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Enscape Online Course | Complete Guide to Chaos Enscape

A course by Adam Morgan, Architectural Director at Studio RBA.

An all round ‘complete guide’ on everything needed to master Enscape for realistic imagery and video production. In 12 core lessons, plus 4 bonus videos, you’ll learn how to perfectly light your scene, create stunning materials, how to populate your scene, the best render settings, post-production techniques and even learn about AI enhancements and video editing for short film production. Join now to get started!

Skill level

Beginner

Duration

Approx. 6 hrs

Certificate

On completion

Closed Captions

English

About this course

Are you an architect or interior designer looking to elevate your visualisation skills? Dive into the ultimate Enscape course on ArchAdemia, where you’ll master the art of creating stunning, photorealistic renders and captivating animations. Designed for professionals who want to push the boundaries of their creativity, this course is your gateway to mastering Enscape and revolutionising the way you present your projects.

This course offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers everything from the basics to advanced techniques in Enscape, ensuring you gain a thorough understanding of the software. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, you’ll find valuable insights and tips to enhance your skills. Led by seasoned professionals, the course provides hands-on tutorials and real-world examples, allowing you to learn from the best and gain insights that you can apply directly to your projects.

One of the standout features of this course is its focus on realistic rendering techniques. Discover the secrets behind creating photorealistic renders that impress clients and stakeholders. From lighting and material settings to camera angles and post-production, you’ll learn how to make your designs look as realistic as possible. This course also goes further than just static images. You’ll delve into creating dynamic animations, understanding how to animate trees, sun paths, and camera movements to produce engaging walkthroughs and flyovers that bring your designs to life.

Beyond the technical skills, this course is designed to save you time. Enscape is known for its real-time rendering capabilities, but this course will teach you how to streamline your workflow without compromising on quality. You’ll become more efficient in your projects, making you a more valuable asset to any team. The instructors share time-saving tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of Enscape, ensuring you can deliver high-quality visuals quickly and effectively.

Another advantage of this course is the emphasis on advanced animation skills. Creating animations that are smooth and professional-looking can set your work apart. You’ll learn how to create captivating animations that showcase your projects from every angle, making them more engaging and impressive to clients and stakeholders.

ArchAdemia offers a supportive community and flexible learning environment. Join a community of like-minded professionals and enthusiasts, where you can share your progress, get feedback, and collaborate on projects. The flexible learning platform allows you to access the course materials anytime, anywhere, accommodating your schedule whether you prefer learning in the morning or late at night. Additionally, continuous updates ensure that you stay ahead of the curve with the latest advancements in visualisation, keeping your skills sharp and relevant.

Enrolling in this course means you’ll gain access to a wealth of knowledge and resources that will transform your visualisation skills. The expert instruction, combined with practical examples and hands-on tutorials, will empower you to create breathtaking renders and animations that will impress your clients and elevate your professional portfolio.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to transform your designs and impress your clients with breathtaking renders and animations. Sign up for the ultimate Enscape course on ArchAdemia today and take the first step towards mastering the future of architectural visualisation. Your journey to becoming a visualisation expert starts here. Elevate your skills, enhance your portfolio, and set yourself apart in the competitive world of architecture and interior design with this comprehensive Enscape course. Join ArchAdemia and start your Enscape journey now!

Download Enscape here: https://enscape3d.com/ 

Skills you'll gain

Why ArchAdemia?

Syllabus

Lesson 1 – Introduction (23:25). In the first lesson, you’ll be introduced to Enscape, a real-time rendering and VR plugin for design software like SketchUp and Revit. You’ll learn about Enscape’s ease of use, quick render times, and high-quality output, with a focus on its seamless integration with modelling software. Installation and setup instructions are provided, along with troubleshooting tips. Using a pre-created model, we’ll discuss potential adjustments and the use of Enscape’s inbuilt assets, which appear as low-polygon proxies but render as high-quality models. The toolbar overview includes functions like live updates, synchronised view, adding objects, and accessing the asset library. You’ll also understand the differences between the material library and material editor, emphasising the importance of good materials and assets.

Advanced features such as render settings, various export options, batch rendering, and VR integration are discussed. The user interface section covers basic navigation, movement controls, and switching view modes. By the end of the lesson, you’ll have a foundational understanding of Enscape, its interface, and capabilities, preparing you to create high-quality renders and animations in future lessons.

Lesson 2 – References (9:24). The building model we are using was inspired by Strom Architects, known for their high-end residential projects. While we had some flexibility in the initial model, we now need to be precise with materials and details for rendering. I suggest looking at top CGI firms like MIR, Uniform, and Strive CGI for inspiration. These firms produce highly detailed and realistic images, paying close attention to reflections, textures, and the overall quality of photography.

For our project, we’ll replicate six views, including both interiors and exteriors, and a night shot. We will critically assess each element, from the exact colour of the kitchen cabinets to the texture of the stone walls. The key to achieving realism in your renders is to be self-critical and ensure every detail matches your reference images.

Using references helps you mimic real-world elements effectively. For example, achieving the correct look for materials like oxidised copper involves using appropriate albedo, reflection, and bump maps. This attention to detail, combined with the proper use of assets, will significantly enhance the realism of your renders. This lesson highlights that having a good set of references is crucial for elevating your work from average to outstanding.

Lesson 3 – Views & Lighting Basics (17:35). First, we ensure all elements of our model, such as furniture and fixtures, are visible. I prefer creating views within Enscape rather than using SketchUp scenes, as synchronising the views between the two can be inconsistent, especially with two-point perspectives. We start by deleting existing SketchUp scenes and setting up six new views: three exteriors and three interiors. For the exteriors, we adjust the field of view and fine-tune the camera angles. We also set the sun position for each view, ensuring consistent lighting. For one exterior view, we create a night scene, adjusting the lighting to achieve a dusky atmosphere.

For the interiors, we use a wider field of view and elevate the camera angle slightly. We carefully position the camera to capture key architectural elements and furnishings, creating realistic and appealing compositions. Throughout the process, we make notes of the field of view settings for exteriors (70 degrees) and interiors (102 degrees) to maintain consistency. We also explore basic lighting adjustments, demonstrating how to manipulate the sun position in real-time. It’s essential to remember that Enscape doesn’t use SketchUp’s shadow settings directly, so we rely on Enscape’s tools for accurate lighting.

Lesson 4 – Material Basics (21:20). We start with the simple method of adding material attributes by typing keywords like “steel” or “grass” at the end of material names. This method is quick but limited, so we move on to using Enscape’s material editor for more control.

Using the material editor, you can choose from various material types like generic, carpet, glass, and water. For instance, to create a realistic glass material, you set it to a dark colour, adjust the roughness and reflectivity, and add a normal map to simulate subtle imperfections. This enhances the material’s realism by mimicking the wavy texture often seen in real glass.

We also explore the use of built-in materials and the “use albedo” option to generate quick textures. Adjusting parameters like roughness and bump maps can significantly improve the realism of materials. For example, we adjust the floor’s reflectivity and bumpiness to create a more convincing surface. Additionally, we demonstrate how to use the Architextures plugin to import high-quality materials. This involves downloading various maps (like displacement and roughness) to enhance texture detail. By integrating these maps, we achieve a more realistic representation of materials such as gravel or concrete.

Lesson 5 – Advanced Materials (39:42). We start by finding high-quality tile textures on Poliigon to replace the existing floor, aiming for a marble or travertine look. After downloading and tweaking the texture in Photoshop, we proceed to Quixel Bridge to find a suitable concrete texture, downloading and organising the maps in a dedicated materials folder. We create new materials in Enscape, replacing the old ones with high-resolution textures and adjusting normal and roughness maps for enhanced realism. For glass, tiles, and concrete, we ensure attributes like bump and reflection are accurately set, adding depth and realism to these surfaces.

We also discuss adding subtle textures to flat surfaces like walls to avoid unrealistic flatness. Using in-built or imported maps, we give plain walls a slight texture. For the columns, we use a copper texture from Quixel Bridge, fixing any mapping issues with V-Ray tools. Finally, we take high-quality renders to review the improvements. The lesson shows how a few advanced material adjustments can significantly enhance the realism of our project, laying the groundwork for further refinement in future lessons.

Lesson 6 – In-Built Assets & Object Scatter (1:03:24). For interior staging, we replace generic components with more detailed assets from the Enscape library, such as books, kitchen items, and furniture. This process involves carefully selecting and placing items to create a more realistic and appealing scene. We also replace low-quality elements like flowers and lights with more optimized and visually pleasing assets from the library.

For the exterior, we use Enscape’s vegetation assets to replace the placeholder trees and bushes. We introduce the Skatter plugin, a powerful tool for distributing multiple assets efficiently. This involves creating host surfaces and selecting appropriate trees and bushes to populate the exterior environment. Skatter allows for random scaling, rotation, and density adjustments, making the placement of vegetation more natural and less repetitive.

We also use Skatter to enhance the ground with realistic grass, experimenting with density and distribution to achieve the desired look. The lesson concludes with a review of the improvements, taking high-quality renders to assess the impact of our changes. The combination of detailed interior staging and enhanced exterior vegetation significantly elevates the overall realism of our project.

Lesson 7 – Bespoke Assets (32:32). Here, we focus on finalising asset replacements and additions using external sources beyond the Enscape asset library. The main tasks include replacing the sofa, rug, and car to enhance realism in our scenes. First, we review our progress so far, noting the significant improvements from previous lessons, such as more realistic trees and better furniture arrangements.

We explore two websites for high-quality furniture models: sketchup.cg tips.org and zealproject.com. We download a detailed sofa model from Zeel Project and integrate it into our scene. The process involves ensuring the model’s scale and orientation are correct and replacing the old sofa. We also replace the rug with an item from the Enscape library, selecting a simple design to match our scene.

For the car, we use 3Dsky.org, a paid service offering high-quality models. We demonstrate the process of importing these models into SketchUp using a plugin called Transmutr. This tool simplifies the geometry, making it manageable for SketchUp while maintaining high detail levels. Once imported, we adjust the materials to ensure they match the rest of our scene. This involves tweaking textures and using the material editor to add attributes like roughness and reflectivity. The lesson emphasises the importance of balancing detailed models with performance, ensuring our scene remains responsive.

Lesson 8 – Developing the Scene: Part 1 (1:01:26). We start by critically assessing our renders, comparing them to real-life precedents, and identifying areas needing improvement, such as the stone wall texture, timber slats, concrete colour, and aluminium framing. We note the need for more artificial lighting to address dark spots.

We replace the stone wall texture with a high-resolution image from Polygon, adjusting the displacement and roughness maps in Enscape for greater realism. We lighten the concrete and add a slate material to the top slabs for additional detail. Using the Scatter tool, we introduce flowers and smaller plants around the house’s perimeter, ensuring they blend well with the existing vegetation. We also scatter stones and leaves to create a more natural ground appearance.

To eliminate dark spots and highlight key areas, we add artificial lights to the interior and exterior scenes, carefully placing spotlights and adjusting their luminosity, beam angles, and colours to achieve a realistic lighting effect. Additional tweaks include adjusting the car’s position to prevent it from floating, fixing the grass around the flower bed, and adding extra details like fabric to the headboard and visible lights through the windows. By the end of this lesson, our renders show significant improvement, appearing more realistic and visually appealing.

Lesson 9 – Developing the Scene: Part 2 (25:46). We begin by comparing our updated images to earlier versions, noting improvements in textures and lighting. The timber cladding and concrete floor look much better, and the stone wall appears far more realistic. To address remaining dark spots, we add subtle sphere lights under the building and within the interior, mimicking photographers’ fill lights. We fix issues with the pictures on the wall by adding a tiny bit of glass to the frames and filling the shelves with more items for a fuller look.

Next, we introduce HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging) skies from a site like Poly Haven to improve our scene’s lighting. HDRIs fill darker areas more effectively and add a natural feel to the lighting. We test different HDRIs to find ones that best match the desired look for both day and night scenes. Adjusting the brightness of the sky and ensuring the light penetrates the scene correctly enhances the overall realism.

Finally, we tackle the sharp edges of the model. Real-world objects rarely have perfectly sharp 90-degree edges, so we use a round corner tool in SketchUp to soften edges on the kitchen counter and other surfaces. This technique adds highlights and realism to the scene, as rounded edges catch light in a more natural way. By applying these refinements, our renders move closer to photorealism. We conclude the lesson by speeding up the video to show the process of rounding edges throughout the scene, demonstrating the significant impact this technique has on the final images.

Lesson 10 – Rendering & Post-Production (1:05:03). We start by comparing current renders to earlier versions, noting significant improvements, particularly with timber cladding and stone wall textures. Adding subtle sphere lights addresses dark spots in interior and exterior scenes, ensuring balanced lighting.

Visual settings are crucial for consistent rendering. We create presets for exterior and interior scenes, adjusting exposure, contrast, saturation, and HDRI skies. After rendering test images, we use Photoshop for further enhancement, focusing on shadows, highlights, white balance, and vibrance to bring out details.

We introduce vignette shots, close-ups with depth of field, for a cinematic feel. Additionally, AI tools like Krea help enhance images, particularly greenery and textures, although AI can sometimes overdo details. Overall, this lesson covers final steps in rendering and post-production, emphasizing careful adjustments and enhancements to achieve realistic, high-quality images. By meticulously refining visual settings and utilizing post-processing techniques, we significantly improve the realism and quality of our renders.

Lesson 11 – Animations (19:45). In Lesson 11, we focus on creating videos and animations using Enscape. We’ll animate camera movements, trees, and sun paths to generate engaging videos. Initially, ensure your scene is refined, addressing any gaps or issues. Then, create a visual preset for videos, adjusting settings like field of view and cloud intensity for a consistent look.

To begin, select the “video editing” mode in Enscape. Start by setting your initial camera position and add keyframes to define the camera’s path. For example, a simple pan shot involves setting a starting and ending keyframe, adjusting the duration to about four seconds for a smooth transition.

For dynamic shots, you can add intermediate keyframes to create more complex movements. Additionally, you can animate the sun path by adjusting the time of day between keyframes for a time-lapse effect. Remember to save each video path and create new ones for different scenes. For example, you can create a reveal shot or a focus shift shot, adjusting depth of field settings to draw attention to specific elements. Output settings should be set to Full HD at 60 frames per second for smooth playback. Once all clips are created, save them and prepare for final compilation.

Lesson 12 – Video Editing Basics (10:30). Finally, we create a video from our rendered clips using Adobe After Effects. First, create a new composition with a resolution of 1920×1080 (HD), a frame rate of 60 fps, and a duration of 36 seconds. Import your rendered clips and arrange them on the timeline, allowing slight overlaps for smooth transitions.

Start with a black screen and add a project title using the “Typewriter” text animation preset. For each clip, add keyframes for opacity at the start and end to create fade-in and fade-out effects. Ensure consistency by copying keyframes between clips. Adjust the order and length of clips to improve flow. If needed, shorten the composition to 35 seconds and align text fade-out with the first clip’s fade-in.

Preview your video and make any final tweaks. Export the video by adding it to the render queue, selecting appropriate settings (e.g., Vimeo 1080p). Save and render your video. For higher quality, especially using Enscape, consider rendering in 4K to reduce artefacts and enhance sharpness. Enjoy your professionally edited short film!

Bonus Lesson 1 – Executable Export (9:16). In Bonus Lesson 1, we explore Enscape’s powerful feature to export projects as executable (EXE) files or web standalone files, allowing clients to navigate models without needing Enscape installed. First, we create an EXE standalone file. This offline file can be shared via platforms like WeTransfer. Clicking on the EXE file opens a fully rendered model where users can move around, change views, and adjust the time of day. The quality depends on the user’s hardware, but settings allow for render adjustments. Customising the load screen with project titles and visuals adds a professional touch.

Next, we create a web standalone file, uploaded to the Enscape account. This file is accessible from any device with internet access. It offers interactive navigation, similar to the EXE file, and maintains high quality. Users can adjust visual settings, such as exposure and styles, directly from the web interface. The web standalone ensures anyone with the link can view the project without Enscape, making it incredibly portable and user-friendly.

Bonus Lesson 2 – Linked Models (3:10). In the second of the bonus lessons, we learn to manage heavy models that slow down your project. The focus is on the highly detailed car in the driveway. After tweaking the car’s materials, you can reduce the load by copying the car to a new SketchUp window and saving it separately. Then, delete the car from the main model.

Next, use Enscape’s “linked model” feature to reintroduce the car into the main project. This approach keeps the detailed car rendering while significantly reducing the file size and improving performance, allowing for smoother workflow without sacrificing visual quality.

Bonus Lesson 3 – Exploring your scene in VR (Coming Soon).

Bonus Lesson 4 – Lighting Masterclass (Coming Soon).

The project you'll be working on.

The Quest by Strom Architects

The site is heavily wooded and enjoys a beautiful southerly aspect with a view over the Durlston Country Park. Early on, we established the advantages of a single-storey building; it would suit the retired clients’ future needs, give an elegant solution to the steeply sloped site and allow a simple arrangement of spaces. At the same time, the design reduces the visual impact from across the valley when looking back towards the house and helped the scheme from a planning point of view.

The house exemplifies our belief that simplicity and honesty of construction underlie good design. The initial concept and design drivers are instantly recognisable in the building, and we strive to retain this clarity of intent without adding anything unnecessary to the building. We think carefully about how we build our buildings and work closely with our engineers to ensure an architecture founded in such basic things such as structure, details, materials and order.

What will you learn?

Flick through the carousel below to see a snapshot of each lesson.

Meet your tutor - Adam Morgan | Architectural Director | Studio RBA

Hi, I’m Adam. I am the founder and director of Studio RBA, a team of 8 architects and CGI artists in the city centre of Liverpool, UK. The office is experienced in a wide range of building types and procurement routes, successfully winning projects with contract values of up to £80 million. We work for a broad spectrum of public and private sector clients across the country. I have always had a passion for teaching aspiring and young architects. I offer support to emerging young architects through the RIBA mentoring programme and am also a visiting architectural critic and tutor for Liverpool John Moores University.

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