You may have tried installing various codecs so that you don’t have to resort to Microsoft Video 1 when exporting and compressing animations from Revit and Navisworks.  However, many of these will not work, partly due to the complication of 32 bit vs 64 bit environments.

Happily, this Xvid compressor will work when installed on Windows 7 64 bit, even with 2014 version Autodesk products: Downloads

The Xvid Home profile works nicely – good compression and still good quality.  The result is far better than having to deal with huge uncompressed AVI files, or the poor looking Microsoft Video 1 versions.

I know that some of you use Cinepak Codec by Radius – I have a feeling that the aforementioned Xvid codec would offer better compression, but perhaps you will need to ensure the “audience” of your animation has the necessary codec installed.  Alternatively, you could open the Xvid-encoded AVI file in Windows Movie Maker and export as a WMV – something that almost every Windows user will be able to view.

Further reading on codecs:
Why does the System Device Enumerator report different list for the Video Compressor Category on a Windows 7 x64 for the 32 and 64 bit versions?

Configuring Session Recording – Thycotic Software

If you are using a 64 bit system, simply loading the DivX/XviD codecs does not seem to work. I suspect they’re not supported but have yet to research this, so above only applies to 32bit installations. If anyone knows more about this please post.

Update: the 64 bit DivX codec works in Navisworks if you install it to the C:Program Files (x86) folder instead of the C:Program Files. (Presenter gives the best quality, but divX give good results much much faster)
Animation Resolution
Fixing Walkthrough Corruption for very large AVI files produced from Revit and Navisworks
When exporting very large (like 4gb) uncompressed AVI files as a Walkthrough from Revit, the index for the AVI will likely become corrupted and will appear to split and duplicate itself when you play the file.

It may be possible to salvage some of the file using VirtualDub.  Just open the file in VirtualDub and it will detect the error and try to rebuild the file index.  Then, Save As an AVI file again.

Otherwise, you need to use another compression codec (as shown above), or break the walkthrough up into bits and then join it back together later.

An old thread at RevitCity discusses some of these issues: | Rendering Walkthroughs

I previously discussed VirtualDub in this post:
What Revit Wants: How To Create a Revit Walkthrough and then Upload it to Youtube

On a lighter note, this Autodesk help page references a very old piece of software called Autodesk Cleaner.  Heard of it?
Autodesk – Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support – Improving AVI video quality of walkthroughs

Are you sick of waiting ages for a Revit walkthrough to render?  Using this technique, you can cut your walkthrough rendering time in half!  Essentially, we make half the frames we need in Revit, and then use some post-processing software to interpolate extra frames.  Here is how:

  1. Create a rendered AVI walkthrough from Revit with HALF the frames you actually want.  In other words, this walkthrough will be twice as fast as the walkthrough you will end up with.
  2. Install Adobe After Effects trial
  3. Open Adobe After Effects.
  4. New – Project
  5. Drag the Revit walkthrough file into the ‘Project’ area
  6. Right click on the file in the Project Area – Interpret Footage
  7. Set Loop = 2 times
  8. Drag the file from the Project Area to the Composition Area
  9. Right click on the file in the Composition Area
  10. Effect – Time – Timewarp
  11. Ensure speed is set at 50 (that is 50%, or half speed)
  12. Composition – Make Movie…
  13. Adjust the Output settings to suit.
  14. Click ‘Render’
  15. View your new ‘slow motion’ walkthrough

I have found this technique to be effective on a very large, 1800 frame walkthrough.  You could further tweak some settings in the Timewarp effect to get better results.  You could even try slowing the walkthrough down further – although I anticipate that the output will degrade quite quickly once you go lower than 50% Timewarp speed.

Here is a video that describes the process:

Here are a few associated posts:
Distributed Parallel Rendering in Revit

Using Avisynth and VirtualDub to join BMP to AVI

Yesterday I tutored two twelfth grade classes at a local high school in how to create and export walkthroughs in Revit Architecture 2011.

They had already modelled buildings in Revit as part of their classwork, and it was quite enjoyable to assist them in presenting their work.

One interesting anomaly came up during these sessions – the students were using good quality Mac workstations, running Bootcamp and Revit Architecture 2011. When modifying a walkthrough I use the Steering Wheel extensively, so it was quite frustrating when Shift+W suddenly failed to show the Steering Wheel!

How did we overcome this problem? There are two different ways to solve it:

  • you can assign a keyboard shortcut to ‘Full Navigation Wheel’. This will work even if Shift + W does not, or
  • Skip forward a few key frames, and then skip backward again. Try Shift + W. It will probably work now (one of the students discovered this).

Here at Dimond Architects, we are exploring a number of ways to deliver Revit training, both to students and to industry professionals. Feel free to contact us if you are interested.

Are your renders taking ages?  Trying to output a big rendered walkthrough?  No matter how fast your PC is, these things can take time.  Why not enlist a few of the other computers in your office to help produce that high-resolution animation?

Distributed rendering (or Parallel Rendering) is possible when using high end visualization products, including 3D Studio (now part of the Building Design Suite Premium).

In pure Revit (without using 3D Studio), the solution is a little bit more crude.  However, it does work.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Set up your walkthrough.
  2. Save the Project or Save to Central.
  3. Get your other computers running and open the same walkthrough on all of these PCs.
  4. On PC#1 in Revit, go to Export – Animation – Walkthrough, and pick a set number of frames for that PC to output.  For example, frames 1 to 600 out of 1800.
  5. Make sure you choose BMP for the output, and when naming the file, just put in 1- (this will make sense later.
  6. On PC#2, export frames 601 to 1200 to BMP.  Name it 601-.
  7. On PC#3, export frames 1201 to 1800 to BMP.  Name it 1201-.
  8. Using Advanced Renamer, rename all the files to suit the appropriate frames. (see associated post)
  9. Put all the BMPs in one folder on the server or on one of the PCs.
  10. Using Avisynth and VirtualDub, join the BMPs into an AVI. (see associated post)
  11. Then, either use some video compression software, or do some post-processing.

There you go, you have successfully done some distributed or parallel rendering in Revit!

Update: check out this page for the 64-bit Xvid codec

I previously described the difficulty of encoding walkthroughs on 64-bit Revit with any sort of compression codec. I did provide a workaround in this post.

However, in recent correspondence with Autodesk, a more suitable solution was revealed to me. Apparently, some users discovered that the Lagarith Lossless Video Codec works properly in Revit 64-bit. Needless to say, I was quite excited. After some testing, I can confirm that this codec works very successfully.

Here are the steps to get it working:

  1. Download the installer from here.
  2. Install the codec.
  3. Open a Revit walkthrough view.
  4. Export … Walkthrough.
  5. Follow the usual steps, but use the new codec you installed. The default settings worked for me.
  6. Wait for your walkthrough to export and check out the result!

Update: check out this page for the 64-bit Xvid codec

I encountered a problem today related to walkthrough creation in Revit 2010 64 bit with Vista 64 bit. I was exporting a large walkthrough to uncompressed AVI format, and the file size would reach 4.00 GB (4,294,967,296 bytes), and then corruption of the AVI would result. It appears that a 4 GB limit was being imposed at some point in the walkthrough creation process.

Therefore, I tried to use an encoding format. When using Revit 32 bit, I recall that I had a number of options in the Video Compression ‘codec’ dialog when exporting a walkthrough. However, in Revit 64 bit, I only had a couple of basic options (Microsoft Video 1, Intel IYUV Codec, Full Frames (uncompressed)).

After some searching, and trialling a few different ideas, I found that I could access some decent codecs in this box after installing Shark007’s 64 bit components (link below).

64 bit Encoding Components

In addition to the above, it is recommended that you install Shark007’s 32 bit Codec Pack (link below):
Vista Codec Package 5.5.3 Final

After installing both of the above and restarting Revit (you may also need to restart Windows), I was intermittently able to access an additional filter in the dialog called ‘ffdshow’ – clicking ‘Configure’ opened up a whole range of encoding formats for use!However, there appear to be a few problems:

  1. The ‘ffdshow Video Codec’ encoder only appeared in the Video Compression dialog when a certain ‘Size Crop’ and resolution were selected. For me, the only settings that consistently seemed to work were: Size Crop width = 150 mm, and export resolution 886 x 500.
  2. The corruption still seemed to result if the uncompressed AVI format would have exceed 4 GB (even while using a compressed codec).
  3. Choosing H264 actually crashed Revit.
  4. WMV 8 using libavcodec simply did not proceed past the first frame.

Given the above limitations, my solution at this point is:

  1. Split the walkthrough into parts that have a size less than 4 GB (ie. part 1 = frames 1 to 100, part 2 = frames 101 to 200 etc) and use FULL FRAMES (UNCOMPRESSED) AVI format.
  2. Use VirtualDubMod to ‘append’ these segments together, and
  3. Use VirtualDubMod to ‘Save As…’ a different format. I was able to choose ‘Cinepak’ compression in VirtualDubMod, which turned my approx 5.4 GB uncompressed AVI into a 167 MB file in only about 5 mins of processing time.

After spending quite a few hours trying to make this work in a satisfactory and simple manner, I decided to contact our reseller and lodge a support call. I will let you know if I learn anything helpful.During this investigation, I tried a few things without success. They may be of interest to you (see links below).

Windows Media Encoder 64 bit

Xvid 64 bit

x264 64 bit