ScapeSketch Case Study

Undet Adds Speed, Realism, and Credibility to Outdoor Living Space Designs

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An architectural visualization designer wanted a more realistic way to present his unified plans for new indoor and outdoor living spaces to clients and architects. His clients needed a realistic 3D visual that showed how a new pool, patio, or outdoor kitchen would appear in the context of existing house and garden, for example. And the architect who would create the architectural drawings had to know precisely how each new element would be positioned and fit into the existing surroundings.

Mark Pawlaczyk is the owner of ScapeSketch, a designer of living spaces based in Toledo, Ohio. His specialty is creating residential outdoor spaces that often include swimming pools and patios with kitchens, fireplaces, and pool houses. In a typical workflow, his first task is to use SketchUp to generate a visual of what the new features will look like on the property. After some back and forth with the owners, he sends a final concept to an architect to produce designs for actual construction.

 

“Scanning brings context to the site, showing what you see now and will see in the future” – Mark Pawlaczyk, ScapeSketch

He initially used tape measures and total stations to produce simple mesh drawings of the client’s home and yard in SketchUp. This process was extremely time consuming, and it lacked the detail and realism his work deserved. In 2019, he invested in a Leica BLK 360 laser scanner and began digitally scanning each project site. Very soon after, he discovered Undet software as the critical link between the digital scans and SketchUp.

Today, his workflow begins with scanning the project site and then using Leica Cyclone to register the multiple scans to a cohesive point cloud. Next, he uses an open-source application called Cloud Compare to divide the point cloud into feature layers, i.e., structure, topography, landscape, etc. These are exported as e57 files into Undet which runs inside of SketchUp.

Undet for SketchUp

3D modeling with Undet for SketchUp

 3D modeling with Undet for SketchUp

3D modeling with Undet for SketchUp

Pawlaczk’s go-to Undet tool is the Extrude Selected Plane tool for extracting planar features, primarily from structures, such as the house. He selects a plane in SketchUp and then chooses a wall, floor, or roof surface in the point cloud. The plane is then pulled or pushed to match the cloud feature, adjusting for perfect alignment with the as-built cloud. Later during construction, the builders will take all their construction measurements from the house corners to make sure the new feature – a pool or patio – is located correctly with existing features.

Next – and this is crucial for outside construction projects – he uses an Undet tool called Terrain Feature to extract the topography of the yard. In the past, he had to hire a surveyor to accurately capture the terrain of a hilly property. Finally, he usually extracts bushes, trees and other landscaping elements to complete the scene, using Undet to draw them directly into SketchUp. “I model features to an accuracy of about one-quarter inch. A large house might take just an hour to model.”

 

“It’s an authority thing – This has given more credibility to my work. Without Undet, I wouldn’t be able to provide all the rich information [in the model] like the house façade, bushes, and topography.” Mark Pawlaczyk, ScapeSketch.

 

Among his favorite tools in Undet is the Apply Texture feature. He uses it to extract colors, material textures, and patterns from the point cloud to include on the house façade, adding a remarkable level of photo-realism.

SketchUp Scenes works seamlessly with Undet. Scenes allows him to save multiple versions of the property model showing just those elements he wants. When he is modeling a new pool house, for example, he may work in a Scene with just the bare house model and basic topography. But when he presents to a client, he will show the Scene with all the details of the house and yard for maximum visual effect.

Undet and digital scanning have given Pawlaczyk two important benefits. The first is speed; he is able to capture the property and then draw his concepts for quick delivery to clients, which improves his revenue. The second benefit is an enhanced reputation thanks to the professional visualizations he presents to clients.

ScapeSketch projects, 3D modeling from scan data

ScapeSketch projects, 3D modeling from scan data

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