Tutorial Notes – 01 Essential Skills

Figure 1: Buildings with random parameters generated from the same rule file. (click to see larger image)


Creating New Projects, Navigating the Viewport, Object Selection and a short explanation of Rule Based Modeling.  A rule file is assigned to a multiple shapes, and buildings with random parameters are generated.


  • Create a Project
  • Create A New Scene within the project
  • Copy any needed assets and rules to your project folder
  • Grow a street network from Graph > Grow Streets
  • View layers in the Scene Editor window
  • Frame the scene extent (button or F key)
  • Set navigation scheme (setup how to use mouse or other device) with Exit > Preferences and scheme under Navigation Devices > Mouse
  • Tumble/Pan/Zoom views with mouse button and alt key or scrolling the mouse wheel
  • Framing options with the Frame button or F on keyboard; zoom to components by clicking on them and pressing F
  • Selecting individual or groups of objects with F9-12 keys or nav buttons:  showing and hiding layers makes selection easier when there are many layers
    • F9 Map Layers
    • F10 Graph Networks
    • F11 Shapes (blocks)
    • F12 Models
  • Select indivdual objects or groups of objects:
    • With left click on individual object
    • Selection Rectangle right to left: all objects touched or inside
    • Selection Rectangle left to right: only elements completely within the rectangle
    • The select tool options, ctl + shift to toggle; add/subtract/invert selection
  • Use the Selection Menu by clicking the dropdown next to the Selection tool on the toolbar (represented with an arrow). Use to add to, subtract from or invert selections.
  • Right Click on a scene for select operations including select objects from different layers; objects of the same type or from the same group, and; objects using the same start rule or rule file.
  • Generating models with rules/procedures
  • Assigning rules to shapes using the Rules inspector or by right-clicking on a layer in the Scene editor.
  • Generate models using the Generate button on the toolbar.
  • Create model varations of randomized objects by using the seed value in the information inspector or the update seed button, or ctl+shift+g
  • Changing randomized rule values in the Rules inspector
    NOTE: there are differences between CE2016 and the video
  • Opening and editing Rules in the rule editor window
  • Visualize rules as text or visually using CGA nodes.
    NOTE: In CityEngine 2016, this is done by clicking Window > Show Model Hierarchy, selecting the model and then the Inspect Model button on the toolbar.
  • Navigate through the Model Hierarchy
    NOTE:  the video describes changing rule parameters in the Model Hierarchy, which is not available in CE 2016. Instead, triple-left clicking will bring you to the corresponding code in the Rule Editor window.

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