I had, a while back , had an issue with Embedding PDF’s into a web page, Simlab said their Revit 3D PDF plugin would do it but on querying there support team it was found that it didn’t , so they gave me a version of their Composer programme.
I though that was quite impressive of them, a company that stands behind its product. I had a bit of a play with it, but it is front end rendering tool really, not an area that I have that much interest. Harkening back to my draughting days, you’d set up a preliminary display rendering for the client, get the job and throw it away. I always saw it as a titillation and farmed it out to others whenever I could.
Now with Revit the initial revit display is used as a basis of the working drawings so there is some use to it. I prefer to make the working drawings still, rather than the pretty front end.
So I decided to take the Composer programme for another spin. By the way, there is a free lite version too, if you are interested in seeing its capabilities.
Apparently the URL embed only works in the Pro version. A
Once you export the Revit model to Simlab Composer (a plugin in Revit that allows you to export in correct format) you then have a Composer model that you need to open in Composer.
From there you can export to a 3D PDF (or a webGL but I’m not having much success with that at the moment)
Revit scope box export
(+) An interesting thing is that, in Revit, you can put a reduced scope box around part of the model and only export that part of the model. The parameter data comes across for that part, but not for the part that is not inside the scope box, so that is good if you only want one part of the model in a 3D PDF.
(-) Another, slightly negative issue is, that part of the geometry goes odd. I have an extra wall extending into my seating area that is concealing some of my seats. I have since hidden that wall in Composer, prior to exporting to 3D PDF.
So, once you have the Revit model exported to Composer you have the reduced size and all the detail. If you export to 3D PDF at this point and click on a seat you will still get all the parameter values coming across. That’s great.
Inside Composer, when you click on an object, you get its attributes (parameters from Revit) , also as well as the attribute tab (image below)
You can also, on the object, create actions and do other things. I am having a fast dive into the programme and am focusing on 3D PDF URL links being active in the PDF. So you see on the first tab of the object (in this case a seat) we have the option of putting in a URL.
So, for seat E-N35 I have created a Revit panorama view and posted that on a website, so it is a clickable URL.
Next I’d need to create the 3D PDF to see if it works.
I seem to have come full circle. My initial testing was with a 2D PDF with a hyperlink that took you to a URL. This does the same thing. The issue being, you are in Adobe Reader/Acrobat and you click on a link. The link opens in the browser but you are still in Adobe Reader, you are not aware that it has opened a browser tab with the view.
CSV & file sizes from export
With Revit 3D PDF plugin that can only export the whole model, the file size is 33.78 Mb, whereas the reduced arena via Composer is only 25.78Mb so a 25% reduction in file size, while CSV export from full model is 3.23Mb with 57,999 rows and the reduced one is 2.63Mb with 46,922 rows of data so a 19% reduction in file and row size. The middle part of the model just happens to have 2200 odd seats in it so that is not too bad a reduction.
In review, wins and losses with this method:
Wins: Can reduce size of 3D PDF to a Revit Section box. This is useful if your overall 3D PDF is too big, you can just divide it into more files to make it load faster, say north/south or quadrants. Have an overall pdf plan showing where the split it. If a tall building, you could do it by level.
Losses: Adobe Reader is used to click on specific seat but panorama opens in your browser, so you either have to split your screen to have Reader & Browser both showing or switch between the 2 programmes.
To make the links work outside the 3DPDF you’d also need to have the URL as a Revit Parameter so when exporting it to Composer the URL (non active in PDF but active in CSV export).
Also, in Composer, there are some interesting actions and animations that can be used. They have a gallery on their website that have a few 3D PDF’s that are worth a look. Just remember you can’t view the 3D PDF’s in your browser and you have to download the files first. (This is a plugin for wordpress as Gutenburg colours the whole block, use Advanced Rich Text Tools for Gutenberg for colouring within a block.