#VisualisingAtHome is our modest attempt to mitigate the trials of working from home in the Archviz industry. It’s a way for us to come together, though we are physically more apart than ever, and stay strong as a community.

Wherever we live, we’re going to be adjusting to some changes to our working habits for the next few weeks. It is everyone’s responsibility to get through this challenging time as quickly as we can by staying at home to quell the spread of the virus. 

But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk. To build solidarity, stave off loneliness, relieve anxiety, and prevent boredom, we thought we could share something every day using the tag #VisualisingAtHome for the duration of the lock-down, a kind of light-hearted quarantine diary if you will. A tutorial, WIP render, a case study a handy tip or trick, an interesting article, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we talk. We encourage artists to follow up by sharing their stories as well.

And remember, if you have any questions during this time, we are still here and you can reach us as normal on helpdesk@itoosoft.com

Stay safe! 

The iToo Software team


Day 1 - Try not to climb the walls (build them instead)

Boredom easily sets in when you are #visualisingAtHome, but you can make the most out of any free time you might have, rekindle your interests, and polish your skills by learning new tricks. At iToosoft, we’re taking this opportunity to go back through our catalogue of classic #ForestPack and #RailClone tutorials to identify those that are still worth a look, and update others to take into consideration recent changes to our plugins.

So first up, let’s go back in time 7 years. Who watched our Masonry Wall tutorial when it was published way back in 2013?

It was one of the first tutorials released when the new node-based version of RailClone was announced and to this day we think it still does a pretty good job of going over the basics.  Still, RailClone - and our tutorials - certainly have come a long way since then!

Take a trip back in time and watch the Masonry Wall tutorial here: https://www.itoosoft.com/tutorials/wall

Day 2 - See the Lite

#visualisingAtHome can be a great opportunity to learn some new skills. As well as working hard on the development on Forest Pack 7 (more about that soon), some of our team are polishing their skills in photogrammetry for new libraries, Unity, Unreal, Substance tools and lots more!

What new skills are you planning to learn? 

If you're new to Forest Pack, then we’ve got a great tutorial to help users who want to learn the basics using the free Lite version. There’s even a quick introduction to RailClone at the end too, so  If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to learn Forest Pack, there is no better place to start: https://www.itoosoft.com/tutorials/getting-started-with-forest-pack-lite

Day 3 - Take stock of successes 

Now more than ever it’s important to highlight our shared successes. So, while #visualisingAtHome today we’re also celebrating the 15th anniversary of Evermotion. 

To mark the occasion, Evermotion has kindly given away a whole scene, with interiors and exteriors, completely free.  Not only is it full of handy looking models, but the exterior vegetation is all scattered using #ForestPack and should be easy to reuse in other scenes. 

Check it out on Evermotion’s website: https://evermotion.org/articles/show/11911/15th-anniversary-of-evermotion-

Day 4 - Here’s mud in UI!

Take time to save time with the latest quick tip tutorial in which we share a couple of things you can to help speed up Forest Pack’s user interface draw speed, which for some users has slowed down in recent Max releases.

We’ve looked into this, but it would appear to be down to the switch of 3DS Max’s UI to QT - especially on PCs that have multiple CPUS such as Dual-Xeon and Ryzen processors. Unfortunately, the underlying issue is a bit outside of our control, but we are currently trying our best to make improvements.

Until then, perhaps these tips will help out while you’re #visualisingAtHome:  https://www.itoosoft.com/tutorials/speeding-up-the-forest-pack-ui

Day 5 - Break down complex tasks

While #visualisingAtHome today we were discussing the best ways to deliver new training. We’re considering splitting long tutorials into smaller more manageable chunks. 

Some of earlier tutorials were released in this format such as this Stadium tutorial that has a separate video for the guard rails, advertising hoarding, seating, audience and roof. Is this something you would prefer? 


Day 6 -  Master distribution modes

If you already know the basics of Forest Pack but you never had time to go further, the intermediate Modern Barns tutorial might be a worthwhile watch while #VisualisingAtHome. Almost all of this 5 part series is still relevant today. All that is apart from the spline cloning tool which was rewritten in Forest Pack 6 to be fully parametric. It can now be found in the Distribution rollout along with the ability to scatter on PFlow and Reference objects. 

Here’s the original tutorial: https://www.itoosoft.com/tutorials/modernbarn
And here’s a video about the updated distribution modes: https://vimeo.com/260968813

Day 7 -  Put some (RailClone) colour into your life

If you have some spare time today while #VisualisingAtHome, we recommend taking a look at RailClone Colour, a map that’s capable of randomising bitmaps and/or applying tints from a map or a gradient. It’s even possible for it to sample a colour from a surface to create patterns.

If you’re thinking that sounds a lot like Forest Colour, you’d be right! It’s basically the same features you’ll find in Forest Pack, though fewer people are aware of it. Like Forest Colour, RailClone Colour is also included in the Lite edition.  Here are 4 short videos that take you through the main features. 


Day 8 -  Turn over a new leaf

Spring was in the air today while we were #visualisingAtHome, and with the leaves on the trees about to explode into colour, now would seem like a good time to revisit how to randomise, tint and control foliage textures using Forest Colour. The tutorial discusses Autumn leaves, but the techniques are a great way to add variation any time of the year. 


Day 9 - Use a farm to stay calm

When #VisualisingAtHome you may not have access to the rendering horsepower you did at the office. Instead of waiting around for render to finish, one solution is to send your work to a cloud-based render farm. Here’s a list of render farms that are up to date and compatible with Forest Pack and RailClone: https://www.itoosoft.com/renderfarms

Day 10  - One touch of nature makes the whole world kin

Remember nature? You know, that green stuff that birds live in? We’re sure you do, but to help jog our memories while we’re #VisualisingAtHome, here’s a tutorial that explains how to create plant-packed renders in little more than an afternoon.