Set up the local scene and the data

To compare plans for an upcoming remodel, you'll create realistic 3D models of two buildings on the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) campus: the Oswald and the Old Botany buildings. Such 3D objects can be built as multipatch features, a data type that enables you to define complex textured 3D shapes.

Note:

While this lesson focuses on 3D shape building methods, it connects to remote sensing by showing how a lidar point cloud can be used as a guide when building such 3D shapes, and how pictures, taken aerially or on the ground, can be used to create realistic facades and roof surfaces.

First, you'll download and explore the project, add a lidar point cloud layer, and convert the 2D building footprints to 3D multipatch features.

Open the project and explore the map and scene

First, you'll download and open the project in ArcGIS Pro.

  1. Download the Penn State Buildings .zip file.
    Note:

    Depending on your web browser, you may have been prompted to choose the file's location before you began the download. Most browsers download to your computer's Downloads folder by default.

  2. Locate the downloaded file on your computer. Right-click the .zip file and extract it to a location where you can easily find it, such as your Documents folder.
  3. Open the extracted Penn State Buildings folder. Double-click the Penn State Buildings project file to open it in ArcGIS Pro.

    Project file

    The project opens in ArcGIS Pro.

    Project in Map view

    The project is open on the Map view, displaying an area of the Penn State campus using the World Topographic basemap. The Penn_State_2D_Footprints layer shows the 2D footprint polygons for two buildings symbolized in blue.

    Note:

    A building footprint depicts the 2D ground shape of a building.

  4. If prompted, sign in using your licensed ArcGIS account.
    Note:

    If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or an ArcGIS account, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

  5. In the Contents pane, click the Penn_State_2D_Footprints layer to select it.
  6. On the map, click the first building.

    An informational pop-up appears: this is the Oswald Tower.

    Oswald Tower pop-up

  7. Click the second building.

    The Pop-up window updates with information for the Old Botany building.

  8. Close the pop-up window.

    The Map view is a 2D map showing 2D data. Next, you'll explore the Scene view, which is 3D enabled, and you'll use it to build the 3D rendition of the two buildings.

  9. Click the Scene view.

    Scene tab

    The Scene view contains a local scene. Local scenes are useful to display 3D datasets that have a limited spatial extent, and are displayed with a projected coordinate system, such as a city or, in the case of this exercise, a university campus.

    The same 2D building footprint layer, Penn_State_2D_Footprints, is displayed in the Scene view, but you'll notice that the two building footprints seem to sink into the ground. That's because they are shown in a 3D environment and the 2D polygons, which are lying "flat on the ground", are partially covered by small differences in the terrain elevation.

    Penn_State_2D_Footprints layer in 3D Layers group

    There is also another layer, Penn_State_3D_Buildings. It is of the multipatch type and can store complex textured 3D shapes. It is currently empty. Later on, it will contain the 3D buildings you construct.

Add a lidar point cloud

Next, you'll add a lidar point cloud layer, hosted online, that will guide you as you build the 3D buildings.

Note:

Learn more about lidar data.

  1. On the ribbon, click the View tab and in the Windows group, click Catalog Pane.

    Catalog Pane

    The Catalog pane appears.

  2. In the Catalog pane, click the Portal tab and choose ArcGIS Online.

    ArcGIS Online

    Your portal is the licensed account you used to sign in when you first started ArcGIS Pro. Because you signed in with an ArcGIS Online account, you have access to all the ArcGIS Online data your account can access.

  3. In the search box, type 2017 PSU LiDAR. To narrow the results, add owner:Learn_ArcGIS if necessary.
  4. In the list of results, identify and right-click the 2017 PSU LiDAR scene layer package and choose Add To Current Map.

    Add To Current Map

    The lidar point cloud data draws on the scene. Each point represents the elevation of the ground, a building, a tree, or another element of the landscape.

    2017 PSU LiDAR layer

  5. In the Contents pane, expand 2017 PSU LiDAR to see its legend.

    Lidar layer legend in the Contents pane

    The points of the layer with the lowest elevation are symbolized in dark blue and those with the highest elevation are in red.

    Currently, you're looking at the point cloud from the top, so you don't get much of a 3D effect. To better explore the lidar layer, you'll tilt and rotate the scene with the Navigator to look at it sideways.

  6. On the ribbon, on the View tab, in the Navigation group, make sure that the Navigator tool is activated.

    Navigator tool activated.

  7. On the scene, locate the Navigator, click the arrow to access the 3D navigation functionality.

    The Navigator changes to a 3D sphere and an additional wheel appears for 3D navigation.

  8. In the expanded Navigator, use the middle wheel to tilt and rotate the scene. Use the mouse scrolling wheel to zoom in and out.

    Navigator tool expanded on scene

    Note:

    Alternatively, you can also navigate the scene with the keyboard, pressing the following keys: V to tilt, B to rotate, C to pan, and Z to zoom, used in combination with the Up, Down, Left, and Right arrow keys.

  9. Explore the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer and confirm that it is made of points at various levels of elevation.

    The points delineate every building, tree, and ground detail.

    View of lidar layer at an angle

  10. When you are done exploring, in the Contents pane, right-click Penn_State_2D_Footprints and choose Zoom To Layer.

    The scene extent centers to the two buildings on the campus.

  11. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click Save to save your project.

    Save on the Quick Access Toolbar

Now that you have all the data you need, you'll convert the building footprints to multipatch features.

Convert the building footprints to multipatch features

First, you'll copy the 2D building footprints into the Penn_State_3D_Buildings multipatch layer. Those footprint copies will be your starting point to create the 3D buildings.

  1. In the Contents pane, uncheck the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer to turn the layer off and allow you to see the building footprints.

    Uncheck the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer.

  2. On the ribbon, click the Map tab and in the Selection group, click the Select button.

    Select tool

  3. On the scene, locate the two building footprint features. While pressing Shift, click the two building footprint polygon features to select them.

    The polygons are both selected and highlighted.

    Two building polygon features selected.

  4. Right-click the selection and choose Copy.

    Copy the two features.

  5. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Clipboard group, click the Paste drop-down arrow and choose Paste Special.

    Paste Special

    The Paste Special window appears.

  6. In the Paste Special window, choose the Penn_State_3D_Buildings multipatch feature class, check the Keep source attribute values check box, and click OK.

    Paste Special window

  7. The two polygon features are copied to the destination multipatch and the Modify Features pane appears.
    Note:

    The target layer, Penn_State_3D_Buildings, must be already added to the Contents pane and turned on when using Paste Special.

  8. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Selection group, click Clear to remove any active selections.

    Clear selection.

    To save the edits you made to the multipatch feature class, you'll use the Edit tab.

  9. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Manage Edits group, click Save.

    Save on the Edit tab

  10. In the Save Edits window that appears, click Yes to save all edits.
  11. In the Contents pane, turn off the Penn_State_2D_Footprints layer, as you won't need it any longer.

    The two Penn_State_3D_Buildings features are now visible, symbolized in white.

    Features added to the 3D layer.

  12. Save the project.

With the building footprint polygons converted to multipatch features, you can now start constructing the first one, the Oswald Tower, as a 3D feature.


Create an office building

You'll start building Oswald Tower, an office-type building. With multipatch editing, you can create and texture complex 3D building forms. Starting from the existing 2D footprint, you'll use the lidar point cloud layer to extrude it to the correct height. Then, you'll apply texture images to give the facade a realistic appearance, and create and edit vertices to add more architectural features. Using these basic components, you can quickly generate models of other commercial or office buildings common in the downtown area of any major city.

Extrude the building footprint

The first step in creating any building form is to extrude the footprint into a 3D block model; this is called a Level of Detail 1 (LoD1) 3D building. Higher levels of detail include roof forms (LoD2), architectural details such as columns or doors (LoD3), and interior features (LoD4). To accurately extrude Oswald Tower, you'll use the lidar data you added earlier as a guide.

  1. In the Contents pane, make sure the Penn_State_3D_Buildings layer is selected.
  2. On the ribbon, click the Map tab and in the Selection group, click the Select tool.
  3. On the map, click the multipatch feature for Oswald Tower to select it.

    Oswald Tower selected.

  4. In the Contents pane, turn on the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer.
  5. Zoom in on Oswald Tower until you can see the lidar points for the building, as well as the footprint.

    Lidar for Oswald Tower

  6. On the ribbon, click the Edit tab. In the Tools group, click Edit Vertices.

    Vertices tool

    The Modify Features pane appears for the Edit Vertices tool.

  7. On the scene, point to the Oswald Tower multipatch building footprint until you see the green editing handle (sphere) in the middle of the footprint.

    Editing handle

    Note:

    While you are in Select or Edit mode, if you need to reposition the scene to better see the building, don't forget that you can still use the Navigator wheel at any time. You can also press the C or Z key to switch temporarily into pan or zoom mode.

  8. Click the green editing handle and drag it up to the height of the lidar points around the outer rim of the rooftop.

    Editing handle extended to match the building height.

  9. When you are satisfied with the height, on the editing ribbon, click Finish to commit your edit.

    Finish button

  10. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Clear to deselect the building. In the Manage Edits group, click Save and Yes to save all edits.

    Save on the Edit tab

  11. In the Contents pane, turn off the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer.

You've created an LoD1 3D building. Next, you'll add real-world textures to the sides and roof of Oswald Tower to make it an LoD3 building.

Add facade textures

Oswald Tower is relatively short for an office-style building and is not blocked by other buildings or vegetation, so it was easy to obtain a clear photo of the building facade. In this section, you'll apply a single image texture to each face of the building that has already been cropped and rectified.

  1. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Modify.

    Modify button

  2. In the Modify Features pane, expand the Reshape group and click Multipatch Texture.

    Multipatch Texture tool

    The Modify Features pane appears for the Texture tool.

  3. If necessary, on the scene, click the Oswald Tower multipatch feature to select it and in the Modify Features pane, click Load Texture.

    Load Texture

    The load texture browser opens.

  4. Browse to the Penn State Building project folder, open the FacadeTextures folder. Open the OswaldTower folder, select Oswald_Front.png, and click Open.
  5. Once the texture loads in the Modify Features pane, click one of the four side facades to apply the texture.

    Apply facade texture.

    The image has been cropped to the aspect ratio of the building using the georeferencing and image transformation tools in ArcGIS Pro so it will fit the extent of the facade.

  6. If necessary, adjust the image size or alignment using the adjustment buttons in the image preview window if necessary. Click the Zoom button and move the pointer to zoom in or out. To center the side facade image, use the Pan button to move the image left or right.

    Pan, Rotate, and Zoom tools in the Modify Features pane

    Note:

    If you zoom far enough out, the facade texture repeats. This behavior, known as tiling, is useful for skyscrapers or other buildings for which you can't capture an image of the full building face, and you have only an image with a small portion of the facade.

  7. Once the side is complete, click each of the other three facades to apply the same texture. Make sure the windows of all four sides are aligned with each other.

    Side textures for Oswald

  8. When you're happy with the sides, in the Modify Features pane, click Apply.

    Now that the sides have texture, you'll add the roof texture.

  9. In the Modify Features pane, click the Load Texture button and choose Oswald_Roof.jpg. Click the roof to add the texture to it.

    Roof texture added to roof.

  10. In the Modify Features pane, use the Pan, Rotate, and Zoom controls to make the roof texture fit the rooftop area.
    Tip:

    You can turn on the lidar points for reference. Facing north, the HVAC system should be in the lower left of the image.

    Add roof texture.

  11. When the image is positioned to your satisfaction, at the bottom of the Modify Features pane, click Apply.
  12. On the ribbon, click the Edit tab, click Clear. In the Manage Edits group, click Save and in the Save Edits window that appears, click Yes to save all edits.
  13. If necessary, in the Contents pane, turn off the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer.

    You have added the relevant textures for each side of the building.

Unlike the sides of the building, the roof isn't a flat surface. Next, to add even more detail, you'll extrude the mechanical room and air conditioning unit (HVAC) on the rooftop.

Add rooftop details

The roofs of tall office buildings often have mechanical equipment, solar panels, or other structures that may rise a floor or more above the surface. Using the Edit Vertices tool, you'll cut out and extrude the rooftop structures—a mechanical room and an HVAC unit—on Oswald Tower. You'll then apply generic textures to them that involve repeating tiles.

Note:

In the interest of time, we’ll simplify the shape of the roof elements to be extruded. However, if desired, you could spend time measuring the elements (with the Measure tool found on the Map tab) and extruding them very precisely.

  1. Zoom to the rooftop area of Oswald Tower. Use the Navigator to reposition the scene so that you are completely above the building, and the roof lines of the building are parallel and perpendicular to the sides of the map.

    Center the roof.

  2. At the bottom of the Map pane, click Constraints to turn on dynamic constraints. Point to the Constraints button to view the Constraints pane and confirm that Dynamic constraints are On is selected.

    Dynamic constraints are On

    Turning on dynamic constraints shows you the length of the features you're working with.

  3. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Tools group, click Edit Vertices and select the Oswald rooftop

    The entire rooftop is selected, and the green editing handle appears.

    First, you'll trace the mechanical room. Since the perspective on the photo creates a certain distortion, you'll follow the shape at the bottom of the mechanical room's walls as much as possible, instead of tracing its roof

  4. Starting at the upper left of the structure, click the visible corner intersection of the rooftop structure and the roof surface to add a vertex. Draw a line across the top of the structure and add another vertex in the upper right corner.

    Two corners of roof mechanical room placed.

    Tip:

    Use the orange line guides, which signal parallel and perpendicular lines, to create a polygon with right angles.

  5. Add a second segment perpendicular to the first one, stopping at the southern end of the mechanical room.

    Third corner placed.

  6. Create the remaining sides of the polygon, using the same method. Since you can’t see the bottom of the walls for the remaining sides, create segments that are approximately 11.75 feet and 15.6 feet. Use the orange line guides to add a final vertex on the corner where you started.

    Engineering room vertices complete.

  7. Similarly, you’ll create a polygon that corresponds approximately to the HVAC unit.

    In reality, it is composed of one HVAC unit and one angled wall, but for simplicity’s sake, you’ll create a single rectangle.

    HVAC unit vertices complete.

  8. When satisfied, click Finish on the editing ribbon.

    Finish button

  9. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Manage Edits group, click Save and in the Save Edits window that appears, click Yes to save all edits.
    Tip:

    If you make a mistake, click Cancel on the editing ribbon to go back to the last feature edit you saved. In the Modify Features pane, click Edit Vertices to restart clicking the vertices.

    You should click Finish and click Save often, so that when you choose to cancel, it only will only undo the most recent edits.

    Next, you'll extrude the two polygons, using the lidar layer as a guide. But first, you'll change the symbolization of the lidar point cloud, to make it easier to see detailed features.

  10. In the Contents pane, turn on the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer and tilt the scene with the Navigator for a sideways view.

    Lidar layer on and view of roof at a tilted angle

  11. In the Contents pane, click 2017 PSU LiDAR layer color ramp to display the Symbology pane.

    Symbology ramp for 2017 PSU LiDAR layer

  12. In the Symbology pane, for Symbol size, type 40 and press Enter.

    Symbology size set to 40%.

    The points of the lidar cloud become smaller, making it easier to visually verify the height of the roof elements.

  13. Close the Symbology pane.
  14. In the Modify Features pane, click Edit Vertices, and point to the roof of the mechanical room so the green editing handle is visible.

    Green handle for engineering room roof

  15. Drag the green editing handle of the mechanical room polygon, and align the top of the room to the lidar points. Do the same for the HVAC unit.

    Mechanical room and HVAC unit extruded to align with lidar data.

  16. At the bottom of the scene, on the editing ribbon, click Finish to commit your edit.
  17. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, click Save and in the Save Edits window that appears, click Yes to save all edits.
  18. On the ribbon, clear the selection. In the Contents pane, turn off the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer.

    Mechanical room and HVAC unit extruded.

    When surfaces are pushed or pulled on a multipatch model, any newly created faces will be textured by mirroring textures on adjacent surfaces. For the roof of the Oswald Tower, this creates some unusual surfaces, such as the air conditioning fan that is now mirrored on the side of a wall. In addition, the images on top of each rooftop structure need to be moved slightly so they match the edge.

  19. In the Modify Features pane, click the back button.

    Back button in Modify Features pane

  20. In the Reshape group, click Multipatch Texture. On the scene, click on Oswald Tower. In the Texture pane, click Load Texture, and choose the Oswald_Roof_MechRoom.jpg texture.
  21. Use the Pan, Rotate, and Zoom tools as necessary and add the Oswald_Roof_MechRoom.jpg texture to the top of the mechanical room. If necessary, do the same for the HVAC unit. Click Apply.

    Roof with extrusions

    Next, you'll add some cleaner wall texture for the HVAC and mechanical room

  22. Click Load Texture and load the Oswald_RoofSide.jpg texture and apply it to all the vertical sides of the rooftop structures. Click Apply.

    Side texture added to the mechanical and HVAC structures.

  23. Click Load Texture, load the Roof_floor.png texture. In the Modify Features pane, use the Zoom tool so that the texture is visible.

    Roof floor texture zoomed in so the details are visible.

  24. Apply the texture to the main roof surface to eliminate all the traces of roof elements. Click Apply.

    Floor texture added to roof of Oswald Tower.

  25. Clear any active selections and save all edits. Click Save on the Quick Access toolbar at the top of the project.

    Oswald final building

In this section, you created a realistic 3D office building using multipatch editing tools, textures, and lidar point cloud data. In the next section, you'll learn how to construct various roof shapes and use precise measurements to construct a more accurate 3D building.


Create a residential building

In the previous section, you created an office building using multipatch editing and realistic textures. In this section, you'll create a residential-style building on the Penn State campus, the Old Botany building. This structure, built in the late 1800s, has a hip form roof, for which you'll need to use different techniques than in the previous section. You'll extrude the building based on measurements (in feet), construct the roof form, check against the lidar point cloud, and apply textures.

Add the Penn State data

You'll begin construction of the Old Botany building by extruding the building into a simple LoD1 model.

  1. If necessary, open your Penn State Buildings project.

    You'll locate the Old Botany building just south of Oswald Tower.

  2. In the scene, zoom and pan to the Old Botany building footprint.

    Location of the Old Botany building

  3. In the Contents pane, turn on the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer.
  4. Using the Navigator, explore the point cloud for the Old Botany building.

    Point cloud for Old Botany building

    You could use the lidar cloud as a guide, but because there is so much vegetation around the building, you may get more precise results by typing measurements. So you'll use this second method.

    Note:

    The information available to you can differ from project to project. So, depending on the situation, it can be useful to use lidar point cloud data, measurements, or a combination of both to determine the height and shape of your building.

  5. Turn off the 2017 PSU LiDAR layer.
  6. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click the Select button. On the scene, click the Old Botany building footprint to select it.
  7. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Tools group, click Edit Vertices.
  8. Hover over the green editing handle in the middle of the building until it turns red. Then right-click and choose Height in the contextual menu.

    Height

    The Length window appears.

  9. In the Length window, type 27.25 and press Enter.
    Note:

    The default unit is ft.

    Length window

    The Old Botany building is now extruded.

    Building extruded.

    Note:

    If ever extrusion doesn't happen, you may need to reset your display cache. On the Project tab, click Options, then click Display. Under Local Cache, check the Clear cache check box and restart your instance of ArcGIS Pro.

  10. On the editing ribbon, click Finish.

    Finish button on the editing ribbon

  11. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, click Save. In the Save Edits window that appears, click Yes to save all edits.

Next, you'll turn your attention to the building's roof.

Align the editing grid

Before you can create the Old Botany hip-shaped roof, you need to align the editing grid to the exact orientation of the building. This will ensure that the roof measurements are applied in the correct directions.

  1. At the bottom of the scene, click the Grid button.

    Editing grid

    This enables the grid.

  2. Hover over the Grid button to make the Grid options menu appear. Make sure Spacing is set to 1 ft, and click the Set the grid's origin and rotation interactively button.

    Grid settings

    The mouse pointer changes to a red plus sign.

  3. Hover over the vertex end of one of the long edges of the roof until the pointer snaps to the vertex. Click to set the grid origin.

    Set grid origin.

    When you move the pointer, the grid shifts. To set the rotation, you'll add another point at the other end of the roof.

  4. Click the vertex at the other side of the long edge of the roof.

    Set grid rotation.

  5. At the bottom of the scene, click the grid button to turn off the Grid button again to turn off grid visibility.

    Even though you can't see the grid anymore, its settings remain valid for any future edits you make in the project.

  6. On the ribbon, click Clear and save your project.

Create a hip roof form

First, you'll use the Edit Vertices tool to split the top building face and create a hip-form, or gable-shaped roof.

  1. In the Modify Features pane, verify that the Old Botany building is selected. Click Edit Vertices.

    Edit Vertices pane

  2. If necessary, use the Navigator wheel to adjust the scene, ensuring that you have good access to one of the roof’s short edges.
  3. On the scene, hover over the middle of the short edge of the roof until an orange X appears.

    Orange X

    The orange X indicates the center of that edge.

  4. Click the X to add a vertex, hover over the middle of the opposite edge, and click again on the orange X to complete the split line through the center of the flat roof.

    Split roof

  5. Hover over the green editing sphere on the newly created roof split line until it becomes red, and right-click. Click Height in the contextual menu.

    Height in the contextual menu

  6. In the Length window, for Height, type -17 and press Enter.

    The roof is now gabled, with a hip form.

    Gable roof form

  7. On the editing ribbon, click Finish. On the main ribbon, on the Edit tab, click Save to save all edits.
    Tip:

    A reminder that, if you make a mistake, click Cancel on the editing ribbon to go back to the last feature edit you saved.

    You should click Finish and click Save to save your edits often, so that when you choose to cancel, it will only undo the most recent edits.

    You'll now edit the roof to a hip form.

  8. In the Modify Features pane, click Edit Vertices, create a horizontal split line on the shorter side facade by clicking each edge of the eave, using the orange circle guides that appear. Repeat this on the other side of the building.

    Add horizontal split lines.

  9. On one of the sides, hover over the top vertex of the roof until an orange circle appears and double-click the vertex.

    Top vertex with orange indicator visible

    The x,y,z vertex editing handles appear.

    Add editing handles.

    Next, you will adjust the Height or Distance values for the blue handles to create the hip form on the roof. Depending on which side of the building you chose to start with, the blue handle may be directed toward the center of the roof (as depicted in the example image) or the blue handle may be directed away from the center of the roof.

    If the blue handle is directed toward the center of the roof, when you right-click it, the contextual menu will list the Height option, and you will enter a positive value. If the blue handle is directed away from the center of the roof, the contextual menu will list the Distance option, and you would enter a negative value.

  10. Right-click the blue handle and choose Height in the contextual menu. In the Length window that appears, type 16.75 ft in the Height text box and press Enter.
    Note:

    Depending on the position of the building, upon right-clicking the blue handle, you may need to select the Distance option instead of Height and set the Length value to -16.75.

    Height in contextual menu for x,y,z handle

  11. The hip roof shape appears on that side.

    Hip roof form on one side of the building

  12. Repeat the same process on the opposite roof edge vertex, again using a value of 16.75 ft.

    Second hip form on roof

  13. Click Finish and click Save to save your edits.

    Now that the basic hip form roof is in place, you'll extend two of the four roof planes away from the center of the building, creating overhangs, or eaves, on two sides.

  14. In the Modify Features pane, click Edit Vertices. Hover over one of the two shorter side roof surfaces so the green editing handle appears.
  15. Drag the handle away from the building to start the overhang. While dragging, press Tab to edit the exact length of the overhang. Type -1.5 and press Enter.

    Contextual options

    You have added an overhang 1.5 feet in length.

    Overhang roof

  16. Click Finish and click Save to save your edits.
  17. For the opposite side of the roof, repeat a similar process to create a 1.5-foot overhang.

    You now have overhangs on two sides.

    Overhang for two sides of the roof

  18. Click Finish and click Save to save your edits.

    Next, you’ll check the roof dimensions against the lidar point cloud.

  19. Turn on the PSU LiDAR 2017 layer and examine the Old Botany building from various angles.

    Check lidar.

    The shape appears to be a good match.

    Note:

    Optionally, you can add more overhangs for the two long sides of the roof.

  20. Turn the PSU LiDAR 2017 layer off and save the project.

Whether using lidar data, numeric measurements, or a combination of both, you can create precise roof shapes for your 3D buildings.

Add facade textures

Now that the basic form for the Old Botany building is in place, you can start texturing it. As you did in the first section of the lesson, you'll use a combination of single textures and repeating tiled textures to give the model a realistic appearance.

  1. On the ribbon, on the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Modify.
  2. In the Modify Features pane, expand the Reshape group and click Multipatch Texture.
  3. If necessary, click the Old Botany building to select it.
  4. Click Load Texture, browse to the Penn State Buildings project folder. Open the FacadeTextures folder and open the OldBotany folder. Select OldBotany_Front.jpg and click Open.

    The texture loads in the Modify Features pane.

  5. Click the front facade of Old Botany (the long side that has a pathway leading up to it) to apply the texture.

    Front facade

  6. Use the Pan, Rotate, and Zoom controls to fit the front image as closely as possible to the front facade extent.
  7. Once the front facade image is placed accurately, click Load Texture and add OldBotany_Back.jpg.
  8. Rotate Old Botany around to the other side and click the rear facade surface.
  9. Use the Pan, Rotate, and Zoom controls to fit the rear facade image as closely as possible to the back of the building.

    Next, you'll add textures to the sides of the building. The left side (with the split pathway) has a door, while the other side doesn't.

  10. Add the OldBotany_RightSide texture to the right side of the building. Line up the brick/stone textures as closely as possible.

    Brick-stone line texture

  11. Add the OldBotany_LeftSide texture to the left side of the building.

    With the facade sides complete, you'll repeat the texturing process on the sloped roof surfaces of Old Botany.

  12. Click Load Texture and open OldBotany_Roof.jpg.
  13. Click the front roof surface to select it, and use the Pan, Rotate, and Zoom buttons in the image preview window to fit the roof image as accurately as possible.

    Add front roof.

  14. When the front roof surface is finished, click the rear roof surface to duplicate this texture, retaining the same scaling and placement.

    The front and back sides of the roof have distinctive dormer window features that need to be positioned in specific locations, making a single texture image preferable to a repeating texture.

    However, two sides of the roof have a uniform pattern of shingles that can be applied through a single, repeating tiled texture image. This tiled image was clipped out from a small section of front roof texture.

  15. Click Load Texture and open OldBotany_RoofShingles.jpg.
  16. Click one of the side roof surfaces, and use the Pan, Rotate, and Zoom buttons in the image preview window to fit the shingles as accurately as possible, matching the size and spacing of the shingles on the edge of the other textured roof surfaces.
  17. When one of the roof sides is textured accurately, click the opposing side to duplicate this texture, retaining the same scaling and rotation.

    Roof shingles

  18. Click Apply and click Save to save your edits.
  19. Clear any active selections and save the project.

    Image textures add a specific look and feel to the generic residential-looking 3D form, transforming it into a recognizable replica of the Old Botany building.

    Note:

    There are other architectural details that you could add, such as giving the dormer windows and the stairs a 3D volume, and making the door and windows recessed into the wall. If you want to stretch the exercise further, you can experiment with these additional elements.

In this lesson, you learned how to create realistic 3D buildings, including complex roof forms and textured surfaces. This process can be used for many building types and shapes, with little more than a building footprint, height information or lidar data, and images for texturing.

Note:

This approach, one building at a time, works well when your goal is to represent only a few buildings, and you want to represent architectural details with accuracy. However, there are more advanced methods to generate 3D buildings through a bulk approach for an entire university campus, neighborhood, or city. The lesson Extract 3D buildings from lidar data is an example of such a bulk-approach workflow.

You can find more lessons such as this on the Introduction to Imagery & Remote Sensing page.