Microstation SS3 - with same render engine as Modo 501

The Luxology render engine has been part of Microstation since 2008, and there has been a large number of enhancements and new  features in this period.  The last couple of months I've been beta testing the "SS3" version of Microstation using the same render engine as in the newest build of Luxology Modo 501.  This version of the render engine is a faster and better render engine than anything I've ever used, and among new features are:

Bokeh effects

Improved procedural textures, including occlusion shaders (concavity/convexity etc)

Shadow catcher materials

Traffic animation tools

...and many other exciting new features that will make Microstation one of the most complete CAD apps ever made.

Here are some of my Microstation V8i SS3 test renderings made in the Beta period, most of them making use of some of the new features in the render engine:


my attempt to make a realistic looking tiger:


then some Bokeh tests:


improved speed makes rendering refractive materials much faster (glass and fluids):

I know there is a bit to much noise in the background, I should have had a bit more patience and higher AA sample settings...


More subtle use of Bokeh:



Procedural concavity Occlusion materials can create interesting effects:


there is a lot of new possibilities now using instances with the new Populate Contents tools - great improvement!:


Here I've used Populage Contents with a Cell made of a couple of hexagons and some self-made grass materials.  Using instances makes this scene with hundreds of cells render just as quick as a scene with a handful of cells/instances.:


An all-in-one material test - the model is just one simple rectangle:


another all-in-one material:

And one more all-in-one material with a small tutorial (perhaps more useful?):


A simple droplets test.  I've just modeled one drop and its been spread around, rotated and scaled using the Populate Contents tool:

Another experiment with Populate Contents:


Bump has been improved, here a bump droplets test:


can't remember what this test wass all about...:


Water caustics renders very fast in the new improved Luxology render (try to do this in Maxwell render)  Less than 10 minutes rendering time:

displacement water test:

Displacement city test (model is just a simple rectangle - everything lays in the displacement map!)


The last one is not really a Christmas rendering - but the closest I can come right now!  Merry Christmas everyone!


(I'm still a noob with animations - but you can find some of my very simple tests HERE)








  • Could you list the settings for the grass render from just a few or one shapes? It would save my life if you did! Finding this stuff at the moment we are including significant landscape planwork in our production stuff is one giant relief!

  • I wish that the 3D Warehouse integration in MicroStation would automatically find buildings that are within a fence placed in a geo-located model... The advanced search tool in 3D Warehouse can do this (search by geographic location); creating the appropriate search string using the current model's geographic location could be fairly easy to implement for Bentley.

    My project area is the north half of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, USA - corridor approximately 8 miles long and 1 mile wide, with a world-famous skyline as the backdrop.  Google's 3D Warehouse has several buildings along the corridor, but the collection is far from complete - Google Earth itself uses any models created and submitted by random people using SketchUp or Building Maker, but then supplements the building collection with "gray buildings" provided by mapping company Sanborn.  The Sanborn building models are not downloadable through 3D Warehouse - but Sanborn will sell us the Chicago dataset that they have (including the buildings and a slew of other stuff) for something like $37,000 (USD).  IF we are awarded the project (we're still in the proposal stage, passed the first cut) then I think we will consider purchasing the Sanborn data to use in our models (we frequently do work for Chicago so it could be re-used on many other projects).

    I know the City's GIS department has a number of ESRI Shapefiles available for download, including a "Buildings" layer, but I haven't checked it yet to see if it includes a height attribute which we could use to automate extruding the building footprint along the Z-axis (this would of course overly simplify the shape of any building that was not a simple extrusion of its own footprint to begin with, but would probably be good enough for 'backdrop' purposes).

    Anyway, thanks for the replies - and thanks Kurt for the inspiring images.  Can't wait for SS3.

  • wow - 0.5 meter is much better than I thought possible from a sattellite!

    We started to model a few city blocks of Oslo's central areas for an urban project the other day, and then we checked Google Warehaous and found that we could actually download pretty complete models in skp format from almost all of the area we are working on.  Great models - and free.

  • Hi Adam,

    Perhaps something like a Depth-Map from one of those GIS sattellites might help?  Or some sort of Rapid Terrain Visualization map?  I think they work on the resolution of 0.5m or something..  Try ringing up few places that sells GIS data, or perhaps someone here knows bit more about this topic?

  • Hello Adam,

    I created the displacement map from a 3d model rendering out a z-depth pass.  I think I downloaded the original 3d model from 3d warehouse or another free site.  This method is not really very useful because you need to already have a 3d model to create maps from...