Monday, May 9, 2016

2 Good things Revit can do.....

In my continuing struggle to justify moving to 3D from 2D, Revit had couple of small winning points the other day.

I have been pecking away when I have time at home on a small renovation job, which I had been previously messing with at work.

One of the tasks was to put in a small stair.  The problem was to actually see what was going on, and luckily I remembered the 3D sectioning tick box.

Tick this and you can see what is happening quite easily. Please note this is still work in progress.




The other was a porch over the old front door.  Yes, the door was removed, but in 2D land the porch stayed behind. Not noticed among all the other goings on, but immediately obvious upon rolling the model round in 3D for a look.


This is the Autocad flat view of the same part, as existing:


The note is one I have just added.



Saturday, April 23, 2016

Windows 10 with 3DS Max and Is Revit any good?

To get your Revit model into 3ds Max is a bit of a trick.

Previously, I would save it as an fbx file and open 3dsmax and then use the "architectural" option to load my file.

Almost every time, this resulted in poor renderings and lots of stuffing around.

The for some reason I happened upon someone who had inside knowledge on this: apparently there is an option under the corner button (top left hand), choose Suite Workflow, then choose exterior rendering. That is, until you upgrade to Windows 10.....

I decided to finally put Windows 10 on my PC, and this worked out ok, as Revit and Autocad still worked well, if not better than before.

Unfortunately, the above technique resulted in the following error message on linking to 3DS Max:

"Autodesk.Max.Wrappers.dll encountered an error while loading."

After a lot of blind alleys later, I could not fix it. so I uninstalled Windows 10.  Three days later, I turned on my PC and wandered off to watch TV and came back to find Windows 10 installing itself!

Looks like I'm stuck with Windows 10!  Having got a bit grumpy about not being asked, I can say that I like the look and speed of it, even if it is a little flat coloured compared to Windows 7.

It still has most of the familiar stuff in sensible places so seems easy to get around in.
Anyway, a little digging and I have found a thing that did work:  Just change the 3dsmax.ini file: just one line to look for:

EnableCoreInterfaceProxySystem=1

Set the 1 to a 0 and save.  Job done, works fine now!

The Youtube video has no words and seems to imply you need to fiddle around with your video card at the start, but about half way in it shows how to change the ini file.  I just did the ini file and it worked fine.

Thanks to Vazha Gelashvili, and his/her Youtube video, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnPURNuDVNQ

This makes an amazing difference!  Just press Render and off it goes.

Another trick is to take the resulting image and open it in Microsoft Picture Manager and choose autobrighten. Again, a big difference.

On the front of "is Revit any good, or have we all been conned?", I have found a blog by someone who uses a lot of naughty language to put forward his point that it is a disaster.  Makes interesting reading, but he is an electrical engineer/draftsman, so he mainly has to deal with Revit files that sound not too well done, so does this make Revit a good thing to stay away from?

Here is his link, which if you are offended by bad language, I advise not to visit: http://therevitmepskullfvck.blogspot.co.nz/

I am still trying to get a handle on the answer to "is Revit any good?".  It occurred to me last week that most of what I do is documentation. There is one job that I just cannot seem to get out from under on.  About 2 weeks so far:  the plan, elevations, site plan were all drawn by someone else before me, so all I had to organize were the sections, roof plan, foundation plan and floor framing plan.

This is just a fairly simple renovation job on a two story house.  Then all the details.  Still not finished, so I can imagine another day or two on this one.  It feels like having Revit would make no difference in the documentation end of things.  Maybe?

One thing I did do that I found quite neat the other day was drawing a deck next to a round swimming pool. Just arrange a beam system for the deck boards and job done. This would have take ages in standard Autocad.

More research required.






Saturday, March 26, 2016

Which is faster? Autocad LT or Revit? The results are in!

This is an identical post to one posted on my Autocad Blog, which is:
http://wlecouteur.blogspot.co.nz/

 Might make a Reviteer feel a bit better about paying a lot more for Revit compared to Autocad LT.

You would hope this result is a reflection of the prices of Autocad LT and Revit, which is that at the time of writing, Autocad LT is Australian $530/year, and it seems they do not sell Revit by itself, but comes in a Revit Collaboration Suite, which is Australian $3,515/year, which presumably includes full Autocad. This seems to be borne out by the results.

A point worth remembering is that with the building suite, you now have the ability to do 3D renderings, videos and so on, which should result in happier customers.

Here is an example:



The results are:

Autocad LT : 2.5 hours

Revit: 1.5 hours

Proof can be viewed at.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCnowQThv4s

I came across as a bit of a novice user occasionally, so in the hands of an experienced user, you would expect an even quicker time.

Still, drafting is not all about creation of geometry, as I am finding in my job that the focus is not so much on the drawing as on the annotations.  I would prefer Autocad to do 2D annotations, but this could be my lack of familiarity with the Revit detailing options, which do have all sorts of nick nacks, for example to draw insulation, you just pick two points and there it is.

This is the rough output from Revit:


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

House Competitions and Swimming Pools

Bit busy here in Misty Lakes (we have a cat called Misty and a pond out the back of the section).

In a fit of something I decided to enter an Architectural Competition. The brief (which hopefully will stay up for a while) is at http://www.designabeautifulhouse.com/brief.html

Drawn in Revit because I like torturing myself.  Made it a round house for the same reason.







Then I had an actual paying job fiddling around with a glass swimming pool railing.  

This I did in Autocad and as a free extra I investigated the idea of doing a rendering of it.
Autocad: looked awful.  3DStudio Max: Could not seem to separate out stuff to get materials to latch onto.  So I made an FBX file of it and whipped it into Revit.  Success! Well, not huge quality, but not too bad. Really pleased with how the pool water actually looked something like it should.







Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Revit Rendering

Just gone into panic mode, trying desperately to get a good interior render from ANY software.
Preferably one I have paid for!

I did a try using Twinmotion, looking in vain for the right settings to improve the quality and finding none.  It is fast though.  Here is a sample done using Twinmotion:


  After much fluffing around, I have come to this conclusion:

1. Revit does not seem to be good at exterior renders.  This could be me not knowing the right buttons to push, though.

2. Revit is the one to use for interior renders.  Yup, even if you have 3D Studio Max!
Here is the evidence, again, is it that Revit has less buttons to press, so I have less chance of stuffing it up?

This is the Revit one:


This is the 3Dstudio Max one.


In the process of setting up the model, I trolled the net in vain for a "fancy" coffee table as shown in one of the customer's photos.
So I made my own one in Autocad and slung it into Revit.  Oh joy: it works well!
Another 5 minutes to make a bowl in Autocad, then a picture for the wall.  The little mirrored cabinet also modeled in Autocad and materials were applied to it.

Then I thought to download a trial copy of Corel Photopaint, which lasts for 30 days.

Unlike Paint.net, I found I could leap into a photo of some cushions, cut them out and stick them in the rendered image fairly easily. I had a copy of Photopaint years ago and found things had not changed much.  I do like the 2015 one and if I get more work might buy it.

Then I had a rush of blood to the head (must be Wed morning badminton!), and thought: Have I tried dear old Autocad for a render of the Revit model?

My first thought was to import an FBX model.  This is ok, but no materials showing.  Then an export from Revit to a dwg file.

This was better, but all the material names got renamed to numbers in the process, and were not applied to the right items.

Anyway, hours later I ran out of patience with it. I can see that it might be a possibility if you had enough patience.  A bit weird as some glass came through from Revit. Note: the tiles on the underside of the roof!


Here is the Autocad pic:


Saturday, September 5, 2015

And the winner is......

Still not sure.  I have been experimenting with 3D Studio Max, Showcase, Lumion and Artlantis.
The last two I cannot use as they are demo programs, so the answer so far is Autodesk Cloud.

Artlantis, because I happened to stop by an architect in town who said their man who did renders
used Artlantis.

Then just to add to my confusion, I today saw a Youtube demo of Twinmotion.  This got me so excited, I had to download a copy.

The wonderful demo is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_t3wPVyBHo

Shame it costs NZ3,000.....Looks fantastic.

This is my first paying (well hopefully!) job doing renders, so here are the two that the
customer considered acceptable, done using Autodesk's cloud rendering service.



Just to  make me really depressed, here is a pic done for the same customer, but by someone else other than me:


I suspect he has used Artlantis, but  I am not sure. When I first saw it I thought it was a photograph. Sure makes my ones look amatuerish. (I am not good looking, but I am cheap!)

There is a man who has a good take on the thirteen deadly sins of architectural rendering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQM7FNjGAHA.

This one was using Showcase. I had a thin white line come up in the brick texture, I do not
know why- there is no equivalent one vertically.  It was a home made material, downloaded off
the brickmaker's site.


This one is using 3DSudio Max, which came out a bit over exposed.


This one is using Artlantis.  I found that spotlights come into Artlantis as cones....grr!


An interior shot using 3DStudio Max.  Note the tiny pillows.  I have Paint.exe, a free
photo editor, and try as I might, I cannot make those cushions bigger!


An Interior shot using Artlantis.  The windows in the side of the house decided not to show up.


Also evident is my  problems of having a wall on top of another wall, over the said windows.
The top is weatherboard, the bottom is brick. I modified the brick wall to have a notch in it to
accomodate the weatherboard one, but once they got in place they all stuck together!

I tried trimming, splitting and unjoining, but no use, so it is off to Youtube to find the
answer.

I did end up with a video that has a title, Logo and music, which can be seen at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy4iPscLGSo

Now I have used up all my cloud credits, I will have to turn up the settings on 3D Studio Max....that is if I can bring myself to go through all this again.








Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lord won't you buy me Vray addon and Photopaint?

A few years ago I bought  a copy of Viz, which was around 2004 or so, and it was an architectural version of 3D Studio.  I tried to make a living from rendering, but found it nigh on impossible.

Others may have had more success, due to their cleverness in figuring out how to produce a good render. I went  back to ordinary drafting.

As part of my Revit training, I looked at Real Estate ads and in particular houses not yet built.
I came across renderings, which I thought looked OK, but I thought that I could produce similar quality or better.  Here is an example of something used to sell a house:


The trees and sky are good, but the rest is hardly photographic quality.
So I emailed  a couple of real estate people with this, as an example of what I could do:


This was modelled in Revit and rendered in Revit, and while it was Ok, it was not that wonderful, so I had to pitch my price accordingly.  Because you can do stuff in Revit quickly, I put down some ridiculously cheap prices for this service, assuming that all renders would be done in Revit.

This is part of my email:
I have posted on youtube a video of this particular house, which I have modelled in Revit, an architectural drawing program. Please feel free to use this if you like it. All you have to do is email your client a link. The video gives a clearer idea of what the house actually looks like.



This is the link for the Helicopter:
https://youtu.be/BiSDuLl2xds

This is the Walkthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so5X-XCcZ9U

Price List: (Plans can be supplied to me in PDF, JPG or hand drawn sketch)

Helicopter view of house: $100 + GST

This includes: Helicopter Movie and one "walkthrough", both uploaded to Youtube, plus 4 rendered external views as shown below.

Internal Views: $50 + GST per view,


An example shown below. This is contingent on the Helicopter view being ordered.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Eventually I had a bite from someone, and I did the renders and sent them off. That was a week ago, so I am guessing they did not like the quality.

This is a snip from my email to them:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The videos have been posted on Youtube, here are the links:

1. Inside walk in.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dekbAdQG-1w

2. Cinematic orbit.
https://youtu.be/dOOKrV4rPsg

You will see that the quality of the cinematic orbit is higher, this is because I have turned up the resolution for that one.

The movies were done in a program that allowed me to easily alter the materials to close to the ones you needed.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Here is one of the renders, again, done in Revit:



The movies I did were done in Autodesk Showcase. Because I have the Building Suite, I thought, how hard would it be to use 3DStudio Max to produce a higher quality render? Turns out, quite hard!
I spent days looking at videos on Youtube showing you how to do this, but the guys who seem to know what they are doing all use an add on called VRAY, and Photoshop.

Here is an example, this man has excellent presentation skills, showing how it is done:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgeV7HurmFI

Plus he had Photoshop to tart up the grass image-in Revit, it looks like an enthusiastic cricket fan had done the lawns.
So here is my best shot, a little on the overexposed side:



It took 1 and 3/4 hours to render. Notice the windows at the front are not exactly behaving- I think it may be that I have not sorted out the glass material.

I have a trial copy of Lumion and decided to have a play with that to see what standard it came up with, and here is the result:



To get this I had to install a free add on from Lumion that enabled me to make a .dae file, an this worked really well. Once you get the little ways of Lumion understood it seems fairly easy to use.
To really get a feel for what Lumion is capable of, check out this link:

http://forum.lumion3d.com/gallery-best-works/american-diamond/

Not blown away by that? Should be!
So what is the answer? Well, this is all in NZ$,
VRay- around $1500
Photshop around $1000
Lumion Standard around $3000
Lumion Pro around $6000.

My obvious course is to stay at the low end, and keep marketing? Especially given the low prices I have quoted. I did come unstuck big time on the above house spending 11 hours on the modelling in Revit alone, so the prices are way under what they should be. It was the custom windows and doors that took all the time though.
The house at the top of the blog though took only 2 hours to knock up from a pdf.