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Creat uneven sandy ground

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Depending on level of detail you want, there may be several options.


One way would be to model the terrain (site model, DTM) and apply an image texture.


The DTM can be slightly modulated, or as detailed as desired.  For instance:

The DTM can be more or less flat with a few undulations, and just depend on the texture to display the general idea.

Or, to follow the photo, the DTM can have an embankment around the building,  and several "shelves" where surrounding terrain is excavated or eroded or compacted to different elevations. Accomplish this with detailed source data (or best guesses) -  lots of contours or with lots of stakes or with lots of 3d loci. Or via standard site modifiers or 3d polys drawn, then assigned to the Site>DTM>Modifiers class. Or the newer Edit Surface sculpting modifiers (access in the DTM's Object Palette).  Note: these sculpting tools are difficult to undo, so start with a duplicate terrain.


The image texture can be made from an overhead image showing an expanse of similar ground.  Make your own image (drone? capture from a balcony, or top of an excavated pit, or???) or acquire from other sources.  Or, adapt an aerial view of a wide expanse of topography.  Might need a bump shader, or some image enhancements prior to import for texture creation.


For added detail, model some small rocks and send them to surface. Add some sparse plants.


Post back with your progress!


Maybe some other ideas out there? Anyone do this before?






Edited by Benson Shaw
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Been trying to create a terrain but no luck so far. My main point is actually not recreating an actual site. This is for a stage design. My focus is simply to create an uneven surface. Is the terrain command the best method, or is there a tool? Is the DTM a tool? Is there maybe a simple video that only explains how to create a surface that can be manipulated? All videoas I'm finding online are complex tutorials on how to copy an actual site from a groundplan for example.



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Ahhh.  Scenery. Terrain model could work, but maybe not best in this situation. 
If the unevenness will be constructed, eg from lumber or foam, just try a bunch of extrudes sized for the materials available.  Add solids and texture the result. Or do a Drape Surface over the whole bunch and apply your texture to the drape. Probably some other ways, too.

post back if help needed with these techniques 

Edited by Benson Shaw
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10 hours ago, Bertadesign said:

Is the DTM a tool?

Vwx nomenclature can be daunting. Here’s some  ‘splainin’:

In general, processes accessed via the menus in menu bar (Edit, Modify, Model, etc) are Commands. Items accessed via the various tool palettes (Basic, Attributes, Snaps, 3d, Fasteners, etc) are Tools (eg Select, Reshape, Wall, Deform, Loft, etc).


The DTM feature is a command. It has changed names over the many vwx versions since it was introduced (way back - maybe v10 or v12.5?), but the communal memory  and some of the dialogs retain and use the various names synonymously: Digital Terrain Model (aka DTM), Terrain, Terrain Model, or the current one - Site Model, or its acronym, SM. Most of these are a mouthful and keystroke heavy. DTM remains popular, if unofficial.  That vertical boundary “wall” around the DTM has changed names, too. Earlier it was a “hull”, now it’s a “skirt”. Go figure. 


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18 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

Vwx nomenclature can be daunting. Here’s some  ‘splainin’:

In general, processes accessed via the menus in menu bar (Edit, Modify, Model, etc) are Commands. Items accessed via the various tool palettes (Basic, Attributes, Snaps, 3d, Fasteners, etc) are Tools (eg Select, Reshape, Wall, Deform, Loft, etc).


And I think, from a user perspective this is deeply wrong.


E.g., just create an Icon for Save or Save As Command and put it in

Top Bar or in a Panel and - tada - it is a Tool.

Like it is for Microstation or Cinema4D.


Also Edit and Modify "Commands" are just Tools.

It is so arbitrary in VW.


For me as a user - everything ist just a Tool.

I would rather separate between "Tools that create something" vs

"Tools that modify something already existing"


And I do not understand why there are modifying Tools like Select/Drag Tool

and Move-by-Points, but there is another Move/3D "Command"

Or why Scale is no Tool or not capable like any other CAD's Scale Tool.

(From Object/WCS/Any Center, From Snap Base to Snap Reference, by Number,

Evenly vs XYZ separatelly, ...)

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Wow, this is great @Benson Shaw! So you first create the basic shapes as simple geometric forms (extrudes) and then you use another tool/command called 'create drape from surface"? I suppose this is in the 'modify' section?


By the way, I love VW. I have worked with many other Cad software and each of them have their pros and cons. I like VW spotlight, specifically created for my purposes (stage design). Lighting a model is particularly great. It's also fairly easy to grasp and quite intuitive, compared to Autocad for example. I found this always a bit too technical when it came to figuring out 3d modelling.

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@Bertadesign Glad you are enjoying Vectorworks!

Create Drape Surface is a command.

Find it in Model menu>3d Power Pack>Create Drape Surface.

It creates a NURBS Surface shaped similar to draping fabric over the selected 3d objects. Unlike real life where underlying object edges hold up the fabric, this vwx command cuts a bit through the edges and therefore rounds them to an extent controlled in the Create Drape Surface dialog. 

Any view. Select the 3d source objects to drape (they can be connected, overlapping, not connected - doesn’t matter). Navigate to the command. In the dialog, accept the default and click ok. A NURBS surface (or sometimes an Interpolated surface) is created. The source object s are preserved in place.  If result not good, delete and drape again. In the dialog, increasing the U/V values adds more points and therefore reduces edge rounding and makes the transition areas steeper.  More points makes your file size increase and may affect navigation and redraws. The z value controls height of the bottom cut off plane. Vwx stores these U,V,Z values and applies them to future drapes until changed. 

The boundary of the new surface will be larger than extents of the source selection, because the drape is nowhere vertical. If desired use Split or other tool to trim excess.

The drape will have facets or curling along underlying curved edges.  More U&V points make smaller facets, at cost of more graphics overhead. 

Have fun!


Edited by Benson Shaw
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  • 9 months later...
On 5/15/2021 at 3:47 AM, Benson Shaw said:

Drape Surface over the whole bunch and apply your texture to the drape


Is there any chance that a drape surface can be used to modify the site model? Any suggestion on this path?

From my using experience, surface sculpting tool under current VW version needs more flexibilty & accuracy improvement for better user control.

Edited by DaxinWu
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If you have a drape surface or other solid that represents a desired terrain, or modifier of a terrain . . .

Slice the drape or other solid into horizontal sections with the Create Contours Tool, near the bottom of the tool list in the 3d toolset. Choose a suitable increment in the tool preferences. Smaller increment will capture more detail.  Convert the resulting NURBS curves to 3d polys. Use the polys as source data for a DTM, or paste into existing DTM as proposed data.


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