Most companies still print 3D models on paper to bring them out in the field. While this is completely acceptable, it lacks the effectiveness of being able to view and mark up the file directly in Bluebeam Revu and then share that data with others in the field. Rather than bringing sheets of paper out with you that can get lost or reshuffled, what if you could bring the 3D BIM model from Autodesk Revit into the field with you and work with it right on your device, without the hassle of all that paper. We’re going to show you how easy it is to create a 3D PDF from a Revit model and then bring it into the field so you can work with it using Bluebeam Revu.
Concerns with bringing RVT files into the field
There are three primary concerns when you move out into the field when you’re trying to use Autodesk Revit and Revit (RVT) files.
The first concern is the file size, right? RVT files are huge and it’s nearly impossible to try to get them out into the field on a device and work with them there in a reasonable fashion.
The second concern is that Revit uses a centralized model, so that on the design side we keep one central model that everybody works on and we can work on different components. But this can actually present a problem when you’re out in the field because you don’t always have continuous access to that central model that you’re hosting on your servers or in a cloud. People can lose connectivity, or they wind up working offline and making updates to things that are out of date because they don’t have direct connection in the field.
The last concern is the cost of putting Autodesk Revit on all your field devices. It can add up to a large investment just to be able to open and look at these Revit files.
This is where converting the RVT file into a 3D PDF makes it much smaller and more reasonable to work with, allows field personnel to view it on their devices in the field without having to worry about connectivity. And you don’t need to have Autodesk Revit on field devices to view the file. You can take this 3D PDF and share it with field personnel via email, Bluebeam Studio, Dropbox, SharePoint, or whatever cloud-sharing platform you are using.
Creating the 3D PDF from the Revit Model
So, let’s get into the meat of how you can extract your RVT file from Revit and bring it into the field with Bluebeam Revu. It’s a very simple process in terms of extracting your 3D BIM information from Revit.
NOTE: In order to be able to extract this information from Autodesk Revit, you do need to have Bluebeam Core or Complete 21. If you are using Bluebeam Revu 20 or older, this functionality comes with Bluebeam CAD and eXtreme. When you install these versions of Bluebeam Revu, the plugin is automatically added to your Autodesk and Microsoft products. However, you can open the 3D PDF in any edition of Bluebeam Revu.
- Open Autodesk Revit and then open the RVT file you want to export.
- If you do not want to export the entire RVT file, choose which parts of the model you want to export, i.e., mechanical, electrical, first floor, etc., using the standard Autodesk Revit visibility tools.
- Once you are good with the model, click on the Add-ins tab.
- Click on the Create 3D PDF tool in the Bluebeam section of the toolbar.
- Select 3D PDF Settings.
- The 3D Settings dialog box displays. In this dialog box, you can choose which View you want to export, along with the Lighting Scheme and Rendering Mode. Make your selections and click on OK.
- Then click on Create 3D PDF and select Create 3D PDF.
- Give your PDF a name and select the location where to save it.
- Revit processes the model and creates the 3D PDF file. Once it’s complete, the PDF automatically opens in Bluebeam Revu.
Viewing and Marking Up 3D PDFs with Bluebeam Revu
So, what can we do with this 3D PDF now that it’s open in Bluebeam Revu?
For starters, we have the ability to view these 3D PDFs from any angle and save views for future reference. You can control rendering and lighting of the model. You can also create sectional cutting planes to see the “interiors” of your 3D model.
Most importantly, you can use all of your Bluebeam Markup tools in this 3D PDF, so you can add notes, comments, sketches, and photos directly to the model as 3D items. Plus, when Revit created the 3D PDF, it embedded the BIM data for each component. You can view this data by expanding the Markups table at the bottom of the Bluebeam Revu screen and clicking on the 3D Model Tree icon. Once the data displays, you can view the data for a particular component by selecting it in the table or in the drawing. Selecting it in the drawing will highlight the component in the Markups table.
As far as adding Markups to the 3D PDF, you can use all the standard Bluebeam Revu markup tools. If you find issues in the field, it’s easy to markup that area with notes and photos. You can add as many markups as you need. You can save them, you can share them, and you can host these out in studio so they’re available from anywhere in the world, to anybody, anytime, anyplace.
With this right-at-your-fingertip functionality, you can say goodbye to the hassle of using paper print outs in the field. And best of all, you can share these 3D PDF files with everyone in the field using the cloud, no matter where a person is located, you can communicate on a project in real-time with visuals.