Aerial imagery and 3D models are extremely powerful visual tools. Often, these are used primarily in early design and master planning. Some software tools connect directly to aerial imagery and 3D data providers. Unfortunately, Google has not really opened up the connection to their base 3D data. But we can capture imagery from it, and then rebuild in another photo-to-mesh tool, like Recap Photo. Keep in mind that you will be creating a 3D mesh, from an isometric 3D world view, which was created only from aerial images. Basically, your output will vary, and will probably not be high quality. But for the intended use in early design and master planning, the below workflow may be useful…
Note: Please investigate the license and copyright of this data for such use.
- Open your desired 3D isometric aerial imagery in desired application (such as Google Earth, Google Maps or similar)
*Note: User to be aware of relevant copyright restrictions
- Open ScreenToGif (downloads here). This is used to create snapshot images of the screen very quickly.
- Setup the scene, so that you have the ScreenToGif window appropriately overlaid onto your actual imagery
- Start recording, and slowly orbit at least 360 degrees as shown
- In ScreenToGif, open the image folder
- Convert the images from PNG to JPG (I used Irfanview Batch Convert)
- Load into Recap Photo, make new Object project, spend 12 cloud credits and start the mesh creation
- After meshing, in Recap use the measurement scale tool to scale the model based on the distance between two known points
- Export the 3D Model from Recap. Various formats are available. In this case, I exported directly to FBX with Y-Up and imported straight to Revizto. You could also import FBX to AutoCAD and then to Revit, or you could bring it into Meshmixer first to delete some parts of the model via OBJ.
In Revizto, the direct FBX import looks like this:
Sheet overlay in Revizto. Simply with a PDF and some freely available aerial imagery, we now have a 3D collaboration workspace ready to go:
I have been chatting with one or two industry insiders over at Autodesk recently, and there are some pretty big changes coming to the BIM360 fraternity of products. For the most part, it seems like these will be very welcome improvements. However, it may have an impact on how you run projects through BIM360, and so it might be advisable to check out the upcoming BIM360 webinar (link). Details below:
Stay up to date with everything new in BIM 360. Each month, join us and the BIM 360 Product Team to find out how you can take advantage of the most recent and upcoming product updates.
• Learn how BIM 360 can help you improve project delivery
• Stay up to date with the newest features
• Get early insights into what’s coming in the next updates
• Participate in Q&A with the BIM 360 Product Team
• Get the resources you need to be successful
If you are new to BIM 360, check out our product overview before the webinar and bring your questions.
Copy & Paste the following url into your web browser:
As you probably know, Forge is kind of like Autodesk’s way of opening up a model API for anything and anybody to connect to (over-simplified description, I know).
If you do want to start playing with Forge, Autodesk Forge Web Services APIs.
has put together a whole lot of boilerplate code that you can deploy on Heroku. He has shared a collection of node.js-based boiler projects for the
The main page includes step-by-step workflows on how to get started, deploy the code, and test the framework:
Check it out at:
The whole C4R thing with link files is a bit of a challenge at the moment. It will get better, but for now, there are at least two things that don’t match typical desired project delivery:
- We essentially have a ‘high trust’ environment, which applies to everyone who is invited to a C4R project. High trust in this context means anyone can edit anything, if they have Editor permissions for the project.
- Also, we don’t have folder structures for Revit files that have been initiated on C4R – they are all in the root folder. However, we can store Revit files in subfolders as a kind of dumb link file (not a collaborative model).
So, until it does get better… how do we use the Desktop Connector to link files from a non-C4R folder structure, into a C4R initiated file?
Basically, you take these steps:
- Use Windows Explorer and the Autodesk Desktop Connector to manage your files and folder structure. Navigate to your BIM 360 Team project, add folders, and drag and drop Revit files into those folders.
- Then, in Revit, in the Import / Link dialog, you can select the ‘BIM 360 Team’ link from the drop down list. You will notice some special things happening after you link one of these files.
- Finally, you can observe the new ‘cloud’ pathed Revit models in the Manage Links dialog box. The saved path should start with Autodesk Drive:// and the Path Type is Cloud.
What does this all mean? Really, it just means the workarounds are getting slightly better. We don’t need to maintain a separate cloud storage repository for Revit models (like Box) just for the link files. And we shouldn’t need to go through too much pain to update the link models. Just drag-and-drop the new Revit link model into the correct folder in the Desktop Connector to update the link for everyone in the team.
This feature also works with things other than Revit files. So you can use the same process to store DWG files on BIM 360 Team and link them into your Revit model.
And the same process can be used for things like:
- Keynoting Settings
- Shared Parameter files
- Assembly Code Settings
- Material Libraries
Pretty much any project-linked resource can now be stored in the cloud, shared with a team, and linked into Revit.
Over the years, Autodesk has provided various means for us to access, sync, backup and share files. Most recently we used “A360 Desktop” (see end of this post) and more recently “A360 Drive“. Autodesk recently released the Autodesk Desktop Connector, which allows you to:
- Manage remote files from your desktop
- Connect to Team Hubs
- Work offline or online
Desktop Connector gives you access to your production A360 data. Using Desktop Connector to modify files that reside in production A360 will automatically sync changes, updating your production file in A360.
You will see a link on your BIM 360 Team hub like this:
You can install from here which links to these downloads (Help page for install here).
You need to sign in:
You should now see a BIM 360 Team link in Windows Explorer:
You can use the tray icon to “Work Offline”.
Release notes here
Getting Started guide here
Some notes about A360 Desktop retirement
A360 Desktop older versions will get this message:
A360 Desktop current versions:
- A360 desktop Windows Updater: All users except 2018 AutoCAD products
- A360 desktop Windows Updater: For AutoCAD 2018 product users only
A360 Desktop Expiration link:
A while back I posted about how to setup and deploy Collaboration for Revit. Things are moving quickly in this space, as more projects now need concurrent access to centralized models from a distributed team (say that quickly 5 times!)
Here is an updated list of a few best-practices for initial C4R project setup:
- generally its a good idea to do a Reload Latest before Sync with Central
- its best to be on the most current versions of Revit and their C4R extensions
- baseline all workstations to the latest ISV certified drivers, reinstall the C4R v6 components using the .exe installer and flush all 4 caches being – CollaborationCache, PacCache, Communicator, User Temp Dir. This will ensure all workstations are at exactly the same Revit environment.
- confirm that traffic to/from pubnub.com is successfully moving across your firewalls to/from the C4R workstations? That’s an important requirement for the Communicator panel; a key reliability and performance enhancement depends on this connectivity and without it the Communicator will fall back on an earlier implementation behavior which is known to be less reliable.
- ADSK recommends that all users should use the personal accelerator.
- To the best of each user’s ability, ADSK recommends self-scheduling SWC activity by using the Communicator timeline to avoid syncing when another user is syncing. See images below to help the team understand why this is important.
- The success of this project likely hinges on the team’s ability to develop a way to coordinate SWC activity, as poor SWC scheduling is responsible for the major pain point for project teams. It should also be noted that the most egregious cases of poor SWC performance are due to users failing to self-schedule their SWC activity. When multiple SWC operations are in-flight simultaneously, Revit must go through multiple RL phases to maintain model and data integrity. this has the effect of greatly expanding SWC time, which is why we recommend that users check in the Communicator panel to see if a SWC is already in progress before attempting one. See the attached pptx for an explanation of why this is important.
- Please review this Link here to understand the Proxy Server settings to unblock Autodesk A360 services
- Please use this Link here for Proxy Server and domain exceptions for A360
- The table below provide further information on minimum system requirements.
- Note the connectivity speeds:
Sync with Central diagrams
As you can see below, when SWCs ‘overlap’ there is a performance hit. Good C4R management will require:
- attempting to sync on a schedule… because modelling projects are easy to schedule, right?
- using the Communicator (or some other IM tool) to keep team informed that you are syncing / about to sync. You could use a Slack channel per RVT for this?
I have added the above information to the Best Practices section of the Revit Collaboration Public Help notebook I created:
Autodesk is looking at using “machine learning to automate speech and image recognition, make photos and videos searchable using system generated (automated) SmartTags, and to provide metrics on project safety, productivity and quality.”
Investment in Smartvid.io. Today Boston-based construction-focused startup Smartvid.io founder Josh Kanner announced the close of the company’s Series A funding round for which Autodesk is a proud investor. Smartvid.io embraces machine learning to automate speech and image recognition, make photos and videos searchable using system generated (automated) SmartTags, and to provide metrics on project safety, productivity and quality. The investment is expected to accelerate the delivery of AI to the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry and the built environment as a whole. Smartvid.io is also now integrated into Autodesk’s BIM 360 software. Mr. Kanner was the co-founder of Vela Systems, which ultimately became Autodesk BIM 360 Field after Kanner’s company was acquired by Autodesk.
Going back in time, there was 123D Catch and related processing engines. Basically, it was a tool that took photos and turned them into something real in 3D. There was also something called Remake.
Now, we have Recap Photo, which basically does the same things. Over time, the processing engines have improved. Recap Photo is part of your Recap Pro licence, and now integrated into your Recap Pro install. It looks something like this when you install the latest version of Recap (I downloaded the web installer from manage.autodesk.com):
Once installed, you can start the standalone ReCap Photo app:
Features of ReCap Photo include:
- A new photogrammetry engine that can process up to 1,000 photos, a 4x improvement from the previous maximum of 250 photos (note: using the cloud service consumes Autodesk Cloud Credits)
- The ability to set GPCs (Ground Control Points, survey points) in any coordinate system.
- New functionality to support vertical and nadir photos (photos taken by drones and UAVs at 90 degrees above the site)
- View your 3D photo-textured mesh
- View the geolocated orthographic view, zoom in and out, and add measurements, tags, and annotations.
- Share the project, including its additional metadata (measurements, tags, annotations), with anyone.
- Merge laser scan point clouds with UAV-based point clouds.
From this post http://blogs.autodesk.com/recap/introducing-recap-photo/
In case you missed it, the AEC Collection now includes:
- Revit Live
- Robot Structural Analysis Professional
- Structural Bridge Design
- Dynamo Studio
- Advance Steel
- Fabrication CADmep
You should find these in your Autodesk account after logging in.
Quote from In The Fold:
Here are some highlights of what we’re adding to the AEC Collection.
In the new Collection, you’ll find Revit Live. Revit Live allows you to visualize your Revit models by turning them into immersive visual experiences. You can even take your designs into a virtual reality environment—in just two clicks of your mouse.
Also included is world-class analysis and computational design software. Robot Structural Analysis Professional and Structural Bridge Design work with Revit to extend your capabilities to perform structural analysis for any structure. And, you can now access the Dynamo Studio standalone programming environment to help solve challenges faster by automating workflows that drive the geometry and behavior of your design models.
Finally, the AEC Collection now extends capabilities from design to fabrication. Interoperable with Revit and Navisworks, we’ve added Advance Steel and Fabrication CADmep to the Collection so you can conceive, model and fabricate better MEP and structural steel systems on an integrated platform.
Original post: http://blogs.autodesk.com/inthefold/aec-collection-additions/
If you are using more than one Autodesk SSO, you may come across this problem…
- After a Windows Update or something similar, Revit is not responsive after first launch. Clicking has no effect, but there is no dialog shown either.
- You may investigate the process details and determine that LMU.exe is thrashing, and you could look at log file in C:\ProgramData\FLEXnet and see it growing. You can also observe something like this in the Revit Journal file:
‘C 08-Aug-2017 14:53:49.479; 0:< manage licensing
‘C 08-Aug-2017 14:54:03.845; 0:< License checkout failed: 20
‘C 08-Aug-2017 14:54:03.845; 0:< License cleanup skipped
- This is telling us there is a licensing problem. In this case, a perpetual license has somehow become deactivated. What is the fix?
You need to login with Autodesk SSO login credentials that have the Perpetual license for that product available…
To do this:
- Start Revit Viewer for the same year version that is causing the problem, such as Revit Viewer 2015
- Use the top right panel to logout and login with the correct SSO (login credentials)
- Then, attempt to launch the full Revit application
- It should re-activate itself now that the correct login credentials have been used
- You can probably switch back to other credentials now that the activation has occurred
You can also use the A360 icon to sign in, this may be more reliable in some cases:
Yet another situation where you need to know What Revit Wants 🙂