Architecture Visualization - A California Bungalow
When a family member moved to a different house, I decided to memorialize their old house with a 3-D model and associated visualization. It had been at least six months since I had done anything architecture-related and I was pleasantly surprised to find that both the Blender 2.8X update and associated Add-Ons continue to make the workflow better and faster!
I had an existing model (Blender 2.7X) using the Add-On Archipack Pro, when the Add-On was in about the version 1.4 stage. It did really well at inserting a door or window, to include the parameterized object and an object to create a boolean hole in the wall. I ran into difficulties when I later tried to edit that door or window. Sometimes the boolean hole would detach from the associated object, leaving holes without doors and vice versa.
Also, the roof was slightly more complicated than a simple Four-corners-and-a-peak variety. The Add-On roof creation tools (or the intrepid Add-On button masher) didn't have the ability to simply create the roof. In the BSOT (big scheme of things), this was a minor irritant, but it was enough for me to eventually give up on the project.
Fast forward a few months and version 2.0 came out. (It was version 2.3 by the time I attempted to re-create my earlier model). The initial version was good, but the latest version is extraordinary! Using the floorplan from my initial model, I recreated the walls in about 5 minutes. Flooring and doors/windows took another 5-10 minutes. The roof probably took several hours, but much of that was my learning curve.
I chose a view of the back yard for my render. That necessitated finding/creating a fair number of plants, trees and bushes. The Sapling Generator built into Blender has produced adequate results in the past, but I was frustrated by the inability to edit the object once creation was complete. I stumbled upon the Modular Tree Add-On. Similar to the Sapling Generator, but with the ability to modify the object later! The learning curve is a little steep, and I'm sure there is more capability than I used, but the results were sufficient for my needs. It is possible to create custom leaves, but in an effort to avoid getting bogged down, I used some of the default options. I was very happy with the results!
I didn't want to recreate every plant however, particularly since I had previously created a few plant models that might work. The challenge was my (lack of) a usable library or filing system. I did have a great Asset Management Add-On, but I hadn't given it much attention lately because I'd heard the Blender 2.8 built-in asset management was just around the corner! :) The latest version of Pitiwazou's Add-On also had some great improvements. It can use libraries set up in 2.7X (a life-saver!), and it now generates its own thumbnails! That feature alone is worth the purchase price! I took about a day to organize most of my earlier models, and add a few new ones for this project. It turned out to be a great time-saver!
Motivation and creativity only lasted so long. I needed to find some additional assets to flesh-out the scene. I had briefly looked at the BlenderKit Add-On previously, but assumed it was another flavor of asset manager, and didn't give it much more thought. Little did I know, it is an on-line repository of high quality assets. It was a great and easy-to-use Add-On that kept me on track with the look I wanted rather than becoming an (extremely slow and klunky) asset creation factory! ;)
Finally, there were numerous Blender core updates (I used 2.82 for this project) that continually impressed. I will specifically mention the denoiser. Particularly because this was a dusk scene and therefore relatively dark, I was expecting the render times to be very long to get to an acceptable noise level. The denoiser allowed me to cut the number of render samples at least in half to get similar visual results. Thanks to everyone on the Blender development team!!