I’m excited to share this release with you, because it has some amazing improvements. Here are my top 3 new features:
Visibility control of Linked Models. Basically, you can now turn individual models on and off like you would in Glue or Navisworks, and you can override colours! Those colour overrides can be saved into a viewpoint or issue. This is a massive enhancement.
Phases Support like Revit. There are some really nice visual effects possible, now that Revizto can show you Existing and subsequent phases, along with various phase filters. This opens up a range of new possibilities for sharing and discussing work in and around existing buildings. You can now ‘markup’ a demolition phase directly in the model, and assign issues to get items resolved quicker.
Clickable Links on Sheets. For sheets you export from Revit, you can now immediately jump to the related views by using the view symbol hyperlink, just like you would in Revit.
As you can see, the integration with Revit is getting tighter. This means Revizto is now even stronger for fully in-house review workflows, like model review and drawing markup within an Architectural firm. Of course, Revizto remains my favourite way to handle coordination for large multi-discipline teams, whether that be design coordination or services coordination tasks.
This image shows how you use the new Objects dialog to select ‘Links’ and then override the colours and visibility of each linked model:
What’s new in Revizto 4.4 release:
– Ability to color code links, categories and levels. New “Objects” dialog.
– Visibility control of linked models and individual objects.
– Phases support from Revit.
– Tag management system for the Issue Tracker.
– Clickable links on sheets.
– Console app for getting XLS reports from the Issue Tracker.
– Ability to attach new file formats to issues. The complete list of supported formats: pdf, txt, csv, xls, xlsx, doc, docx, jpg, png.
– Interface improvement. 3D tab: reconfigured toolbar.
– Brand new installer. Minor updates will come through as patches, containing only the differences and therefore being much less in size.
– Rhino support (direct plugin in Rhino).
Good Revit Content management does not come immediately or without forethought. Unifi are giving you another chance to review some best-practice content management principles at an upcoming webinar. It should be very interesting to hear about some of the productivity and functionality improvements that are becoming available to allow you to manage your BIM content more effectively.
Sometimes you will want to duplicate a Revizto project, perhaps for archive or testing purposes, or to re-share it with a new team. This post shows you how to do it quickly and properly.
Load Full Cache by clicking Edit, then the yellow hamburger:
Double-click to Open the Project
Click Project and Save As
Give it a new name
If you want it to be a cloud project, you now need to Sync it to the cloud now. Currently it is just stored on your machine and the issue ids will not have populated. Just press Share, and then hit the Upload button at the bottom of that screen
That’s it, you now have a full copy of all 2D, 3D and issue information from the original Revizto project. You will have to invite new users to this project if you want them to be able to collaborate. Your existing project and users will be unaffected.
Archvision have a new beta 3D RPC creator service available. You can upload a 3D file and the service will generate a 3D RPC. Place this in the correct location, and you can use that RPC directly in Revit.
Basically, you will need to consider the detail and quality of your content, as well as its purpose. Do I have highly detailed content that I want to render? The above will likely be quicker than modelling in vanilla Revit family geometry, and the result will be lightweight. However, aside from overall size it will be more difficult to handle any kind of parametric modification of the content.
Design is a funny thing. The word itself carries a certain weight, it is somehow deliberate and exciting at the same time. Yet, so often design is let down by the poor translation or communication of ideas. You may have an excellent ‘design’ in your mind, but displaying or presenting that to a client is an entirely different matter. Every designer faces the same challenge of communicating their design ideas in a thoroughly engaging way: whether the communication be to their clients, other stakeholders or even as part of their own internal design process.
This is a site about Revit, but this article is about discovering new possibilities, new ways to express your design, new ways to add context, realism and reality. It is also about a powerful piece of software called Lumion– a design communication tool that I personally use and have used for quite a few years. Thecombination of Revit and Lumion give architects a complete toolkit for modeling, understanding, sharing, adjusting and presenting their design.
So, what is Lumion? Recently, I was speaking to the Chief Operating Officer of Act–3D, (the parent company of Lumion), Roger Hammond. He told a me a very heartening story about the development of this piece of software…
Often we don’t immediately recognise the full potential of a new, beautiful idea. Roger describes that Lumion was initially designed to be a powerful presentation tool, but Architects soon discovered that it can also shift the way they design in very positive ways. He describes how a new user of Lumion can easily get comfortable with the basic concepts of the software, even those who are not ‘technical’ or especially comfortable with computers. Yet, once they start using Lumion, they get to grips with it easily and quickly learn to iterate design changes and brief clients more rapidly and smoothly. Lumion gives a certain realism and context to your design that can assist you to modify and improve the design internally, before it is even time to present it to anyone.
We often become so used to a way of working that we almost feel like there is no other way, or that perhaps we already have the best way. Yet, if that were true, innovation would not be a reality. Sometime, disruption is necessary. So if you have an established way of designing and communicating, take this opportunity to re–evaluate as I reviewLumion.
The user interface itself is nice and clean and easy to read and understand. As someone used to complicated programs like Revit and AutoCAD, this is a welcome breath of fresh air to me. Rather than present you with an overwhelming and detailed set of buttons, Lumion allows you to progress your digital presentation in stages, from Building to Materials and Lighting and Presenting and so on.
In this way, the development of your design and your presentation output can be very logical and layered. You can import your design from a variety of different programs and platforms (like Sketchup and ArchiCAD, not just Revit), and once imported you can add people, trees, and soft and hard landscaping. You can sculpt the site topography and add water and grass areas. Once you feelcomfortable, you can dig deeper, modify lighting, adjust materials, add special effects, work on camera angles…
And finally, you can display your design in some truly simple yet beautiful and intuitive ways. The key thing is not to be afraid. You can’t break things in Lumion, it is not a imposing or complicated environment. Navigation is straightforward, nothing is very complicated. As you use it, extra functionality will reveal itself. It is a tool that has been built for designers, and its development has been shaped by their feedback. Roger recalls that it is not uncommon for users to say that “Lumion has changed my business”, and there are plenty of ‘wow’ moments. For example you can add the ocean to your scene with just one click…
We have experienced this realisation at Virtual Built. Recently, we have been demonstrating Virtual Reality tools to our clients. However, in some programs it can be difficult to populate a scene quickly and then output to a suitable VR platform. This is not the case in Lumion, as the included content means you can get up–and–running quickly. If you have a few basic building models, you can add site context and a few nice little details like a truck or a crane to create a site utilisation model, and then output to a number of different VR panoramic formats.
I have been using Lumion over a number of years and different versions, so I was excited to see theupdates and new features available in Lumion7. The major new features are listed below, and we will dig into each feature and uncover the new opportunities they present.
Lumion7 New Features OpenStreetMap (OSM) is an online resource that stores 3D building models along with map information like roads and water areas. In the past, I have used many methods to try to get a locality plan or model created, and it can be quite clunky and challenging. However, in Lumion7, this is now completely automated. Using the OpenStreetMap import, in just a few minutes you can have a realistic map in Lumion to locate your building models, and it will even have adjacent 3D building models as well! It will automatically ‘cut out’ your own building model from the OSM data. The OSM function in Lumion7 is still Beta functionality, but it can already be very useful to quickly add context or a background to your design.
To get started with OSM in Lumion, just:
Start Landscape mode (left side flyout menu) and turn the OSM switch ‘On’
Click the Longitude / Latitude area to bring up a searchable map
Search for your location
Set the import Range and press Download
Tip: hold Shift + Spacebar and use arrow keys to move quickly on large sites
Check out this page for more information on OpenStreetMap and Lumion.
New Features for Weathering and Foliage
Building models sometimes appear ‘flat’ due to the way various platforms handle materials. However, in Lumion7 you can now remove the coldness of computer–generated imagery by seeking out edges, roughness and other properties of natural materials to make them look like they’ve been around a while. My associate here at Virtual Built, Michael Clothier, recently used this to add realism to an important theatre building in Adelaide that is currently under construction.
You can also cover models with leaves or add weathering, ageing and transparency. Even transform any object into thousands of leaves or add ivy to a wall… These tools are implemented through the Material Editor, so the workflow is logical but the effect is quite impressive indeed.
Here are some examples:
To get started with these tools:
Enter the Material editor
Select a object to change
Set a Material from theLumion Library, and double–click on it
In the editing pane, you will find the tools on the right…
Then, simply drag the sliders until you have the desired look and feel
Sometimes, the available Lighting tools in presentation software can be quite limiting. Happily, in Lumion7 you can now add light strips or area lighting, meaning you can go beyond simply ‘spot lights’. I really enjoy adding these new lights, because as usual they can be edited with sliders, and you can view theeffect in real–time… there is no need to wait for a lengthy rendering and then realise the lights were switched off 🙂
To get started with the new Light types, open the Object pane:
Then select the Area Lights tab:
Place the light and then modify the sliders until you have the desired effect:
You can use Lumion to share a navigable panorama to anyone who owns a smartphone. It is incredibly simple and powerful and is one of the features I hinted at earlier in the article. It is something that allows you to put your design on display in a new way, and get valuable client feedback and engagement. Then, you can quickly iterate the design and send them a new link.
We have used this to create sets of views for various stakeholders, but the key thing is really how easy and quick it is. You don’t have to print something or even save an image and find it on your hard disk. You can do all of this creation and sharing in just a few clicks. We have found it to be a real game–changer.
Summary There is no software program available that can automatically interpret a client’s design brief, provide suitable visualisations, interpret client feedback, and iterate this process while learning at each step. A good Designer can do this. But with the right tools, parts of that process become much easier. As a designer, you will be able to interpret the brief and interpret client feedback. With Lumion, you can quickly and easily present your design, in context, and in a multitude of rich, realistic, immersive ways. By thus improving the way you communicate and iterate your designs, you designs themselves will improve. And your client satisfaction level will soar…
So I recommend that you give Lumion a try. And be ready to be surprised 🙂
Guide 1: Using Lumion in Virtual Reality Workflows Lumion VR Lumion VR viewer is no longer supported, instead you can render static images for viewing on a variety of VR platforms. I will provide some notes on how you can do this below.
Using A Mobile App like PlainVR
Render VR Panorama images (these will be 360 degree jpg files). You can use default 64mm eye to eye and 360 slices
Embedding VR to a Website with VR View
Google has kindly provided a web service for rendering images in VR, its called VR View. After creating your stereoscopic image, you can follow these steps to embed it into your site:
Note: in Blogger, after you add an ampersand character to the code, it converts it to some other characters. basically, you can’t ‘edit’ after you input the code, if you publish it directly it won’t replace to & and it works…
Using Oculus with Lumion
To do this:
Render a 360 jpg file from Lumionthen
View it in a panorama viewing app, such as Oculus Photos
Guide 3: Installation and Links
If you would like to get started using Lumion, here are some steps to get you started quickly:
Verify your computer Click here to see if your PC is suitable for Lumion Click here to see the general system requirements for Lumion. Click here to install the latest graphics card software and all available Windows updates.
Get the download manager
You will get a special email that lets you download the software… Lumion7 Viewer will be released later. An update e–mail with download information will be sent as soon as the viewer is released
Double–click on the Download Manager to run it.
Follow the instructions to install Lumion. Click here if you have any problems.
Register your license
You can register your License Key to a forum account.
You can now get technical support on theLumion Support Forum
I love unique tools. In the BIM world, we are presented with a wide array of visualization software, each supposedly better than the last. But I am interested in something that has real power, that is truly unique, something that can give me and my work an edge over the competition. And Lumion is one of those unique, powerful tools.
It is fast, easy to use, and the visuals are so immediately pleasing. In just a few minutes, you can go from a Revit model with links and topography, into a beautiful 3D environment. There is a huge library of People, Trees and Vehicles included with Lumion that can be placed immediately into the scene. The more time you spend working up the scene, the better and more realistic it looks.
During the preparation of this article, Lumion 6.3 was released. I have made an effort to discuss key points from that new release here. The big new feature of 6.3 is that Lumion now supports Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift! Find out more at this link.
So that’s the quick summary, but how does Lumion integrate with a real Revit environment? What considerations are there when working on federated models? What tips and tricks did I discover along the way? Read on to find out…
This review is divided into the following major sections:
Real World Use
Summary of New Features
Specific Tips and Workflows
Real World Use
If you want a quick overview of what can be achieved, check out this Showcase page on the Lumion website.
Lumion uses a live rendering engine, so effects and animations all essentially occur in real time. This means that you need a decent computer, with a good graphics card, if you want to get the most out of Lumion. I tested Lumion on my 2 year old workstation, with these specs:
Intel Core i7-4930K (6 cores, 12 HyperThreaded) CPU
NVIDIA Quadro K4000, 3gb GDDR5, driver 353.62
Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB + 3tb secondary drive
The above specs were more than acceptable for my use, but you may find that a newer gaming graphics card would compensate for a current mid-range system with less RAM.
Lumion imports a number of native 3D formats, including FBX and DWG. However, there is also a Revit export addin (called the Revit to Lumion Bridge) available that gives better optimization to the exported 3D data. I found the addin very quick to use, even on a large site with multiple buildings. After exporting into one container DAE file, you then use the Import option in Lumion to bring that model into the current Scene.
If you have some well developed Topography in Revit already, you probably just want to ‘feather’ the edges of the Lumion Terrain. A Lumion scene is made up of a number of parts, but it always has a base Lumion land surface (that could be flat or modelled to really any land form), and then you typically have a model imported from some other software, following which you would usually add content and entourage to the scene, such as People, Trees and Vehicles.
After you have imported a model and integrated into it into the scene, I feel that it is very rewarding to add some content to the scene immediately. The large library of content allows you to quickly get a ‘look and feel’ happening that will help drive the artistic process from this point forward.
I say “artistic process”, because that is actually how Lumion makes me feel – like an artist, not like a boring BIM technician. And that is a good thing! Rather than wrestling with the usual mind-draining, complicated Revit modelling tasks, Lumion is like a breath of fresh air. The payoff is immediate, unlike some other rendering workflows that often require many hours of material mapping before anything remotely aesthetic can be generated.
From Navisworks via FBX
I thought it might be interesting to try and play with a relatively basic building form or mass, and see how Lumion can make even basic geometry look quite impressive. To start with, I used a model in Navisworks of Room spaces (which were exported from Revit via NWC). Then I exported these Room masses from Navisworks to FBX.
The resulting FBX file was 167mb.
I opted to try the Mountains in Spring scene template. The water in Lumion is nothing short of beautiful. Its almost too good to try and demonstrate with a screen capture, but I’m going to try anyway… Keep in mind that as you navigate in Lumion, the water is moving and rippling and lapping away at the smooth stones. Amazing!
In just a few minutes, I had trees, a power boat, a sunbaking man, and even a fish, horse, and offshore wind turnbine placed in the scene. Lumion has this potential for rapid, beautiful scene development that is unparalleled in my experience.
Modifying Placed Objects
The Lumion interface is clean and uncluttered. Sometimes, you will ‘discover’ how something works in Lumion, and it will just make sense. For example, if you are trying to move a Person and can’t select them, keep in mind that you should pick the object Category from the bottom-left corner of the window, and then you will be able to modify objects of that Category.
Modifying the Environment
I was impressed with the fact that the sun height is extremely easy to modify, to get things looking just right, as the screencast below shows:
Key points to remember
Some of the features added in Lumion 6.0.1 and 6.3 are focused a lot on improving the image quality, which means you are getting the very best output from the scene creation work that you undertake. Another key differentiating feature of Lumion is the overall ease-of-use. It does not feel like a complicated piece of software, and it allows you to get up and running quickly. Then, as you learn more about Lumion, you can progressively discover the additional features that are just below the surface of the main user interface.
Summary of New Features
Lumion 6.3 now supports the rendering of VR panoramas for Gear VR and Oculus, and it is very simple to use. First, press the MyLumion button, Set a Viewpoint, then click Render VR Panorama:
For Oculus Rift, choose LumionVR to render an LVR file:
You can watch as the renderer works its way through the left eye and right eye:
Finally, open that file in the LumionVR viewer (included with your Lumion 6.3 installation) and interact with the scene using the Oculus Rift.
There are also some key aesthetic additions that became available during the releases of Lumion 6 through 6.3, and the imagery below gives you an idea of what each effect can accomplish once applied to your projects.
Basic Use Download and Installation details
Download size: 6.26gb
Installed size: 14.6gb
On first launch, Lumion will benchmark your system so that it can self-configure the best performance settings for your particular hardware.
After the benchmark you will be presented with this Start screen, which will allow you to quickly create projects for a variety of different scenes and enviroments:
Specific Tips and Workflows
We allwork in different ways. And we all have our own artistic style. So when considering how to best integrate Lumion with an existing design and presentation workflows, there will obviously be some variations. But essentially, you will take models from a content creation suite (such as Revit) into Lumion, and then perform various tasks such as site modelling and adding entourage, after which you will tune various presentation style settings and export to a video or still image.
You can read a real world example of how UK architectural practice Lovelock Mitchell has made Lumion a part of their day-to-day design pipeline at this link. I could certainly identify with this comment that Michael Chevasco made in the article: “If you like the visualization side of architecture like I do, then you might find experimenting with Lumion artistically rewarding, for example, positioning the sun just right to create a certain mood, or the getting the wind to blow through the grass in a scene. I enjoy those things and Lumion makes it easy.”
Archvision has a great reputation for providing quality Entourage RPC content and extensions to Revit, historically to assist you in creating more impressive presentation images and renderings. More recently, they have branched out to focus more on being a BIM content leader, including the development and release of their DETAIL WAREHOUSE app and content. This has been improved with recent updates, including the provision of DWG versions of this detail library.
A couple of months ago, Archvision partnered with AXYZ Design to now provide more high quality 3D people as part of the RPCs available to Archvision users (but purchased under a separate license). The official name of this product is “AXYZ Design 3D Human Characters Collections”.
For more information on the AXYZ partnership, DETAIL WAREHOUSE App Store release, and DWG availability, please see links, images and embedded press releases below.
Tekla has issued an XML file containing preset IFCsettingsforexport to Revit, specifically for Coordination. In some cases, this may already be available on your system, but in other regions you may have to install it manually.
Unzip the XML into this folder on all PC’s running Tekla Structures:
Note: you may need to adjust the above path to suit your Region
Once this file is included in the folder mentioned above it will be available in all projects. When the user goes to File – Export – IFC they will have a pre-saved setting named “RevitCoordination”. The user simply Loads that setting and exports the parts needed.
This “RevitCoordination” setting also is setup to export additional property sets for Design Workflow data that is entered into the member properties (ie. Beam, Column etc.) in Tekla Structures.