Basically, you overlay a 3D view over an image placed on a Sheet to allow you to see the photo background while you match the view.


  1. Make a new 3D view from approximate eye location to approximate eye target (centre of photo)
  2. New Sheet
  3. Drop the photo (image file) be matched on the sheet and size it to suit
  4. Add the 3D view on the sheet on top of the photo – Turn off Background and Set to Hidden Line, Transparency 40%, Edges Off.
  5. Roughly scale 3D view using the view border Size Crop in the X dimension (Width) to match some known points in the middle photo
  6. Drag the crop edges of the view to match the photo (this accounts for some of the “warping” / perspective)
  7. Use Focal Length on the Steering Wheel to try to match vanishing lines, somewhere in the middle of the photo
  8. Zoom and Pan a bit – use Temporary Hide/Isolate to select a couple of objects and use these to do most of the View orientation adjustments
  9. Use Orbit for final fine tuning – you can drop the Centre point, then Rewind and it will remember that as the Orbit centroid.  Drop it on a known point and Orbit.  You can turn off Keep Scene Upright in Steering Wheel settings.  With a SpacePilot, just turn on all your axis and slowly and carefully match the view.

From here, you can use Render Settings and set the image as a background with “Stretch”.

Also, for each camera position you can have one 3D view set for “camera matching”, and one set up for rendering, and to align one to the other use ViewCube “Orient to View”.

Overall, it can still be a tricky process. The 3D mouse makes it much easier – you can basically just rotate, zoom, pan until it looks about right.  Remember to select a couple of “known” objects in the model, this will allow better control when using the 3D mouse…

There are other more geometric methods available for Camera Matching too:
What Revit Wants: How to match a Revit 3D view to a real life Camera Photo

Here’s one that has been sitting in my draft posts for a while…

Basically, its an example of what you can do by overlaying views on Sheets.  In this case, I have used a Drafting View with an imported Image, as a background to a 3D Camera View.  As this was an alteration job on an existing dwelling, I was able to essentially ‘line up’ my Revit Camera with the physical camera location.  After a bit of tweaking, I had basically matched the Camera to the Photo.

Then, its simply a matter of putting the 3D View on top of the Drafting View on a Sheet.

Now you have a photo background to a live 3D view – you don’t have to re-render to see the changes to your building.  You can use various visual styles like Shaded or even Realistic.  I hope some of you find this technique useful!

I have spent hours trying to figure out how to take actual camera locations from 123D (Photofly) and get them into Revit as ‘real’ cameras (3D views).  I thought it would be cool to be able to use a real-life camera location in Revit, because then you would already have the existing scenery as a background image (because 123D Catch would have used it in processing the model).  This was partly in response to this comment.

Its easy to export an FBX from 123D Catch, and open that in 3ds Max – you get cameras, yay.  You can use FBXIMPORT in AutoCAD and you get the named views (cameras), yay.

However, I have not been able to find an equivalent process for Revit.  At this point, I have to admit defeat.

My big idea was to convert the FBX into IFC with view information in the schema, and then open that IFC in Revit.  Sadly, I kept coming up against problems.  AutoCAD Architecture can import FBX and then export IFC, but the 3D views do not seem to come through.

One possible workaround would to compose your presentation in Showcase – you can export from Revit to Showcase, and you can also export an FBX from 123D and bring that into Showcase too.  But I want a purely Revit way.

If you have any thoughts on how to make this happen, PLEASE comment 🙂

Here is a list of links and notes that you may find useful.  There are some really cool resources on IFC available now – read on below:

Autodesk sign in is required on 123D Catch to actually activate the Export feature to allow exporting of FBX.

Explanation of the export formats available from 123D (formerly Photofly):

Menu Command Format Contents
saveas .3dp The 3D photo scene contains cameras, reference points, 3D mesh, reference lines, and distance measures. This is the native format for Project Photofly.
export .dwg The drawing contains reference points and reference lines.
.fbx The Autodesk FBX asset exchange file contains the 3D cameras, the photo textured 3D mesh, reference points, reference lines, and reference labels.
.rzi The ImageModeler file is a subset of the 3dp file based on what was selected at the time the photo scene was exported.
.obj The OBJect file contains the photo textured 3D mesh.
.ipm The Inventor Publisher Mobile file contains the photo textured 3D mesh and can be viewed with the free Inventor Publisher Viewer available in the Apple iTunes App Store.
.las The binary LASer file contains the 3D point cloud that was automatically extracted from the pixels of the source photographs. The LAS file format version is 1.2.


Camera Support – 3ds max and FBX

AutoCAD Architecture IFC export information

3D views can be export FROM Revit TO AutoCAD Architecture

List of IFC softwares, tools and viewers

IFC schema information for views (plans, sections, 3d views etc)

DDSViewer – can view DWG and IFC

  • also a very easy way to open DWG and save as PDF!
To get a free version of the DDS Viewer, visit the ftp server and download DDSViewer.exe
IfcWebViewer – online web viewer for IFC using WebGL

Exporting cameras as .3ds files using Flame–_Flame/2037-3D_Compo2037/2267-Action%3A_2267/2274-Importin2274/2276-3ds_Max_2276

Vectorworks and 3ds

Showcase can import views from FBX files,topicNumber=d30e2896


When making a standard perspective Camera View, Revit 2013 allows you to effectively preset View properties, so that all new Camera views look nice.  These settings are from the BIM Technologist:

Then, save the View Template settings and go into the Type Properties of 3D View, and set the View Template applied to new views appropriately.


BIM Technologist, Quick Views & Effect

Awesome post from Klaus over at:
Revit and Camera Match / FOV and Focal Length

He provides a family file and a step-by-step process for how to match a Revit 3D perspective view with a real life camera photo. There are some nice implications to this, especially if you want to use a real life photo as a background for a rendering or other visualisation. Thanks Klaus!

Note:  his post relates especially to a Canon EOS1000D (some tweaking may be required for other cameras).

RevitForum Blog: Best posts of the month of May 2011

As we all know, Revit really wants you to be able to properly visualize your building. You may have experimented with Section Boxes in normal 3D views, but you can also use them in Perspective/Camera views.

  1. Make a new Camera View.
  2. Go to the View Properties of the Camera View, and select ‘Section Box’
  3. To modify it, select the Section Box and then switch to a Plan View. The Section Box should still be selected, and you can modify the grips (you can modify these grips in many views).

Using this technique, you should be able to make some awesome cutaway views. These views can really help you to visualize and optimize your design.