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ESRI CityEngine, Lumion, and SketchUp - The Ultimate City Toolkit?

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at ESRI's CityEngine and how it can be used to create rapid urban scenes. As we noted it moves GIS visualisation a step forward while at the same time bringing procedural city modelling into the mainstream game engine world. Of course the heart of the CityEngine is the ability to import real world data but to get to grips with the interface it is sometimes easier to look at creating urban scenes from simple procedural rules.

As part of the MRes in Advanced in Spatial Analysis and Visualisation, here in CASA we have been looking at various techniques to visualise urban data. One such technique is the creation of a 3D exhibition space, allowing agent based models and urban data to be visualised within an architectural space. 

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The movie above combines the use of CityEngine in Lumion with SketchUp and 3DMax to insert an exhibition space into a city while burning the CASA logo into the street network. CityEngine is a notable step forward for ESRI, both in terms of visualisation and analysis, linking it with Lumion and SketchUp allows it to be taken even further, towards the ultimate city creation toolkit...


  1. Nice work guys.
    this stuff looks nice. But real urban design, civil engineering, statutory and strategic planning work requires focus at the human scale. Humans are what it is all about.
    The Urban Engine is all about getting down to street level user experience - cars, bikes and people - because that is where we live.
    Feel free to contact us via to have a go any time. We will send you a link.
    We love City Engine, SketchUp and Max too - and it all fits into the same workflow. However, we tend to take real data from GIS / LIDAR / survey / CAD design and push that through as a context (via FBX) then start importing revitt / max / sketchup proposals into this base. This is what the Victorian Government now use on a daily basis in house for development assessment. We have also built a "2.5D" building volumetric tool to allow real simple forms to be made in about 12 seconds (easier than sketchup) - to be used live in meetings.
    Dr Ben Guy

  2. Sander12:03 PM

    the 3-way marriage between Lumion, Cityengine and Sketchup (or other 3d modelling software)is a powerful one. I think it benefits from the same things: the ease and speed to create beautiful things. A pity there aren't many cga rulefiles available to use, I see you're still using the 2010 standard template as are many people. The emphasis is too much on possibilities of the program and integration with other software instead of creating real usable content. Creating a rulefile yourself is imo still too hard.