Sunday, 26 September 2010

Virtual Resolution – Blending Max & BIM for Visualisation

I had an interesting meeting with Tim Power earlier today who runs ‘Virtual Resolution’, a 3D Visualisation firm the North of England.  They produce visuals for the likes of Asda, Willmott Dixon, Laing O’Rourke & RSP Architects.

It was great to see some of the teams recent work in 3ds Max which they are now converting directly from Revit models. Tim and I first looked at the Import/Export process from Revit to 3ds Max a few years ago and we have slowly refined the workflow over this period. He certainly has it down to a fine art now. His visuals are some of the best I have seen and demonstrate that the link between the two software packages is working well. I asked him what benefits he saw from the process and if it had an impact on the deliverables. He said, “The reduction in production timescale for getting Revit geometry into and then ready to use within 3ds Max is a big strength for us. This is especially down to how the materials come automatically setup, although they still require some work to be 3ds Max production ready”. I also asked if there were any parts of the conversion process he didn’t like and would like to see developed further by Autodesk. He said “When the project will inevitably require an animation, it is always at the top of our minds to keep the polygon count low...even with 64-bit. With curved buildings, importing via FBX tends to lead to high poly counts and I’d like to see a ‘cleaner’ option within the Revit export to help this process”.  This example image demonstrates the polygon brought into 3ds Max.

I’m glad to see some positive results coming from the fbx format. As Tim mentioned, there needs to be more flexibility to control the level of detail exported from the model with the ability to rationalise the geometry. Some of this can be done by carefully modelling families with suitable sub-categories. Quite often I see doors and windows that have the glass on the same sub-category as the frame. This proves very awkward when exporting to 3ds Max.

You can check out more work from Virtual Resolution by browsing the gallery on their home page.

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