3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 07 - Working with Revit Cameras

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  • Design Visualization
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
7 min

3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 07 - Working with Revit Cameras

In this tutorial, we will explore Revit cameras and how they transfer with 3ds Max.


  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2015
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2015 or higher.


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Mostly, your Revit model is now cleaned up and ready for transfer.

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There will always be some tweaks to be done, usually with materials, but these can be done in 3ds Max.

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However, there is still one aspect we didn't talk about, and that's lighting and cameras.

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Both applications have two major light distinctions: man-made lights (or artificial lights), and lights that simulate Daylight (Sun and Atmosphere).

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However, we'll cover lights in more detail shortly. First let's tackle the easier subject: Cameras.

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Both applications enable you to create camera shots.

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Arguably, this process is more flexible in 3ds Max but a long-time Revit user may not agree with that statement.

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Be that as it may, what you need to remember is that although Revit does allow you to create multiple camera shots within one scene,

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only one camera is transferred to 3ds Max at a time.

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This said, you can create and animate as many cameras as you want within 3ds Max.

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To demonstrate all this, we'll use a simple scene to learn about this workflow. It will be faster and make manipulation far easier.

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This Revit scene named room.rvt is indeed very plain. It has a simple structure made of a terrain, a couple of floors and a few walls.

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A curtain wall at the front lets us have a peek inside.

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There is also a ceiling with 4 lights attached. These are what I referred to earlier as artificial lights and they have a bearing on the workflow.

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At this time, you're looking at an orthographic generic 3D view. You'll add a couple of cameras in the scene:

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Go to the Level 1 Floor by double-clicking it in the Project Browser.

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From the View menu, under 3D View, choose Camera.

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Click a camera point in the lower left corner and then a target point inside the project.

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A moment later, the camera displays what it sees.

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You can make further framing adjustments until you are happy with the shot.

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It's also a good idea to give the shot a name, this translates into a specific camera name in 3ds Max.

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Name this one: Camera Exterior.

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Go back to the Level 1 Floor and create a new camera inside the room looking out.

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Name this one: Camera Interior.

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Now you can switch from one 3D view to another by double-clicking the appropriate entry in the Project Browser.

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As you will see in a moment, only the active 3D view is transferred with the .fbx file.

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Go back to the generic 3D view for the moment and export your scene to an FBX file.

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Name it: myroom.fbx

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Note: If you don't have Revit installed, a similar FBX file named "room_cam-gen.fbx" has been provided.

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In 3ds Max, use Import > Link to link to the FBX file you just created.

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Use the Combine by Family Type method as you've done before.

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Click Yes to dismiss the Exposure Control reminder; we'll deal with that shortly.

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The scene is now loaded; zoom back a bit to view the contents.

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Obviously the geometry is there, you can also see the assembly representing the Daylight System.

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In addition, there is a single camera present and this camera represents the Revit viewport at export time.

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If you select it, you can see its name: 3D View: {3D}. This is just a generic name since you haven't renamed that shot in Revit.

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The two other cameras are nowhere to be seen.

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Press C to see what the camera is looking at; this is certainly the same shot as in Revit, albeit a bit too close to the structure.

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Go back to Revit and switch to the interior shot.

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Export the file again and overwrite your FBX file.

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Note: If you don't have Revit, a similar FBX file named: "room_cam-int.fbx" has been provided.

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Now use the Manage Links dialog to reload the scene.

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Notice the new camera placement. If you're having problems seeing it, press F3 to view the scene in Wireframe mode.

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If you need to orbit around, use Alt+MMB.

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In fact, select the new camera and verify that its name matches the corresponding view in Revit.

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Again, press C to view the new angle. It matches the Revit shot. If you want, you can use Shaded mode again using F3

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Let's try it one more time with the exterior shot:

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Set the Exterior shot in Revit current and export the file again.

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Note: If you don't have Revit, a similar FBX file named: "room_cam-ext.fbx" has been provided.

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Again, reload the file in 3ds Max.

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At this point, you are still inside the room but if you zoom back and orbit around, you'll notice a new camera named 3D View: Camera Exterior.

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Press C to take a look through its lens and you can see it matches the shot in Revit.

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More significantly, you'll notice that with every reload you did, a new camera replaces the old one that gets removed from the scene.

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However, a camera created inside 3ds Max is not affected or deleted at reload time.

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To demonstrate, create a Target Camera using a simple click and drag.

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Now reload the FBX file, even though it hasn't changed.

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Notice that the 3ds Max camera named Camera001 does not get deleted in the process.

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So, what conclusions do we draw? First, camera creation is fairly easy in both applications.

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Second and most importantly, although you can create multiple cameras in both applications, only one camera is transferred through FBX protocol.

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Which brings us to the other rendering aspect to tackle: lighting, and how it transfers from Revit to 3ds Max.

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This is what you do in the next movie.
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  • 3ds Max
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
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