Tag Archives: Photoshop

Generating Custom Skyboxes for BIMx

A custom skybox can be really useful for locating your project on a real site. Here are the steps to create a custom skybox.

  1. In Google Earth, locate your project site, and snap screen shots of the site at 15º increments. Use google earth navigation tools to keep the horizon line consistent for each of the panoramic images. This is critical to get the images to stitch together properly.01 google earth navigation
  2. Using photoshop’s Photomerge… function, stitch the screen shots into a seamless panoramic image.02 ps import03 ps import
  3. In photoshop, resize the image/canvas so that it is a 2:1 ratio. 10000×5000 pixels works well.
  4. Align the panoramic view so the horizon is just above the middle of the canvas04 ps editd
  5. Add a custom sky to the background, since the panoramic sky will not be high enough to fill the screen. Chris has recommended this site for high quality sky images: https://www.cgskies.com/skies.php
  6. All foreground can be blacked out, since the foreground will be under the site mesh.
  7. Save the final panoramic view as a .jpg
  8. Convert the panorama into 6 skybox images. If the image is not tiling or wrapping, it will not convert properly. If this happens, use photoshops Offset command to ensure the seam between the right and left tiles properly. To convert to skybox images use: gonchar.me/panorama/
  9. Save each of the 6 sides to a .png image, where each of the side’s images will be named: Right = XP, Left = XN, Front = ZP, Back = ZN, Top = YP, Bottom = YN05 convert to skybox06 skybox naming
  10. Open each of the 6 files in photoshop again, and save them to .tga format
  11. Locate the bimx skybox images. Got to Applications > Graphisoft > BIMx. Right click on the BIM application, choose “show package contents”07 locate bimx files
  12. I have a separate folder added to the Resources folder to archive the default images. Move all default .tga image files in this folder, then move the custom skybox images into the resource folder. Make sure the naming and format of these 6 files is an exact match for the original. If the file does not stitch together properly, it could be an incorrect naming order. Note that XN & XP/ZN & ZP are opposite each other, YN & YP are always top & bottom.08 replace skybox images
  13. After the .tga files are loaded into the applications folder, your BIMx app will use it as the default skybox from now on. If you need to revert back to the generic skybox, just save out the custom .tga to your project folder on the file server, and relocate the default .tga images to the main Resources folder. It is important to note that the sky box is specific to each computer, so every project team member will need to load the skybox images before they open BIMx.
  14. If, when opening BIMx, the background is not oriented properly, use the BIMx setting for Sun Position to properly locate North. This is a setting that will need to be adjusted for each time BIMx is opened.



Rendering Post Production

Photoshop is an essential part of Architectural visualization and BIM. Wether it is creating surfaces to map out over the BIM model elements or fine tuning presentation images, we need photo editing tools.

Using out of the box ARCHICAD default renderings settings is often sufficient for producing quick images or lighting studies, but to create stylized visuals populated with believable people, plants and other entourage imagery it is essential to utilize post production techniques.

In the upcoming February lunch and learn we will be presenting photoshop techniques to bring in content and create a cohesive image with background photos and plant/people cutout images.

Here are the before and after samples from two projects that will be presented. These images have been produced by Amadeo & Darcy:


Project 1 Before (Amadeo)


Project 1 After (Amadeo)


Project 2 Before (Darcy)


Project 2 After (Darcy)


JKR boathouse_full size

Phil has recently produced some amazing renderings for the a boathouse project. He has used Amadeo’s renderings as his targeted “style” for these renderings. Phil’s recommendation for creating and managing these images is to create a clear layer structure in your PS file. Much like you should be using clear layer standards and navigator organization in your AC files, you should have a clear and consistent layer structure for your PS post rendering work. This will make it easier to have a consistent style between multiple renderings as well as make it easier to update the rendering to match any future model changes.

Here is a quick screen shot of Phil’s PS layer organization as a reference:

JKR boathouse PS layers