid draw-order issue that Christiaan mentions.



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I modelled individual tiles on a recent project - textures and bump maps only work on Renderworks renders, I was using Hidden Line. What's more, modelling the tiles individually gives a more realistic profile at the verges.

Those are really nice renders Rob, wow! They really show the power of 3D modeling when done right!

Unfortunately it still takes too long to get them to this level in VWs.

Are they done in 2012 or 2013?

How did you do the bricks and siding?

Edited by Vincent C
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