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BricsCAD in a 3D work flow on Linux

I have done some beta testing of the collada (.dae) file format export in BricsCAD v.14.2 beta for Linux and would like to share some results.
Attached is a rendering of an office building concept we are currently working with at OpenStudio arkitekter in Sweden.

Building model: BricsCAD for Linux
File exported from BricsCAD to collada (.dae) and converted in Accutrans 3D (running in wine) to wavefront (.obj)
Rendering: Thea Render
Vector post processing: Inkscape
Raster post processing: Gimp

Best regards


  • Thanks to share your work with us.
    It is always good to see real world examples by BricsCAD users.

    the roof looks spectacular
    nice rendering
    it is great to see the roof reflected in the floor, and through the glass panels at the topleft
    only the supporting pole at the left looks a bit odd, kind of Esher-like

  • Hi,
    nice render, thanks for sharing it. I am happy to see someone using the same workflow I plan to use with Bricscad.
    Does collada export work on your machine? When I try to do collada export  on my linux machine, an error occurs. I already submitted SR few weeks ago and Bricsys crew can reproduce the problem. Is this fixed in 14.2?

    Just out of curiosity - what did you use Inkscape for? It's the first time I hear about vector drawing program used in post processing of a render.
  • Thank you for posting this rendering. Did you build the model in BricsCAD?  Would you recommend BricsCAD for architectural modelling, and if yes - what kind of plug-ins does it need?
  • Yes Collada is working fine with my machine using BricsCAD 14.2.18. The feedback I have sent to Bricsys about it is that it would simplify rendering allot if it was possible to control layer/material handling during export, as well as exporting to a non-world UCS.
    The ability to include xrefs in the export is great!

    I am using Inkscape to add most non-perspective objects, such as humans and trees, to the montage after rendering, as well as adding light gradients, doing vector adjustments to geometry and so on. My opinion is that illustration applications have a much faster and more reversible work flow compared to raster editors, so I use Inkscape in combination with Gimp for post processing.

    The model is built entirely in BricsCAD and I think it is a nice modeler; Produces good solid CAD geometry, makes it possible to effectively model from any dwg-drawing and does not suffer from the same modeling restrictions that Revit and ArchiCAD have. As an architect is also effective to have a work flow where CAD and visualization work is in the same model.

    Olga, you do not need any plugins, just BricsCAD pro or platinum. The other applications I use in my work flow was included in my first post.
  • Thank you for sharing this!
    It is an inspiration to me as I am currently exploring a similar work flow with Unity as the destination.

    Wonderful work :)
  • Some new work (attached) to share; At OpenStudio arkitekter we are designing a small library building in the city of Malmö, where we are combining a library together with rental apartments on the upper floors.

    Drawing work and building modeling is made with BricsCAD for Linux.

    For this illustration our standard work flow is used:
    Building model: BricsCAD for Linux
    File exported from BricsCAD to collada (.dae) and converted in Accutrans 3D (running in wine) to wavefront (.obj)
    Rendering: Thea Render
    Vector post processing: Inkscape
    Raster post processing: Gimp

    Could be interesting to mention we also use BricsCAD to do modeling for MakerBot 3D-print-outs at our studio (maybe I should attach a sample foto of a printed model some time).

  • Hi Mikael,
    Nice job. The 3D part fits into the photograph nicely. I also like that you put lot of people on the street - it gives life to the scene.
    On a related note: did you try the BIM module in V15 yet? In my short testing it shows good promise, but still has some problems, namely:
    1) I keep loosing keyboard focus (unable to input anything through keyboard) during "long" commands, like creating complex polysolid
    2) some widgets are missing (they are in Windows tutorials, but not in linux) - like polysolid alignment
  • Hi and thanks for your comments Tomas; Post processing related to the street and neighbors was a big challenge in this illustration because the renewing of the street will change its character quite alot.

    Havn't tried the new BIM-module yet, but we do 3D-building modeling with 2D-views created from section planes already at our office. I embrace the Bricsys BIM concept and we will start using it soon. IFC is really making progress in Sweden for 3D/BIM colaborationa and actually I made a few requests during the last two years about:
    - IFC support
    - Posibility to clasify building object categories.
    - Standard export format for 3D-visalization.
    ...And to include all this without adding alien plugins, but instead keeping the simple and clean BricsCAD dwg work flow and interface intact.

    Tjis answered with a twinkle at some point that something very similar to my request was on the drawing board and asked for patience. Now the BIM module is here and looking very promising! The reason why I have not tried it yet is mainly because I was very active during v14 beta testing and decided to focus entirely on work at the office during v15 beta.
    But wasn't some of the shortcomings you mentioned from the first release addressed in the new beta? Have you tried it yet Tomas?

    I attach a new illustration. I have been working on this high voltage facility since 2012 and it was modeled in BricsCAD until tender drawings. DWG and IFC was used for model collaboration in this project. The illustration was also made using the same work flow:

    Building model: BricsCAD for Linux
    File exported from BricsCAD to collada (.dae) and converted in Accutrans 3D (running in wine) to wavefront (.obj)
    Rendering: Thea Render
    Vector post processing: Inkscape
    Raster post processing: Gimp

  • Hi Mikael,
    Yeah, one could see lots of effort went into postprocessing of the library visualisation.
    The high voltage facility look impressive. Did you model even the details like windows, staircase, etc. in BricsCAD? How do you find performance of BricsCAD with larger 3D models? I've run into some performance problems with BricsCAD, but they seem to be 2D stuff related. So far I've been using BricsCAD 3D only for small stuff, mainly pieces of furniture (such as one attached to this massasge). Due to time constraints and also running in some problems, I didn't get to model a whole project (small house or apartment) in BricsCAD. I still use 2D workflow for that.
    When you are creating sections and views of a building created in BricsCAD, do you insert the sections and view in the same file (the one that contains the 3D model) or do you export them to separate files?

    To the topic of bugs in BIM module - just yesterday I tried the new beta. It solved one of the bugs I reported, but not those mentioned below. THe one that frustrates me the most is loosing keyboard focus - I use keyboard commands a lot. This happens even during 2D work, but it's not so pronounced there, since cancelling a command and starting it again is not such a big problem. It's hard to file a bug about this, because it happens randomly - I found no action that would trigger this consistently.

  • @ Tomas: Regarding the loss of keyboard focus: Do you have DYNMODE switched on or off?
  • @ Tomas: Regarding the loss of keyboard focus: Do you have DYNMODE switched on or off?

    Hi Roy,
    it happens with both DYNMODE switched on and off. I also tried switching PROMPTMENU on/off with no influence on this. It happens to me not only when some command is turned on, but even when typing command (eg. I type L and then try to type enter, but enter [or any other key] is not registered until I click any mouse button). I am not sure now, but I think I even tried to turn autocomplete off and the problem preserved. The same thing happens with V14 and V15.
    I can only reliably reproduce it on my machine in BIM module when I turn PROMPTMENU off and turn DYNMODE either on or off. I filed a bug, but Bricsys staff can only reproduce this with PROMPTMENU off and DYNMODE on and only after they use TAB key, to jump into different input field. So hopefully developers will find the culprit of this problem.

  • Hi again, nice to see some of your work attached :)

    In our drawing work flow for building design, each view will always be in its own model file for three reasons:
    - To let several team members work on different drawings simultaneously.
    - To allow other disciplines, e.g. the structural engineering team, to link our drawings into their models one by one.
    - To maximize software performance in complex projects.

    With that said... I xref the 3D model into each drawing model. In the drawing model i have the sectionplane equivalent to the drawing. I use sectionplanetoblock to generate/update the 2D-viewl. Lastly detailing, like measurements, texts and so on are drawn direclty in the drawing model.

    Regarding 3D performance: I think the redway 3D-engine is very competent. It beat autocad in shaded view when I compared during 2013. But like always you need hardware on your workstation that is in comparison with the work you are doing.
    I think the bottle neck in modeling performance right now is that objects turn semitransparent during push-pull and that can make performance a bit sluggish during modification commands in complex geometry. I tick-box to change this option would be great!

    For my case I use AMD A10 5700 (65W) chip, and its integrated gpu works well for most models with thousands of objects. I do not recommend Intel chips without a discrete GPU for any 3D-modeling. Even if the latest generation of Intel chips have decent GPU hardware performance, the support for their software driver is very unsertain in 3D-engines. On the contrary the AMD APUs use the same driver as their professional line of GPUs on Linux.

    Yes, everything is modeled in BricsCAD in the high voltage facility. Actually even the very dense profiling on the dark facade panels is modeled in 3D. That was a bit overkill and made the model a little sluggish though.
    No matter what app you use, I think modeling with low poly objects/geometry is a key to success. Nicely detailed steel stairs are no issue as long as they do not include unnecessary geometry and curvature. For example I had real problem in a project in Autodesc Revit a few years ago until finding out that the hose in shower objects in the apartments was much to detailed and contained more heavy 3D data than the rest of the building all together.
  • Mikael, thanks for sharing your experience with BricsCAD. It's much appreciated!
    So from what I understand, you create sections out of XREFed 3D model with sectionplanetoblock command. That seems like a good workflow, I had something more complicated in mind.
    The 3D performance of the Redway engine seems really good to me so far, so it's good to hear you had no problems even with larger projects (my graphic card is NVIDIA GTX 650Ti). Graphics acceleration was working with V14 on my notebook with Intel card, but it's crashing with V15. One must expect only limited performance with Intel cards, but it would be nice if the graphics accelaration would work, since Intel graphics is now the most common one. I read that Redway is working on enabling it under linux, but it's still work in progress.
    I had problems with the core file-handling engine (I don't know ho w to call it) though. Some files are really slow to open and regenerate (viewport performance is good). My test file regenarates in 4s in DraftSight, it takes over 1 minute in BricsCAD. It's just 2D drawing (but it's very messy, with lots of inserted blocks etc.). After discussing with Bricsys staff, I turned multithreaded regeneration on and the time goes down to 12 seconds, but that still seems like a workaround to me.
  • Seems a bit off topic to discuss command line focus in this thread to me... but I do not experience this issue in V14 at all. The only quirk i have noticed is that the cursor ends up at the wrong position if I make a typo during command input and hit 'Backspace'.
    I use Openbox window manager, your problem might be related to Unity perhaps and its dependence on OpenGL. Who ever invented Unity (or any other 3D window manager) seems more likely to be suitable for designing theme park stuff, like spinning 3D rabbits, rather than designing user interfaces.
  • The topic slipped a little :). I am using GNOME on Fedora, but the same thing was happening to me with MATE desktop with no compositing turned on (that was one of the things that I thought could be the problem). Guess I'll have to test if this still happens in Ubuntu.
  • Hello Mikael,

    this looks quite interesting. I'm specializing in interior design and visualization and currently looking for an improved CAD solution to use. I've been playing with the Collada export, but found it quite tedious to reassemble all objects into a building hierarchy, as all layer/block information seems to be lost during export/import? Can you go into some detail concerning your workflow? Do you have a way to preserver layer information etc, or do you also reorder things manually?



  • Hi Lukas

    At our office we use the collada export for production work now and have completely stopped using dxf export for rendering purposes.
    One advantage with collada is that you can completely separate layers from materials in your work flow. It means we always use our standard layer structure for building design, and when preparing a model for rendering we work with materials in BricsCAD to group the model surfaces into the material-structure we want to use for rendering. The only material setting you have to consider in BricsCAD is to make sure each different material have a unique RGB color, because we will use this to group our geometry after export. (Be careful not to use 'Inherit' color options for your materials, because it will manipulate the RGB colors and you will will not be able to control if more than one material end up with the same RGB value).

    During collada export all objects will be exported separately and you will end up with hundreds or even thousands of objects. Like you mentioned, it would be much too time consuming to group them manually and work with their material settings in a rendering studio.

    To solve this we open and prepare the exported model in Accutrans 3D before importing it to our rendering studio, Thea Render.
    Accutrans is a simple 3D conversion tool available for only 20 USD at:
    The application is a windows binary, but it runs flawlessly in wine on a Linux operating system.
    In Accutrans you can perform various manual and batch operations on your model. We use the 'Merge Same' operation in order to automatically combine all surfaces with the same RGB color (corresponding to the BricsCAD material) into the same mesh. After this operation all geometry will be grouped by material, just the way it should be when working in a rendering studio.
    Then we rename*** the resulting meshes into human readable material names. The object/mesh renaming dialog in Accutrans is started by hitting the 'N' button below the list of materials/meshes/objects.
    Finally we export from Accutrans to wavefront object and open the 3D model in Thea Render.

    *** You most likely want to have a repetitive work flow, where the export/import process can be repeated in order to update the model geometry in the rendering studio without loosing material settings. This is done with a 'merge' operation in Thea Render (not to mistaken for the 'Merge Same' operation in Accutrans) and during a merge new and present objects are compared by their name. To make this process less confusing you can rename the grouped meshes in Accutrans into human readable material names before exporting the model from Accutrans.

    Hope this was helpful to you!
  • Well and lets post another rendered illustration while we're at it...
  • This was, indeed, very helpful. Thanks for the instant reply.
  • edited April 2017

    Some threads never die... Attached a new illustration modeled in BricsCAD for Linux, rendered with Thea Render, post processed in Gimp and Inkscape.

    3000 x 2250 - 2M
  • And a little update regarding converting from Collada (.dae) exported out of BricsCAD to Wavefront Object (.obj), if your rendering studio (for example Thea Render) do not support opening Collada files:

    Running Accutrans 3D in wine is no longer needed in the workflow: Just install and use Blender for the conversion and make sure to 'merge all objects with the same material to one mesh' when importing to your rendering studio.

    The excellent thing with Blender as a conversion tool is that it is also scriptable, so I can just right click on a Collada file and convert it with a single mouse click in my file manager. If anyone is interested in the script, just let me know.

  • We are working with a combined commuting hub and co-working office outside Gothenburg in Sweden. Thought i'd attach the 3D illustration from last week. As always we are working with the buildings in BricsCAD. Rendering with Thea Render standalone studio (after converting BricsCAD collada .dae export to wavefront .obj with a Blender script). Post production in Gimp and Inkscape.

    3000 x 2250 - 2M
  • Very nice visualizations and 2D post work !

    I also miss grouping or hierarchy in DAE export.
    No matter if FBX/C4D/DAE/... , from my other CAD I get
    beautifully organised exports over, containing all
    Lights, Cameras, Material Assignments and Textures and the
    complete Sorting from Layers+Classes in form of Grouping or
    Locator hierarchies.

    So I think there should still be a lot of space for improvements
    of DAE Export in Bricscad.

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