RTV Tools

Monday, January 16, 2017

Revizto Keyboard Shortcuts

Here is a list of the main Revizto Keyboard Shortcuts:

Ctrl+O - Open project

Ctrl+Shift+O - Import project

Ctrl+R - Rooms

Ctrl+X - Section Cut

Ctrl+B - Objects

Ctrl+I - Issue Tracker

Ctrl+Shift+I - Create new issue

Ctrl+M - Ruler

Home or Ctrl+H - Home

Ctrl+T - Create Video Track

Ctrl+E - Sheets

Ctrl+W - Viewpoints

M – Opens the map

R – Toggles the Fly/Walk modes (if available)

F5 – Sets navigation mode to Like in Video Game

F6 – Sets navigation mode to Like in Revit

F7 - Sets navigation mode to Like in SketchUp

F8 – Sets navigation mode to Hybrid

F9 – Sets navigation mode to Navisworks Walk

Shift (while holding) – Increases speed in Like in Video Game navigation mode

Space - Jumps in the Walk mode

”+” – Increases the field of view

”-“ – Decreases the field of view

“0” (zero) – Restores a default field of view

You can also read about the different navigation modes at:

Which includes this information on 3dconnexion:

Friday, January 13, 2017

Learn How To Completely Revolutionize Your Revit Presentation Capability In This Enscape Review

Every now and then, you come across a software product that makes complete and absolute sense. As a Revit professional, I have spent a lot of time learning how to use Revit: how to play by the rules, and also when to bend them. With all my Revit experience, I recognise that there are some things that just don't quite work perfectly in Revit. One of these is the rendering and material management process.

Over the years, I have seen rendering in Revit come a long way. You may remember the complete re-tooling of the Material management system a few years back? But even in 2016 and 2017, it is still a time-consuming process that requires a lot of tweaking. Having to wait each time for the result, then tweak settings, then wait again… well, we just don't have time for that in today's world, right?

That is why we have seen a huge increase in the amount of 'real-time' rendering tools and engines for Revit and BIM. But the one real-time rendering tool that really makes complete sense for Revit, is Enscape.

If you haven't heard of it before, here is a quick overview of what it is and how it works...

Enscape Ribbon
Basically, Enscape is a real-time rendering engine for Revit. It understands lighting and materials, and enables a plethora of visual effects. To use it, you simply open your Revit model, and literally just press the Enscape Start button. It will rapidly export the selected 3D scene view to a new Enscape window, and you will be able to walk around in a rendered environment using the default settings.

The first moment you see it in action is really jaw-dropping. Just how fast and smooth it is to go from a drab Revit coordination and documentation environment, to this bright and colourful, photorealistic world - it is something you really need to see with your own eyes. But, the 'wow' moment is really just the beginning…

You see, Enscape maintains a live link to the current Revit session. So whatever changes you make in Revit, are then quickly visible in Enscape. Want to change the color of the walls? Just modify the material (Appearance Asset) in Revit, and watch as the color changes in the rendered view. Are you working on an interior furniture layout? Well, open a plan view in Revit and start nudging the furniture around with the arrow keys… then observe the furniture move in the rendered Enscape window! As I said, for rapid material and modelling iterations, Enscape simply makes complete sense.

Also, any changes you make to the Enscape Settings are applied immediately to the live Enscape window. You can apply and remove visual effects, modify the lighting, colour, bloom effects, depth of field, clouds and so on without ever really having to wait for a lengthy render process. Once you have the desired settings, you can save that as a profile for use on any future projects.

Of course, if you are ever involved with briefing clients and communicating design intent, you are probably already starting to perceive the potential of Enscape. When you start to look around at its overall capability in more detail, you will understand the new power that Enscape puts into your dusty Revit hands.

Getting Started
To launch Enscape, you can't have a Perspective view as the current view in Revit. This is a Revit API limitation. So, you should go to a Drafting View or a Floor Plan view, and then select the desired 'launch' 3D view from the drop-down list on the Enscape ribbon. Then, press Start...

You should review the HUD (heads up display), which shows you the basic WASD navigation method (very familiar if you are a PC gamer). Left mouse button and drag changes view direction, right mouse button and drag changes the time of day...

Tip: hold down Shift to walk faster

Now, let's see what Enscape can do!

1) Virtual Reality
I put this item first partly because of the current hype around VR, and also because at Virtual Built it was one of the main reasons we started using Enscape on real projects. We experimented with a lot of tools that allowed varying types and degrees of virtual reality experience, and we also looked at the whole pipeline - the process of taking Revit data, exporting it to some other platform, playing with lights, materials, content and so on, and finally generating or simulating the model in virtual reality.

In the end, we found a lot of the alternatives left something to be desired. Primarily, we wanted something that required minimal re-work outside of Revit, and also that created real-time virtual reality (not static panoramas). And we were really pleased with the workflow and experience of using Enscape. The image below is taken from a real client presentation that we delivered during an important function for one of the top building companies in our state:

The Virtual Built Enscape VR Kit
Live VR Mode
The VR experience in Enscape is started in the same way as the normal windowed mode, you just need to press the Enable on the VR Headset pane. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are now both supported, and at Virtual Built we have had good results with both devices.

With the Oculus Rift and gamepad navigation, the experience is very 'easy', for want of a better word. You can quickly explain the basic mechanics to a new users, and then allow them to navigate the rendered VR model. Depending how you want to implement this, you may also then need someone to drive the Revit session at the same time. You can have the Revit user modifying materials and furniture layouts, while the Client is experiencing all of these changes in a human-scale, immersive environment. Trust me, it is pretty revolutionary... It was this experience which partly led to the title of this review.

Here are a few other ways to integrate Enscape into a VR workflow, such as with Google Cardboard devices and easy sharing to mobile phones...

1a) Exporting and Uploading a Stereoscopic Panorama from Enscape (VR View)
  1. Start Enscape and set your viewpoint at the desired panorama location
  2. On the Revit Enscape Ribbon, use the "Take Panorama (Stereo)" option

  3. Wait for the Export to finish

  4. Then use the My Panoramas button to see the completed Render
  5. Click on the cloud to upload the panorama
  6. Then click to view the panorama online

  7. You can share using the QR code

Here is an example panorama:

1b) Viewing a Live Stereo Render
Just tick the Stereo setting...

2) Effects Settings in Enscape
Enscape includes a range of effects that are useful for architectural presentations, including PaperModel (think sketch pen style) and a true Architectural 'Two Point Perspective', where vertical edges are always vertical.

The effects in Enscape are mainly controlled on the General and Image tabs of the Enscape settings dialog. Below I show an example of each of the main effects.


Paper Model


Two Point Perspective

Depth of Field

Global Illumination OFF

Ultra Quality

Saturation 150%

Color Temperature - warmest

Bloom effect

Light (intensity) View

Sun vs Shadow Contrast - maximum
As you can see, while the Default settings look good, there is a lot of flexibility and room for experimentation. Because the changes are seen in real-time, you can do small tweaks and see the results immediately, meaning you can more quickly achieve the specific look-and-feel you want for your current design.

3) RPC
Enscape now supports rich photo realistic content (RPC), including custom content built using Archvision tools. This essentially opens up a lot of potential for rapid creation of RPC for use in your Revit and Enscape scenes.

Tip: keep in mind that 2D RPC will tend to look a little strange in Enscape when you move up close and pass by on one side of it...

Here is a quick overview on getting the RPC into your Revit and Enscape scene:

Read my previous post about it here:
Turn Any Photo Into Enscape Content In a Matter of Minutes

Tip: Make an Enscape View Template to quickly share your 3D view settings to different viewpoints in Revit

4) Output Options
There are a host of new ways to export your presentations once you begin to adopt Enscape into your workflow. Above we have already discussed:
  • simple navigation (view still images, and move around your model in real time)
  • Virtual Reality panorama image export and upload, and the 
  • Live VR experience. 
There are many others, such as:
  • Export still image (default hotkey is Shift+F11) as file, or to a Revit Rendering view in the Revit file
  • Export to EXE - a standalone viewer for the current project that you can share with clients
  • Save Perspective viewpoint to Revit session
  • Export video (set Start and End frames, then Export to video file)
    Setup video
Personally, I suggest you start with the basic desktop Enscape interface, and get comfortable navigating around and showing your Revit model to others around you. Then, you can naturally grow in your Enscape knowledge and explore more of the settings and output options. It really can give you a clear edge over some of your competitors, particularly in design- and presentation-focused fields such as Architecture studies or high end Design Competitions.

5) Updating Enscape
Enscape has an auto-update feature that will open a dialog when you first start Revit, and then prompt you to download the update through the browser.

You can also manually check for updates from the About dialog box:

Note: this review was prepared using Enscape 1.8.2.

Final Thoughts
At Virtual Built, we have started to explore the use of Enscape on a variety of projects. It is a great tool for real-time immersive VR presentations, and it maintains a very strong link to the Revit environment. For that reason it is not a disconnected endpoint, but an extension of the familiar Revit BIM environment... that gives you new and impressive ways to present and share your designs.

Due to its speed and ease of use, you will be able to test it out quickly on a few projects and experience that initial 'wow' factor. From there, I hope you will start to see how it really can revolutionize your Revit presentation capability, taking you to the next level of beautiful Revit artistry.

I hope you enjoy trying out Enscape, and feel free to reply here with your thoughts :)

How To Get It
Go to this link to get access to a 14 day Enscape trial


Other Links
Check out some of the LinkedIn posts about Enscape from Phil Read, like this one:

How to Make Custom RPC with Archvision:
RAAS Cloud Rendering

More example images
Below I show some more examples of each of the main effects.

Default Settings

Paper Model


Two Point Perspective

Light (intensity) View

Depth of Field (far objects out of focus)

Global Illumination OFF

Ultra Quality

Saturation 200%

Color Temperature - warmest

Bloom effect

Sun vs Shadow Contrast - maximum

Export List of Missing Material Images from Your Revit Model

I have posted about SysExporter a few times before, but here is a little reminder... You can use SysExporter to grab text from almost any dialog box in any program in Windows. Let's say you have a list of missing materials in a Revit Render dialog box. You can use SysExporter to grab that list so you can find the material images and rectify the problem.

Here's how:
  1. Render a scene
  2. When the missing material dialog pops up, start SysExporter
  3. Find the dialog in the list (you can use the target to drag and drop onto the Rendering dialog)
  4. Once you find the list of names, you can copy / paste them, or export to a file
  5. Find the missing materials and point your Revit install at them using the Render Appearance Paths in Revit Options.

You can get it here.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Content Strategy Webinar Coming Up This Month

Some firms have already implemented advanced Revit and / or BIM content management systems, others may be looking to change or improve their systems in the coming year.

In any case, the decisions surrounding content management require the right mixture of factual knowledge, foresight, and strategic implementation goals. To that end, you may wish to check out the upcoming webinar by Unifi, which will consider some of those strategic principles, including where to source content and how to analyze and standardize your content library. Here is the main page:

And direct links to register for the two timeslots:
Register: Tuesday, January 24th at 6pmET/3pm PT 
(10am AEST on Wednesday, January 25th for our Australian audience)

Register: Wednesday, January 25th at 9amET/6amPT (3pm CET for our European audience) 

To help you jumpstart your BIM strategy in 2017, we are excited to share that our in-house content experts will be leading a webinar exploring how you can build a strategic roadmap for whipping your BIM content into shape this year. We’ll examine best practices for identifying what areas for improvement exist in your library today and explore how you can use that information to set goals in 2017, including:

    Creating/Adopting a set of standards & parameters that can be adopted firm-wide
    Analyzing your library to identify issues that are costing your firm time and money
    The right balance between creating content in-house and leveraging external content sources
    How to effectively evaluate & manage those external content sources

An on-demand recording will be made to all registrants who sign up but cannot attend the live webinar

Thursday, December 22, 2016

How To Get Inverted User Interface Colours in Revit

Want to try something completely different?

Start the Magnifier tool in Windows, set scale to 100%, then go to settings and enable "Turn on color inversion".

If you have a CAD user who doesn't like the change to the Revit UI, maybe this will help them? :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Free Safe Mode For Revit Tool To Instantly Enable and Disable Revit Addins

Back in March 2015, I posted a script that I had created to disable all Revit addins. That was put together in Powershell and was a pretty severe and somewhat ugly method to use. Happily, earlier this year Robert Manna developed and posted about a more refined tool that Stantec calls the Add-in Manager.

It requires no installation and allows you to selectively switch Revit addins on and off prior to launching Revit. Obviously, this is easier than manually renaming .addin files, and quicker than uninstalling / re-installing addins all the time :)

Interestingly, the Bitbucket site is under BoostYourBIM, so it looks like Harry Mattison (probably the best Revit API coder in the world) was involved in building this helpful little tool.

Here are the steps to install (copied from the original post):
  1. Download the tool from Bitbucket here.
  2. Find where you downloaded the zip file and unzip it.
  3. When unzipped, there will be a BIN folder; browse into the BIN folder then the Debug sub-folder.
  4. Run the tool by double-clicking on the exe file.
  5. In the window that opens, pick your version of Revit (or go with all if you like).
  6. The data grid will update to display all of the machine wide and the logged in user specific add-ins installed. You can pick and choose, invert, select all, then simply click on the “Enable/Disable” button to either enable or disable the selected add-ins.
  7. Once you’ve made your choices, start Revit in the normal manner. Simple and easy.

Thanks for sharing Robert!

Original post:
Creating a safe mode for Revit - Stantec

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Free MEP Revit Family Creation Tool for Air Handling Units

Manufacturers are really starting to get on board with Revit and create some interesting tools, like this one from SALDA. Basically, it connects their AHU selection software with a Revit addin that builds or updates the AHU families automatically.

To get it up and running:
  1. Install Ventmaster http://www.salda.lt/ventmaster/v5/ventsetup5.exe 
  2. Install Revit addin for 2016 or 2017
  3. Restart Revit
  4. On the ribbon, click open VentMaster
  5. Select a piece of equipment in VentMaster
  6. Click Insert AHU 

From the guide:
VentMaster V5 Revit Plug-In
 is a tool that allows Autodesk Revit users to insert Air Handling Units  (Exhaust  AHU,  Supply  AHU,  Heat  recovery  AHU  and  AHU  with  heat  recovery  coil)  after their selection in the main AHU selection software. Software automatically creates Air Handling Units and imports all the necessary design information into Autodesk Revit. All needed parameters are visible for regular Autodesk Revit users. Software allows users to update the families after changes have been made in the model. 

The main functions:

  • Choose AHU in VentMaster V5 software;
  • Export AHU to Autodesk Revit;
  • Insert AHU to Autodesk Revit;
  • Update AHU according to the newest changes.

Main page:
SALDA - Downloads

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Using the Selection Box Tool Anywhere in Revit

Selection Box is a new tool in Revit 2016 that allows you to quickly crop a 3D section box around selected elements (without installing any addins). However, it doesn't always show up on the contextual ribbon. For example, if you are editing a family in-place... the tool doesn't seem to be available.

However, we can work around this problem by simply adding the Selection Box tool to the Quick Access Toolbar.
  1. Select any object
  2. When you see the Selection Box tool in the ribbon, right-click on it and 'Add to Quick Access Toolbar'
  3. Now, in various other modes in Revit, the tool will still be available :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Just Getting Started with Revit? Check this out...

This site usually focuses on intermediate to advanced workflows and topics, but here I just wanted to mention a couple of getting started resources that you may find useful. There is a new and comprehensive video playlist on the BIMscape channel, and I have embedded it here:

And don't forget about the Autodesk Design Academy. For example, the link below will take you to a Revit and Architecture Fundamentals online training course. All for free, of course.