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Free 3D Walkthrough Models of the Great Buildings Online

 
Overview Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP Downloading Macintosh Downloading 3D Model Viewing Troubleshooting Models Available
It is easy to download and walk through models of your favorite Great Buildings —
to view them in true live 3D — and everything you will need is available free.
Schroder House La Pyramide Stonehenge Barcelona Pavilion
Detailed 3D Building Models   —   Simple 3D Massing Models   —   Complete Combined Models List

To download and view these 3D models from the Great Buildings Online, or any of hundreds of others, you need

  1. Standard web browsing software to download the model files.

  2. Standard utility software to decompress the model files, like WinZip (Windows) or Stuffit (Macintosh).

  3. , , or live 3D software to view the models in live 3D, and a few viewing tricks.

Since you're reading this page, you probably have Step 1 taken care of already! Everything you need to accomplish these steps is available free over the Internet. The rest of this page explains how to put the pieces together.

Overview Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP Downloading Macintosh Downloading 3D Model Viewing Troubleshooting Spatial Models

Downloading a Model to Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP

If your Windows 95 or Windows NT web browser is not already set up to decompress ".sit" files, you can download the necessary decompression software free over the Internet.

Stuffit Expander, a cross-platform decompresser for ".sit" files, like the Great Buildings Online models, and for other popular Internet formats:

www.aladdinsys.com/expander/index.html

Once your browser is configured and the decompression software is installed, just click on the model link to download to your local hard disk, and then decompress to the standard ".3dmf" model format.

The next step is to open the model in DesignWorkshop, and then you're in 3D! Go to the 3D Model Viewing section of this page for the details.

Overview Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP Downloading Macintosh Downloading 3D Model Viewing Troubleshooting Spatial Models

Downloading a Model to Macintosh

If your Macintosh web browser is not already set up to decompress ".sit" files, you can download the necessary decompression software free over the Internet.

We recommend Stuffit Expander, a cross-platform decompresser for ".sit" files, like the Great Buildings Online models, and for other popular Internet formats:

www.aladdinsys.com/expander/index.html

Once your browser is configured and the decompression software is installed, just click on the model link to download to your local hard disk, and then decompress to the standard ".3dmf" model format.

Optional—Configuring Your Web Browser for Stuff-It Expanding

It is not normally necessary to make any special adjustments in order for Stuffit decompression to to work properly on a Macintosh. But in case something gets out of whack somehow, here are the details:

To configure Netscape Navigator on Macintosh, for instance, use the Options menu, General Preferences command, and click on the Helpers tab. In the list of file types, locate the Mime Type'Application /x-stuffit', and click to select that line of the list. Then click the Browse... button and locate the (previously downloaded) Stuffit Expander application on your hard drive. Now, when you download DesignWorkshop Lite, Netscape will automatically open Stuff-It Expander to decode them for you. But before trying to download again, you should also configure Stuff-It Expander.

Configuring Stuff-It Expander

To configure Stuffit Expander for Macintosh, double-click on its application icon to start it up, then use the File menu Preferences... command to open the Preferences window, and then click on the Expansion icon in t he space on the left side to go to the Expansions Preferences area. Two particular options in the Expansion area should be checked on for convenient downloading, Expand Archives (for automatically handling ".sit" files) and Expand Encoded Files (for automatically handling ".hqx files). These settings will enable Stuffit Expander to completely decode the GBC online model files, and most other download packages for Macintosh computers.

Now you can quit Stuffit Expander, return to Netscape, and download a GBC 3D model. As soon as it has been completely downloaded, Stuffit Expander should start automatically and decode the file appropriately.

The next step is to open the model in DesignWorkshop, and then you're in 3D! Go to the 3D Model Viewing section of this page for the details.

Overview Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP Downloading Macintosh Downloading 3D Model Viewing Troubleshooting Spatial Models

Live 3D Viewing with DesignWorkshop

If you don't already have DesignWorkshop or DesignWorkshop Lite, you can and install it on your computer.

Once you have DesignWorkshop, then take a look at the following quick viewing instructions. In just a few minutes you'll be ready to cruise The GBC in live 3D.

The bottom chunk of the DesignWorkshop Tool Palette contains both the 2D and 3D viewing tools. The Walk tool, with the 'happy feet' icon, and the Eye tool are the live 3D view adjusters for the Lights and Textures window. Dragging with these tools in the model window, or selecting these tools and then using the arrow keys, lets you move your view freely around the live 3D model environment.

You can easily navigate and walk through a model using only the Walk tool. When you have the Walk tool selected (the little target icon) and drag forward with the mouse or click with the Up-Arrow key, you move yourself forward through the virtual space of the 3D model. By dragging side-to-side with the Walk tool, you turn both your view direction, and the direction of movement. Similarly, using the Right-Arrow and Left-Arrow keys let's you turn your view and direction in easy steps.

The Walk Tool

With the Walk tool, drag to move the center of interest ("look point") around the viewer's position. This is the equivalent of standing still in one place, and turning your head around to look in different directions.

The result is your entire view moving forward or backward. You can turn to the side using the left and right arrow keys or dragging the mouse side-to-side. To look up or down, release the ALT key (Option on Macintosh) , and just drag the mouse vertically or click the up and down arrow keys. Using these movements in combination allow you to easily walk through your model, even following sophisticated paths like up and stairways.

The Look point itself is also the center of rotation when moving around with the Eye tool. To set the look point to the center of the model, double-click on the Look tool icon. If you happen to get "lost in space", you can use the View menu Initial View command to get back to a default view of the model space.

Use the Shift key to get faster, coarser movement with the Walk and Eye tools, and use the Control key to get slower, finer movement.

A menu list of preset saved views is available the bottom of the View Menu. With the Set View... command, you can also instantly add your own named, saved views to a model you've downloaded.

The Eye Tool

The Eye tool moves viewer's position in world around the center of interest. Dragging with the Eye tool is the equivalent of looking at one spot while moving horizontally and/or vertically around the spot, from some distance away. ALT-drag (Option-drag on Macintosh) the mouse to move closer into or farther out from the center of interest. This is the equivalent of walking closer to and farther away from the spot you're looking at.

When in perspective view, double-clicking the Eye tool icon moves the eye point in or out from the center of interest of the scene, without changing the viewing direction, far enough so that all the visible objects in the model can be seen in the viewing window. We call this an "eye-all" to distinguish it from a "zoom-all". Eye-all changes the eye location in 3D to make all objects visible within the standard angle of view. In perspective views, the 2D zoom-all effectively widens the angle of view, showing all objects without moving the eye position.

The Eye and Walk tools also activate eye-point and look-point nudging with the arrow keys. Typing the arrow keys while the Eye tool is active moves the eye position. The sensitivity of this "eye nudging" is controlled by a Preferences setting. When in the Eye tool, ALT-up-arrow (option-up-arrow on Macintosh) and ALT-down-arrow (option-down-arrow on Macintosh) move the eye closer in toward or farther out from the center of interest. Eye-nudging is useful for fine-tuning views.

Overview Windows 95/NT Downloading Macintosh Downloading 3D Model Viewing Troubleshooting Spatial Models

Troubleshooting Model Viewing Problems

Simple Downloading Test Files

If you're having trouble successfully downloading files, try downloading these examples. If these self-extracting archives get to your computer and fully decompress successfully so you can view the jpeg image file, then your browser is probably configured properly, and problems you might have with large downloads are unfortunately most likely due to general network overloads.

If on the other hand you can't successfully download and decompress the test files, then you probably have some kind of sneaky set-up problem. If you go through these instructions again and can't get it to work, please contact Artifice Technical Support and we'll do our best to help you be successful with DesignWorkshop downloading.

Downloading Test File One — An architectural JPEG Image, compressed as a DiskDoubler Self-Extracting Archive, compressed into a ".sit" raw data archive for Internet transmission.

Downloading Test File Two — Alternative Format — An architectural JPEG Image, compressed as a DiskDoubler Self-Extracting Archive, encoded as a ".hqx" text data archive for Internet transmission.

(Special thanks to Misako Yamaguchi for allowing us to share her excellent DesignWorkshop projects, including the Japanese Room image rendered with Radiance which we're using here.)

Setup On The Server Side...

This is not something that a typical user should need to think about for normal downloading, but it is worth noting that the web server to which you are connecting should have the following MIME data types defined, as follows:

application/x-stuffit sit
application/mac-binhex40 hqx
x-world/x-3dmf 3dmf
Overview Windows 95/NT Downloading Macintosh Downloading 3D Model Viewing Troubleshooting Spatial Models

The Bottom Line

There are three steps to successfully downloading and viewing Great Buildings models. It may take a little time to get all the pieces assembled and connected properly, but once this is accomplished, you can expect routinely trouble-free access to this unique online resource.

If you encounter difficulties with any phase of downloading and viewing Great Buildings models, please contact Artifice Technical Support using our . The more detail you can include about the situation you encounter and about your computer system, the better we will be able to help resolve the situation.


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