Friday, September 04, 2009

3dsmax 2010 Connection Extension- SAT file export

I'm surprised this one got past me, but if you are a 3dsmax subscription customer you can download the new Connection Extension for 3dsmax 2010 and 3dsmax Design 2010. For me the highlight is the ability to finally export a SAT file from 3dsmax for use in Revit or Inventor. If the mesh in 3dsmax is watertight, then the resulting SAT file will be water tight, which means we can utilise this file in a Revit Mass to calculate floor areas and use the building maker tools.

In this example I created a torus knot in 3dsmax Design 2010.


I then exported the file; notice that ACIS SAT is now an option in the export menu after installing the extension.


You have a number of different options to choose from when exporting to SAT, including the ability to Export 3ds Max Nurb objects.


Once exported, you will receive a confirmation message to say that the export is complete.


In Revit, we can then import the resulting SAT file into a Mass Family or an Inplace family. Assuming the original 3dsmax mesh is watertight we are then able to cut floor plate and calculate areas from the mass.


The resulting model with floor plates, curtain wall system applied and rendered.



khyokoo said...

Great information, I am trying to unravel the mystery of conceptual massing and how to use them in Revit. Autocad Extruded forms? - don't work. Sketchup dumb forms? - don't work. Maya, Rhinoceros and Autodesk Inventor works because they generate Nurbs surfaces and solids. And 3dsmax 2010 (only with Connection Extension SAT file export) works. That was a mighty fine example that you have, that clearly shows that it works. Thank you for posting the information. There was an interesting discussion on this topic here: Even Phil Reid (super Revit guru) chimed in with a comment. I shall add your blog to my list of super Revit gods.

Unknown said...

Khyokoo, thank you for you kind comments. As you have discovered, this is a bit of a black art! Its almost there.....Any solid geometry will allow you to cut floor plate areas in Revit. So if you can export a SAT file from AutoCAD, Rhino, Inventor, Maya....and its closed and water tight (this is the important part) then you will be able to cut floor plates. The convert to solid tool will not work on geometry imported into AutoCAD 2010. It only works on forms originally created in AutoCAD. So importing from sketchup to AutoCAD to Revit unfortunately isn't a workflow that we can consider at the moment. I am pushing Autodesk to get this to for your question about 3dsmax to sketchup to Revit 2010.... yes this will work, but you need to check the faces and edges when you import from 3dsmax to sketchup. I have found that the import will add extra edges and lines, so when importing into Revit; Revit kicks back saying the geometry is not closed! Trying exporting from 3dmax to Sketchup as a 3ds file. This seems to work well, but again the geometry must be watertight.I guess it depends on how complex the form is, but the solid closed Sketchup geometry to Revit does just need to check all edges and faces.

Hype said...

I'm quite amazed to see that Autodesk sees this as a solution. Importing dead geometry in a parametric software doesn't seem to be a serious option. The imported mass can't be panalized. Wall, floor and roof by face don't join well on a free form shape and the thickness of the components are fixed, while on a free form shape you need various thicknesses to make it constructable. The imported geometry can't be linked either. There are a few workaround for this but it's not ideal. And last but not least, the imported geometry affects the performance of the overall model.

These are just a few reasons why people generally don't use Revit at all when making free form buildings. Revit needs either to be able to import geometry that can be edited within Revit. Or the beter options is that Autodesk incorporates these tools (NURBS, mesh etc.)in Revit.

It always baffled me why we need to create architectural forms in a non architectural software because the flagship architectural software can't do it. It just doesn't make sense.

In the meanwhile, i truly appreciate the workarounds shown here on this blog.

Unknown said...

Hype - these are all very valid points and without doubt Revit needs nurbs. The new massing environment certainly helps and is a step in the right direct but there is still much to do. :-)

Zach Kron said...

Great Post David, as always. A couple comments . . .
“The convert to solid tool will not work on geometry imported into AutoCAD 2010. It only works on forms originally created in AutoCAD.”
I’ve been having a ball converting Blender and Mudbox meshes into autocad solids and then importing into Revit. I have a post about this workflow here: . I haven’t done it with sketchup or other meshes, but I think the same workflow should work. The trick was exploding the import, converting it to a smooth mesh, and then converting it to a solid.
“The imported geometry can't be linked either. There are a few workaround for this but it's not ideal.”
You can’t link in the family environment, true, but you can link the imported elements in the project environment. Depending on what sort of changes you make to the import (transformations work, deleted and rebuild operations don’t, etc), the revit model will update to references to the import when it is reloaded. Nope, not ideal, but you can actually make a pretty good control rig in Acad to drive a concept in Revit.
“And last but not least, the imported geometry affects the performance of the overall model.”
I have found that SAT import performance is actually the same (umm . . . slow) for similar geometry made in Revit. To test, make a freeform element in Revit and export it as an SAT, then import it back into revit. Now, make walls by face, etc, on the original revit geometry and the SAT.
I agree that imported geometry makes for not so parametric BIM, but there are ways to soften the blow.

khyokoo said...

Great comments. Revit 2010 mass modeler is pretty darn good, it does everything that Sketchup does in terms of mass modeling with the additional benefit of being "smart".

Revit Black Arts - I'll join that club. The mass model that you made for your article would make an excellent logo for the club.

The best thing is to see the cool things you can do with Revit. Your fluidity in Revit shows how powerful it can be. And Revit 2010 has seriously upped the stakes in massing and designing in Revit. Your "bone" building was a great example of the Revit 2010 advances as well as your amorphic building spiky skin example.

Thanks for the great information.

khyokoo in chicago

khyokoo said...

Way above my pay grade! I think it is cool that experts keep tabs on what other experts are working on. Even with my limited knowledge of massing, I can see that the Revit 2010 concept massing is amazing, and to think that the massing can be modified and automatically update the architectural model is spectacular. This is the renaissance of CAD and architectural design and your blogs are worldwide teaching studios, teaching Revit Black Arts. Thank you for your Revit spells.