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New Asset Store Plugin helping developers to visualize BIM models in Unity

, December 6, 2018

Tridify Convert has been designed specifically for developers who want to spend more time creating and less time importing. Bridging the gap between BIM and Unity, Tridify’s automation technology helps fast-track and streamline workflows.

There are two key elements: 1) an automatically scalable cloud service that enables the conversion of 3D BIM & CAD models to Unity with BIM data attached (in minutes, not hours), and 2) an expanding BIM toolset that allows for advanced search functions and other automated features such as material mapping, colliders, and lighting generation.

A Revit model in Unity after being converted via Tridify Convert. This is running on the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) using dynamic lights and shadows.

Converting architectural models to virtual models has previously been an uphill struggle and a process prone to errors. Tridify has developed an easy and fast workflow for developers to import BIM models and data to Unity for all kinds of use cases, from simulation to XR applications. Tridify Convert keeps all of the data connected to its geometry for easy manipulation through powerful search functions.

These tools are now ready to be released as a solid toolbox for the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) community. IFC format was selected as the input because of its open, standard, and global use across most AEC tools, including Revit and ArchiCAD.

Users have the ability to control how the geometry will be generated from the IFC-file.

When there are changes made to the BIM, the whole model must be reimported to Unity and all of the tasks previously made to the model must be redone. Difficult tasks like UV-generation and material mapping are automated in Tridify.

Last year, Tridify decided to release an in-house process as a service. When they started designing the service, they came up with the idea of a remote system, where users could continue working at their own workstations while the time-consuming conversion happened on a scalable AWS cloud service.

When users sign up and convert their IFC files through Tridify’s service, the resulting Collada files and BIM data stays attached to the appropriate items.

Tridify IFC Tools are now available in the Unity Asset Store as a plugin that takes advantage of BIM data.

Building models converted with Tridify are divided in the hierarchy so you can access individual types and items within the separate storeys.

The two-stage process starts from the web service where they first check that IFC format is valid. After the verification, the user can select different conversion options like ‘split by storeys’ or ‘export separate models’ from various IFC elements.

Some of the features that are very useful for creating architectural visualizations in Unity include the ability to filter specific object types and the option to separate the storeys as floorplans for further manipulation.

Together with the conversion service, the Unity plugin provides a full end to end workflow from IFC to the position where you can hit the build button from the Editor.

Select the building from your converted files list and import selected elements to your scene. Then select your favorite material mapping file from the project to replace all the materials at once. You can also create basic lighting with our lighting tool; it generates area lights and light probes automatically in a  few simple steps.

In most use cases, it is important that the models are accurate and up to date. Therefore, updating models should be easy and robust. Anyone in your design team should have access to the latest plans and be able to update them. With this in mind, Tridify has separated the conversion process as a standalone web service which can also serve as a storage place for original IFC files.

When just the ‘IfcWindow’ checkbox is checked, only that type of element will be loaded to the scene.

What is cool with the BIM

The fundamental idea of the Tridify Convert service is to keep data connected to geometry and that is why a good search function is essential.

Unlike game objects that do not have data attached, you can now search IFC data types, attributes or properties. BIM data is not only accessible in Unity, but you can also access data in run-time. Here ’s a run-time example which hides all of the elements that are marked as the exterior of the building.

Tridify has a strong background in converting models to first generation tablets and phones, so they have lots of hands-on knowledge as to how to reduce geometry and get good frame rates on devices. The same optimization is also needed for current VR-devices for optimal user experience.

Check out Tridify on the Unity Asset Store or explore tutorials and cool ideas of how to use BIM can be found on the Tridify blog.

6 replies on “New Asset Store Plugin helping developers to visualize BIM models in Unity”

Hi Caitlin W

Great content on asset management, really helped me through my projects
Me and my team are also interested in 3D Assets through Unreal engine 4, we provide assets with photorealistic quality and ready to use features.

I wonder if you could give us your feedback on how are we doing and you also might grab a few tips here and there. here is our website:

Best regards

Ue4assets Team

Hi people!
Thanks for your interest in our service. Good questions so far and I will answer them altogether here.

@Imad Zerhahi
IFC is metadata format without polygon data. Usually the models that you get from the architects are LOD 300 or 350. You can easily create LOD 200 (when downloading the model to Unity editor from our service) by removing details from the model leaving only necessary elements left. LOD 400 and 500 (As built models) are usually too heavy for realtime usage. LOD 100 has only volume of the building and it is modeled separately.
Tridify Convert generates the optimal geometry in our cloud service. It also generates the optimized basic UV mapping during the cloud based conversion process.

@Alexandre Laporter
You only have to upload your model once, and then all the data within your model will be available in Unity. When you have your BIM model in Unity editor the whole model and the connected data is available locally. This means that the data is also available on runtime. Only if you update the model then you will have to use our service again.
About the security:
Our service is in Amazon cloud and it is created using Amazon security guidelines. When the model is uploaded to our service it will be automatically encrypted and stored to a secure service. The end-result and the data is available only with your credentials.
From a performance perspective, if you would convert BIM models on your own computer, it would slow down or disable your computer for a long time due to amount of data and computing power needed. The conversion not only creates polygon models for realtime usage but it optimizes and creates uv-maps for them. The length of the whole process depends on model size but we are talking about minutes even for big files.

@Thomas Roberts
As we are also working on the functionality to upload and download models in runtime we are very interested in the different runtime use cases to improve our service. It would be great if you could share your use case?
Tridify Convert is cloud based service and it does not use your computer capacity during the conversion process. This means that you can use your computer during the conversion process and the conversion time is fast even if your computer capacity is limited. Our goal is to create the easiest, the fastest and the most efficient workflow from BIM/CAD models to Unity end product app with online conversion service and our Unity tools.
This kind of feedback is very important for us and we will publish more examples and tutorials soon.
Our service is under continuous development and there will be updates to our service and tools frequently.

Many thanks,
Juhani Korpinen
Tridify support team

Looks great !
But “conversion service” means that my data have to be uploaded to Tridify servers everytime I want to import an IFC in Unity ? If yes, I fear that this is going to introduce performance and security issue :/

Nice! Is it possible to upload and download at runtime? How does this compare with PiXYZ stuff?

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