NaviSet Transfer Update

Minor/Major bug fixed. Owners can visit the download page to get it.

It was kinda dumb… basically the progress bar was getting overloaded on occasion. If you don’t want that, please update. I’ve tested this one a bit more and everything should be fine now.

New NaviSet Transfer Updates

The NaviSet Transfer plugin for Navisworks has been updated, correcting a set recording issue that I missed back in March.

The Timeliner Import/Export plugin and script is also now available to users, with basic support for the default Navisworks timeliner task types.

NaviSet Transfer

It’s done!…

Well, the important part anyway. I’m still working on the Timeliner plugin. You can animate construction sequences in Max without it though. Just remember to open the Timeliner tab and click “Export to Sets” before running NaviSet Transfer. After that, it’s just a matter of making your Timeliner based sets show up (or disappear) in the order that they’re supposed to.

The tool is best suited for people with intermediate experience using 3D Studio Max and Navisworks. In Max, you will want to know how to set animation keys, use the renderer, and run scripts. In Navisworks, you will want to know how to work with Revit files, create sets, and use the Timeliner.

Bound WIP Report 1

This report is actually a month old, but I’m resuming work on it so I figured I’d go ahead and talk about it.

Since completing Breakspace a while back, I’ve felt kinda blue about game development. I had fun making it, but the game itself was kinda boring and not very popular. I thought I’d have better luck making something I’d like to play. I enjoyed Mario 64 a lot, so I decided to make a 3D platformer, but with the player in the role of the monster instead of the hero.

I had quite a few false starts. Here they are in order:

3DSMax Script: Architectural Materials to Standard 2

I’ve updated the material converter script. The old script was made in April 2011, and supported the Architectural materials that existed then. But as development of Revit and Max continued, new material types were added, and the script didn’t know how to account for those. So you would have situations where if you use something like a painted metal, the script wouldn’t do anything to it, and on export to Blender it would be one of the unnamed mystery materials that we wanted to avoid in the first place.


This script will not try to account for every material type. Instead, regardless of material, it will apply Standard and give a random color. Like the previous script, it will generate multiple materials with the same name but different colors. This error will be fixed upon OBJ export from Max, so if you just want to standardize your materials, export and import the OBJ after running the script.

If you want to bring the model into Blender, even though Blender now supports FBX – export to OBJ anyway. Like Max, FBX supports multiple materials with the same name and different colors. OBJ does not, and will combine all the multiples.

converted model screenshot

A model converted from Revit to Max to Blender. Notice that there are no duplicate materials.

I’ll see about fixing that moving forward. Until then, the workflow is unchanged, and you have a slightly better script.

That workflow is:

  • Export from Revit to FBX
  • Import FBX to 3DSMax
  • Drag and drop script onto scene, this will automatically run the script
  • Export from Max to OBJ
  • Import OBJ to Blender

A Discussion on Blender at CGTalk

Someone asked the CGTalk community why more people in the computer graphics industry don’t use Blender. He made nice videos to go along with it. It’s definitely worth a watch at least.

The answers are really good and I agree with a lot of it. Thanks to my own trials with it, I had somethings to add to the discussion too.

In short, more people don’t use it because it isn’t good enough to replace what they already have. Usually, the cost of the software is no object. In fact, the price of 3d software today is substantially smaller than what it used to be. Even in my case, as a relative outsider, the cost of Autodesk’s software is not an issue because I just use the license purchased for me by the company I work for. The Architectural Suite has Max in it, the license permits home installations… so I effectively have Max. End of story. That’s the case for a lot of people.

So the fact that it’s free doesn’t really add enough incentive to combat the shortcomings.

Blender’s shortcomings are:

  • The UI is weird. * Though in my opinion its alright.
  • The features are unpolished or unfinished. Even simple stuff like layers and the application of materials and modifiers to multiple objects could use some serious work.
  • Everyone is trained to use established software, so companies look for people trained to use established software.

There’s much more in the actual thread itself, including a discussion over why does it matter?

As artists and professionals, we don’t particularly care to marry our software. We use whatever gets the job done. Some people use Blender for a particularly well done feature – like UV Unwrap. Some people use it for everything. Some people don’t use it for anything. Its no big deal, and I doubt the Blender Foundation itself really cares if the industry adopts it as some sort of standard tool or not.

3DSMax Script: Architectural Materials to Standard

– or “How to get Revit models into Blender with their materials.”

This is an old script I made two years ago and sort of forgot about. At the time I had just bought Unity, and I was having trouble getting Revit models into it with their materials. So I made the script to turn all the materials to Standard Mats, which I had assumed to be the problem. The problem was that I was over-complicating issues and it turned out Unity supported Revits materials already. At that point I simply forgot about the script as it was forever useless to me.

Now, I’ve been looking for a way to get Revit models into Blender. I like Blender more than I do Max, (though, obviously I can use both). Although Blender exports FBX files beautifully, the terms of the FBX SDK means Blender will likely never have a legitimate FBX Importer.

There are unofficial builds of Blender that have this capability, though not without hickups. Since I am likely to keep Max in my toolset going forward, my workaround is satisfactory.

After running this script, all of your materials will be made Standard, and then you can export an OBJ. It may lose color, and it WILL lose texture, but its better than the alternative (without this the OBJ export will just have one blank oddly-named material). Once brought into Blender you can use the material names (and sometimes the color works) to reapply the textures and shading.


UALR’s brand new Emerging Analytics Center

UALR finally has a use for the 4th floor of the EIT building. Within it they have setup the new Emerging Analytics Center (EAC for short). It’s all part of a push by the UALR administration to make the school a serious contender on the education front with respect to the studies of Information and Computer Science.

A Dassault Falcon Jet Model being displayed within the new CAVE at the EAC.

A Dassault Falcon Jet model being displayed within the new CAVE at the EAC.

I was at the opening and conference because of my involvement with a part of the new EAC. Before all this, UALR had the Virtual Reality Center. This labs focus was to find and research good uses for the technology. The lab is led by Dr. Mihail Eduard Tudoreanu (we call him Edi), and he’s done a lot of research and development in the VRC regarding user interfaces and data visualization.

I worked in the VRC at UALR between October 2006 and July 2012 as a student employee. A lot of my work had more to do with computer graphics from a more visual and artistic perspective – but I did develop a program that plays 3d video using dual streams of MP4s for all three screens of the old CAVE. CAVE stands for Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, this technology is the centerpiece of the Virtual Reality Center, and the new VRC that’s part of the Emerging Analytics Center.

A picture I took during a visit by the local Fox News affiliate of the old CAVE sometime in 2009.

A picture I took during a visit by the local Fox News affiliate of the old CAVE sometime in 2009.

On the visual side, I got my start with Building Information Modeling and Architectural Visualization by working with Nabholz Construction to translate existing architectural models of multiple projects into a form more ideal for real-time visualization in the CAVE. One of those models was shown again during the public event Monday. I currently work for their competition and I can’t do any work for them like that again, but it was pretty cool to see the model running on the new hardware. (And actually its not exactly the same model either, the one in the picture below was re-converted and optimized from the original architectural files by a technician sent from Mechdyne.)

Nabholz presenting their work at the EAC.

Nabholz presenting their work at the EAC.

Overall I’d have to say it was a pretty cool event. Quite a few companies presented at the EAC, below are some more photos and a link to the official article about the event.

A presentation by Dr. Phil Mui of Acxiom on the topic of graphical representation of massive datasets.

A presentation by Dr. Phil Mui of Acxiom on the topic of graphical representation of massive datasets.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe at the podium during the UALR EAC conference.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe at the podium during the UALR EAC conference.

Mini Cave

The portable Mini CAVE, designed and built by Mechdyne to Dr Edi’s specifications.

Behind the CAVE

A picture taken behind the folding panel of the new CAVE.

Debugging the new CAVE

A Mechdyne technician debugging the new CAVE. Notice that the right wall is now folded in to create a cube formation.

You can read more about the event and the technology by reading UALR’s article here: