Architectural Visualization Features


I just try the BRICSCAD Demo.
I'm doing architectural visualization, worked some years with Microstation/3DSViz.
Currently I'm working OS X only, with Vectorworks + Modo/Cinema4D.

I try BRICSCAD because of the beautiful UI.
After first hour of demoing, I miss (or did not find so far) some things important for me.
So I want to ask if there are certain things in the pipeline for the near future :

- advanced settings for DWG/DXF Export to convert Solids into Meshes, curve resolution, ...
(As many Programms can't read Acis Solids)

- FBX Export
(to include Cameras, Lights, Materials and welded Mesh vertices)

- A Class/Layer System similar to Vectorworks
(To separate Stories and not need to have Layers Wall_00 + Wall_01, ...
or is that already achievable by kind of "Models" or similar ?)

- Stories + Levels
(for BIM to have Story Heights and parametrical Entity Heights by Levels)


  • Hello Michael,

    The command 3DConvert converts 3D solids to polyface meshes.
    The system variable facetres can be used to control smoothness.
    If you search for the string "facet" in the settings dialog, you will find other settings variables that influence the result of 3DConvert.

    FBX export is not possible in BricsCAD, we are hereby noting this as a feature request.
    It is good to hear these kind of requests to be able to decide on future implementations.

    We have a number of linux users that use BricsCAD in a 3D workflow.  Their experience could be interesting to you.

    It is an open question what we will do or recommend in BIM about stories/levels.
    BricsCAD BIM is conceptually strong in "design intent recognition".  It should be possible to import a model and recognize the design intent without needing parametric variables.  So preferably we should craft a practical solution that does not rely on parametrical heights.

    Kind Regards
  • If you want to be able to isolate building levels you can try using the group mechanism.
    With standardized group names (e.g. 'FLR00' 'FLR01' etc.) macros of this type would be possible:
    Note: The PICKSTYLE variable will need to be changed. Group selection has to be switched off.

    It is not an ideal solution because you have to manually add new entities to the correct group.
  • Ok, Thank you.

    I have to look at DXF again.
    I tried the Villa File from the BIM tutorial. All I currently get in into C4D or Modo
    was empty Groups/Locators for each Solid and the Path for the stair handrail.

    DAE brings geometry in but like FBX you lose your Layer Structure.

    FBX is just another proprietary 3D format but currently the most successful format
    for 3D Apps. It brings geometry in well in scale, face orientation, welded vertices.
    Also Lights, Cameras and 80% of Material settings.
    Drawback is that each solid will come in as a separate Mesh/Group which 3D Apps
    are not optimized for (rather having millions of Polygons in one Mesh) and you
    lose Layer structure that way and get difficulties finding/selecting/editing objects.

    So FBX is far from being a perfect format but I think worth to consider.

    Thanks for the links. I will look into it.

    As for the Class/Layer System in VW,
    Classes (=ACAD Layers) are thought to contain WHAT, like Walls, Slabs, Furniture while
    VW "Layers" are WHERE something is, like different Stories or a separation between architecture
    and landscape or geometry from engineers.
    Most CAD have a similar solution, maybe not so easy to use at the same time like VW.
    I think in Microstation it was called "Models". ACAD has a similar System (?), so maybe
    there is something similar in Bricscad already.

    As for the Stories,
    it is just that a "VW Layer" assigned to a Story has a Z Height.
    So if you copy your whole geometry of the 01 Floor and paste it into the 02 Floor,
    it will sit on the correct Z Height automatically.
    Level Heights would be available from all Stories. So if you draw an Exterior Wall, its Style
    may be set to have Wall Base to "Top of Slab" = -0,10 m and Wall Top to "Bottom of Slab"
    = -0,40 m "from Story above"
    This way, if you have to change a Story Height, all Walls on all Stories will follow.

    I think this is quite useful in Architecture.
    Doesn't mean the could be even better ways like Exterior Walls automatically connecting
    to Slabs and Interior Walls start from Finish Floor, or things like that.

    I'm currently exploring how Bricscad works and what of my currently used and important features
    may already be there in a Bricscad way.

  • If you want to be able to isolate building levels you can try using the group mechanism.

    I will look into this.

    Other ways to achieve this 2 Dimensional Layering could be by Bricscads ability to un/hide
    Geometry like a I have to in Modo which has 1D Layer (Items) mechanism also.
    Perhaps in a more organized way to save/reactivate Hide-Groups or similar.
    Or Clip Volumes.
  • Hello Michael,

    The command 3DConvert converts 3D solids to polyface meshes.
    The system variable facetres can be used to control smoothness.
    If you search for the string "facet" in the settings dialog, you will find other settings variables that influence the result of 3DConvert.

    I think I understand now.
    DXF exports Solids as Solids.

    To get Meshes out for Modo/C4D i have to do a file copy and convert Solids to Meshes in Bricscad
    BEFORE I export DXF.
  • Hi Michael,

    I'm familiar with both Vectorworks and ACAD based systems. I'm currently on VWX, but consider switching to a DWG based system for several reasons. As mentioned before, DWG layers should not be mistaken for vwx-layers, rather think of them as vwx-classes, and use them this way.

    I'm currently testing the demo and setting up a possible workflow, to spot any problems that I might run into ( I'm mainly doing interior/temporary architecture as well as visualizations, for which I use C4D).

    What I'm looking at, is to adapt the ACAD Architecture concept to BCAD (which is, I assume, the classic way to deal with this in a DWG based system). I made a small sketch to illustrate the basic idea, it's quite late, the sketch is not pretty, but I think it says what it needs to say. Set up a layer system to identify building elements: walls, floors, doors, etc. The layers will stay consistent in all files, so you can toggle visibility in the final views more easily. Divide your building into constructs: these might represent building levels, but it could also extend to separate files for interior architecture, equipment, depending on the complexity of the project. You can reference underlying levels or plans for reference, but make sure you use the overlay option, otherwise you might end up with duplicate geometry in the final views/ export files.

    To create sheets and views set up a file, that contains what you want to show, Xref whatever construct is to be included. The Xrefs have to be positioned at the correct Z-Elevation. This is what the Vectorworks system does for you automatically, here you have to do it by hand (for now). These files could represent the whole building, just one level, whatever you want to show together. Create your views and sections and use the sheetset manager to bundle all drawings that belong to the project. Bricscad provides text variables (google fields for more info on this), that enable you to embed sheetset information into your title block, like project names, sheetnumber, list of sheets.

    One important note: Filenaming is just as important as the layer names, don't change the filenames after setting up the xrefs! If you want to archive a revision, append a suffix to the filename (eg. Project_GrndFloor_Exterior.dwg -> Project_GrndFloor_Exterior_02_151130.dwg and so on. The filename of the "live" file stays the same.

    Someone on the windows forum recently pointed out the following thread to me, that looks a bit deeper into the generation of drawings.

    There's still a lot I have to figure out. Collada export is not amazing (no instances, no layers, maybe use rhino or sketchup to convert!?) and C4Ds capability of reading DWG files is neither. Also, generating views is not what you're used from Vectorworks, that's really one of its strong points.

    Still, I hope I got you started.



  • and the sketch,..
  •  Thanks Lukas,

    Similar to (plain) Microstation.
    But Referencing would mean that I can't access all Stories Geometry at the same time ?
    Isn't there something similar in ACAD like "Models" in Microstation, kind of a file in the file ?

    On the other hand I'm pretty out of Bricscad - as it works like Autocad.
    I won't get a fluent workflow like in Vectorworks or Microstation, with Tools that work one time only
    and have to reactivated, or the command line and ESC often needed. Even Selection, although
    customizable, does not work ergonomic for me.
    (And about DWG, I don't care much about an Apps internal File Format, as long as there are lossless
    Import/Export options)
  • You can jump into individual references using refedit, but i guess you could not, say, move a wall on all stories, like you could do accessing all vectorworks layers at once (someone correct me if I'm wrong). I have never worked with microstation, so i don't exactly know what "models" are.
    Concerning the fluent workflow, i guess this is personal preference. I never got up to speed in Vectorworks, and feel really comfy with the command line. 
  •  Yes, that is a personal preference only.
    And Vectorworks isn't the best example for an ergonomic or BIM workflow by any means at all.
    Just the Class Layer System and some other little things make it a value for me.

    "Model" in MS
    Like in VW you can switch between Design Layers or Layout Layers,
    like Autocad has Design Space or Paper Spaces to switch between,
    Microstation has Models, that can be Paper Spaces to contain 2D Geometry or show
    3D Design Geometry as 2D Geometry like Floor Plans and Sections,
    but Models can also be an additional Design Space that contains normal Geometry.

    Models feel/behave like an independant File, you can Reference other Models (or Files)
    but these are part of one single DGN File.
    I'm not sure if they will really allow to edit the other referenced Models at the same time though
    (As I didn't used Models at that time)
    Maybe not much different than having all referenced Files open in Brickscad at the same time
    and switching between each Story by Files while working.

  • @Tijs Vermeulen said:
    FBX export is not possible in BricsCAD, we are hereby noting this as a feature request.
    It is good to hear these kind of requests to be able to decide on future implementations.

    I reject my FBX wish.
    DAE can do nearly the same (when tested from Vectorworks)
    So I vote to further improve DAE export and using all its features to bring
    over Layers, Hierarchies, Cameras, Materials, Colors, ....

  • Looks like there will be finally a new non proprietary standard for exchange
    between 3D Apps. Like IFC for BIM there is a large hype everywhere for
    glTF™ (GL Transmission Format)

    Which, if I got that right could replace the dominance of Autodesk's proprietary
    FBX exchange format with its strange license stipulations.

  • That's the great thing about standards: there are so many of them! :)

    Obligatory xkcd.

  • Thought about xkcd too.

    The problem is, currently exchange options to and from Bricscad are very poor.
    So they would not do much wrong in supporting any one of such standards.

    Times were much worse in the past for any exchange and very far from lossless
    between proprietary only Apps.
    It needed years until others started to reverse engineer DWG or use DXF to
    exchange some data between CAD. For 3D it was mostly 3ds only. That worked
    for basic 2D or 3D geometry and hardly for a few more things. And when finally
    being halfway successful in exchange, these formats were already legacy, as Autocad constantly changes such formats just to make life for competitors harder.

    Until people are annoyed enough to finally create an open future proof standard,
    like IFC for (CAD) BIM.
    Although IFC is not seen as an exchange between proprietary Apps at all. It is just
    kind of a reference only. Every CAD puts out its geometry+information into a
    complete IFC Model and at best put some IFC parts from others in their software
    as a reference and updating but never touch these.
    So unfortunately far from the need to really collaborate with different Apps.
    Like sitting in your office with Vectorworks while your collaborator prefers

    Opposed to this, in 3D Studios since many years it is quite common that every
    user use the software they are most familiar with. And successful exchange
    works pretty lossless. Including formats like proprietary FBX.
    (Which is a pain for developers to support and update each year)

    That's why the enthusiasm for an open format is so big.
    I see Modo starting glTF support as one of the major features for the coming
    next release and that they even extend or adapt their internals like Material
    System to make that possible.

    If I get that right the primary goal of glTF is to bring higher quality 3D Models
    into Browsers, faster by compression and supporting information like
    animations. But I also read that this is also the chance to free 3D content from
    proprietary hurdles.
    I think that is something that also fits the way that Bricsys works.
    So if Bricscad is ever interested in improving the exchange to 3D Modeling
    and Render Software, improving DAE + adding glTF is the most useful and
    future proof way, IMHO.

  • Tom Foster
    edited March 2018

    Seeing that forthcoming point cloud implimentation in Bricscad looks like being tightly integrated, maybe even enabled, by VR techniques, I'd have thought that excellent exchange and inter-operability of big 3D models, both solid and surface/mesh, in all their forms of detail, would be an essential part of that.

  • For many years in 3D it was just about exchanging geometry, materials,
    rigs and animations between Apps by formats like FBX.
    You are right, VR and AR changed things recently.
    VR lead to 3D Apps supporting direct exchange to common game engines
    like Unity. Modo is working on an own environment also.
    CAD Apps will also support VR in some way.
    Don’t know what way Bricscad has exactly chosen for the demo in Paris.
    E.g. Vectorworks recently showed an own solution by using Apples AR Kit,
    beside their attempts to export models into Browsers.

    As far as I know, things like OpenGL, rendering, even from CAD Solids Models,
    3D Modelers or VR are always based on polygon geometry.
    So the VR trend could also indirectly help my visualization needs.

This discussion has been closed.