Our project “Enray” is an architectural real-time visualization plugin for Autodesk Revit. With our product, engineer can easy get and explore his building information model(BIM) rendering by one click in a moment without any additional work. The plugin automatically grabs model’s geometry and parametric materials data and uses it for visualization. Moreover, we implemented a data background synchronization between Revit and our plugin - so called LiveLink. So after any changes in a source BIM model in Revit it almost immediately occurs in Enray.
Our key features are:
Built with Unreal Engine 4;
Revit parametric materials support;
Dynamic environment including sky, tree, grass generation;
Simulation of the day;
Technically, we use UE4 a little bit unusual way. The render scene is fully dynamic including geometry, materials, lights and sky. The whole project is pure C++ including UI. It was so much pain from the beginning with Slate UI - but now i love it:)
We are a small team of two people: me and my wife.
I was thinking about implementing a plugin for Unreal Engine that will work together with our Enray LiveLink from Revit subsystem. I think it might bring a little bit more comfort to create a stunning renderings you guys create with Unreal Engine editor. You don’t have to use Revit - you can sit remotely on the other side of Earth.
I guess a sample use case is:
Revit user(your customer) creates a shareable link by one click
Revit user send the link to archviz designer - to you guys
You open this link in Unreal Engine editor
Bingo! You have source model geometry, lights and materials and will get all updates.
I am not sure about automatic vegetation generation and trees since to do it i need to provide(open) our vegetation models. This also concerns people 3D models.
And the same thing is about Revit parametric materials. Do you really need it - or you always use your own materials ?
With such plugin to UE4 you can achieve everything: to get instant updates from BIM source model and use UE4 static light features and other stuff from UE4 editor.
We plan to add support of other BIM software aka SketchUp, Rhino as source data providers.
I guess this is something that Datasmith does - but i think you need to do more steps to get the same thing every time?
Sounds good, but how much would you be able to change from within UE4 ? Is the direct link with the revit file going to replace your changes when you sync again with the CAD model ? What about custom BIM data from revit ? What kind of UV can we expect for lightmass and materials ?
We don’t use Revit file directly - we operate as plugin for Revit and have access to the whole BIM model internally. Agree, this is a big question about what you can/should change in UE4 scene to avoid issues over new data sync. I guess you can add new actors, lights, vegetation, etc - but you shouldn’t change the entire source geometry. If you workflow is always use completed BIM model, such LiveLink from Revit to UE4 doesn’t make any sense. If your workflow requires to do rendering over BIM model phases - it might make sense. This is exact question.
How do you solve this issue now when you need to make a new renderings over a model with a little bit changes ?
What kind of custom BIM data do you mean ? As a plugin for Revit we have access to everything that Revit API provides.
All models that need to go to UE4 are getting an optimization pass in MAX right now, which depending on the size of the project can take from a few hours of work to days…
Every object properties, even better if we could organize the UE4 scene with the layers and views from Revit (bonus point if it updates in realtime in UE4 when you change it on Revit).
Right so since the OG uvs from revit are quite lacking, this rules out lightmass and proper texture mapping (not that we really used it outside of datasmith, world space align is a blessing for archviz).
Yeah - that’s a problem. If you need to spend hours or even days of manual work after model update - it doesn’t make any sense to use something like LiveLink form BIM system. Datasmith is good enough.
The main idea of our product is avoiding manual work as much as possible - ideally create a virtual walkthrough/renders/video by one click. Yes, it won’t be as perfect(but i’m looking forward with VXGI) as UE4 static light/Lumion/Corona - but will be acceptable for intermediate workarounds with AEC customers/colleagues.
It’s not difficult technically for me to make plugin(from our application’s partial code base) for UE4 with LiveLink from Revit - but i don’t see it useful right now - it is definitely should be different workflow? What do you think ?
Yes - i see it might be useful for someone.
BTW, We finally released Enray the very first version
We’ve been using a competing product for the last two and a half years and are intrigued by this project. The competing product is produced by a German team, don’t want to advertise your competition here but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about
They use a custom made engine, which offers its benefits but also challenges. The interesting thing is that you’ll be able to capitalize on the Unreal Engine and hopefully provide very fast development.
Today, the quality of dynamic lighting isn’t great with the Unreal Engine. Is this something you will be looking into, especially with the new builds starting to enable dxr functionalities?
A huge limitation for us has been the use of assets. Revit isn’t the right program to create assets like people/trees etc. Would you consider adding a proxy system where one can create a custom assets (for example in the unreal editor) and then place a low poly proxy of that element in the project but have the object render out with full detail in Enray?
We create two type of visuals: ‘realistic’ and ‘conceptual’. Conceptual images are probably 50% of what we do and features like ‘outlines’ (like this) and ‘material override’ are critical for those. Would you consider adding this?