A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about bringing CAD and Unity together to create interactive walkthroughs. This week, I decided to write an article on how to do this. I created a video that shows how to bring a Revit model into Unity to create an interactive walkthrough. Take a look.
Now, there are some technical details to be aware of. Importing a Revit model straight into Unity is not really the proper workflow if you are using Revit 2011 or beyond. Apparently Autodesk updated the material libraries to the “Protein 2 Material Libraries”, which are not quite the same as the material libraries in versions past. Unfortunately, these libraries are not able to be imported properly into Unity because Unity is not able to recognize them. As such, this creates an extra step in the workflow, which is to bring the model into 3DS Max first, render it out, and re-export it as an FBX file. If you use Revit 2010 or prior, then you should be able to export as FBX and bring that FBX file right into Unity with no issues. However, if you use 2011 or later and you were to do this, then you would notice your model as a gigantic gray mesh with no textures. So, having said that, check out the video and learn how to make use of this powerful functionality!
Again, I want to stress the importance of this functionality in the education sector. Game Design is now a major industry, which reels in billions of dollars a year. It is no longer a niche industry. It has become comparable to Hollywood and the film industry in terms of size and revenue. Because of this, more and more schools are developing classes for teaching game design.
Unity is at the forefront of this curriculum because it is affordable and easy to use right out of the box. The ability for Unity to be able to import and utilize CAD models is tremendous in the education sector. Most schools have architecture classes and curriculum as well as 3D Modeling classes.
With this functionality, you can effectively create a workflow between architecture students, 3D modeling students, and game design students to create realistic environments that players are able to walk around and interact with. The game design students can work on the functionality of their game, while the architecture students can design structurally appropriate buildings using software such as Revit and AutoCAD, and the 3D Modeling students can take these models and apply high-end textures and UV Maps to them in Maya or 3DS Max. Once the buildings are done, they can be brought into Unity to be used as locations within the game. Or maybe you aren’t able to coordinate all three departments for a joint project; this is still amazing functionality. Architecture students will be able to bring their model into Unity and create detailed interactive walkthroughs that they can embed via Unity Web Player onto a personal website to show off to a potential employer as part of their portfolio. More and more Architecture firms are utilizing Unity for this extra functionality. If your students know the workflow, then it gives them that much more of an edge when they hit the job market.
These are just some of the benefits of using Unity with CAD. Again, check out the video that I made and see how it works. And don’t forget, if you’re a student or educator and want to grab Unity for cheap, head over to Studica’s website and check it out. Likewise, if you want to purchase Revit for cheap, you can do so at Studica.
Author: Mark Philipp