3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 03 - Exporting and Linking Workflows

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Industry
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
Products
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
Duration
10 min

3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 03 - Exporting and Linking Workflows

Before you start working on full scenes, you'll use simple geometry to understand the various workflows for transporting data between Revit and 3ds Max.


Notes

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

Transcript

00:00:06 --> 00:00:12
In this movie, you take a look at various ways to export data from Revit to 3ds Max.

00:00:12 --> 00:00:18
If you have Revit installed, start it up and open the provided file named walls.rvt

00:00:19 --> 00:00:25
If you don't have Revit installed, just follow along until it's time you need to interact with 3ds Max.

00:00:25 --> 00:00:31
Take a look at the scene. It's a very simple scene with just a few objects, a few walls, doors and windows.

00:00:32 --> 00:00:37
You can orbit around using ViewCube or simply using Shift + middle mouse button.

00:00:38 --> 00:00:45
The first rule to follow before you send information from Revit to 3ds Max is that the Revit workspace needs to be in a 3D view.

00:00:46 --> 00:00:53
So if you were to temporarily switch to any 2D view, make sure you're back in a 3D view before proceeding.

00:00:53 --> 00:00:57
To send data to 3ds Max, you can use one of three methods:

00:00:57 --> 00:01:04
If you are using one of the later versions of Autodesk Revit and 3ds Max, you can use a method called Suite Workflow.

00:01:05 --> 00:01:08
It's a very easy process that requires a few simple clicks.

00:01:08 --> 00:01:13
You can then choose a template for exterior or interior renderings.

00:01:16 --> 00:01:19
When you run the tool, you are prompted for a destination link.

00:01:19 --> 00:01:27
This can be a new scene in 3ds Max, an existing scene or you can choose an active scene if 3ds Max is already running.

00:01:28 --> 00:01:33
Data will be updated by default although there are other options to choose from.

00:01:33 --> 00:01:37
When you click on Continue, the information is sent to 3ds Max.

00:01:38 --> 00:01:43
Although this method is easy to use, it is not always necessarily the best way to proceed.

00:01:43 --> 00:01:48
For one thing, it is only available if you have a recent version of Revit.

00:01:48 --> 00:01:52
Also, it is the slowest interaction method between the two applications.

00:01:52 --> 00:02:01
More importantly, it translates all Revit components into separate objects in 3ds Max, making them a little hard to manage.

00:02:01 --> 00:02:04
You'll notice that every wall, door, and window is a separate object.

00:02:05 --> 00:02:11
It's not too bad in a small scene like this, but it can be a hassle in larger scenes.

00:02:11 --> 00:02:19
Reset 3ds Max. The other method of importing Revit data into 3ds Max is to link directly to the .rvt native format.

00:02:20 --> 00:02:24
This can be useful if you need to open a Revit file even if you don't own Revit.

00:02:25 --> 00:02:32
In 3ds Max, all you need is to use the Import > Link Revit function to link to the .rvt file.

00:02:32 --> 00:02:42
This method works well, but still takes a fairly long time to process as 3ds Max needs to translate the Revit data into something it can understand.

00:02:42 --> 00:02:46
Attach the file and proceed to dismiss all the dialogs.

00:02:48 --> 00:02:52
The third option you will learn about is the one you will adopt for this tutorial.

00:02:52 --> 00:03:00
It relies on FBX interoperability. It's faster than the other methods and is quite convenient when you understand how it operates.

00:03:02 --> 00:03:09
Go back to Revit. To export a revit model to the .fbx file format, first ensure you are in a 3D view.

00:03:10 --> 00:03:15
You can then use the Export > FBX feature to give your file a name.

00:03:15 --> 00:03:18
Name it mywalls.fbx

00:03:19 --> 00:03:24
If you don't have Revit, a similar file named walls.fbx is already provided.

00:03:26 --> 00:03:33
Go back to 3ds Max and use Import again, only this time, use the Import > Link FBX method.

00:03:34 --> 00:03:40
Choose the walls file (either your own or the one provided to you) and then click Open.

00:03:40 --> 00:03:43
The Manage Links dialog appears.

00:03:43 --> 00:03:48
Here, you have a choice to combine elements based on your preferred criteria.

00:03:48 --> 00:03:52
Leave the Combine by Material option active and attach the file.

00:03:52 --> 00:03:59
You are prompted to create a Daylight System, click Yes for now and dismiss the Links dialog when done.

00:04:00 --> 00:04:07
This is a small scene, so it does not take very long to load although it is significantly faster than the other two methods.

00:04:07 --> 00:04:15
If you're using 3ds Max or 3ds Max Design 2015, you will see a Scene Explorer to the left hand side of the screen.

00:04:15 --> 00:04:21
This is a new feature in 3ds Max 2015 and makes scene management easier.

00:04:21 --> 00:04:24
Normally, this window is docked to the left side of the interface.

00:04:25 --> 00:04:29
It's sort of like having a better version of the Select from Scene dialog.

00:04:31 --> 00:04:36
Let's take a look at the scene: You chose to combine Revit elements by their materials.

00:04:37 --> 00:04:42
This means all objects sharing the same material come in as a single object.

00:04:42 --> 00:04:49
In this case, all door panels come in as one object, and all door frames come in as a separate object.

00:04:50 --> 00:04:56
All window glass panels have been combined as a single mesh, and the same is true for their frames.

00:04:57 --> 00:05:01
The walls are interesting as they are made of three entities.

00:05:01 --> 00:05:07
the reason for that is that the material for the outside of the walls is made of bricks,

00:05:07 --> 00:05:13
the inside of gypsum boards and a third material defines the tops, bottoms and sides.

00:05:14 --> 00:05:21
Combining objects by Material makes sense as you can redefine the material and have it update all elements assigned with it.

00:05:22 --> 00:05:26
In some cases, you may prefer to combine entities differently.

00:05:26 --> 00:05:31
Reset 3ds Max and link to the same FBX file one more time.

00:05:37 --> 00:05:41
You may notice an .fbm folder that shares the file name.

00:05:41 --> 00:05:48
This folder gets expanded to include all media files (such as bitmaps) associated with the scene file.

00:05:50 --> 00:05:56
When prompted this time, use the Combine by Category method and attach this file.

00:05:57 --> 00:06:00
Dismiss the Daylight System warning and the Link dialog.

00:06:01 --> 00:06:03
Here you'll notice two things:

00:06:03 --> 00:06:13
First, there is the inevitable annoying little bug that always falls through the cracks. The Scene Explorer gets undocked and moves to the top left corner.

00:06:14 --> 00:06:18
This happens every time you link or update an FBX or RVT file.

00:06:19 --> 00:06:25
You can leave it floating or dock it again, but it will move the next time you link or update a file, as mentioned.

00:06:26 --> 00:06:31
It's certainly an annoying little quirk but nothing that prevents you from doing your work properly.

00:06:32 --> 00:06:38
The other thing you'll notice is that combining objects by category simplifies the scene greatly:

00:06:38 --> 00:06:45
All the walls come in as one object, all doors and all windows are combined likewise.

00:06:45 --> 00:06:53
Note that door panels and door frames are all combined as a single object as the panels and frames are part of the door category.

00:06:55 --> 00:06:58
Reset 3ds Max one final timem

00:07:00 --> 00:07:05
and this time try the Revit Family Type option:

00:07:06 --> 00:07:16
This is somewhat like Category but with a twist: It still combines objects by category, but it also does so by sub-category or "Family Type".

00:07:16 --> 00:07:22
In this case, there are two door dimensions of 30"-wide and 36"-wide.

00:07:23 --> 00:07:30
Although they are part of the same category, they are of distinct "family types" and they are combined accordingly.

00:07:31 --> 00:07:36
The wider doors come in as one object and the narrower doors as a separate object.

00:07:37 --> 00:07:41
The same thing holds true for the two types of windows involved.

00:07:42 --> 00:07:45
Any one of these three methods of combining objects works well.

00:07:46 --> 00:07:52
I personally favor the Family Type method but you might feel differently as you develop your own workflows.

00:07:54 --> 00:08:03
Try not to use the "Combine as One Object" or the "Do not Combine" methods as I find that they make scene management harder than it needs to be.

00:08:04 --> 00:08:12
Of course, whether you use Suite Workflow, or link to an .rvt or .fbx file, you keep a live link active between Revit and 3ds Max.

00:08:13 --> 00:08:17
This means you can go back to Revit and make a design change,

00:08:32 --> 00:08:36
and export back to the same .fbx file you saved earlier.

00:08:42 --> 00:08:51
In 3ds Max, you can check for changes by using References > Manage Links to get back to the Links dialog after closing it.

00:08:51 --> 00:08:58
In the Files tab, a red flag indicates that the linked file has changed, and you can then reload it.

00:09:03 --> 00:09:12
Sure enough you have new bigger windows on the walls and since they're on a separate family type, they come in as one object.

00:09:13 --> 00:09:19
With these basic principles explained, it is time to move to a more complex, more complete architectural design.

00:09:20 --> 00:09:22
This is what you do in the next movie.
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  • 3ds Max
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
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