We live in an age of robotics, drones and automation. And those things can be interesting in their own right. But when it comes to Architecture, some technologies seem to replace warmth and light with cold industrialism. Happily, Enscape is not one of those technologies. Whenever I use Enscape, I feel this effortless artistry at my fingertips. It takes the most basic of ideas and makes them more real, adding depth and light and excitement. Yes, I know that Enscape is essentially an addin, a piece of software that consumes models and renders them in real time. But it is executed so well, that it makes it seem like so much more. And in fact, it really does legitimately enhance the quality of work that you can produce rapidly within your own office.
I have posted about Enscape before in this full review, and in this post about Enscape 1.9. The question is: What does Enscape version 2.0 bring to the table?
One of the most significant enhancements in Enscape 2.0 is an improvement to the lighting engine, a feature that results in more Realistic Lighting. There has been additional thought and development work given to things like indirect lighting, behaviour of reflections, and overall realism. You will likely notice this difference if you open a model you used on previous versions of Enscape and try it with Enscape 2.0.
There is also a really nice new Grass material that looks great and is very easy to use. Along with this, better trees, plants, and other improved RPC replacements have been added.
Improved Navigation Methods:
Hit the M key at any time to activate a mini map:
Also, you can now Right-click on element to orbit around that element.
Performance and Hardware
I was warned that Enscape 2.0 introduce a higher demand on GPU performance due to better visual quality. This may make it necessary to go one step left on the performance slider (e.g. high instead of Ultra) to get the same result and speed than in an older version. Lighting calculation starts at medium and will be quite demanding. “LOW” should be renamed to draft mode because that is what it is. If there are no artificial lights in the project, this is good for a quick walkthrough. My main workstation is a Metabox with a 980GTX graphics card, and I did notice some slowdown when setting Rendering Quality to Ultra. You may have to experiment with your own machine, depending on how good your graphics card is. Just turn the quality slider down a bit to get to the performance that you need.
Also, I have it on good authority that better Performance will be available in a hotfix soon.
Complete List of New Features in Enscape 2.0 for Revit and Sketchup
Here is a complete list of new features and changes made in development of version 2:
Design tweaks for SketchUp lights window
Option to disable grass
Replace the ugliest trees
Change light icon for Sketchup
Implement better realtime DOF (depth of field) method
Try using White Mode with Outlines and Architectural Two-Point Perspective
Also try only using about 5% of Outline slider to see how it makes detail stand out
Recently, I was working as Construction BIM Manager on a significant health project. We worked on the coordination of a very complicated operating theatre fitout with very limited area for services. Architectural elements had been modeled for coordination purposes only, but definitely not for presentation. I was asked to try and quickly produce some images for a media release, and I immediately thought of Enscape. Would it be able to produce something convincing, even though we had no real entourage or materials applied? Below is the result achieved in just a few minutes:
I enjoyed using the white mode as it meant I did not have to spend a lot of time putting materials into the model. To see how this looks with grass and trees, I used similar settings on the sample commercial Architectural Revit project. The image has so much life and range, and it required almost no work at all to produce:
With Version 2.0, Enscape has taken a big step towards exceptional visual quality and realism. Both the Revit and SketchUp versions are updated so no matter which program you currently use, the new features are now available. I hope you enjoy trying out the new version!
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.
BIM is supposed to make things easier and more efficient, right? Then why do we often have to re-do work in different platforms, simply to get the result we want? Surely, we can do better… especially when it comes to high quality rendering and presentation workflows.
One common scenario is that you might export a Revit model to some 3D editing and animation software, perhaps like 3dsMax. Then, you will do some work, modify materials, tweak some lighting perhaps, and then render an image. That image might go into Photoshop where additional Entourage and effects are added. And you do get a kind-of good result. But, what if you change the model? Well, you have to go through multiple steps just to update things. Or, what if you want to take the nice material from Photoshop and bring it back to Revit? That can be a real pain. However, now there is a better way…
I have written about Lumion a few times before. It is a incredibly powerful tool for Architects to present and share designs. However, it may still have suffered a little from the ‘endpoint syndrome’ described above. But that is no longer the case! Now, Lumion offers a Live Link to the Revit model, meaning that work does not have be done over and over again.
After Lumion starts, you will be prompted to start a new scene from the scene templates:
In just a few seconds, it launches showing your Revit model. Seriously, it is really fast! This workflow is so much quicker than an export – import method, and will be familiar to users some of the other popular realtime visualisation solutions out there. You can immediately start navigating in this rendered environment. And of course, you can start building your Lumion scene by adding content from the immense library. However, we really want to focus on LiveSync. How does it work?
Here is a list of some things that work really nicely:
you can move objects in Revit, and they immediately move in Lumion
you can add new objects to Revit, and they will show up in Lumion
you can edit Revit materials, and they will update in Lumion
delete an object in Revit and it disappears from Lumion immediately
you can use terrain tools in Lumion to merge in with your Revit topography
I have created a short video that describes how to get up and running with Lumion 7.3 and LiveSync for Revit. Check it out here:
Further, this new Exporter provides a much tighter integration between Revit materials and Lumion materials:
After you have completed an editing and model building session with LiveSync, what happens next? Well, you can close Revit and Lumion, and Lumion will prompt you to save. It does actually save the embedded LiveSync object. So, later, you can open Lumion and do some scene development work without using Revit.
How smart is this connection? To test it out, I did this:
opened Lumion 7.3
opened a scene that included a LiveSync model
then, I opened Revit with the appropriate Revit model
for some reason, it didn’t update… until I realised that the LiveSync model uses the File Name and Path to determine which model it came from. Because I had used ‘Save As’ on that Revit model and put it somewhere different, the link was broken. I then used a Revit model in the correct location, and Lumion immediately updated the import
This means that using a Revit model in a consistent location will allow easy updating of the Lumion model. You can work independently in Revit or Lumion, and then at any time restart LiveSync to updated the model in Lumion with the changes from Revit. Nice!
LiveSync in action
Video – Moving Objects
Video – Editing Materials
Video – Settings
It is interesting to note that Lumion materials are essentially ‘disabled’ for LiveSync Revit objects.
This makes sense of course, because we are trying to keep as much intelligence as possible in Revit, and leverage the strengths of Lumion for high quality outputs.
If you find that your Revit model is ‘too low’ and embedded into the Lumion terrain, you can globally move it, just as you would with other Imports:
Items in worksets that are closed or invisible by default will not show. What this basically means is that the Lumion LiveSync addin does not work on the specific objects you can see in the current Revit view, but rather it works in a more ‘complete’ sense, showing all objects that would typically be visible in any view.
If you are already using Revit and Lumion, these new additions will make designing much easier and more efficient. If you haven’t used Lumion before, now is definitely time to try it out! This improved connection to Revit, along with the already powerful content creation capability of Lumion, will truly allow design and present in ways you have never even imagined!
From the Press Release: Make changes in Revit® and immediately see them appear live in Lumion!
Lumion LiveSync® provides a real-time high quality 3D view of your Revit® design. This plugin for Revit® creates a live connection with Lumion, so that changes in Revit® can be previewed in real-time in Lumion.
Live synchronization can help you work faster, for example in the early stages of design, when you are making frequent adjustments to your Revit® model.
Lumion 7.3 is a FREE update for Lumion 7 users and the Lumion® plugin 2.0 for Revit® is FREE of charge to anyone.
Lumion Lumion® is easy-to-use, fast, high quality visualization software for architects. It is compatible with almost all 3D CAD software packages such as Revit®, SketchUp®, ArchiCAD®, Allplan® and many others. It offers a full package. With a CAD program plus Lumion you have all you need to make great presentations. It includes sky, water, an extensive library of materials, people, plants, cars and furniture and loads of special effects.
Before Lumion®, rendering used to be really hard. Setting up and completing a render used to take days. With Lumion® you can do it in hours. You can even make last minute changes before a meeting and update your renders in minutes. Anyone can sit down with Lumion® and within 15 minutes learn how to create videos, images and 360 degree panoramas. Lumion.com
For more information contact Linda van Wijk, Director Marketing Communications Lumion.Linda@Lumion.com
Enscape is continuing to develop new and amazing ways to quickly visualise and present your Revit model… and now, your Sketchup models too. I will cover both of these below…
1) A quick look at the Enscape Sketchup Extension
Sketchup is still a solid workhorse in a lot of firms, as it is almost too easy to use. Some architects immediately feel comfortable using Sketchup, where Revit has a bit of a steeper learning curve. Personally, I hope to see more designers moving into Revit for early concept design with massing or adaptive components or Dynamo, but in the meantime there are plenty of people out there building really nice models in Sketchup. Which is why Enscape is releasing this Extension, I suppose!
After installing the Enscape extension for Sketchup (you can see some tips on how to do this at the end of the post), you will probably want to immediately start tweaking settings. As with Revit, you can have the Sketchup window, Enscape window, and Enscape settings all open and ‘live’ at the same time. For some reason, Enscape started with maximum bloom and extremely warm colour temperature, but after tweaking that a bit it started to look really nice as usual:
As Sketchup models are quite light compared to Revit, I was able to run on Ultra settings and the experience was smooth (helps to have a Metabox in this situation of course). Overall, the Experience of using the Extension for Sketchup is almost identical to the Revit plugin implementation, which is great.
You can achieve a really interesting result just by playing with the time of day and the sky orb brightness:
Which leads me to the new features..
2) Enscape 1.9 Platform Updates and Updates for Revit
One of the biggest updates in this latest version is that now Revit Decals are supported. As you probably know, a Revit Decal is basically a flat item that gets stuck onto a flat surface like a Wall. From there, you can pick an image and set the size. Now that Enscape supports this, it is much easier to do things like customised signage, and it can be done very quickly and photorealistically. Previously, I had a challenging workaround through custom RPC, but the support of Decals should make this process much easier for flat elements.
Enscape now also has Oculus Touch support, along with a handy heads-up display when you look at the controls in VR:
Further, more support for Glass and Glazing materials has been added. Essentially, Enscape is working to support every applicable material property from Revit, which is great.
A couple of other things:
you can set the frames per second on exported video
you can ‘move’ the clouds to really get your scene looking just right
you can modify the brightness of Sun, Moon and Stars. It is seriously impressive to set the time to night, and then boost the stars right up. It is quite beautiful 🙂
Here is a video that summarises the updates in 1.9:
Check out this video of the Sketchup plugin in action:
Here is how you can manually the install Enscape Plugin for Sketchup:
1) Download the .rbz file (currently from the Preview / Alpha page). I’m currently using enscape-126.96.36.1993-g355786d.rbz
2) Go to the Extension Manager in Sketchup
3) Choose Install Extension and pick the rbz file
4) Accept the prompts
5) You might have to restart Sketchup. Then you should be able to start Enscape from the Extensions menu:
Revizto completely transformed the way we manage and coordinate BIM projects, and I have posted about it several times before. I’m really pleased to share a very comprehensive PDF help document put together by the team at Revizto.
It goes through all the steps needed to get up and running with Revizto, including setting up your environment, creating and sharing projects, navigating your model, and collaborating in the Issue Tracker.
I’ve been using Revizto for years, but even I learned some things… like this tip about using FBX to get models from Revit LT into Revizto: Revizto supports all versions of Revit starting from 2014 except Revit LT. For Revit LT you can
load models into Revizto via FBX format.
Throughout the document you can click on links to immediately watch videos:
It has fully detailed descriptions of the various control schemes, including controllers for VR, and the general hotkeys:
Every now and then, you come across a software product that makes complete and absolute sense. As a Revit professional, I have spent a lot of time learning howto use Revit: howto play by the rules, and also when to bend them. With all my Revit experience, I recognise that there are some things that just don’t quite work perfectly inRevit. One of these is the rendering and material management process.
Over the years, I have seen rendering inRevit come a long way. You may remember the complete re-tooling of the Material management system a few years back? But even in 2016 and 2017, it is still a time-consuming process that requires a lot of tweaking. Having to wait each time for the result, then tweak settings, then wait again… well, we just don’t have time for that intoday’s world, right?
That is why we have seen a huge increase in the amount of ‘real-time’ rendering tools and engines for Revit and BIM. But the one real-time rendering tool that really makes complete sense for Revit, is Enscape.
If you haven’t heard of it before, here is a quick overview of what it is and how it works…
Basically, Enscape is a real-time rendering engine for Revit. It understands lighting and materials, and enables a plethora of visual effects. To use it, you simply open yourRevit model, and literally just press the Enscape Start button. It will rapidly export the selected 3D scene view to a new Enscape window, and you will be able to walk around in a rendered environment using the default settings.
The first moment you see it in action is really jaw-dropping. Just how fast and smooth it is to go from a drab Revit coordination and documentation environment, tothis bright and colourful, photorealistic world – it is something you really need to see with your own eyes. But, the ‘wow’ moment is really just the beginning…
You see, Enscape maintains a live link to the current Revit session. So whatever changes you make inRevit, are then quickly visible inEnscape. Want to change the color of the walls? Just modify the material (Appearance Asset) inRevit, and watch as the color changes in the rendered view. Are you working on an interior furniture layout? Well, open a plan view inRevit and start nudging the furniture around with the arrow keys… then observe the furniture move in the rendered Enscape window! As I said, for rapid material and modelling iterations, Enscape simply makes complete sense.
Also, any changes you make to the Enscape Settings are applied immediately to the live Enscape window. You can apply and remove visual effects, modify the lighting, colour, bloom effects, depth of field, clouds and so on without ever really having to wait for a lengthy render process. Once you have the desired settings, you can save that as a profile for use on any future projects.
Of course, if you are ever involved with briefing clients and communicating design intent, you are probably already starting to perceive the potential of Enscape. When you start to look around at its overall capabilityin more detail, you will understand the new power that Enscape puts intoyour dusty Revit hands.
Getting Started To launch Enscape, you can’t have a Perspective view as the current view inRevit. This is a Revit API limitation. So, you should go to a Drafting View or a Floor Plan view, and then select the desired ‘launch’ 3D view from the drop-down list on the Enscape ribbon. Then, press Start…
You should review the HUD (heads up display), which shows you the basic WASD navigation method (very familiar if you are a PC gamer). Left mouse button and drag changes view direction, right mouse button and drag changes the time of day…
Tip: hold down Shift to walk faster
Now, let’s see what Enscape can do!
1) Virtual Reality
I put this item first partly because of the current hype around VR, and also because at Virtual Built it was one of the main reasons we started using Enscape on real projects. We experimented with a lot of tools that allowed varying types and degrees of virtual reality experience, and we also looked at the whole pipeline – the process of taking Revit data, exporting it to some other platform, playing with lights, materials, content and so on, and finally generating or simulating the model in virtual reality.
In the end, we found a lot of the alternatives left something to be desired. Primarily, we wanted something that required minimal re-work outside of Revit, and also that created real-time virtual reality (not static panoramas). And we were really pleased with the workflow and experience of using Enscape. The image below is taken from a real client presentation that we delivered during an important function for one of the top building companies in our state:
The Virtual Built Enscape VR Kit
Live VR Mode
The VR experience inEnscape is started in the same way as the normal windowed mode, you just need to press the Enable on the VR Headset pane. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are now both supported, and at Virtual Built we have had good results with both devices.
With the Oculus Rift and gamepad navigation, the experience is very ‘easy’, for want of a better word. You can quickly explain the basic mechanics to a new users, and then allow them to navigate the rendered VR model. Depending how you want to implement this, you may also then need someone to drive the Revit session at the same time. You can have the Revit user modifying materials and furniture layouts, while the Client is experiencing all of these changes in a human-scale, immersive environment. Trust me, it is pretty revolutionary… It was this experience which partly led to the title of thisreview.
Here are a few other ways tointegrate Enscapeinto a VR workflow, such as with Google Cardboard devices and easy sharing to mobile phones…
1a) Exporting and Uploading a Stereoscopic Panorama from Enscape (VR View)
Start Enscape and set your viewpoint at the desired panorama location
On the RevitEnscape Ribbon, use the “Take Panorama (Stereo)” option
Wait for the Export to finish
Then use the My Panoramas button to see the completed Render
2) Effects Settings inEnscape Enscapeincludes a range of effects that are useful for architectural presentations, including PaperModel (think sketch pen style) and a true Architectural ‘Two Point Perspective’, where vertical edges are always vertical.
The effects inEnscape are mainly controlled on the General and Image tabs of the Enscape settings dialog. Below I show an example of each of the main effects.
Two Point Perspective
Depth of Field
Global Illumination OFF
Color Temperature – warmest
Light (intensity) View
Sun vs Shadow Contrast – maximum
As you can see, while the Default settings look good, there is a lot of flexibility and room for experimentation. Because the changes are seen in real-time, you can do small tweaks and see the results immediately, meaning you can more quickly achieve the specific look-and-feel you want for your current design.
3) RPC Enscape now supports rich photo realistic content (RPC), including custom content built using Archvision tools. This essentially opens up a lot of potential for rapid creation of RPC for use inyourRevit and Enscape scenes.
Tip: keep in mind that 2D RPC will tend to look a little strange inEnscape when you move up close and pass by on one side of it…
Here is a quick overview on getting the RPC intoyourRevit and Enscape scene:
Tip: Make an Enscape View Template to quickly share your 3D view settings to different viewpoints inRevit
4) Output Options
There are a host of new ways to export yourpresentations once you beginto adopt Enscapeintoyour workflow. Above we have already discussed:
simple navigation (view still images, and move around your model in real time)
Virtual Reality panorama image export and upload, and the
Live VR experience.
There are many others, such as:
Export still image (default hotkey is Shift+F11) as file, or to a Revit Rendering view in the Revit file
Export to EXE – a standalone viewer for the current project that you can share with clients
Save Perspective viewpoint toRevit session
Export video (set Start and End frames, then Export to video file)
Personally, I suggest you start with the basic desktop Enscapeinterface, and get comfortable navigating around and showing yourRevit model to others around you. Then, you can naturally grow inyourEnscape knowledge and explore more of the settings and output options. It really can give you a clear edge over some of your competitors, particularly in design- and presentation-focused fields such as Architecture studies or high end Design Competitions.
5) Updating Enscape Enscape has an auto-update feature that will open a dialog when you first start Revit, and then prompt you to download the update through the browser.
You can also manually check for updates from the About dialog box:
Note: thisreview was prepared using Enscape 1.8.2.
At Virtual Built, we have started to explore the use of Enscape on a variety of projects. It is a great tool for real-time immersive VR presentations, and it maintains a very strong link to the Revit environment. For that reason it is not a disconnected endpoint, but an extension of the familiar Revit BIM environment… that gives you new and impressive ways to present and share your designs.
Due to its speed and ease of use, you will be able to test it out quickly on a few projects and experience that initial ‘wow’ factor. From there, I hope you will start to see how it really can revolutionizeyourRevitpresentationcapability, taking you to the next level of beautiful Revit artistry.
I hope you enjoy trying out Enscape, and feel free to reply here with your thoughts 🙂