3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 06 - Optimizing Railings

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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 06 - Optimizing Railings

In this tutorial, you take a look at optimizing railings, by removing unnecessary elements or simplifying profiles to reduce polygon count. In doing so, you'll learn about modifying family type properties in Revit.

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

Transcript

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In this movie, you'll optimize railings in your project to simplify geometry and reduce poly count.

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Continue with your file from the previous movie or you can use the provided file named: 03-Museum_railings.rvt

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There are various railing types that you can edit in this project, and others that look pretty nice the way they are.

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For example, the railing type around the roof terrace is made of a combination of balusters and glass panels.

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These look good, and we'll leave them alone.

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Lower at the plaza level, there's a combination of handrails along concrete walls, and simple railings along ramps and steps.

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Leave the handrails as they are but focus on the simple railings.

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Currently, they are made of a simple circular handrail and balusters, also using a circular profile.

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You'll change the balusters' profile to a square shape to reduce the number of polygons.

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Select a railing and note its type name: it reads: Site Guardrail

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Click the Edit Type button and then the Edit button next to Baluster Placement.

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The top section defines all regular balusters set at a fixed distance from one another.

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The bottom section defines the balusters at the Start, End and every Corner of a defined path.

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You can clearly see that all of them are using a round shape set to an inch in diameter.

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Unfortunately, if you tried to change that, you will notice that you have no option to use a square shape, not yet anyway.

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First, you need to load a square baluster family into the project.

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Cancel the dialogs,

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and go to the Insert tab.

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Use the Load Family button and browse to the Railings > Balusters folder.

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Choose the "Baluster - Square.rfa" type and load it into the scene.

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Now that it's loaded, select the railings like you did a moment ago and edit its type one more time.

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Edit the Baluster Placement again and this time, notice that you can indeed use a square baluster model.

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Use the 1" type for every baluster entry and click OK. You're only interested in the shape, the rest of the adjustments work fine here.

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Click OK to accept the changes and exit all dialogs and notice that all handrails based on this type have now changed in the project.

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Let's do one more, this time, changing the guardrails on the inner stairs.

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Currently they are made of a combination of rails and balusters, again using a circular shape.

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You will simplify that by removing some of the horizontal rails and replacing them with a metal wire.

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Since the metal wire has a smaller diameter, you'll also make it square-shaped to reduce the number of polygons.

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You already loaded a square baluster family that you can use, but you still need a square shape to act as an extrusion shape for horizontal rails.

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Use the Load Family button one more time and this time go to Profiles > Railings and open the family type named Square Rail.rfa

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This is a simple 2D shape in the form of a square.

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Browse down and expand Profiles > Square Rail and notice that the family you just loaded has three size options.

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To simulate a wire, you need a much smaller size, certainly no bigger than 1/4"

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To create that, start by duplicating one of the options and rename the duplicate: 1/4"

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Right-click to edit the duplicate's properties and set its dimension to 1/4"

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Exit the dialog when done.

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You are now ready to change the guardrails. Go ahead and select any one of them.

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It reads GuardRail - Pipe. You can of course edit the existing properties or create a duplicate if you want to retain the current one.

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That's what you will do here: Click on Edit Type and then click the Duplicate button.

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Name the new type: "Guardrail - Wire" and click OK.

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Start by changing the balusters from circular to square. This is pretty much the same workflow you did a moment earlier.

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Next, you need to edit the Rail Structure. Use the Edit button to access that dialog.

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The current definition is what makes the current guardrail look the way it does.

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The first three levels define the upper part of the railings.

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The third one in particular, defined with a positive offset represents the rail you grab as you go up or down the stairs.

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You'll leave those three levels alone and edit the remaining rails.

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Rail 9 represents the bottom rail and you can arguably change that to a square 1" shape.

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More importantly, you want to edit the remaining rails to look like metal wires.

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Also, you'll use only two instead of five, so go ahead and delete any three of those already-defined horizontal rails.

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Change the remaining ones to use the 1/4-inch square section you defined earlier.

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More importantly, you'll need to define their heights in this case to 1'-4" and 2'-2" off the ground.

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Click OK to exit the dialogs and view the changes.

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Not bad but one thing remains: It would be good to assign materials to the various elements that make the stairs.

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Start with the horizontal rails since you were just working on those.

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Go back to the Edit Type dialog and click to edit to rail structure.

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Here you want all the regular rails to have one material and the wire rails to have another, perhaps darker material.

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Arguably, you can get fancier by perhaps assigning a wood texture to the handrail but we'll skip that for now.

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However, it's always a good idea to give names to various elements, especially when there are many.

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Go ahead and do that.

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When done, change the material of all the rails except the wires to be assigned with the already-defined material named: 00 - RAILINGS - POLISHED

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For the wire rails, you'll need to define a new material, perhaps a bit darker in color.

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Assign a material to one of the wires but when the Material Browser opens, choose to create a new material.

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Rename the Material: 00 - Dark - Gray to remain consistent with the adopted naming convention.

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Set both the Display (Graphics) color and the appearance color to a dark gray color.

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Click OK to accept the changes and exit the Material Browser.

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Set the other wire rail to use the same material.

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This covers the material for the rails.

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If you tried something similar on the balusters, you'll notice there are no controls for material definitions.

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Balusters are slightly different to assign colors to because they are their own family type.

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In other words, to assign a material to all 1"-square balusters for example, you first find them in the Project Browser,

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Then you right-click to edit their properties.

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Here you can assign the same polished material you used for the rails.

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Once that is done, you can now select and replace all pipe guardrails with wire guardrails.

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Take a moment to check if all of your railing types are assigned with the proper materials.

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The site guardrails you worked on a moment ago are using the same square balusters, so these are ok,

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but the railing themselves may need material assignment.

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Check out if they are assigned with a material and fix as needed.

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Do the same with the handrails fixed on concrete walls.

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One final note, you may also consider assigning different materials to a stair type, especially an interior one.

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As you edit the type, you have separate entries to define materials for treads, risers and stringers.

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You may not have made up your mind yet or you may be waiting on client input.

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You can assign materials as temporary placeholders. You can always edit them later in Revit or in 3ds Max.

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You are now just about done cleaning the Revit model and ready to transfer it to 3ds Max.

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Save your file. In the next movie, we talk about Lights and Cameras and how they are shared between the two applications.
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  • 3ds Max
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
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