It is really fun to work on this Civil Infrastructure project downtown Las Vegas as part of the CivilFX team.  I spent a lot of time trying to go through the AutoDesk workflow of taking aerials and topography, draping them together, and getting them into 3DS Max.  Turns out most of their documentation pages talk about using their Infrastructure Suite software to link the data in 3DS Max, but doing that requires a monthly subscription.  So I got a trial of their software, and got frustrated at the difficulty of exporting the data to an FBX, to be able to take it anywhere I want.

So after messing around a bit with their software, I decided just to break the aerial images into squares, re-map the UV coordinates in MAX, and drape the images myself.   Took a bit of triangle manipulation to make sure all the seams lined up but in the end I got a nice aerial surface in an FBX that I could import into anything.   And by Anything, of course I mean Unity.

So – first off – shout out to Real World Terrain.  Totally awesome Unity Plugin that saved my life.  Has a great list of features, but what I needed, was a rough representation of the Las Vegas Valley.   So Their tools allow selecting which aerial mapping server, and specifying the quality level.  So I broke Las Vegas into a 32×32 grid covering roughly 300 square miles, with 128×128 pixel aerials.  I also imported the same grid, with 2048 aerials, and a ton of triangle accuracy.  And of course something in the middle.  I then composited the three sources of data which were all in the same alignment, and ended up with 9 panels of aerials that were very accurate near the center of the project, and decreasing quality and accuracy out for hundreds of miles.  Gives a really nice accurate skyline appearance, similar to what you might see in Google Earth.   But this is Unity.  So let the games begin.

Next up is to get the Aerial topography from the local company, and integrate the more accurate project aerials into the model as well.

I started working on a number of Visualization projects, leveraging my Civil Infrastructure background, and my knowledge of game development and 3D models.  I’m not terribly good at 3D modeling, but if I’m using Autocad to generate the triangles, I can hold my own.   Exciting to be leveraging both of my skill sets to provide a living.