3D visualization with platform of choice Enscape

BIM Guru on Free Revit Models and Using 3D Visualization

I am pleased to welcome to the Enscape Blog - Gavin Crump! (Also known as the Aussie BIM Guru).

Gavin is kindly sharing two free Revit models for you to download and explore. This article discusses the use of Enscape in the context of these models, as well as some of his consulting projects. 

You can find the free models on the BIM Guru education platform via the links below. Simply sign up for free, and these two resources are available for you to download. They are released with the primary goal of better educating the industry on best practices for BIM.

Free Revit Models

For Gavin, Enscape continues to provide a reliable and exciting platform to communicate effectively with clients as well as providing additional BIM model purpose beyond documentation and coordination. Thank you for sharing your models and insights with us Gavin! Over to you.

About Gavin and how he uses Enscape 

Hi there! My name is Gavin Crump, and I work in Australia as a BIM Consultant at BIM Guru as well as, more recently, a computational/BIM lead at top-tier architecture and design studio, Architectus. Throughout my career, I have designed and delivered projects using Revit, and in later years have worked in BIM management roles to support others in the industry.

I became familiar with Enscape midway through my career and have been using it ever since. 
Enscape is a crucial part of the software suite I use to work with and engage my clients. Whether I am teaching a residential home builder how to bypass the outsourcing of renders or simply reviewing my model progress in real-time 3D, Enscape is always my tool of choice.

Being able to launch into it from the Revit model at any time stands head and shoulders over traditional export/import processes and the heavy amount of configuration that would usually come with that approach. With Enscape and the hit of a button, my models can come to life!

Housing project by Gavin Crump BIM GuruA residential project rendered with Enscape by BIM Guru

An example of applying Enscape to my consulting work is with residential builders, where I was able to identify key challenges they faced and develop a residential template that addressed these. The above image was from a model I prepared and fully documented in 5 hours from the ground up using this resource. My template enabled renders to be made immediately after in Enscape with very little additional work needed.

This system (including the sample model shown above) can be found for purchase on my platform at the following link: https://courses.bimguru.education/courses/template-revit-housing 

Why release free models?

It is no secret that free Revit models of good quality are hard to come by in our industry. I remember being a student at university and desperately searching for Revit models to learn from at the time (in 2012), only to find I was limited to the Autodesk sample models. For anyone that hasn’t used the sample models before, let’s just say they don’t exactly represent best practices or a complete BIM project.

I decided to release a few free model resources to fill this gap in the industry, particularly with the goal of helping graduates and students looking for references of Revit best practices. Not only did I aim to release models with a resolved design that reflect a more typical project outcome, but also models that demonstrated well-structured data and secondary model use cases.

House rendering with waterThe BIM Guru remake of the Basic Sample Project, rendered in Enscape

Initially, I recreated the Autodesk Basic Sample Project. This iconic house is one many Revit users would recognize, but I took the liberty to deliver the project using my own custom template and content systems. The model was able to simultaneously support real-time visualization and documentation output thanks to a careful and considered setup.

Autodesk Sample Project Rendered in EnscapeThe BIM Guru remake of the Advanced Samples Project, rendered in Enscape

I went on to produce a remake/redesign of the Advanced Sample Project, which I sell on my website (it is much more detailed and heavily documented, so targeted towards professional customers). This model is also significantly larger in scale and scope than the basic sample project remake, but Enscape has no problems rendering it in real time. As per the basic project, a careful model setup and efficiently built content helped to reduce the pressure the model exerts on the computer while it is real-time rendering in Enscape.

Health project setting rendered in EnscapeThe BIM Guru healthcare IPU Project, rendered in Enscape

More recently, I released a healthcare Revit model to the industry. In addition to using a clean setup and good modeling principles, this model features room layout sheets (RLS) and room data sheets (RDS). Healthcare is one of my favorite typologies to put BIM towards, so this resource was a long time in the works. I also included some secondary use cases for the model such as Power BI reports, Rhino 3D models, and full Enscape compatibility. My life has been getting quite busy recently, so in a bittersweet way, this model also serves as a swan song of sorts for my public-facing initiatives – at least in the short to mid-term.

Just the other day, I had the chance to see some work experience students using Enscape in this model using a VR headset. By utilizing high-quality 3D RPC content and material customization in Enscape to generate a high-quality visual experience, the students were immediately immersed in the model when the headset went on. I could not help but notice that the students understood this was actually ‘business as usual’ and were far less surprised this was possible than a typical client or architect I work with. Younger generations are becoming more accustomed to gaming-based engines and environments, and Enscape was far more relatable for them than I expected at first. The world changes fast when you’re not looking.

Visualization as a by-product

Whenever I produce a BIM model for any purpose or client, one of my unofficial goals is to support compatibility with Enscape. This influences how I set up my template, my content, and my modeling process. I frequently launch Enscape to review my work in 3D, as well as check for correct assignment of materials/lighting and get a general sense of space. It can be easy to lose sense of the human experience when looking at axonometric views and drawings, and real-time 3D review is a great way to keep this in mind as we design.

Enscape allows me to add materials to my BIM content, so I can confidently visualize any BIM model during the design and delivery process. This upfront system also enables me to present very early conceptual images to clients (and if not, there is always the white mode setting). As a sole trader, this helps me to communicate more regularly with clients and manage expectations progressively without any last-minute surprises for the client.

Family project of snooker room and bar rendered in EnscapeA concept design I developed for a family friend, rendered in Enscape

I’ve also had the pleasure of using Enscape to show friends and relatives images of their own potential ideas and designs. Often, they are limited to seeing 2D plans and sketches of their design. Being able to show my family and friends what I do in a medium with which they understand (imagery) is so satisfying – BIM is a difficult side of the industry to explain to those on the outside.

The above render from Enscape is an example of what was referred to by an impressed family member as ‘Gucci’ quality rendering – whatever that means (it sounds good!). It also helped them quickly identify a rather expensive aquarium in the firing line of potentially inebriated pool players 😁.

Working with Revit models and Enscape

When I work with Enscape models from an external resource such as my platform, there are some considerations to make (and you will need to consider these for using my models):

  1. Have you got the material maps available to support the materials? If not, add them to a folder and ensure Revit can see them under Options > Render > Add the path to the top dialogue.
  2. Which view should be used to start the experience? Typically, I like to make a working 3D view that has all the settings set up to show and hide the right objects in the view, as well as being set to the right detail level. If you want to begin the user from a very specific location, use a perspective/camera view instead of an axonometric.
  3. How is the RPC content managed? While you can tell families in Revit to become an RPC object by giving them a special parameter value, I prefer to separately place Enscape content. Usually, I put this on a design option with the primary option being no RPC objects, and the secondary option enabling them. I usually filter out families that I am using RCP objects in place of by populating their Type Comments with a unique phrase (e.g., HIDE ENSCAPE) and then using a view filter to hide them.

Other than that, usually, with those three considerations made and understood, the models should be ready for visualization in Enscape.

Starting view in EnscapeThe above image is an example of one of my ‘starting views’ for an Enscape experience. All relevant model elements are shown, but superfluous elements like Scope Boxes are hidden by category. You can apply transparency to categories like ceilings and floors to keep the view navigable without impacting the appearance of elements in Enscape itself.

Learn, teach and share

I hope that the examples shown in this article have proven interesting and given you the curiosity to explore my free Revit model resources as well as Enscape itself. Remember that BIM modeling is there to serve purpose through process, and if one of those purposes is visualization then Enscape has you covered and then some!

Above all, please see these free resources as an example of what more of us should be doing in the industry if we are truly committed to its overall growth. Make and take the time to teach others and develop available resources to educate the future professionals of the AEC industry. Remember how difficult your own learning journey may have been, and use this to fuel your desire to ease that journey for people in a similar position in the future. Having the time and energy available to teach others is a privilege and one we may not always have available – use it whenever you have it. The compound effect it brings to your network growth, and the skills you learn in return are rewards unto themselves.

I thank Enscape for giving me the chance to share my work and opinions, and I look forward to seeing where they take their platform in the future.

Should you have any questions in the future about my work, Revit, or BIM, generally I can be reached via emailLinkedIn, and YouTube.

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