Whether you are presenting to a client one-on-one or in front of dozens of stakeholders, delivering a clear and smooth flowing representation of your design solution is of the utmost importance in gaining approval and maintaining confidence in your services.
Using Enscape, along with its Presentation Mode, will help your client better understand the proposal in ways not possible just a few years ago. In addition to gaining confidence in your design and use of practical modern technology, you stand a better chance of enjoying repeat business down the road.
This may sound overly dramatic, but when you compare the dynamic, lively Enscape experience with a few static images on presentation boards, the client will notice the difference.This post will delve into the various nuances to consider when presenting using Enscape's real-time rendering environment. This includes tips and tricks in and around the use of Enscape, including Presentation Mode, Exporting EXE models, licensing issues as well as the various input options. With this information in hand, the design team can deliver a memorable presentation!
In a previous Enscape blog post, Best Practices for Revit Project Setup, I covered many steps which can be employed prior to presenting or meeting with a client. For example, a good set of named views in Autodesk Revit can really facilitate a smooth transition between talking points.
Enscape's Presentation Mode
During the presentation, it is helpful to use Enscape’s Presentation Mode. This feature facilitates quickly moving to different locations within the project. This was not possible in an exported Enscape EXE project previously. Now it is possible, both within the EXE and efficiently in the Enscape view without having to switch over to Revit to select from the list of saved Revit views.
The great thing about Presentation Mode, is that only starred views (see example below) will appear in the flyout panel within Enscape. This is ideal as a typical Revit model can have a lot of 3D views which may not have relevance in an Enscape presentation.
Once you have starred one or more views, you will see the Presentation Mode tab on the right (see image below). To avoid confusion, it should be noted that the tab only appears when views have been starred as shown in the previous image (in Revit).
When the cursor is positioned over the tab, the presentation panel slides out. This panel shows a preview of each starred view. Simply click on one of these views to transport yourself to that location in the model. TIP: You can also use the PageUp and PageDown keys to switch views, even when the Presentation panel is not open.
With the present panel expanded, click the icon in the upper left to see a helpful overlay of instructions as shown here. Click anywhere to toggle back. Clicking the icon just below it will lock the panel in the open position.
Clicking on any preview in the Presentation panel will jump you to that location in the model. This is a great way to make sure you cover all the important aspects of the design while presenting. Note that the previews are listed in alpha-numeric order, just like in Revit’s Project Browser. You may want to add a number prefix to each stared view if you would like to present the views in a specific order.
In the image below, the preview in the Presentation panel was just clicked on, and the main Enscape view transported to that location. Notice the preview, in the Presentation panel, now has an orange marker next to it.
If you, the designer, will be controlling the navigation and you are familiar with the interface, consider pressing the H key to toggle the Enscape UI off for a cleaner look as shown in the next image.
There is an important distinction between switching views from the Enscape tab in Revit and using the new Presentation panel within the Enscape viewer. That is, when using the presentation panel, the model does not change. In contrast, when you switch between views in Revit, things like Section Box, Phasing, Design Options and hidden elements will update the Enscape view.
Thus, if you have two views from the same vantage point, but are set to show two different design options, you would only want to star one for presentation mode, as they will both look the same. It is possible to save different sun settings with each view.
Another way to quickly move around a model in Escape is with the MiniMap. Type M to toggle the map and drag the lower right corner to adjust the map size. An icon appears at the current camera location as pointed out in the next image. Clicking anywhere within the map will instantly transport the camera to that location. It is possible to zoom in and out with the scroll wheel on the mouse, but panning is not supported yet.
Current Camera Location Shown in MiniMap
Enscape MiniMap Enlarged
Standalone Executable Enscape Experience
If you do not need to make edits to the model, adjust phasing or switch between Revit’s Design Options, you can Export the Enscape model to an EXE file. This is a self-contained version of the Enscape software along with a static copy of the model. Using this option, you do not even need Revit or Enscape installed on the presentation computer…. however, the computer still needs to be powerful enough to run Enscape.
With Enscape open, and model presented the way you would like it, click Export on the Enscape tab on the Ribbon.
Here are a few pros and cons to using an exported EXE version of the Enscape model:
- No Revit or Network license required
- No Enscape or Floating license required
- Can leave with client
- Fastest startup
- Cannot change phase
- Cannot toggle design options
- Cannot toggle White Mode, 2-Point, Light View, etc.
- Cannot adjust environment settings (i.e. ambient lighting)
Consider creating multiple EXE exports if you need to show different design options, phasing or section box cutaway views. TIP: Clicking Enable (VR Headset) and then Exporting to EXE will create a VR-Ready EXE version of the Enscape model. This will work on the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. Watch for a future post on using Enscape with VR.
It is also possible to add branding to Enscape; both the live view and exported executables. When leaving an EXE version of the model with a client this can be a good way to also add a date and design option information, as well as the firm logo to ensure your firm gets credit for the work.
Branding the Enscape Viewer
- Enscape Help page: Standalone Export
To aid in a smooth flowing presentation, it is a good idea to consider the input options one can use to navigate a scene in Enscape. This is a valid point for both working at your desk or presenting in front of an audience.
Keyboard Shortcuts plus Mouse
Using the keyboard shortcuts along with the mouse represents the most basic way in which to explore a Revit, SketchUp or Rhino model in Enscape.
The traditional gaming keys W,A,S,D can be used to move forward (W), backwards (S) and left or right (A or D). Additionally, while in “Fly Mode” you can ascend (E) and descend (Q). The four arrow keys can also be used for navigation but they are disconnected from moving up and down, so I prefer the letter keys as they are all grouped together.
While in “Walk Mode” you are stuck to the ground at the specified Spectator Height, which is adjustable in the Enscape Settings dialog.
Double-clicking (left button) the mouse will transport you to that location. This, however, turns off “Walk Mode” so you may have to press the Spacebar to switch back.
Moving the mouse, while holding down the left mouse button, allows you to look around the scene without moving your feet (i.e. the camera).
Moving the mouse while pressing the right mouse button initiates the orbit feature… the clever trick here is that you orbit around the 3D element at your cursor location – the 3D element beneath your cursor can be any distance away, it just needs to be visible in the current scene.
Another popular option is to use an Xbox controller to explore a model in Enscape. Using both hands, and the options shown in the image below, you can freely move and look around in Enscape.
SpaceMouse Plus Mouse
This third option is my favorite, as it allows you to move in five different directions at the same time, with one hand. Notice the different individual movements shown in the image below – these can be combined in any combination or all performed at once. For example, while in “Fly Mode”, you could explore a chair from many angles and elevations in a smooth continuous fashion.
FYI: It is possible to invoke multiple move/look/orbit commands using the Xbox, but requires the coordination and memory of multiple fingers, buttons, joysticks and triggers at once. If you have never done any gaming this can be challenging – an important point if you plan to let a client or other stakeholder drive.
It is worth pointing out that the larger, full featured, SpaceMouse is not necessary to do what I have just described. I have the simple SpaceMouse Wireless, which is essentially just the center dial/puck with two side buttons.
SpaceMouse Controls for Enscape
In the context of presenting, it is good to know your input options and have practiced before entering an important presentation or client meeting. Enscape has several settings on the Input tab, as shown below, which can make the presentation smoother – which can vary depending on your input device. I often need to toggle the SpaceMouse option when using a SpaceMouse. Also, be sure to check out the Enscape Help Page link below to see a full list of keyboard shortcuts.
- Enscape Help page: Control and Input
- 3D Connexion mouse: https://www.3dconnexion.com/
- Xbox controllers: Official Microsoft Store Page
Presenting Away From the Office
I have a few helpful tips if you will be presenting away from the office. If you need to open a Revit model, and then launch Enscape, you will need to make sure you can open Revit while away from the office. This may require checking out a network license.
Checkout a Revit License
If your office uses network licensing, you will need to check out a license on your computer, laptop or checkout laptop. Do this before you leave the office. Also, if using a checkout computer, be sure it is powerful enough to run Enscape. It is not possible to run on integrated Intel graphics cards or Microsoft Surface Pro.
Access to Enscape
If using the Enscape add-in for Revit to open the model, you will need to ensure you have access to Enscape if using a floating license. Access to the internet and making sure there will be a free license when you need it is important – i.e. no one in the office will be using all of your allotted licenses.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Make sure you have a copy of the exported Enscape EXE model on a flash drive. I also travel with several video adaptors and a 25’ (7.5 Meter) HDMI cable as you cannot always know what to expect on-site.
If you are bringing all the tech, set it all up away from your normal working space to ensure you have everything, such as keyboard and mouse… some things are easy to leave behind when they are sitting where you always see them. I do the same with our VR gear before leaving the office.
The opportunity to convey your design solution in a lively and dynamic way has the potential to impress your client in ways not possible previously. The speed and ease in which Enscape allows this process to happen makes it a great option.