Do you have quality standard for Revit files?

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  • I work as an inhouse visualizer for an architectural firm. The usual workflow is to import Revit files via the Simlab plugin to SketchUp, fix them, add context and entourage and then render images with Enscape.

    I have been struggling with a file for a rather large building, it comes into SketchUp as 20000 objects and crashes when I try to render in Enscape. The (exported) error report from Revit is nearly 2000 lines, which seems to imply that there are issues with almost 10 % of the geometry. Usually I am able to fix things within SketchUp, but it is really a stupid way to work, as I have to repeat it in the next revision. It also uses my allotted time to fix other peoples mistakes, making the visualization process more expensive than it should be, thus making me less competetive.

    The question I have is how many errors or bad modeling in the Revit file do you forum readers accept, and can you really demand that the architects "clean up their own mess" before sending it off to visualization (or other services)?

    Do you all get clean, perfect models from your architects, or do you have some sort of quality description/minimum standard for the files you work with? If that is the case, does anyone have the opportunity to share such a description with me?

    Earlier, they only messed things up in 2 dimensions, but there is an awful lot more that can go wrong i 3D...

  • I have a Nvidia RTX 4000, but I feel that is somewhat beside "the question in question". I have almost always loaded the models to a crashing or misbehaving point, then picked something off until the machine I work with at the moment manages the workload. But this is a building model the machine should handle well - when it didn't I started to pick it apart and find lots of duplicates and overlapping geometry I suspect to be the culprits.

  • I would check your GPU load. In almost all cases (for me) if I experience a crash during enscape loading it's due to not enough VRam. This was when I was on a RTX 2080 (12gb VRAM) Happened quite often as the project scales I deal with are quite large. After upgrading to the RTX 3090 with 24gb of VRAM I haven't had a single issue.

    The RTX4000 only supports 8gbs of VRam. - as a full-time viz artist this is not nearly enough.

    You can quickly see if this is your issue by viewing the Task Manager - Performance - GPU - Dedicated GPU Memory. If you at 90-95% full you may or may not crash at load time but you will for the sure crash at render time.

    Check that first if it not overloading the GPU then it could be something more technical and maybe one of the Devs here on the forum can better answer.

    But generally crashes for me at loadtime are VRam related.

  • Exporting issues (or issues with an exported model) isn't always the fault of the people who made the Revit model. Sketchup and Revit are very different modelers (mesh vs brep) and also organize the models very different (nested groups vs family/types).

    Have you considered visualizing straight in Revit?

  • ....can you really demand that the architects "clean up their own mess" before sending it off to visualization (or other services)?

    Never going to happen. Regardless of all the 3D work in Revit, the final output is still 2D drawings, and designers will basically do whatever they need to to make the drawings look right. On one hand, it guarantees you stay employed, on the other hand explaining why it takes so long to clean things up when "we already have a model" is a constant struggle.

    We have some designers who really get into Enscape, and produce most of the renderings themselves. The downside there is you end up with way more stuff in the Revit model than you really need for construction documentation.

    That said, as Pieter suggested, the most efficient route is to do the visualizing in Revit. If you aren't proficient/comfortable modeling in that, you can at least push the geometry fixes back to the architects and have them deal with it, while you focus on materials, entourage, lighting, etc. But the chances of the designers having time to fix things is pretty low as well. You kind of have to pick your poison, educate everyone in the workflow about how much work is involved, and try to meet in the middle somewhere.

  • Thank you for the feedback.

    jtubb: VRam is definately part of the problem, the building in question did render on the RTX 3060 laptop. I hope to squeeze a couple more years out of the "old" workstation before I ask the management for a very expensive new computer, but maybe it is a terrible plan. I will keep an eye on the Task manager. The temporary solution might be a period of modeling on the pleasantly silent workstation and rendering on the extremely noisy laptop until I can get a new computer.

    Pieter: I am very happy with how the Simlab exporter works, the files are well ordered with materials.
    One reason I don't stay in Revit is that most often the building is only a part of the illustration (albeit an important part) and there is much landscaping and vegetation happening that I think is better handled by SketchUp and Skatter (plugin). Another reason is that most part of what I do is photomontages and the Revit camera does - to my knowledge - not have the physical parameters I need to correctly match a view to a photograph. Enscape is promising to making the entourage bit more manageable from within Revit, so maybe in the future I'll work more inside Revit, but for now I need/want my workflow to be via SketchUp.

  • I hope to squeeze a couple more years out of the "old" workstation before I ask the management for a very expensive new computer, but maybe it is a terrible plan.

    No need to swap the whole workstation; if you can swing an upgrade the A4000 is a very impressive card with 16GB of VRAM. It doesn't have the massive power requirements of the typical gaming cards and will slot right into where your RTX4000 is now.

  • In that case my recommendation is you do a lot of testing and get to know Revit a bit (if you don't already) to see exactly where these issues are coming from. Again, it might be that what the modelers are doing is perfectly fine for Revit, but just doesn't export properly (or in a way that's practical for you).

  • rifkin : Thank you for the suggestion. I wanted the A4000, but my machine supports only PCIE 3.0. The RTX 4000 is a "new" card in a machine from 2016 packed with dual Xeons totaling 20 cores. It was pretty useful for offline rendering with V-ray back then, but now I think I am better served with a "Lamborghini" CPU better suited for single-threaded geometry handling and a GPU like the one you suggested. (On a PCIE 4 motherboard.)
    I can't see I will be doing nothing but real-time rendering in the near future.

  • I appreciate the feedback,

    I am in the process of writing down (what might possibly be no more than) a "wishlist" and I want to ask you what things makes the most trouble when cleaning Revit files for visualization. My points so far is:

    - Avoid overlapping geometry. Two different elements can't occupy the same space in real life, it should be the same in the digital model.

    - Avoid duplicates for the same reason as mentioned above.

    - Be cautious when using models off the internet, check that the detail level is appropiate and the file size is acceptable.

    - Whenever possible; use square profiles instead of circular ones for railings and other small details.

    - Do a visual check to ensure Revit has snapped the walls together the way you intended.

    What would you add?

  • Karin Skaug

    I would probably add:

    - Check Revit model warnings (includes same instances placed twice)

    - Run health check to detect large families:

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    Regarding the Revit to SketchUp workflow, Revit curved surfaces need to be processed properly when generating the SketchUp geometry. We learned this when developing Helix. Our first iteration created WAY TOO many triangles for cylindrical surfaces in Revit (see attached image). Then we optimized the geometry so that it remains "push-pullable" with the minimum amount of triangles to preserve original form. If these meshes are not optimized, it will drastically blow up the polygon count and take up unnecessary VRAM (in both SketchUp & Enscape).

    If you're considering going the "render in Revit with Enscape" route, (shameless plug warning) you could use Helix. You could convert SketchUp geometry to Revit, complete with generating Revit textured materials from SketchUp materials. With this workflow, you can get SketchUp topography as native Revit topography (and other categories). You can also bring in mesh 1:1 geometry from SketchUp, if that geometry does not need to be made parametric in Revit.

  • and can you really demand that the architects "clean up their own mess" before sending it off to visualization

    Probably not.. on 20 architects I get Atocad files from 2 are clean.. rest is the mess.. but to be honest most of Architects are not very technical staff.. I got even sKetchup files from some of them which were supposedly making errors etc.. and all it needed was a PURGE.. If I was pissed off and there was a time to spend I would pretend it took me a half day..
    Try to do what BenGuler said.. I don't know how far You can push the clean up things in revit.. never have used it, but from my experience there is a big chance that some of the architects that You get the files from have no idea what so ever. So maybe a few tips given to the guys will help You enough. And it is definitely easier to do clean up in native program then after exporting..

    Exporters, importers are last resort.. They become way to common.. They suppose to only bring a "mesh" in a reasonably accurate manner.. The workability between sketchup and 3ds Max or blender.. wil never follow..

    I was doing myself many different things.. .obj to skp , fbx to skp, dwg, dxf , blend, 3ds .kmz.. It always takes me a few tries.. And it is a mess. And if I get a file in dwg which I happen to have an autocad.. I definitely spend some time cleaning it first in autocad before importing to sKetchup..