The Spillway

11-17-17 _ I came across a gentleman named Andrei Dolnikov, the CEO of Binyan Studios at Autodesk University. Over the years I’ve thought about something I heard once a lot: that a persons work tells a story. It never clicked until I heard this man speak about his teams work and the process they use.  It’s easy to see why he is successful. I’m twisting it a bit when I say this as they apply the concept in a form that matches visualization specifically, but in short the part of providing good, clean, accurate data is taken care of. It’s not easy, but easy enough and become easier every day. The key to being the best is being able to provide “that something special” that’s above and beyond, that reaches the client and their customers. Of course entrepeanuers strive for this every day, regardless, its been ticking in my head for years, and for me seemed an easy concept to comprehend, but difficult one to really grasp.  I have no idea why I get it now.

1) Jeff Bartel produced probably my favorite, simple video of how to get data from Civil 3d into Infraworks 3d.

2) Routine to move labels in Civil 3d

3) Check out Steve Hill’s article about his Pipe Production Tools for Civil 3d:

4) Sincpac has some great tools for use with Civil 3D:

5) Jason Leinberger, one of my favorite coders, presents a useful .net trick: Inheritance with Autodesk API

6) Eric Chappel and George Hatch with Autodesk present Site Capture, Drones to Infraworks 360

7) QGIS is an open source GIS application.  With hundreds of addons, plugins and tools it’s as powerful an application for GIS as anything out there. By installing just a few plugins users can export georeferenced Google Earth or Bing Map images with it’s associated TFW (world file) for import into Autocad Map or Civil 3D.

8) 3d visualization is made easier every day. A primary example is software called Lumion. Lumion basically creates the Sim City for designers, where we can drag and drop high quality vegetation, people, cars, water, landscape materials, street equipment, signs, and hundreds of more objects onto our scene. With a few clicks they are all animated, any time of the day (or night) with wind even factored in. Check out this example here:


9) It was a huge pain but I finally found a method of exporting imagery for use with CAD that I can live with. I tried multiple software applications. First ArcMap, then QGis, then Global Mapper, finally back to ArcMap.  I should note that none of the conventional processes made me happy. Every one of them took too long to export.  So here’s what I ended up doing. First, I created a grid in ArcMap using the fishnet tool.  I was able to size them exactly how I wanted. When I created the fishnet, I chose the “create polygon” option over “create polyline”. This allowed me use the “Data Driven Pages” tool to automatically generate pages based on those polygons. Finally, with a relatively simple python script, I was able to efficiently, and very quickly export all the images I needed (497 in a few minutes to be exact). The script is below:

... mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument("CURRENT")
... df = arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd)[0]
... for pageNum in range(1, mxd.dataDrivenPages.pageCount + 1):
... mxd.dataDrivenPages.currentPageID = pageNum
... arcpy.mapping.ExportToJPEG(mxd, r"E:\Folder\Subfolder\imagename{}.tif".format(pageNum), df, df_export_width=3200, df_export_height=2400, world_file=True)
... del mxd

3ds Max Articles

I’ve been the content manger for the 3ds Max section of AugiWorld Magazine for several years now.  During this time I’ve produced numerous tutorials and articles for the AugiWorld Magazine:

Tips that Never Get Old – A few tips and tricks with 3ds Max.


Tips for Beginners (Modifier Editor) – Exploring some of the uses of the modifier editor.


Advanced Tips for More Realistic Visualization – Covering more advanced settings inside the VRAY frame buffer.


Realistic Interactive Realtime Rendering – Presenting 3ds Max to Unreal workflow.


Education and Training – Non-traditional methods to educate yourself.


Customization with 3ds Max 2018 – Discussing Custom start-up files, templates, toolbars, and materials.


Level Up with 3ds Max – Presenting hard-surface scene construction concepts.

level up

Online Collaboration for 3ds Max – Presenting four useful sites that can be used to share and review 3ds Max content.


Managing Assets for 3ds Max – Discussing version control and more.


Four Favorite Plug-ins – Discussing some plugins for 3ds Max.


Creativity Unleashed – Discussing new features in 3ds Max 2019.


20 More Tips and Tricks for 3ds Max – Expanding on the first 50 Trips and Tricks posted a few years before.


Professional Presentation for Designers – Discusses animation timing, blocking, motion, keys, composition, and content.


Advanced Techniques – Covers manipulating textures using the Slate Editor and nodes, Advanced Data Manipulation and the Particle View, Particle Systems, Substance Painter with 3ds Max and using maps for alternate scenarios.


3ds Max Interactive – Introduction to the new powerful tool for VR and visualization for 3ds Max and Maya.


Education Triumvirate – Discussing how to use available resources to learn 3ds Max.


Customize 3ds Max – Working with color schemes, expanding rollouts, and customizing quad menus.


Expanding on Details – Demonstrate using work paths, subdiv, and displace modifier to add details to scenes.


Tools for Collaboration – Using non-destructive options with xrefs, File Link Manager for Revit connections and the design workspace.


Covering Details – Demonstrating how details can add character to scenes.

hair and fur.jpg

Implementation of Arion Renderer – Discussing Arion Renderer and basic implementation.


3ds Max 2018 Highlights – Introducing updates with 3ds Max 2018. pic

Manage Still Image Post-Production Elements – Using render elements and PSD Manager with Photoshop for post-production work. bildings

Introduction to MassFX – Working with MassFX to add interest to a scene. lollipops

Advanced Lighting: Light Balance with 3ds Max – Applying light balance to scenes in 3ds Max.  lightbalance

Reflections on Lighting – Introductory to lighting setup and analysis.  image1

Reach Out with 3ds Max – Focused on encouraging the use of art and 3ds Max to communicate, teach, and understand one another. egypt

Max Creation Graphs – Using and creating Max Creation Graphs (MCGs) for 3ds Max


Max Efficiency – Article discussing how to manage 3ds Max data effectively


Collaboration with 3ds Max and Stingray Article introducing Stingray as a realtime solution for visualization purposes. stingray

Future of Visualization Article discussing how the visualization industry is impacted by today’s

Third-Party Options Helpful, affordable plugins for 3ds Max.Brian_Chapman-AW-0616-03_452_229

New Release, Packed with Improvements teapot

Material Management Proper use of materials in 3ds Max Brian_Chapman-AW-0416-01

Tricks with Scripts (Time-saving tricks using the MAXScript language in 3ds Max)1

Retopologizing a Mesh in 3ds Max (Digital sculpting with 3ds Max and other software)2

Constructing an Interior Scene in 3ds Max (Creating an interior scene using 3ds Max, VRay, and Photoshop)Main

Keeping it Civil in 3ds Max (Using 3ds Max with Civil View and Civil 3d)Figure 1

The Digital Artist (Design Fundamentals)Figure 3 - Shapes in Complex Parts.png

Creating Custom Textures with the Viewport Canvas (Working with textures, color and contrast)Figure 11 - Brush Images

Bringing Characters to Life (Manual character construction)
Figure 1 - Bot Needs Karate Lessons.png

Creating Visual Effects with Atmospheric Apparatus and Rayfire (Working with 3ds Max effect tools) Figure 1

Manage Large Scenes in 3ds Max (Tools that help manage large, detailed scenes) Fig 1 - Housing Development in 3ds Max

50 Fast Tips & Tricks for 3ds Max (Quick timesavers for 3ds Max users) Figure2

Intro to 3ds Max (Getting started) FIGURE1

3ds Max Versatility (Explores how to use 3ds Max in unconventional ways) Brian_Chapman-AW-1214-01.jpg_452_369

Make Game Development Child’s Play (Demonstrating game development with 3ds Max and the CryENGINE 3)  FinalFigure

Max Management Tips (Variety of usage tips for 3ds Max 2015) Brian_Chapman-AW-0714-01

Powerful Para 3d (A plug-in for controlling arrays in 3ds Max) Brian_Chapman-AW-0614-02.jpg

Performance, Productivity Increases (Introducing 2015 features) Brian_Chapman-AW-0414-01

Interview with the Artist (Q & A with Jose Alves da Silva) Figure 1

Quality Content with Max Plug-ins (Introducing Vray, CityTraffic, and Forest Pack Pro) CityTraffic Example

Not Just for Games (Q & A with Seid Tursic and presentation of hair and fur module) Mouse With Fur