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Landscape Grading

2.5_Landscape Grading

0:00 We’ve chosen to do the landscape grading last on purpose because, even if we have contours from our CAD file, we still need to use our walk and wall edges and faces as reference to ensure our landscape slopes connect to the right places.

0:18 As a quick example, if we elevated our contours only and used the ‘From Contours’ tool on them, we’d get a nice berm and slope...

0:28 ...but as you can see we're missing pieces given that ‘From Contours’ only applies a mesh to the extent of the contour lines themselves...

0:36 ...meaning they don’t know where to tie back into, or be retained by, the walls and walks.

0:43 So for this project, let’s use the contours as reference to the design intent only, and use the two other methods we explored in the grading and terrain exercise demo instead.

0:56 If you recall, they were Sandbox ‘From Edges’...and ‘Soap Skin Bubble’ extension.

1:08 Let’s do the ‘From Edges’ technique first.

1:14 Start by going into the walks group and selecting and copying the two sloped walks that boarder our planting area.

1:24 Then exit out of the group and paste in place.

1:28 While still selected, make them a group.

1:31 That takes care of half our planting area.

1:37 Let’s just trace or draw the rest.

1:40 Go Inside that new group and draw some lines and arcs using the wall for reference to complete the planting area boundary.

2:06 Remember that there is no need for perfection here. This is a concept design so ‘close’ is good enough for our purposes.

2:14 Once done drawing the boundary, we can then delete the edges we don’t need.

2:19 It’s probably easier to turn off the other layers in order to see better what we’re doing.

2:29 Now we can see clearly that we’re only left with the sloped planting boundary edges safe inside their own group.

2:37 Then select all the edges and run ‘From Contours’ to create the mesh.

2:44 Explode the new terrain mesh group and then delete the extra surfaces that were created and that’s it.

2:52 Remember if you have any trouble deleting those extra mesh surfaces, you can always show your hidden geometry and then select and delete them that way too.

3:10 Now turn back on the walls and walks layers and let’s see how it looks.

3:16 The planting's not bad...but it's a little flat looking – which is to be expected using the ‘Sandbox From Contours’ method.

3:24 But remember that the contour lines showed more sculptural mounding happening so that’s really the result we’re after.

3:32 Let’s try and achieve more of a berm shape by using ‘Soap Skin Bubble’ this time.

3:39 So hide or delete the ‘From Contours’ mesh we just made so we can start fresh with just our bounding edges again.

3:46 In order to make the ‘skin’ that we’ll use later to inflate, we need to ensure that the edges are closed, meaning no gaps.

3:53 So turn off the other layers to help see our edges better.

3:57 And I can see there's a small gap in my edges…which is fine for this demo as mistakes happen all the time and we need make some from time to some from time to time in order to learn how to correct them.

4:09 As we zoom in we can see a small gap between the wall and walk edge.

4:14 That’s an easy fix...we’ll just extend that line and then redraw that edge erasing the previous line.

4:24 Now with all the edges selected we can click the ‘Skin’ icon in the ‘Soap Skin’ toolbar and then we’re prompted for a number of divisions.

4:36 Let's try 30 which should give us small enough quads for a nice smooth mesh without adding too much unnecessary geometry.

4:44 And then hit ‘enter’ to finalize that skin.

4:50 Then select the skin and click the ‘Bubble’ icon to add pressure.

4:55 Enter whatever number you want but something between 15 and 20 psi should create a nice gentle berm here.

5:07 Let’s finish this off by softening the mesh...

5:18 ...and then painting it green to match our other planting areas.

5:26 Also, be sure to remember to place this new planting berm on the landscape layer.

5:33 And remember in the previous lesson that we went through the extra effort of giving our walks a thickness so we can drop the landscape group down 3 inches to better differentiate it from the hardscape areas.

5:54 Now before doing any other planting areas, let’s pause for a second run Tig’s create ‘Contours’ extension to see how close our berm is to what was proposed in the grading plan.

6:10 As you can see it’s not exact, but the design intent is definitely there.

6:15 And in a conceptual design stage like this, being able to replicate the designer’s intent without needing precise grading CAD linework, is awesome.

6:26 The other four planting areas can be done the exact same way.

6:30 So do those areas as practice on your own.

6:35 And remember that a finished model has been provided for you so at any point in the process , if you can’t or don’t want to follow along step by step...