Preparing the Scene in Revit

In this lesson, you use Revit to adjust some settings before enhancing the scene in 3ds Max Design.

To complete this lesson, you must have Revit installed on your workstation. If you do not have Revit installed, proceed directly to the next lesson, Linking a 3ds Max Design Scene to the FBX File.

Set up the lesson:

  1. Open the Revit application and navigate to the \scenes\interoperability\using_autodesk_revit_files folder. Highlight beachhouse.rvt and click Open.
    NoteYou can open this RVT file with a version of Revit that is earlier than Revit 2010, but be aware that the user interface has changed (in particular, the ribbon controls), and won’t exactly match the steps that are shown this lesson.

    The beachhouse.rvt project features the model of a bungalow situated on a beach. In the procedure that follows, you will use options in Revit to change the model’s roof material, in preparation for exporting the scene.

    NoteEven though you can modify materials in 3ds Max Design, it is a good idea to make your changes in Revit if this is the application you are the most comfortable using.
  2. Use the SteeringWheels controls to zoom in on the beach house.

Change the roof material in Revit:

  1. Click to select the roof object, then on the ribbon, click (Element Properties).
  2. On the Element Properties dialog, click Edit Type.

  3. On the Type Properties dialog Type Parameters group Construction rollout Structure item, click Edit.

  4. On the Edit Assembly dialog, click << Preview.

    Revit displays a panel to the left, showing a detailed cross-section of the roof.

  5. In the Layers group Material column, click the top item in the list, Roofing - Asphalt.

    After you click the Roofing - Asphalt entry, a browser icon appears. Click this icon.

    Revit opens a Materials dialog.

  6. On the Materials dialog, click the Render Appearance tab to display a thumbnail of the roof shingle material.

  7. In the Materials group, scroll down in the list and choose Roofing - Slate.

    NoteIf this material is not available on your system, click Replace and choose an alternate material from the Render Appearance Library.

  8. Click OK on all the open dialogs to exit the material edit controls.

    The texture and mapping coordinates of your selected material will be properly transferred to 3ds Max Design, with no further intervention required on your part.

Check light-object properties in Revit:

Like materials, all light-object properties in the Revit scene are accurately transferred to 3ds Max Design. Therefore, it is best to make sure that the lights you have in the current scene possess the properties you want to use in 3ds Max Design.

  1. In the Project Browser panel at the left, under Views Ceiling Plans, double-click Level 1.

    Revit displays the plan of the ceiling.

  2. Zoom in to get a closer view of the ceiling plan for the main part of the house.

    There are seven ceiling lights inside the house, and three outside on the porch.

  3. Click to select any ceiling light object in the scene.

    Revit displays a description of the light object in the Element panel on the ribbon.

  4. On the ribbon, click (Element Properties) and on the Instance Properties dialog, click Edit Type.
  5. On the Type Properties dialog Type Parameters group, scroll down to the Photometrics rollout and review the parameters displayed.

    These values, particularly Initial Intensity and Color, will affect the rendered result in 3ds Max Design, so be sure these parameters contain the result you are looking for. (You can later update these values in 3ds Max Design, if you need to.)

  6. Click the Initial Intensity button to view more detail on light intensity.

    Note3ds Max Design uses Lumens rather than Watts to measure light intensity. When a Revit scene is imported into 3ds Max Design, all wattage is converted into Lumens, but intensity of the light object is not affected.
  7. Click OK to exit the dialogs.
  8. Back in the Level 1 view, click to select the Pendant Light object. This is the light at the lower right of the ceiling plan, in the dining area.
  9. On the ribbon, click (Element Properties) to open the Instance Properties dialog.
  10. Click Edit Type and review the Photometric properties, as you did for the ceiling light object.
  11. Click OK to exit the dialogs.

Create a camera:

By default, the 3D view in Revit uses an isometric perspective, but an FBX file has to contain a single camera view. Therefore, you must create at least one camera view in Revit before you export the scene. In this procedure, you create a camera for an exterior viewpoint.

NoteAlthough you can create multiple cameras in Revit, you can export only one camera view to the FBX file.
  1. In the Project Browser panel, navigate to Views Floor Plans and double-click Level 1.

  2. Zoom so you have a view of the house and the area around it.

  3. On the ribbon, go to the View tab.
  4. On the Create panel, open the 3D View drop-down list, and choose Camera.

  5. Place the camera by clicking below the reference object at the left of the scene, then click a point along the front wall of the house, to the left of the double doors.

    Revit creates a camera view. This is the view you will initially use to render your image in 3ds Max Design. It also changes the ribbon to show the Modify Cameras tab.

  6. Click (Element Properties) and in the Element Properties dialog Identity Data rollout View Name field, change the name of the camera to Exterior.

  7. Scroll down to the Extents rollout, turn off Far Clip Active, then click OK.

    With Far Clip Active turned off, the camera will be able to detect the scene terrain beyond the bungalow model. As with light and material properties, you can also modify clipping parameters in 3ds Max Design if you need to.

    Camera view with clipping turned off, showing scene background

    TipIf you want to adjust how the house is framed in the camera view, use the SteeringWheels Look and Walk tools to move the camera.

Set up rendering and the sun position:

  1. Below the view, click (Show Rendering Dialog).

    Revit opens a Rendering dialog.

    Most of the rendering values do not need to be changed, since the actual rendering of the scene will take place in 3ds Max Design. The Scheme setting in the Lighting group is one possible exception.

    If you choose Exterior: Sun Only from the Lighting group Scheme drop-down list, then in the 3ds Max Design scene only the Daylight system will be turned on and all the man-made light objects will be turned off. Conversely, if you choose Interior: Artificial Only, only the interior man-made light objects will be used in the scene and the Daylight system will be turned off.

  2. For this tutorial, we do not want to use the interior lights yet, so leave Scheme set to the default value, Exterior: Sun Only. (You will turn the man-made lights back on in 3ds Max Design, when you need them.)
  3. For the Lighting group Sun setting, open the Sun drop-down menu and choose Edit/New from the list of presets.

    Revit opens a Sun And Shadows Settings dialog, where you will set the geographic location and time of day for the position of the sun created by the daylight system.

  4. On the Sun And Shadows Settings dialog Still tab, Sunlight From Top Right is automatically selected from the list of single-position presets.

    (The Single Day and Multi-Day tabs let you choose presets that animate the position of the sun over the course of one or more days.)

  5. With Sunlight From Top Right selected, click Duplicate.

    Revit opens a Name dialog for the new preset.

  6. In the Name dialog, type East Coast, then click OK.

    This name is appropriate because you want the Daylight system to show the actual sun position at Cape Cod in mid-afternoon.

  7. In the Sun And Shadow Settings dialog Settings group, choose By Date, Time and Place.

  8. Leave Place set to Boston, MA since this city is in geographic proximity to Cape Cod. Leave the Date field set to 5/10 and change the Time field to 3:17 PM, then click OK.
  9. Close the Rendering dialog.

    Now you are ready to export the scene file in FBX format.

Export the scene:

To export from Revit to the FBX format, you need to be in a 3D view, such as the Exterior camera view you have just created.

  1. Open the Application menu and choose Export FBX.
    NoteAt this point, Revit might prompt you to save the project. You don’t need to save the project to proceed with this tutorial.
  2. Revit opens an Export 3ds Max (FBX) dialog. In the File Name/Prefix field, change the name of the file to beachhouse. If you need to, navigate to the \import\Revit_files folder (not one of the subfolders), then click Save to export the scene.
  3. Minimize Revit but don’t close it, as you will use it again later in this tutorial.


Linking a 3ds Max Design Scene to the FBX File