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jonmoore

Fantastic free (open source) resource for converting Architectural BIM models to FormZ readable formats

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For those of you that work in Architecture, you might find this resource useful for converting IFC files to OBJ, DAE, STP & IGES.

 

http://www.ifcopenshell.org/index.html

 

It comes as a free plugin for 3ds Max (for those that own it), Blender (which and free) and a command line utility for both OS X & Windows (3ds Max is obviously Windows only).

 

Really great for importing scenes from the likes of Archicad, Revit, Bentley etc.

 

We've been using both the command line and Blender versions recently and can recommend both. Blender is a really great workflow as you can use it as a 'middle man' to visualise the results of your conversion before exporting again to your format of choice (Blenders export engine is a really solid performer).

 

Command line conversions to STP/IGES are cool for smaller models as you're not tessellating your model but it doesn't cope well with big models so use with caution.

 

As a separate note to Tech, I have a feeling the Python plugin version could easily be adapted to work directly with FormZ; so you should be able to build a direct import plugin for FormZ in a relative pain free manner (IFC is a variant of STP so it should convert in the same way, with no need to tessellate before import). There's no license fee or such like and I'm pretty sure the developers of IfcOpen will be more than happy to help as it would be good for the project overall if another plugin variant were made available.

 

 

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I work in architecture in both fZ and Revit. I find that simply checking the box in the export options to create ACIS solids instead of polymesh that the geometry is perfectly usable. You'll have to union walls together as they are all separate elements in Revit and remain that way during export, but beyond that it's all good.

 

Are there other advantages to using the plugin? Does it maintain colors and materials? That would be beneficial for sure, as DWG does not.

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Our main workflow is bringing things into Maya for rendering in V-Ray/Arnold/Renderman.

 

The projects I work on have VFX production values so we require very high quality geometry and using IfcOpen helps us manage the 'rats nest' geometry often associated with BIM exports. 

 

 

I highlighted it to Tech because I think it could be relatively easy for AutoDesSys to develop a plugin that would import with no tessellation requirements at all, seeing as IFC is a derivative of STEP. Even without an AutoDesSys specific solution the plugin for Blender offers lots of options for cleaning up the geometry first and managing material mappings and such like (and with Blender also being free, it's a great option to have).

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Great Animation Video Jon and I would think your client is very happy because you and team did an excellent Job!

 

 

Dan S.

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…..

The projects I work on have VFX production values so we require very high quality geometry and using IfcOpen helps us manage the 'rats nest' geometry often associated with BIM exports. 

 

….

 

 

Well done, this is a most remarkable video  production!

 
In looking at the Moorish Reliefs which magically fly around and then magically insert into new architecture...  May i ask if you used the object Scatter Tools in 8.5 beta?  
 
 
PS- Scatter tools make v8.5 promising for me, (if ever i get a chance to focus on  them).  I expect that you use excellent work stations, but my personal hope is that someday formZ will provide transparent backgrounds to permit creating similar advantages of mixing video layers, (but without excellent work stations)... My best hope for mixing video segments is to use Mac's free aps and  with transparent formZ backgrounds... All in order to remix video segments, much like like fancy layer blending...  Primitive methods like this allow extremely low budgets, old OS, old machines (and faster learning curves).

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Well done, this is a most remarkable video  production!

 
In looking at the Moorish Reliefs which magically fly around and then magically insert into new architecture...  May i ask if you used the object Scatter Tools in 8.5 beta?  
 
 
PS- Scatter tools make v8.5 promising for me, (if ever i get a chance to focus on  them).  I expect that you use excellent work stations, but my personal hope is that someday formZ will provide transparent backgrounds to permit creating similar advantages of mixing video layers, (but without excellent work stations)... My best hope for mixing video segments is to use Mac's free aps and  with transparent formZ backgrounds... All in order to remix video segments, much like like fancy layer blending...  Primitive methods like this allow extremely low budgets, old OS, old machines (and faster learning curves).

 

 

FormZ wasn't part of this production at all. With the folk I work with, FormZ is mainly used as a way of 'rapid prototyping' forms/designs before the geometry is taken into either a CG package like Maya for rendering and animation or a specialist architectural package. The beauty of FormZ is that you don't have to worry about topology so much whilst exploring forms but once a model is in the likes of Maya it has to be rebuilt in quad friendly fashion for UV Mapping, texturing and the rest of the pipeline enroute to final render. The likes of V-Ray/Arnold/Renderman produce beautiful images but they require good geometry. We're increasingly experimenting with Renderman because it renders Nurbs directly without any need tessellate the geometry first but Renderman has steep learning curve and we're only skimming the surface of what we'd like to achieve with it.

 

The flying moorish reliefs were animated via a particle system. If your looking to achieve something similar for free I really do recommend Blender as it has most of the power and features of Maya (and a few more besides). Such a fantastic application once you get past the alien interface. But you can't get fussy about workflow niceties when you get all that creative power for free!  :)

 

The big issue with work of this nature is the cost of rendering. But Cycles (the Blender renderer) is GPU powered and the latest release (out yesterday) features both OpenCL and Nvidia Cuda rendering (great for Mac users who are usually stuck with AMD GPU cards). And the final icing on the cake is that Blender has it's own compositing and video editing software included too.

 

Check out the features here - https://www.blender.org/features/

 

It still amazes me that Blender provides so much and can be downloaded and used by anybody at no cost. Who ever said there's no such thing as a free lunch! :)

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FormZ wasn't part of this production at all. With the folk I work with, FormZ is mainly used as a way of 'rapid prototyping' forms/designs before the geometry is taken into either a CG package l……………...

 

……...If your looking to achieve something similar for free I really do recommend Blender as it has most of the power and features of Maya (and a few more besides). Such a fantastic application once you get past the alien interface. But you can't get fussy about workflow niceties when you get all that creative power for free!   :)

 

 

We are analyzing different paths, but with some curious connections. If one had to spend years re-learning projects through an alien interface, where one already had invested in familiar user interfaces and viable work flows…. This is  lost freedom. Free time to focus on one's inner freedom is the economy i speak of.  

 

Proper CG is not my goal at all, though i offer compliments. I'm instead, eventually aiming at faux CG, through mixing and remixing screen captured video. (Not using proper software).  I'm not investing in film tech, but rather within the real world applicability of the geometry.

 

One very brief example of the decade past, which does not involve animated particles, but does involve a sort of, fractalized 3d mesh, called coffers is here:

http://harmoniouspalette.com/geocoffer4.gif

http://harmoniouspalette.com/AnechoicAuditorium.html

It involves a wavy sort of quad mesh which is framed out, the framing of which provides structural strength.I noticed a hint of wavy framing on the structure in your vid, near end, but it was not yet a coffer structure. Devising variable, wavy shaped coffers, architecturally, can be modeled in formZ.  But solving it in real life concrete, was another requirement of freedom as well. i use formZ to meditate on building structure. My low cost approach was crude, but it demonstrates what could be done if provided with real budgets. The creative spirit is satisfied with getting only this far alone.  Working for the high rollers of life and promoting to them was sort of interesting, but is not really the sort of world i would want to build. It has become apparent to me that too much of earth's beauty and health is being squandered with that sort of world economy.

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Love that fractalized parametric approach to building design modeling Bo. Quality stuff good sir.

 

I can highly recommend this read "Parametric Building Design" http://ming3d.com/book/resource/which explore a very similar approach to design via parametric exploration.

 

The author Ming Tang taught a lot of the folk at Zaha Hadid and is something of a genius IMHO. Although the examples in his book are created using Maya, they're equally applicable to FormZ (although he does lean on Maya's construction history for a lot of what he does). Really think you enjoy it, it's a great read no matter what software you use. I'd steer clear of the Kindle version though as the picture scans are of a very low quality.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Parametric-Building-Design-Using-Autodesk/dp/041564447X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435928923&sr=8-1&keywords=Parametric+Building+Design+Using+Autodesk+Maya&pebp=1435928927334&perid=111WXHAS51YQTRM6G1NG

 

 

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