By Dennis Collin
When working with Revit you sometimes need to create immersive, interactive experiences from multiple BIM/CAD models. Whilst data can be exported to 3ds Max for a high-end quality visual, there is a degree of skill required to get a worthwhile result. There is also a factor of time required which then rules this task out as being a viable when working to a deadline.
The FBX format whilst excellent at exporting geometry lighting and textures, doesn’t carry essential meta data that is key to any BIM model.
To address this, third-party developers have created easy to use and very impressive add ins such as Enscape and Lumion. Whilst these add-ins are easy to use, enable amazing visuals and provide access to limited meta data, customisation of the viewer options are limited. Recently Autodesk and Unity announced a strategic partnership and together have developed a plug-in to not only easily export geometry, lighting, textures and BIM data, but also be able to edit the package within Unity Pro. By doing this further customisation to the viewer more can be achieved, such as opening doors, switching on of lights and TV screens etc.
Unity Reflect, launched in 2019, allows users to prepare and transfer digital building models into real-time 3D in one click, with out-of-the-box support for Revit. Multiple designers and engineers working on different systems in one model can bring their data sets into the same Unity Reflect project. Unity Reflect maintains a live connection to the original design models so that every time a change is made in Revit, it’s updated in the Viewer.
Exporting a Revit model out to Unity Reflect is a simple process, once you have logged in to your Unity Account, create a project and choose export.
Opening the project in Unity Reflect, permits us to walk around the model and access BIM data, properties and visibility controls.
Change a column from a concrete to a steel UC type in Revit and switch to Unity Reflect Viewer to see the change implemented.
If more interaction is required, then the Reflect project can be imported into the Unity Pro editor where C# scripts can be assigned to objects, customise trigger events for lights being switched on, doors opening, alternate floor finishes etc.
Once your Unity Project is complete it can then be built, but consideration needs to be made as to which platform you are publishing and whether it is 32-bit or 64-bit architecture etc. It will take some time to compile but once complete the executable and its resource folders can be shared as appropriate.
Clicking on the executable will then fire up the published viewer with options as appropriate.
For more information on Unity Reflect, Revit, 3ds Max or any visualisation advice, please contact one of the Cadline Team on 01784 419922 or on our live chat system on https://cadline.co.uk/