Visualization from Bricscad


  • Thanks Michael, I've shared it with our team that is busy with this kinds of topic!

  • I had still no time to install but re-checked the topic.

    In this old article, the developer commented that there are updated
    versions available. But all the versions I found on all links are pretty old.
    Not sure if there are more current versions everywhere else.
    Around 2013 to 2015 for very old Blender Versions (up to 2.6x ?)
    I think IFC did some bigger steps until now (?)

    Meanwhile we have 2.79b and soon 2.8 in Blender.

    Would be nice if you could update us with your experiences.

  • OK, tried it.
    This :
    (from 2017)
    works fine with Blender 2.79b on my Mac.

    I'm not experienced with Blender and have no clue for best IFC
    ex/import settings or organization in Blender but my Vectorworks
    IFC geometry seems to come in fine.

    That is great !

  • Hi Michael

    We are working on some things that can help you with visualization in other tools!
    Hopefully, we can show you this in v19!


  • @Mathieu
    I'm looking forward to it !

    (Sounds a bit like Blender is out now ?
    Hope "other" tools aren't quite exotic)

    I'ld be very interested in an Exchange with 3D Apps.
    (1. Modo 2. C4D 3. Blender .... from my side)
    So a way to push geometry changes over without loosing material
    assignments/replacements already done on the other side.

  • IFC to Blender. IFCOpenShell.

    I looked a little closer.
    Honestly that doesn't help that much.

    I get a non-structure load of single elements and unfortunately each
    object has its own individual Material assigned.
    So just a big data mess.

    So far the only workflow I would get anything useful out of Bricscad
    would still be :
    Bricscad > dwg > Vectorworks > fbx/c4d/dae > Modo/C4D/Blender/...

    Which brings at least some organization in form of Layer sorting and
    even basic material pre-assignments.
    Linear workflow only,
    while Vectorworks C4D Exchange would allow CAD geometry updates.

    So everything coming new to Bricscad will be an improvement.

  • Michael Mayer
    edited October 2018

    Getting Bricscad Geometry into Blender ...

    @Mathieu said:
    Hi Michael

    We are working on some things that can help you with visualization in other tools!
    Hopefully, we can show you this in v19!




  • Aaaaaaaamazing! Any info on how blocks are handled by the exporter? Will they be recognized as group instances during import? fingers crossed

    Thank you bricsys =D

  • I read something about FBX ...
    So I can also pull out my Modo again :)
    (Or my C4D)

    As for the Instances,
    Modo FBX could keep Instances since years, but C4D learned that
    with latest R20 only for the first time.
    (Vectorworks has C4D Engine R19 only so no Instances from VW
    until next years Version)

    As Bricscad DAE hadn't anything like keeping Names or Hierarchies,
    I don't expect too much like even Instance Support.
    On the other hand, it can only get better - let's see ...

  • Didn't Vectorworks directly export to C4D including instances? It's been a while though since i've been working with C4D/VW.. over the years you get quite a pricetag together updating the 2 licenses, not to speak of the dwg export, if you ever have to work with someone who does not use VW...

    I don't care what format they use, as long as they get some kind hierarchie through . I also struggled with DAE for a while, but after a couple of more extensive projects (think restaurants with lots of different chairs and other repeating objects) i gave up on that. Of course you can always go through 3rd parties and then export again, but i wouldnt exactly call this a workflow...

    It's a bit baffling that generally, proper export from CAD to mesh modelers is still such a hurdle.. lets hope for the best. I'm excited to see what V19 brings =)

  • Michael Mayer
    edited October 2018

    Yes, VW to C4D Exchange had Instance Support for many years.
    It got really good around VW 2017 (?) where you have a hidden
    Folder with all your VW Symbols, like ACAD Blocks, beside your
    Geometry Folders containing only their Instances.
    But I think it will still lose nested Block's children by converting
    to standard Blocks. (While C4D itself could do nested Instances)

    VW's DWG import is very good and lossless, DWG export not so
    perfect (because of their own Geometries handling ?)

    All VW to 3D Mesh formats come from CineEngine so there is no
    difference in Quality between FBX, DAE, ... they work equally great.
    (Just always a year behind C4D)

    My Workflow to Modo for now would be still
    (because of Symbols/Instances)
    VW > C4D R20 FBX > Modo

    For BC v18 it would be
    BC DWG > VW > Classes+Layer separation > C4D FBX > Modo

    For BC v19 it could no be
    BC FBX > Modo (C4D or Blender)

    While BC, Modo and Blender are supporting Linux too.

  • I just tested the fbx export from V19. All geometry gets imported correctly into Blender. Unfortunately all hierarchy is lost during import and you're basically left with a huge list of individual geometry nodes: no instances, groups, layer structure. I know from tests with fbx exports from other programs, that this is at least partially due to blenders import plugins.

    In a relatively recent interview the founder of Blender mentioned problems with fbx being a proprietary Autodesk format and changing file format definitions. Are there any plans to improve the export functionality and/or to cooperate with e.g. Blender to find a common base to exchange data? To me hierarchy export as well as materials, camera perspectives etc. are an important detail to set up a proper workflow from initial sketching over CAD/BIM to visualization. Looking at what Michael writes I feel I am not the only one.

    It would be interesting to hear an opinion from Bricsys on this, even though i know were 1 day after a huge update and there are probably more urgent things on the desk...

    (BIM got a hell of a lot more stable btw! I just imported a big IFC file from a customer that made V18 stutter and fail, now without a problem and within less than a minute. I'm really happy so far)

  • FBX was the first thing that I tried in V19.
    And yes, as you said, it is just a "Save as" and works no other than DAE so far.
    It is just the Geometry + Material assignments that comes over.
    Everything else like Structure, Hierarchy, Naming, ... gets lost.
    (I didn't even tried Lights or Cameras so far)

    At least the Geometry doesn't look bad.
    As each Part in CAD comes as a separate Mesh Item, Mesh Vertices are nicely
    welded. But everything is Triangulated without need.

    Basically Bricscads DAE and FBX do what was possible in the late 90ies.
    So it IS possible to bring your Geometry into Mode, Blender, C4D, ...
    (as it was already with DAE)

    But I would have to spend a lot of time to rework imports.
    Which would work for a single final Import but prohibits any Geometry Updates.
    Compared to what is possible in 2018:

    VW to C4D :
    Import 100 %
    Exchange/Update 9? % with ? % reordering Materials for only new Objects.

    VW to FBX/DAE :
    Geometry 100 % (with lots of control over Rounding Resolution)
    Hierarchy 100 % (with lots of options by VW order, by, Layer, by Material, ...)
    Cameras 90 %
    Lights 95 %
    Material 80%

    So current BC FBX uses about 20-30 % of its potential for now.

  • I think the biggest improve should be on makink fbx a better exporter and including default uvmaps on the file.

    That way you could easly export to unreal engine.
    Unreal engine is the state of the art for augmented reality and virtual reality in realtime.
    You can't get better visualization than beeing inside your project with a game engine.
    It's also free for architects and small studios.

    Right now I export to blender using collada and from blender I export fbx to unreal.
    Blender has a dedicated fbx pluging just to export the file to unreal.

  • My Modo also offers direct Unreal and Unity 2-way Exchange and its on VR.
    But I don't really need VR and real time. So Blender Eevee would be enough
    for me.

    My workflow is that I prefer to do architectural modeling in a CAD but do all
    rendering stuff in a 3D modeler and rendering App.
    I love to do BIM modeling although I don't really need BIM. It just helps organizing
    my models and corresponds to my way of recognizing architectural geometries.
    Of course I don't want too lose all my CAD/BIM organization and structure when
    switching to a render App.
    As I still run my Vectorworks, which does export perfectly and pretty lossless,
    for me there currently is not much sense to use Bricscad in production.

    Opposed to Vectorworks, where I could also produce my final renderings up to
    a certain level and nearly(!) the comfort of a dedicated rendering App,
    Bricscad currently doesn't offer much options for comfortable basic rendering
    and 3D presentation.
    So for me for Bricscad it is just about getting out :

    • healthy Geometry (already works with DAE or FBX)
    • Object Structure and Organization
    • Blocks and Instanzing
    • Material Assignments (already works) and basic Materials for further editing.
    • maybe basic Cameras + Settings or saved Views and Lights

    But even if there would be a perfect Bricscad Export,
    for my always changing and updating Projects, that would not help much and end
    in a single initial Export, cutting the connection and further going on in a Render App.
    As exporting the whole Model again, or parts of is too tedious and error prone.

    I need a real Exchange.
    It is ok being one-way, from CAD to Render App only.
    But there needs to be some intelligence that the Render Apps can recognize all
    Objects that were already in there, and can keep the additional work I have
    already done to them in the Render App.
    So basically keeping all that haven't changed,
    delete Objects that don't exist anymore,
    replace objects that have changed and
    add new Objects.
    I think that would require an exchange between developers of both Apps.

    Like what I get from Vectorworks to Cinema4D Exchange.
    It does not work in the same quality for VW to Modo Export only.
    Although the FBX Export itself is great and pretty lossless, I can't get the same
    "Exchange" by just using Referencing alone.

  • I did another Test between SAE and FBX.

    New FBX is clearly much better than existing DAE, so a real improvement.
    Thanks a lot for that !

    a) FBX does has correct XYZ rotation while DAE (Y= up Axis) lays on its side
    b) FBX exports Naming from Blocks !
    (Not when nested ?)
    c) FBX keeps Instance Copies from Blocks as FBX Instances !

  • I would suggest to Bricsys to cooperate with Enscape ( ) to have BricsCAD addon. I tried Enscape with Revit and was very pleased by the speed - all of the changes which you make in Revit are immediately seen in Enscape. The quality of the render is not as top-notch as from the industry leading renderers, but that's a small price to pay for the quick feedback you receive.

  • I had long been expecting VR type of displays to be commonly used in architecture. But, even though the architect can send the customer a cheap, $5 VR viewer to use with their smartphone, it really doesn't seem to have become popular. Though, my main exposure is in the world of industrial construction, so I don't have the full picture.

    Can any of you comment about how often VR systems are utilized to visualize architectural designs?


  • Ensacpe seem to have it nailed - but AFAIK Brics has something on the way in-house, as demonstrated at Conference 2017 by Geert Machtelinck, now on Brics staff.

    At the 2018 London Conference, he had a stall showing VR touring a 3D model which was part point cloud, part photogrammetric model, part 3D solids model.

    He said it's his dream, like mine (hope it's Brics' dream too!), to be able to BIM-model within 'as existing' 3D imagery (point cloud and/or photogrammeric), while at-will touring it in VR with good realistic rendering.

  • Michael Mayer
    edited December 2018

    It is good when you can do everything in one App.
    Because no need for lossy exports to other Apps.
    The next level would be a lossless (one way at least) Exchange.

    So for visualization I would also like any integration of Systems
    like Enscape. (It looks even to be reasonable priced)

    But for me where priority is mainly on Visualization only,
    it is not only about Render quality and speed only.
    It is more about Usability and Comfort, for managing and organizing
    your Input Sources, your Model, Materials+Assignments, Cameras,
    Lights and Render Settings, Image Output (like Publishing).

    That is where I think, even if Bricscad would have VRAY integration or
    such things and high end Render quality,
    (Like Microstation has Modo Engine or Vectorworks has Cineengine)
    I would still have to rely on an external specialized Solution and will still
    depend on reasonable Export or better Exchange options from CAD.

    Like I do not really use of much more Rendering Quality and Render
    Options in Cinema4D, as I would have available in Vectorworks.
    So I could produce my Renders in VW too.
    But I do it in C4D instead, for the reasons I mentioned above, anyway.
    OK, VW>C4D Exchange makes that really lossless and easy. But even
    when not that ideal, I would do it in a specialized App anyway.
    (with ranting about export loss)

  • I work in the field of residential design, the VR penetration is basically none in my area. In my opinion VR is overhyped right now, it will have future, but not wide scale adoption. Even though it might sound stupid, I think putting on VR goggles on a client and explaining him how VR works is too much of a hassle to be practical.
    I am actually not impressed by Enscape VR - I haven't tried it. I used it only on standard monitor. The thing that impressed me the most is the super quick feedback with good enough quality of rendering. Without re-exporting anything, every change in the model is rendered immediately. In my opinion real time rendering is the future of architectural visualisation. VR only in some corner cases.

  • Agree Tomas about realtime rendering being the priority - but VR always on-tap if appropriate.

    Michael, you think there's no chance of an in-CAD application having really good handling, as you outline? In-CAD has to have simplified UI? Makes it sound that developing the UI is a bigger challenge than the underlying technology?

  • Yes, I also thought about being untrue what I said about In-CAD integration.

    Of course there could be the ideal integrated solution and that would be
    gorgeous ! But I have never seen it so far.
    That would be something like Modo but with Arch Solid Modeling Logic,
    in my special case.

    The problem is that the 3D market isn't that large in general to justify
    such a complex solution for just another minority of that market.
    In an App like Modo, that whole Rendering Environment that I profit
    from is used by the whole user base, for Archviz, Character, Animation, ....
    Like the 2D Toolset in Bricscad will be used by Arch, Mechanical, 2D only, ...

    And UI, difficult task in general, is very important here.
    I may, at one point need, all options and complexity.
    But that needs a bit of experience, knowledge and deeper technical
    background to make more use from it than damage.
    But if you focus is on the Architecture,
    you may not want to block parts of your brain with such knowledge.
    So I think primarily, a CAD Render Integration has to be limited and
    easy to use to be accessible.
    So while I may prefer or need the complete package, for the majority
    of Bricscad users, integrated or otherwise accessible, Solutions like
    Artlantis, Twinmotion, ...., that try to hide all complexity behind an
    Assistent-like UI approach may be much more useful and accessible.

    That doesn't mean there could be an Advanced Switch in UI to bring
    the full feature set for those who need and understand - but that is
    again the problem with justification of development work.

    I think RedSDK would offer the large majority of needed Rendering
    Features and would "just" need to be integrated in Bricscad.
    The development of the "handling" part would be another quite big
    piece of work and effort.
    And maybe difficult because I think these are basically 2 different worlds.
    Different from the way developers think in a CAD environment, different
    by object handling and management and all such things.

  • Yes, I find this great gulf between vector CAD, which I can get my head around, and the other world of '3D but hardly at all vector' with baffling terminology and concepts bandied about - which I'd love to be fluent in, for the emerging purposes mentioned in this Topic. I doubt there's a single book or Youtube that would get me there!

  • Same here, I grew up with CAD.
    Microstation punished me for every incorrect modeling days later with failing
    boolean operations and such things.
    If there is any Numeric Input anywhere, even tediously accessible,
    I have to use that :smile:

  • Users with V19 may like to try using FBXEXPORT in preference to EXPORT. FBXEXPORT provides additional options to package the model to .fbx

    Similarly STLOUT in V19 provides additional options too.

    Jason Bourhill
    CAD Concepts

  • Aha, very interesting. thanks Jason.

    Will try that ...

  • I am already somwhat pleased with v19 FBX,
    I just missed grouping of objects by Layer or at least
    get over some naming ...

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