3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 04 - Cleaning up the Revit Scene

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

3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 04 - Cleaning up the Revit Scene

Before you send your Revit design to 3ds Max, you need to clean it up a little. In this movie, you remove Revit elements that are not compatible with 3ds Max and make some material adjustments to help with the exchange process.


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


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Now that you've gotten a good grasp at how to exchange simple files between Revit and 3ds Max, it is time to look at a more complex model.

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In Revit 2015, open the provided file named 01-Museum_start.rvt

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Use Viewcube or Shift+MMB to orbit around the scene.

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Zoom in or out using the mouse wheel.

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If you get too close, the line segments may appear thick.

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You can change that with the help of the Thin Line toggle button.

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The scene shows a moderately complex building, in fact a museum designed by an architect by the name of Mike Pagan.

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As a Revit user, your workflow may not always be optimized for interoperability with 3ds Max.

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This is why a bit of cleanup is often necessary before you start sharing data.

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For example, take note of all those trees, bushes and even people in this Revit scene.

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These are called RPC objects, in essence, images of trees, shrubs and people mapped onto flat planes.

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When rendered or viewed in "Realistic" mode, they give the illusion of the real thing.

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Unfortunately, RPC objects are not compatible with 3ds Max and therefore you're better off leaving them behind.

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We will later explore alternative ways to create these effects in 3ds Max.

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For now, you need to remove all RPC objects before exporting the scene.

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In the scene browser, look under Entourage to remove the RPC People with a right-click.

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Similarly, remove all shrubs and trees from under the Planting category.

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Let's see what else we can do that's obvious enough.

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Typically, you want to make sure most of your materials are set up properly in Revit.

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The better they are defined in Revit, the less work you'll need to do in 3ds Max.

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It is inevitable that a few material definitions will need adjustments but do try to set as many as you can early on.

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Case in point, this brown surface representing grass is currently assigned with a brownish material.

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You can easily change that, so you don't have to do this kind of work in 3ds Max.

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Ultimately, it boils down to which 3D application you're more comfortable with but I personally like to tweak the Revit model as much as I can.

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Select the surface referenced as Floor Grass and click the Edit Type button.

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The current material is set as 00 - SITE - GRASS but still doesn't have the look that we want.

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Click the Structure > Edit button and then the 00 - SITE - GRASS edit icon.

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Graphically this material is represented by a brown color; we'll change that in a moment.

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More importantly, the appearance of the material, the one that shows at render time, is based on a brownish gravel texture.

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We want to replace it by a nice green grass texture.

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Click on the current texture name and replace it with a grass texture of your choice, such as SiteWork.Planting.Grass.StAugustine1.jpg

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You can adjust the mapping to define the tiling and the spread of the grass texture by clicking the image.

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Here, you can basically define the size of the image in real-world dimensions.

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I'll set the image to 10'x10' for this tutorial.

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Click Done to go back to the material browser.

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The appearance has now changed from gravel to grass. The Graphics tab however still shows a brown color.

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This is the color that appears in the viewport if it's set to Shaded mode.

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If you want, you can change that to reflect the color of the grass.

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Click OK to save the changes and dismiss all dialogs.

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Click anywhere to deselect the object and notice that it is now green in color.

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Next let's take a moment to study the floors of this building.

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Currently, they're all of the same type, concrete floors with a concrete material applied to all sides.

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Let's say in this example we want the bottom and the sides to be in concrete but the tops to be on a different material.

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Perhaps a nice tileable pattern would be adequate.

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On the other hand, you would want this to apply to some but not all the floors. The roof for example, needs to have a concrete finish.

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Select one of the floors you want to change and then click the Edit Type button.

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Duplicate the family type and name it Interior Floor.

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Click the Edit button to edit the new type.

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Decrease the thickness to 1'-2" and then click the Insert button to add a "tile" layer on top.

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Set the thickness to 1" to compensate for the inch you took off the cement.

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You can use the Preview mode to see the current structure.

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The main structure is still made out of a concrete texture but the new layer needs to be defined.

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Click the little material icon to define a material for the tiling.

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Create a new material and name it:

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00 - FLOORS - TILES to stay with the adopted naming convention.

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Change the Graphics color to something light, maybe an off-white color

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In the Appearance tab, click on "no image selected" to select a tile pattern that you like.

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For this tutorial, I think I'll use Finishes.Masonry Flooring.Slate.1.jpg

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Note that there is a black and white version of the same texture that can be used as a bump map to enhance the realism.

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For now, use the color image as a color map.

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You also need to adjust the real-size dimensions. Use large tiles for this project and define this layout as 6'x6'

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If the sample geometry seems confusing, you can change it to a simpler look such as Sphere or Canvas.

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If you want shiny and reflective tiles, you can adjust these values accordingly.

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Scroll down and expand the Bump section.

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Enable this mode and define the associated B&W image you saw earlier.

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Remember to set the sizes similar to the color map at 6' across.

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When you're done, click OK to exit the dialogs and save your changes.

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Deselect the floor and notice how it's now different from the others in this project.

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Now that you have defined a new floor type, both in structure and in material,

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you can select any other floor and painlessly switch it to the new type.

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While it's good to fine-tune materials in Revit, sometimes it's easier to leave that task to 3ds Max.

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In some cases, editing materials in Revit can be somewhat convoluted.

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This is mainly true when dealing with hybrid components.

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These sunshade elements for example are hybrid objects, made of various family elements nested with a modeled-in-place wall.

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You will notice that you can't edit the materials simply by using the Edit Type button as you did before.

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You would need to edit the nested elements individually.

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In this case, it's probably easier to do this kind of work in 3ds Max.

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Save your file and then export it to an .fbx file named mycurtainwalls.fbx

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In the next movie, you learn to adjust the level of detail of the two curtain wall types in this project.
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  • 3ds Max
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
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