Piranesi – The Concept


Selling the concept,not the detail


Anyone who has presented an initial design concept understands the power of non-photorealistic artist’s impressions. Especially at the early stages of a project, where specifications are limited and it’s simply not possible (or desirable) to present detailed treatments, Piranesi can work wonders.

Piranesi’s unique abilities to generate stylish illustrations with a truly hand-painted feel sets it apart from other visualisation tools. In your hands, Piranesi produces subtle and emotive impressions which allow the creative idea to shine, drawing the focus to the key elements of the design proposal.

At the later stages of your project, after your initial concepts have been approved, Piranesi can again be used to produce finished visuals (either photorealistic or non-photorealistic) for distribution to all parties involved, or for competition submission.


The EPix file format
Introducing “Extended Pixels” – remembering your model’s 3D information to save you time and save you effort

Piranesi is unlike any other painting application. Designed to work in conjunction with your 2D and 3D modeller, it has the ability to ‘remember’ the dimensional information from your model. Here’s what we mean: image formats store colour information for each pixel (e.g. the specific RGB value). Piranesi’s EPix (or ‘Extended Pixel”) format, also stores the material and depth information from the original model and camera position. This enables you to paint freely whilst locking to a single material (removing the need to generate masks), and also paint with textures in perfect perspective. Quick, simple, stress-free. Below is an illustration of Piranesi’s EPix features..


3D brush tools

In images, 1,2 and 3, we are using a standard circular paintbrush, but have switched on ‘3D Mode’. As you can see from 1,2 and 3 (and the resultant image 4), as you move your brush over the faces of your mode, Piranesi ‘remembers’ the 3D information (including the orientation) and adjusts the shape of the brush accordingly. Piranesi also allows you to ‘lock’ to a particular face (or plane) on your model, or onto a material, or a colour.


Plane locking, material locking & raster fills with automatic perspective

In images 5 and 6 we have turned on the ‘plane lock’ to restrict painting to a single face. We haven’t had to create a mask for either plane, yet we can paint freely (or use a fill) and the colour won’t go beyond the edges. This saves an enormous amount of time compared with other painting tools. Image 7 shows what happens if we use ‘material lock’ (with plane lock switched off). The painting is limited to the bounds of the entire material block.

Image 8 is using a raster fill: the brickwork is a bitmap image (this one is included on the Piranesi DVD but you can create your own) which is tiled across the surface. In this case we ‘ve filled the front and side planes. Using Piranesi’s in-built auto-wrapping, the bricks can be ‘wrapped’ around the block’s faces, and mapped in perspective for a truer represnetation of the real-life material.


Working with cutouts

Piranesi allows you to place photorealistic (PR) and non-photorealistic (NPR) cutouts of people, plants, trees, cars, street furniture and other entourage onto your image to create a better context.

By remembering the depth dimension from the original 3D model, Piranesi allows you to place cutouts with automated scaling in relation to both your original model image, and other placed entourage elements. By knowing the relative depths of points on the image, Piranesi calculates the perfect scaling for the cutout wherever it is placed in your scene. When placing a cutout, if you move your mouse up and down the screen, you’ll see the cutout scale accordingly. With Piranesi, you’ll never need to scale by eye again.

To illustrate, in image 9 we have placed a cutout near the far corner of the cube, some distance from teh viewing point. In image 10, we have placed the same cutout again, but near the front of the cube. Piranesi has automatically scaled it in proportion to its location on the model, making it appear larger than the first.

Placing cutouts is simple and easy. Piranesi even allows you to place cutouts behind your model (e.g. trees behind a building) and applies automatic masking to the placed cutout. Piraneis 2010 Pro comes with nearly 3,000 free textures, images, and cutouts.


Converting your 3D model into an illustration

A simple step-by-step process

This is an actual project from DeJong Design Associates, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who uses Piranesi to produce illustrations for initial design discussions with the client, and submission for municipal approvals. This original model was built in SketchUp, in which materials were named and all rendered to white. After exporting to EPix and opening in Piranesi, the image can begin its process to a handpainted-style illustration

5 First on the list is to use a 100% white fill, and then the standard ‘find edges’ tool to bring back just the outlines of the original building, removing all fills and shadows. Unlike imaging tools, Piranesi’s ‘find edges’ tool uses changes in depth ‘remembered’ from the 3D model, not just a colour difference, making it much more effective. This edge-detection is the starting point for many looking to use Piranesi’s wide range of creative effects.
6 Paint and effects can be applied to the named materials without any need to create masks thanks to Piranesi’s in-built material locks, saving enormous amounts of time compared with other painting applications. Brickwork and tiling are applied to materials and faces with automatic perspective, even wrapping round faces. Here, multi-colour brushes are used to create the ‘hand-painted’ look.
7 Once the initial colours have been applied, the scene is completed by quickly and easily rendering the sky, painting the grass, and adding watercolour entourage of plants and trees. Placing cutouts is easy as each automatically scales in proportion to its location in the scene from the foreground to the background. Once complete, the image can be further retouched to add mood to the finished image.



Painting effects

A wide range of styles at your fingertips

Piranesi is supplied with an extensive library of styles, textures and effects, to aid your creativity, whilst it is also easy to set up your own new styles. Once you’ve created a style you like, store the paint effects together in a new library for reuse, or combine paint fills into a time-saving, one-click multi-fill.Piranesi 2010 Pro is supplied with nearly 3,000 raster images, textures and photorealistic and non-photorealistic cutouts. You can also create your own cutouts of trees, plants, people, vehicles and street furniture – use standard raster files with an applied cutout mask.

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