architectural modeling and blender

ok sorry if thise belongs on another post, but i think its cool here…

I am an architect and in my office our models are done in autocad. Ive been testing blender for the past week and <duh> i like it.

Buuuut, i cant seem to get my autocad models into blender short of .3ds’ng em in. That is a total BEAR cuz i gotta save the models into little .3ds size bits and .3ds doesnt always export quite right.

Whenever i try to .dxf import i ALWAYS end up with the “error parsing dxf, blah blah blah” problem -even in 2.4- (couldnt find a solution for that in other posts btw). i saved it in different .dxf formats and even used the opendwg alliance program - nothing worked.

Im at the point where i need to decide if

  1. i wll EVER be able to get the .dxf thing to work with the big complex 3d soldids/faces/meshes files we create or

  2. i need to investigate whether or not i can just model solely in bleder, that means interpreting 2d acad dwgs into blender and 3dmodeling off of them…is it possible to precisely model a building off of dwgs with blender? are there any known related tutorials for such a concept?..it needs to be dead nuts accurate cuz we model EVERYTHING structure, piping, walls etc and study the outcome in a 4d format.

FINAL PROBLEM - when i finally get a building into blender (with cite and stuff) it is sooo big that the viewport clips the heck out of it. i crank up the clip settings and i get nothing…so i endup rescaling the model by .01 !!! i dont like that, it doesnt seem like a good thing.

what are ur thoughts blender geniuses?

I don’t think Blender is what you’re looking for, at least not for modeling. Blender is for visualization, animation, and doesn’t offer good tools for accurate modeling like a real CAD application.

Importing DXF or 3DS models doesn’t work perfect and I wouldn’t rely on it in a business situation.

If you’re looking for visualizing 3D models created in Autocad it is better to try an additional Renderer “connected” to Autocad, like Artlantis or similar.

thanks for the advice - artlantis and accurender were my next two choices for renders

buuuuuut is there anyone outthere with alternative opinons/ideas? i would really love to keep using blender if at all possible.

originalsurfmex:

hi

I’m an architectural technologist and use AutoCAD LT everyday. I too have been looking at Blender for 3D viz on and off since v1.8 to use as a 3D visualisation tool for the 2D plans/elevations i work on. Since v2.37a i’ve given it far more attention, but i’m about to dump it once more for Max as i feel i’m wasting my time fighting against some basic fundementals that are missing in Blender at the expense of so ‘coooool’ hairy fluidy orangey animated character stuff.

I made this viz from 2D AutoCAD plans/eles with Blender.

https://blenderartists.org/forum/download.php?id=1650&sid=e261d8e9e44bc6958752d11cfe7ae14f

And there are plenty more examples here on elysiun by others.

With AutoCAD LT i don’t have the luxury of .3ds, .obj etc just .dxf export. Use R12 .dxf and remember to scale your models down by .001 from mm to m so what would be 3000mm in AUTOCAD becomes 3mm otherwise the model will come in too big and Blender has trouble, Blender has a scene size limit as well.

Blender as you have seen makes a hash of importing .dxf on most occasions. So i use Crossroads (Free) converter app or Accutrans (Shareware) for AutoCAD .dxf to .dxf or .wrl or .obj or .cob conversion, all work pretty much flawlessly into Blender. But big problem with Crossroads is it ignores arcs and circles, but excellent otherwise.

I’ve successfully imported and rendered complex AutoCAD 3D DXF’s, Archicad, Sketchup and 3D Max (.3ds) models.

So it’s then easy to get AutoCAD drawings into Blender.

But then the problems really start. You begin to find Blender can’t do basic functions like rotate/align one model in line with another imported model accurately so unless your building up square boxes with perpendicular sides it’s got to be by eye. Snapping is an absolute pain in the behind with the Ctrl S shuffle, theres no basic CAD type functions that are as much 3D modeller functions as they are CAD, like intersect, extend etc, really basic stuff. I have three building models on the go at the moment of different styles and I keep stumbling into problems with Blender which are so stupidly basic that I have to ask myself why I’m bothering.

  1. i need to investigate whether or not i can just model solely in bleder, that means interpreting 2d acad dwgs into blender and 3dmodeling off of them…is it possible to precisely model a building off of dwgs with blender? are there any known related tutorials for such a concept?..it needs to be dead nuts accurate cuz we model EVERYTHING structure, piping, walls etc and study the outcome in a 4d format.

I feel that as Blender is missing the CAD type functions I need AutoCAD/QCAD by my side to do the accurate bits and import into Blender the accurate geometry to work up in 3D.

FINAL PROBLEM - when i finally get a building into blender (with cite and stuff) it is sooo big that the viewport clips the heck out of it. i crank up the clip settings and i get nothing…so i endup rescaling the model by .01 !!! i dont like that, it doesnt seem like a good thing.

I haven’t found any problems scaling down a model, all the detail is still there. But I don’t understand why Blender has a scene size limit other than it’s historic, why the grid is limited and not to infinity and why Blender is still out of step with external apps where everything has to be scaled down for large projects like architectural ones to fit Blenders limitations.

I think your probably expecting too much of Blender for what you want to achieve, as I did right back to v 1.8.

I’d agree with SoftWork on the whole if your working with 3D models in AutoCAD, however not even full AutoCAD comes close to the modelling features Blender has.

My opinion: Blender misses some very basic, very important features like object snaps and basic CAD functions and you’ll find your banging your head against a brick wall to get those sorts of functions as i don’t think the developer types understand the dire need for them and especially while the likes of the Orange project is getting so much attention. If you want your buildings to have hair, fluid or some ‘cooooool’ facial expression control Blenders the tool, anyone who wants to use it as a viz tool for architectural work has got a long wait to make it work as a fiable business type activity.

Good luck.

wow man! nice work!! and thanks for the super in depth advice, i couldn’t have expected anything that complete - u confirmed a lot of my fears, lol.

i still wanna give it a “go” for at least a proj or two, so:

heres for a coupla basic questions:

  1. did u build that model off of 2d dwgs?
  2. how long did it take u to build the model? (what kinda modelling time am i looking at once i get it down)
  3. what kind of basic technique/advice can u let me in on as far as architectural modelling in blender? (i.e. model set up, modeling tips that u can prevent me from learning the hard way, lol)

finally…whats an architectural technologist? sounds fascinating! maybe we can go into business designing hairy buildings and live happily ever after!

  • try to export as LightWave (.lwo) objects, by color … they will import nice into blender … i also tryied .obj format but was not working for me … others here on the forum had succesful import entire .obj model at once.
  • i do most of my modeling in formZ/ArchiCAD and do rendering in Blender + Yafray.
  • the clipping problem, IT IS A PROBLEM ! somehow needs to be solved.
  • modeling “accurate” objects (like architecture) is not possible for now - blender need some tools developed.
    best. a

wow man! nice work!! and thanks for the super in depth advice, i couldn’t have expected anything that complete - u confirmed a lot of my fears, lol.

thanks.

  1. did u build that model off of 2d dwgs?

the model was from 2D plans and at the time I pdf’d the elevations with a lot of dims on to get me my heights etc as i’m on linux at home and autocad’s not an option. i see two ways of working with the cad imports, you could import the plan footplate of the building and model working upwards like how AEC was. extrude panel below window, then leave window opening, extrude panel above sort of working or like the MAX gurus in our office import 2D CAD elevations and ‘trace’ over with mesh faces to model the eles and then extrude the various faces outwards to get the building fabric, recesses, projections etc.

the model in the link was working up from a plan. the ones i’m doing now are from elevations. working from eles has drawbacks if you’ve got arches etc as trying to work with quad meshes in an arch is difficult using eles, fine if working upwards from plan.

this link is to a excellent script by 3R for converting a series of vertices of a mesh into a curve, which ‘caps’ the mesh, so it’s dead easy to select a wall panel from some imported eles with arched window openings in it and convert it into a solid wall panel ready to extrude and have window/doors apatures to recieve the doors/windows like the 3D Studio VIZ 2.1 demo ? of old.

https://blenderartists.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=54804&sid=a2e4033c278bdbc591b61e114d7f1bbc

  1. how long did it take u to build the model? (what kinda modelling time am i looking at once i get it down)

difficult because i picked it up and put it down over a 3 month period. I’ve only been using blender for 6-9 months and then maybe only a hour or so a night, so i’m really not that experienced. the models i’m doing now are perhaps 2 working days to model and another to texture, render, post pro.

  1. what kind of basic technique/advice can u let me in on as far as architectural modelling in blender? (i.e. model set up, modeling tips that u can prevent me from learning the hard way, lol)

technique will depend on the nature of the buildings your working with and how you want the final vizs to look, it’s difficult to explain how to approach it, there’s a lot of info here on elysiun, as you come up with problems post them and someone will help you out.

finally…whats an architectural technologist? sounds fascinating! maybe we can go into business designing hairy buildings and live happily ever after!

a grand term for a range of architectural functions such as design, contract administration, or simply a technician who takes an architects design and details it out, produces the construction drawings and see’s it through on site to completion.

hairy buildings mmm i don’t know :smiley: