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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Revizto for Revit: THE COMPLETE GUIDE



Those of you who have followed this blog will know my never ending interest in the multitudes of presentation techniques and Revit (or BIM in general).  This infatuation is what lead me to BIM After Dark.  This infatuation has also lead me to trying every piece of software I can get my hands on related to utilizing building information models for presentation types of media (from Showcase, to CryEngine, to 3DS Max, etc…).

I stumbled upon Revizto while researching video game engines and Revit.  Then, I had a project in the office that needed a “rendered walkthrough” in less than 24 hours.  I thought to myself, “this will be a perfect time to test out Revizto”.  I downloaded the 30-day free trial and installed the software.  If there is one major point I want you to take away from this review it’s that Revizto is EASY.  The way Revizto communicates with Revit is the way ALL visualization tools should communicate with Revit…. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the review.



The install of Revizto was very simple.  Sign up for a 30-day free trial (or purchase a license), download an installer, and run it.  During the installation you simply choose the version of Revit you want the Revizto add-in to be installed on and click next.  Once complete, you have Revizto Editor, Revizto Viewer, and all of the Revizto add-ins installed and ready to go.

Open your favorite flavor of Revit, open up a file that has materials defined (custom or default), navigate to your add-ins tab, and click the Revizto button.  Name the file and watch the magic happen. (Tip:  Revito exports the view as is, so you can set up section boxes, hide categories, etc.. before the export.  Some things can be edited afterwards but the section box cannot).

In many aspects, a third party program that uses Revit models to create presentation media communicates with Revit in one direction.  Revit talks to it, but it does not talk back.  In many ways, Revizto is very similar.  Where I feel Revizto differs is in it’s understanding of what Revit is saying.  Let me explain…

I have found that with most third-party visualization programs there are things left behind when exporting from Revit (even with the ones Autodesk themselves have created).  What is the number one item left behind you ask?  Textures.  Custom or Default.  So many great programs neglect bringing the simple little image files such as textures and bump maps during their export process.  Managing two sets of textures is not fun.  At all.

Why am I ranting so hard about textures?  Because Revizto is one of the first (Stadia3D was the first I used) programs that I have used that can export materials (custom or default) with their image files directly.  I tried numerous types of materials and custom settings to see if I could break it.  No luck.  Revizto imported anything I could throw at the material editor.  ** Off the record, I think it has something to do with the Unity game engine… it always seemed to handle materials better…**

To me, one of the most important things when having to create such realistic representations of buildings are the materials.  Having to continuously select a diffuse map, bump map, and scale them should not be part of the workflow.  This is really where Revizto shines.  Virtually no redoing your materials.

Now, your model is exported and the Revizto Editor is open.  Pretty cool!  Very simple, watered down interface.  Not too intimidating.  The toolbar looks like this:




You could probably guess what each of these do without me even telling you… Like I said, easy.

One thing you will notice in your scene (if you Revit scene had RPC Plants) is that Revizto converts your RPC Plants to Revizto Plants:


The plants that are substituted aren’t the most attractive/realistic plants but they do blend in with the scene well and actually look pretty good.  Unfortunately, RPC People within Revit do not get converted… There are no Revizto people… Yet?

To my eyes, the images seem a bit "cartoony", or, not super realistic. I figured I would also test the appearance against a rendered image from Revit... With a touch of post-processing in Photoshop:


Revit Rendering
Revizto Export
Not too bad....

I think I have gone on long enough making you read all of this… How about a video??



And here is the example I spoke about in the video... This took all of two hours post-revit to complete:





There you have it.  Revizto!  Is it for you?  I hope this review will help you decide.

Pros:
  • Ease of use… It’s just so easy!
  • Communication with Revit
  • Many editing options AFTER exporting from Revit.
  • RPC Tree Conversion.
  • iPad App
  • Web-based viewing.
  • Student Pricing

Cons:
  • Can look a little cartoony (especially without post-processing).
  • No RPC Male or Female conversion.
  • Difficulty handling very large models.
  • Would benefit from a Brightness/Exposure slider.
  • Certain surface edges will look funky (ie. topography, pads, anything with water).
  • Some settings (ie. Sun Settings) get Defaulted on new import.


    Click here to download your Free Trial of Revizto now!!



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