A File-Linking Work-Around for FBX (Revit to MAX)

22 Dec , 2008  

One of the best improvements over the last year or so was the introduction of the FBX file format.  Specifically, its application for bringing Revit data in 3DS MAX.  Previously we’d use the DWG format for exporting to MAX but there were certain inherent problems.  First of all, and I really thought this was the biggest problem, the material maps didn’t export correctly. The color on the Graphics tab (Shading group) is what would show up on the object in MAX.

aafig01

Even if you attached a material map in MAX, the mapping would be wrong. Imagine the amount of time it would take to attach materials and UVW Mapping maps to every object in your scene (especially when your objects in Revit already have materials assigned). Anyway, since both Revit Architecture 2009 and 3DS MAX 2009 (Design or regular – sounds like regular or decaf), use a new material type called ProMaterials. These are highly photorealistic materials. Since both programs have it, the FBX file format is able to export the settings and materials maps from Revit to MAX. One of the great benefits of the DWG Method, however, is the ability to link it into MAX. Therefore, if the design changes in Revit, you simply need to re-export the file, saving over the original DWG. Then, in MAX, you can reload the file to bring in the changes. As much as there isn’t an explicit FBX Linking function (although, apparently Autodesk has been made well aware of everyone desire to have it), there is a work-around that will allow you to (kinda) do it.

This is sort of a quick description of how to do it, but take a look:

1.  In Revit, click “File –> Export –> 3ds max (FBX)”.
2.  Import the file into MAX and save it as “modelFile.max”.
3.  Use “File –> XRef Objects”.
4.  Click the “Create Xref Record from File…” button and locate the modelFile.max” file you just made.
5.  Select all objects and click “OK”.
6.  Create a new material and add it to all walls.
7.  Add a UVW Map modifier and save the file as “materialsFile.max”.
8.  Return to Revit and make a change to the design.
9.  Export it again over the previous FBX file.
10.  In MAX, return to the model file and erase all objects.
11.  Re-import the FBX file.

Please email me if you have any questions or would like me to exaplain this is more detail.

Revit Needs Customization

15 Dec , 2008  

I was just watching Arianna Huffington on The Daily Show talk about blogging and that one shouldn’t think too much before creating a post.  So, with that in mind, I thought I’d write about something I was just thinking about RIGHT NOW (OK, yes, I was thinking, but I can’t not, so, whatever!).  Revit needs more customization and I hope it gets implemented in version 2010.  I’ve been building a new model in Revit for the past week and it’s (one of the) first I’ve built with any kind of detail.  As someone with an AutoCAD background, I’m right-clicking non-stop and disappointingly finding that the tools I need are not in there.  I’m modeling from an AutoCAD drawing and, since there are many different wall sizes, I have to use the tape measure command.  Having that in the right-click menu would be great.  The Move and Rotate commands would also be helpful.  As I’ve been working, more and more things have come up that I’d like Revit to be able to do.  I created a Revit Wish List Google Form so I can quickly add them all in.  Some of them include:

  1. Light Sources – The ability to see the cone of light, when it’s set to “spot light,” so the “Tilt Angle,” parameter can be visually seen, after it’s inserted into a project file, without having to render to see its effect.
  2. Selection Sets – The ability to selection a bunch of objects and give that selection a name.  This is different than a group.
  3. Design Bar Organization – Names of groups of tools should always remain at the top (as opposed to moving to the bottom when groups above them are chosen.  Clicking a group name should simply show that groups tools.
  4. Render Quality Settings – Render Quality Settings should be able to be exported and imported for future use.
  5. DWF Import – The ability to import DWF files as underlays.
  6. Filter Selection – The ability to filter the object type to be selected BEFORE selection.
  7. Render Time – I’d like to see how long the previous rendering took to complete.
  8. Custom Background Images in Renderings – The ability to load a customized background image to be used when rendering.
  9. Mass Floors – The “Mass Floors” dialog box should have “Select All” and “Select None” buttons.
  10. Groups – The ability to detach one instance of a group (that has been copied) into its own, individual group.
  11. Groups – The ability to create groups within groups.
  12. Visibility/Graphics Dialog Box – The Visibility/Graphics dialog box should be a palette that can remain open.
  13. Groups – The ability to edit multiple objects within multiple groups at the same time (ie. leave multiple groups open at the same time).

Two co-workers of mine had other suggestions:

  • Eric Stimmel: Scroll in Type Selector – Ability to scroll with the scroll wheel in the Type Selector drop down menu.
  • Joe Nocella – Schedule Formatting – The ability to effect the formatting and graphics of schedules.

Once the beta for Revit 2010 comes out, I’ll post all of these suggestions (and others that I’m sure will come up between now and then) in the forums.  It is worth mentioning that there was one more suggestion I had that it turned out Revit could already do:

  • Work Plane – The ability, after setting the work plane, to either have a visual cue that it has been changed or to rotate the model so that working plane is “flat.”  Similar to using the “plan” command in AutoCAD after changing the UCS.

Do to this, use “View –> Orient –> By Plane…

Anyway, if you’ve got any other suggestions, or solutions to my above list, please let me know!

Trying Something New

8 Dec , 2008  

Hey All.  So I’m trying out WordPress to see how I like its blog features.  A colleague of mine uses it for his blog (DesignReForm.net) and says he likes it a lot.    Anyway, just as before, this blog will contain tutorials and processes I’ve learned about 3DS MAX 2009 (Design or Not Design), Revit Architecture 2009, AutoCAD 2009, SketchUp and anything else that pops into my head.  Anyway, I hope you find it interesting and please let me know if there are any topics you’d like to know about and I’ll add it.

Thanks,
Scott

About Me

8 Dec , 2008  

My name is Scott Rosenbloom and I was born and raised on Long Island, New York. My wife Donna and I currently live in Westchester, New York. After graduating Valley Stream South High School in 1994, I went to the State University of New York at Buffalo. I graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in Architecture. Returning to southern New York State, I graduated in 2000 from the New York Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. Finally, in 2002, I graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a Master’s degree in Computer Art.

Since completing my education, I’ve worked for various firms concentrating strictly on architectural design at some and 3D modeling and rendering at others. Currently, I am the Northeast Regional Revit Specialist at Gensler.  I am responsible for managing the progress of the use, support and implementation of Revit for the offices that comprise the Northeast region (New York, Morristown, NJ, Boston, MA and Costa Rica).

For the last five years, I have taught Architectural Visualization Using AutoCAD and 3DS MAX within the Continuing Education Department of the Pratt Institute. This department is a certified Autodesk Training Center. Additionally, I have been a speaker at Autodesk’s yearly conference, Autodesk University).

I am available for various consulting services in such areas as teaching, computer support, design software integration and support, and 3D modeling and rendering. Please email me at scott@bimuzer.com to arrange a meeting to discuss using any of my services to increase the efficiency of your technological environment.

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Education

9.2000 – 5.2002 School of Visual Arts – Masters of Fine Arts in Computer Art

1.1999 – 5.2000New York Institute of Technology – Bachelor of Architecture

9.1994 – 5.1998State University of NY at Buffalo – Bachelor of Professional Studies in Architecture

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Computer Skills

3D Studio MAX 2009 (Mental Ray, VRay), AutoCAD 2009, Revit Architecture 2009, Autodesk Design Review (DWF) 2010, Google Earth, SketchUp 7, Adobe Premiere CS3, Microsoft Office 2007 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), Adobe Creative Suite CS3 (Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, Ilustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Professional), Windows Operating Systems, Newforma

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Work Experience

2.2008 – 2.2010- Gensler – New York, NY – Northeast Regional Revit Specialist

Responsible for managing the Revit Taskforce as we support, develop and implement Revit throughout the region.  Responsibilities include managing the support staff and the development and implementation of training, content and standards.  Additionally, duties include the create of documentation of both Revit and Gensler-specific Revit processes as well as standards and best practices.

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7.2008 – 2.2010Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLPNew York, NY – Digital Design Manager, Architect

Responsible for both CAD and BIM management as well as employee training.  Responsibilities include managing the implementation, training and maintenance for all architecturally-related design software.  Additionally, architectural responsibilities include 3D modeling and rendering, construction documentation and design development.

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11.2003 – 7.2008Cooper, Robertson & PartnersNew York, NY – 3D Visualization & CAD Manager

Responsibilities included management of all 2D and 3D, architecturally-related software specifically in the areas of implementation, customization, standards and technical support. Additional tasks in this area include manual writing and administering training on both software and hardware. Finally, at the request of project managers, 3D models and renderings are completed to assist in both design work and presentation materials.

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1.2005 – PresentPratt Institute – Department of Continuing Education – New York, NY – Instructor – Architectural Visualization Using AutoCAD & 3DS MAX
Onsite, CAD Matinee Instructor

Teach 10 and 15 week classes on the subject of architectural visualization using AutoCAD and 3DS MAX. Topics cover preparing drawings within AutoCAD for export and use in 3DS MAX, and how to use 3DS MAX for design and presentation purposes.

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11.2007Autodesk University 2007 – Las Vegas, NV – Speaker – Architectural Visualization Using AutoCAD and 3DS MAX

A 90-minute version of the class taught at the Pratt Institute was given at the yearly convention held by Autodesk. During this session students sat in front of computers which were set up with files for use with a manual prepared by me for this class.

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5.2001 – PresentAnn Falutico, Architects – Brookyln, NY, GoToMyPC Remote Access – AutoCAD Instructor, CAD Manager and Network Administrator

Taught bi-weekly classes on how to use AutoCAD as well as how to integrate the computer into the Architectural design process. Periodic renderings are also completed. Small, wireless, network was set up to link two desktop computers, one laptop, a printer, and a scanner. Network is maintained on a monthly basis.

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2.2003 – 11.2003Ronnette Riley, ArchitectNew York, NY – Junior Architect and Network Administrator

Construction documentation, site surveying and traditional architectural tasks were responsibilities. Additionally 3D modeling and rendering were frequently assigned. Maintaining the network, e-mail system, file organization and CAD management were Information Technology-related tasks.

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8.2002 – 2.2003Imagination Frontier, Inc.New York, NY – Freelance Modeler and Renderer

3D modeling and 2D CAD drafting of fixtures and stores for such clients as Christian Dior and Origins. Additional responsibilities included the organization of 3D models, material maps and other files within the server library as well as other computer technical support. Further, generation of presentation materials for both clients and the company were responsibilities.

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5.2000 – 12.2001KramerHutchisonNew York, NY – Junior Architect, CAD Manager and Network Administrator

3D modeling and 2D CAD drafting of fixtures and stores for such clients as Donna Karan, Kenneth Cole, Anne Klein and Arche Shoes. Further, organization of the firm’s computer files and folders, as well as basic computer technical support were responsibilities.

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9.1999 – 12.1999New York Institute of Technology – New York, NY – Teaching Assistant

Taught sixteen students in an Introduction to AutoCAD class and six students in an Advanced AutoCAD and 3D Studio VIZ class.

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5.1998 – 3.1999Perkins Eastman Architects, PC – New York, NY – Junior Architect

Construction of 3D models of various medical facilities and other buildings including The Vassar Bros. Medical Center, The Lutheran Medical Center, The Coney Island Medical Center and, “The Castle,” on Riverside Drive and 142nd Street. Models were constructed in AutoCAD and rendered in 3D Studio MAX.

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Other Experiences

2008Web Designwww.CADuzer.com, www.adamkrantweiss.com, www.danaskids.com

6.2002Center for Contemporary Art – Sacramento, CA

Computer generated works chosen for the Digital Visions Fine Arts Exhibition.

6.2002School of Visual Arts Gallery – New York, NY

Computer generated works chosen for the Thesis Exhibition.

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