Improve workflow for Architects

Dear D5 Staff,

I love D5, and have been testing your software during lockdown in preparation to convince my work colleagues (Architecture and Interior Design firm) to switch from Enscape and Lumion to D5 Render. Unfortunately, at the moment, I don’t see it being possible unless you tell me I am wrong about D5 workflow limitations.

Background info…Half of the office use full Revit, while the other half use Revit LT. Renderings are produced using the Enscape plug-in for full Revit. I am currently exporting from Revit LT and rendering in Lumion. It would be nice if everyone in the office was able to render their projects no matter which version of Revit they used and all worked with the same rendering software…D5 hopefully.

Our current workflows ensure that we do not have to re-apply materials to every version of a design…

  • Those using Enscape have no issues with workflow as it works directly inside Revit.
  • The workflow using Lumion is great, as we are able to create rendered images for Preliminary Sketch Plan 1, 2, 3, 4…etc etc without the need to re-apply materials for each variation. To speed up workflow further, a Revit template file was created with samples of walls, floors, roofs, windows, doors etc. Favourite materials were applied to the template file within Lumion. When we start a new Lumion project file, the template file is imported first. It is then replaced with the new project via ‘Re-import model’ while holding down the ALT key. Swapping models while maintaining materials is also possible via the ‘Import New Variation’ button (however we don’t use this method as the file size increases). I am sure Lumion makes this possible by maintaining material names of imported assets (eg: ‘Window Frame’) no matter what Lumion material (eg: Timber or Aluminium) is assigned.

I noticed that D5 does not maintain the original material names of imported assets and therefore it is not possible to swap one model for another without the need to re-apply all of the materials from scratch. Perhaps future versions could have a hierarchy system where the original material name of an asset (eg: ‘Window Frame’) is the primary material, and the assigned material (eg: ‘Frosted Silver’) within D5 is secondary.

Our architectural office values efficiency over slight improvements in render quality, which is why we cannot swap Lumion for D5 just yet, unless I am wrong.

Could you please let me know if there is currently a way to swap models without having to re-apply materials? If not, will you be looking at improving this kind of workflow method for future D5 versions?

With kind regards,
Leah

1 Like

Hey Leah. So glad to hear from you.

You’re right about current workflow limitations with Revit. We have been extremely tight in dev resources during the past two years especially for workflow plugins, because for a new player as D5 there are so many features requests to catch up as well as pushing the boundary of real-time rendering quality.

However, things are getting much better now in terms of dev resources. We’ll keep up an even better evolving speed for D5 workflow enhancements. Stay in tuned!

Hello @karam can you elaborate on this request :blush:

Hello @Leah

Thank you for your feedback, we already have this logic supported.
It just needs more attention regarding the Materials and Material Assets in Revit

I my self an Architect, and I use the exact same workflow you’re talking about.

Let me explain how D5 internally acts regarding material naming.
It is not revealed to the user the original Material name that comes from Revit (Ex: Cherry) if it has been replaced in D5, but still, D5 keeps it in it’s database remembered.

So, in theory, when you have the exact same material applied to different projects, it should stay the same when replacing project with another.

I have a guess for what’s going wrong with you.
Let’s assume the material name in Revit is “Cherry”

Basically the name of a material in D5 would be like this for example:
Cherry | (ASSET RGB Color or ASSET Image name if found)

So in D5, it will be like this:
Cherry | (ASSET RGB Color or ASSET Image name if found)

Cherry | Woods & Plastics.Finish Carpentry.Wood.Cherry.png
OR (IF NO TEXTURE WAS APPLIED IN REVIT)
Cherry | 255-121-3

What you’re doing is that you’re probably matching the material graphics color and name in each project but you are not matching the actual asset color or texture name.

This causes D5 to understand those material as completely different ones.

Let me get deeper with this.
The reason we did this is that basically there’s no “Default coming from Revit” key status in D5.
So, to accurately differentiate materials in D5, we have to use something a little bit more accurate, and in Revit’s case, it’s the color or the image texture name.

So D5 can change the material texture if a user actually wants a different texture from Revit to be applied into a non-edited material in D5.

Therefore, you simply need to do the following to preserve the materials when replacing the project.

Option 1: use transfer project standards command found in the manage tab, and transfer the materials, this will ensure you transfer the material along with it’s asset to the other project, therefor ensuring the same name applied in D5, therefor ensuring D5 still remembers your custom material applied even if the name is gone by replacing the material in D5 with a custom one.

I’ll open an internal discussion regarding the reveal of the original source material name coming from the original software for a better experience and understanding of this, but for now, that’s how the concept works.

Option 2: you may also use the option : use consistent colors in settings, this will refer the RGB being taken from the material graphics rather than ASSET’s color or texture.
This is probably easier for you to manage between projects without the need to transfer the whole materials using transfer project standards command.

Finally, I captured a video demonstrating how these two options work:

Hope that answers and fulfills your request.

Beside that, there are many juicy features coming to Revit with D5, that includes replacing Plantings with D5’s asset library directly without placing them again in Revit.
Also we’re working on a workflow that allows you to replace family types with detailed ones from other software (Ex: furniture families with high LOD objects from either online or local library)

You may also explore features we currently have which includes links separation while syncing, or selected category separation from settings menu as well, which allows full control whether you’re working on big urban projects or if you prefer to hide furniture if you’re doing exteriors only with Revit projects.

We’re open to any new idea that you may have in mind, please post them in the forums or you can directly PM me to discuss any feature you may need in future :slight_smile:

Kind Regards,
Karam

3 Likes

Hi Karam,

Thank you so much for your reply and effort. I admit that I still cannot get my head around this issue, even with your feedback. I will need to prepare some of my own short videos to explain my issues more clearly. I will try and get them to you a.s.a.p.

With many thanks,
Leah

@Leah no worries, am always here.
feel free to post them.

Hi Karam,

I have completed some experiments and I have discovered that my proposed new workflow from Revit LT to D5 was flawed.

I can see that D5 has no issue swapping one project for another while retaining materials when using the plug-in for ‘FULL REVIT’. Please view my attached short video 'DEMO 1…'

I currently use Revit LT (not FULL REVIT) and so does most of the office staff. The current workflow from Revit LT is to export as a .dwg file and import it into LUMION. There are minor workflow issues (as long as Revit LT Wall, Floor, Roof etc families are properly structured / numbered so the hierarchy of materials don’t change. Families such as Doors, Windows, Casework should have Object Styles assigned). Please view my attached short video ‘DEMO 2…’ to see the workflow for updating designs without having to re-apply materials.

The House Swap test confirmed that the workflow from Revit LT to LUMION via .dwg export works fine. See video 'DEMO 3…'

I was desperate to make Revit LT work with D5 so that everyone used the same software that I believed to be the best for the long run. I therefore tested all export options from Revit LT and converted files using Simlab Composer so that I could import them into D5. I thought the best solution was to export as an IFC file (as materials and smooth curves are maintained) and then convert it into an .fbx file. I was wrong as materials are assigned a number in front of them (eg: the material for external walls in House 1 is ‘8083__WALL - Brick’, whereas the material for external walls in House 2 is ‘10451_WALL - Brick’. I have no idea why numbers are added to the material names). Please see video ‘DEMO 4’.

My sincere apologies. The issue I had was not the fault of D5. It was a problem with the .ifc to .fbx export.

Unfortunately this discovery doesn’t help my case to swap to D5. I am now back to square one. I will have to do some more experiments or may have to wait until D5 introduces more file import options.

Thank you so much for your support.
With kindest regards,
Leah
DEMO 1_D5 - House Swap Test - FULL REVIT 2022.mp4
DEMO 2_LUMION - Project Swap with another - RE…
DEMO 3_LUMION - House Swap Test - REVIT Lt to d…
DEMO 4_LUMION - House Swap Test - REVIT Lt to i…

Hi Karam,

Could you please let me know if you were able to download my videos. I wasn’t asked to click the link ‘share’ button, which was odd.

Cheers,
Leah

Hello @Leah,

Regarding the videos, I think you need to make them publicly available for me to be able to see them, but no worries I got all the information I need from the reply it self.

I believe those numbers being added to as a prefix to the materials are the Id of that material in Revit, and they are the ones that are messing up your workflow.

If you really want to swap projects without using Full Revit version and D5 Revit Exporter, then you can easily solve this problem, you may create a simple Dynamo script that strips out this prefix of materials by splitting the material name by “__” then deleting the first index which is the ID it self, and voila, you got clean material names that could be remembered between D5 projects :slight_smile:

Just do this fix on each .IFC file you export before converting it to .FBX, and you’re pretty much done.

If you don’t have any individual in the office who can handle Dynamo, then please let me know.
I’ll perhaps spare some time to write this script for you, it should be fairly easy. but no promises that I’ll finish it until the next weekend.

Edit: You’d need to use open source Dynamo from https://dynamobim.org/ to write the script
As Dynamo inside Revit isn’t included in Revit LT

Kind Regards,
Karam

Hi Karam,

That sounds very interesting. I have had no experience with Dynamobim, so I will try my best to learn more about it via the website link you provided. I will also continue to experiment exporting files, including bringing them into Rhino. I was trying to avoid bringing files into a ‘middle-man’ software program as I am the only one that uses Rhino. Work-mates would not be happy. I will have to test which option would be the least disruptive to workflow.

I have reattached my videos for you in the hope that you could view them this time.

I will let you know how I progress.

With many thanks and kind regards
Leah

DEMO 4_LUMION - House Swap Test - REVIT Lt to i…

DEMO 2_LUMION - Project Swap with another - RE…

DEMO 1_D5 - House Swap Test - FULL REVIT 2022.mp4

DEMO 3_LUMION - House Swap Test - REVIT Lt to d…

Hi Karam,

I have looked at Dynamobim, but unfortunately I found it overwhelming. I also do not have any colleagues that are familiar with it. I have also been learning more about .ifc export options (inc. testing) from Revit. I was hoping to have found a solution before I bothered you again, but unfortunately I have been beaten.

I have sent a message to the Autodesk forum regarding .fbx and .ifc export. I have attached the link for your interest.

https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/revit-architecture-forum/restore-fbx-export-function/td-p/10692192

If I have no luck with this, it would be wonderful to try your dynamo script.

In the meantime, would you be able to give me an idea of what the workflow would look like from Revit LT to D5 with this solution? eg: Export Revit LT as .IFC > open .IFC in DynamoBIM and run script? > Export from DynamoBIM as .fbx? or would I need to then open Simlab Composer to convert the .IFC to .Fbx?

With kindest regards,
Leah

Hi Karam,

Unfortunately I have not had any luck with either an .ifc or .fbx workflow suggestion for Revit LT from Autodesk.

I was hoping to save you the work in creating a Dynamo script, but I have sadly come to a dead end.

I would be most grateful (and I am sure it will also help other Revit LT users) if you could try to create a Dynamo script that removes the material ID numbers from the beginning of each Revit LT material.

I wish I could have been more independent by knowing how to use Dynamo, but sadly I am defeated with this one.

With kindest regards,
Leah