In this episode of the Smarter Building podcast, we caught up with Dr. Stephen Hamil, Innovation Director at NBS, to gain insights into the future landscape of the construction industry and the upcoming trends in 2024.
Visualisation Workflow with Autodesk Revit, Twinmotion, and Unreal Engine 5
In my previous blog, I explore how visualisation have evolved during my time in the industry.
Within this blog post, I will explore how gaming technologies now allow us to use our Revit model as the content creator and Twinmotion for the primary visual Engine. I will cover:
You will see that Twinmotion 2022.2.3 is available. Download and install this version.
The next place to go is www.twinmotion.com and select the “Why Twinmotion?” tab. On the right you see access to the plugins available. Download the Revit plugin called Datasmith, which is very important in the workflow, and allows connectivity between Revit and Twinmotion.
Twinmotion is a standalone application. The Datasmith plugin allows not just an exporter of the Revit model but a synchronisation with the developing Revit model.
Take a moment to click on Roadmap and see the development that Epic Games are putting to Twinmotion.
Once downloaded and installed, the Datasmith plugin is available in Revit 2023.
Below you will see the sample Revit project and the new Datasmith tab showing the Direct Link and the File Export.
I used the File Export option to directly export to a Datasmith file. I made no changes in Revit prior to the export.
Starting up Twinmotion you have the option to import or Synchronise the Datasmith file.
This is the import of the sample Revit file, again nothing has changed in preparation for the import to Twinmotion. All the geometry and materials have imported into Twinmotion. We now have a fantastic array of tools to create a visual from the Revit geometry. You can see on this image that the model is in Twinmotion. At the bottom you can see the import as a Datasmith file and to the left you can see I have expanded the materials panel.
The ease in adding content through materials and models is amazing. This example took about fifteen minutes to enhance the project with modelled grass and trees, together with PBR textures and reflective glass.
As you can see, I created two image renders of the scene below.
The workflow from Revit to a visual in Twinmotion is the same process I have used in developing content creation for the gaming industry using 3ds max as the model content. With the Datasmith connectivity in Revit, we no longer need to wait on long render times or need to use processor resources in running Twinmotion with Revit on the same computer. Exporting the Datasmith allows us to use a separate system perhaps with a better GPU dedicated to visuals.
Now that Twinmotion is included within Revit 2023, we have a fantastic toolset to give conceptual visuals including presentations and animation flythrough. Not forgetting VR.
I have developed a comprehensive training programme of two days that offers a deep dive into Revit to Twinmotion, with tricks and tips to consider.
You can explore the agenda here.
Not only can we use the Datasmith export in Revit, but we can also use the Datasmith export in Revit to send our model directly to Unreal Engine 5, allowing us so much interactive development with the vast array of Unreal 5 tools. Real time render with Lumen and Nanite technology really gives us the high-end gaming open world vision from our Revit model.
The Twinmotion file can also be imported into Unreal Engine 5 with all the content maintained from Twinmotion.
What I find quite amazing is that we can have uninterrupted workflow from Revit to high end visualisation. We are not duplicating geometry along the path. Revit can synchronise the revisions in the Datasmith export, Twinmotion will receive the revised Datasmith import and reapply any changes of texture and content. At the stage of Twinmotion, this offers visualisation for presentation and design review. Taking the final Twinmotion project into Unreal Engine 5 is the start of a very high-end interactive experience.
I have always believed Architectural visualisation will be driven by game engine technologies, the need for almost instant photo realistic imagery has always been a goal for quick review and revisions. Now that Twinmotion is part of the Revit 2023 subscription, this goal is fully achievable.
Take a look at our visualisation course to help you get started.