buildingSMART Forums

Presenting Blender as a new IFC authoring tool

3 entire weeks have passed since the last update, due to a 2 week downtime during the holidays - but we’re back in business with another update!

  • Be less strict about requiring BIM objects to be selected when exporting, to make it more user-friendly. Now you can just bulk select everything.
  • New workaround for importing materials from Revit, since Revit has a funny way of storing materials. Models being imported from Revit will now be much more colourful!
  • You can now create geometry and export spatial elements, such as an IfcSpace.
  • BIMTester now has a variety of new unit tests, including:
    • all IfcFoo elements have a name matching a particular pattern - useful to check whether the BIM author has followed a naming scheme in your BIM execution plans.
    • all IfcFoo elements have a particular shape representation - useful to check if the BIM author has their geometry in a representation that you can edit, for round-tripping between Blender, FreeCAD, Revit, and others.
    • all IfcFoo elements have a particular attribute - useful to check if BIM authors have correctly filled out an attribute
    • all IfcFoo elements have a particular property / property matching a pattern - useful to check if BIM authors have correctly filled out a property in a pset that you need for your exchange requirements
    • all IfcFoo elements have a particular quantity - useful to check if BIM authors have filled out sensible quantity values for something you need to quantify
  • BIMTester can be run now both as a standalone CLI app in your BIMServer, or as a library, and allow you to set custom unit testing parameters for greater testing control
  • Have a “force recut” feature to regenerate a new section / view of a model in construction documentation.
  • New experimental collection of 50 hatch types for construction documentation, including various drafting standards
  • New interface to select a person and organisation to properly set ownership history, with detailed information like addresses and so on
  • New interface to quickly create a new view / section of the model
  • Each view / section now stores its own view scale, instead of it being an export-time setting for convenience
  • New UI to easily switch between views / sections
  • IFC Diff utility, to compare the difference between two IFC files is now packaged for Windows as a standalone executable
  • The IFC Diff utility has also been packaged within BlenderBIM, so you can run it from the Blender interface to compare files
  • Application and IFC header metadata is now (almost) properly filled out, just to be neat.
  • Importing now specially treats aggregations and displays them as aggregates
  • Opening elements are now stored in an import in their own collection for you to do with them what you please
  • New feature to explode aggregations into parts
  • Cleaner geometric representation context UI
  • New interface to quickly assign any representation to a particular context, subcontext, or target view.
  • Automatic vendor hack mode is enabled by default: it detects a particular vendor when importing and auto applies various workarounds for their quirks in their IFC files. Currently enabled for Revit’s lack of IFC geolocation and funny materials. This should help a lot of people who aren’t aware that these workarounds need to be applied and would otherwise get a bad impression of IFC files and BlenderBIM.
  • Bunch of under the hood bug fixes for more reliable importing.

Fancy colours!

Aggregations of imported objects highlighted:

Owner history people and organisations:

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Run diffs to compare IFC files!

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Views and sheets:

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More settings to control MVD import and exports:

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Assign various contexts to representations:

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Various clean-ups to the BlenderBIM.org website, as well as publicly making the website source code accessible so that anybody can contribute content to it!

New documentation website, with content that is a work in progress, describing in more technical detail about each feature in BlenderBIM. The source code is all public, so others are more than welcome to help write documentation for BlenderBIM!

In addition, Thomas has submitted a new proposed presentation to the BuildingSMART Oslo summit talking about IfcOpenShell and open source authoring workflows - A presentation of the work happening in FreeCAD, BlenderBIM and IfcOpenShell towards authoring capabilities for end-users.. I’ve also noticed that the vote button is kinda weird on some computers - you have to only click the “like” button once and wait for the pop-up. Then enter in your details manually (do not copy paste) and press submit and wait for the pop-up to disappear. Then refresh the page and you will be logged in (check top right). Then you can press the like button again. Not sure why this is the case. If it all works, you will see the vote number increment.

If you’d like to vote for Thomas’ presentation, click here to view his entry.

Get the new version now: https://blenderbim.org/

6 Likes

Amazing stuff !!!

@Moult
Wow :crazy_face:, another big step forward :wave:t2:

Q:
Currently I get an error in Blender during activation of blender28-bim-200109-win:
"ModuleNotFoundError: No module named ‘pyparsing’
Do you have a hint where this could come from?

  • blenderbim issue?
  • Python issue on my local machine?

@Herb - when you download a fresh version of the Windows zip file, is there a pyparsing.py file inside? Also, in your Blender add-ons directory, do you see a pyparsing.py file? It should be there. You can read about where the Blender add-ons folder is here.

… there was a brief moment where I accidentally published a version missing the pyparsing module but I thought nobody would catch it :slight_smile:

I am too fast :laughing:

pyparsing.py can be found in the zip on top-level but not within the folder “blender” within the zip.

That is correct, it should be in the top level, not inside the blenderbim folder. When you install it to Blender, it should copy the pyparsing.py file to your Blender add-ons folder, but it sounds like it didn’t. Can you please check if it is there? You can see where your Blender add-ons folder is here.

To be safe, when upgrading BlenderBIM versions, I recommend completely removing and uninstalling the old BlenderBIM first. To uninstall, you must manually delete all the files that it created. You can see a list of the files to delete in that documentation website I linked to. Note that when you install, you do not need to unzip the downloaded file :slight_smile: Hope it helps.

pyparsing.py is not in the add-ons folder or any subfolder.

I have to break now and will continue in some hours.

BR
Herb

As it is not there, I recommend starting fresh and installing BlenderBIM again. It should work out of the box. If not, a workaround will be to just copy the files over manually. If you have to resort to the work-around, contact me via private message or email (dion@thinkmoult.com) and we can debug it without disturbing the forum :slight_smile:

Cleaning the webbrowser cache before downloading the zip did solve the problem.

1 Like

New update!

  • Documentation added for the context panel
  • Site objects are now imported
  • Bugfix to export different types of curve objects
  • All non-polygonal extrusions now have an Axis representation exported
  • Material properties are now exported (like density, youngs modulus, etc)
  • New sample attributes for doors and windows shipped with the add-on
  • Point clouds now can be exported to IFC
  • IFC structural objects are now exported
  • UI improvement to only show predefined types and userdefined types if it is possible
  • Structural objects now export a topological reference representation
  • Parametric material profiles are now supported (rectangular, circular, I-Beam, etc)
  • New UI to manage material attributes
  • New UI to change material assignment (single / layer / constituent / profile set)
  • New UI to create a property set override instead of having to write properties in separate CSV files
  • BIMTester now includes model setup vocabulary, drafted in collaboration with BuildingSMART Australasia co-founder @john.mitchell - it tests basic project attributes and geolocation for both IFC2X3 and IFC4.
  • BIMTester now allows custom JUnit directories for better cloud integration
  • Bugfix where some context representations were not exported now fixed
  • UI to specify structural boundary conditions
  • New UI to specify structural member connections
  • Can export a group of structural objects into a Structural Analysis Model
  • Importing now has a progress bar and more consistent logging
  • Documentation for BlenderBIM and IfcOpenShell merged and restructured
  • New workaround for Revit incorrect geolocation being placed on the building object - enabled by default
  • Assigning product types is now done by a property instead of the Blender parent relationship to allow it to scale on large files
  • New experimental script to convert IFC into Code_Aster input for 100% free and open source structural analysis

A few pictures highlighting the major improvements…

Point clouds! Woo! As you can see, BIM, point clouds, and 3D annotations are all fused together - this presents exciting opportunities for recording this as-built fusion for our built environment!

As BlenderBIM can now author an IFC file containing structural analysis models, there is now an ability to convert this IFC file into a format that Code_Aster can read to perform structural analysis:

The results are visualised with Salome_Meca and ParaviS (effectively Paraview included into Salome_Meca). Shown is the deflection of a single cantilevering beam.

This is the start of a pipeline where structural modeling and structural analysis can be done with a 100% free and open source pipeline through IFC!

Shown below are the test vocabulary developed with @john.mitchell to check geolocation. This is still relatively fresh, but we hope to standardise this to verify that all models produced are properly geolocated.

Also quite exciting is how FreeCAD was combined with BlenderBIM - FreeCAD was used to parametrically model with constraints (Catia-style) a stair tread which was sent in STEP format for manufacturing. The native parametric file was associated with an IFC document association, and the FreeCAD export supplied the solid parametric representation item, whereas Blender provided the mesh based representation item. This demonstrates that it is possible to mix different mesh modeling techniques across different programs and use each to their strengths. Many thanks to @yorik who has made a lot of this possible in FreeCAD.

The same tread is shown with a faceted brep representation in Blender below:

Download the latest today: https://blenderbim.org/

3 Likes

:clap:t2: :+1:t2:
It is impressive to see how blenderBIM and FreeCAD can complement each other.

It’s me again :hear_no_evil:

Could you please provide a hint on following error report?

Cleaning blender addons folder after removal of old version in blender and installing new version afterwards solved the installation problem. :smiley:

Thanks @Moult !

1 Like

Blender 2.82 is released!

Most relevant to the AEC industry is …

USD support, to allow for the transfer of complex geometric scenes where IFC may have limitations due to its monolithic nature.

Improved AI denoiser, for better architectural visualization for faster, smoother, concept designs.

Custom bevel profiles make it oh-so-much easier to do various types of architectural modeling.

But so much more … better sun position integration, parametric vertex welding … the list goes on.

3 Likes

A new version of the BlenderBIM Add-on v0.0.200228 was released today! It’s been a month since the last release, but there are lots of new features!

  • 12D files, which usually have absolute coordinates, are now imported into Blender with an offset to allow you to work in local coordinates for vertical BIM
  • The BIM audit panel now allows you to select a particular BIMTester feature, and write tests directly from the UI instead of needing a text editor
  • Your spatial tree can now have geometric representations (most importantly, this allows you to export an IfcSite terrain)
  • Quick project setup button now sets up spatial objects too
  • Sites can now export a reference long/lat attribute
  • When importing, it now remembers what IFC file the data came from (in preparation for partial writes)
  • Minor bugfixes related to missing items in dropdown menus, curve orientations upon export
  • Import now associates type products
  • Bugfix allowing you to import multiple spatial structure elements with identical names
  • New option to toggle import of opening elements
  • Improved IFC-to-Code_Aster script
  • Preset render settings for creating documentation and diagrams
  • Create dimension annotations in 3D from any orientation instead of for a particular view
  • New support for IFC projection elements (opposite of void elements)
  • Allow you to create other types of leaders and section levels from any orientation instead of for a particular view
  • IfcPolygonalFaceSets are now imported with the correct units (useful for sites and terrains)
  • Extra checks to ensure exports don’t create GlobalId collisions
  • Allow duplicate names for both mesh and curve data
  • New option allowing people to maintain parametric behaviour to generate multiple IFC objects, or to bake the results into a single IFC object
  • New IFCPatch tool, allowing you to patch the data in an IFC file based on a series of preloaded “recipes”. These allow you to workaround various limitations in other IFC authoring exports in a safe way without breaking the rest of the IFC data. Recipies include:
    • Reset spatial element object placement locations
    • Offset from absolute coordinates to a local system
    • Remove representations from sites
    • Offset IfcBuildingStorey elevations
    • Set reference elevation
  • BIMTester now shows test results with a percentage success rate
  • IFC import now imports pset data
  • 2D grids are now imported even though curve data isn’t enabled, given the importance of grids. Support added for IfcGrid and IfcGridAxis
  • New ability to search for IFC objects by their attribute or pset property values with a case insensitive string, with support for regex for super advanced searching
  • You can select any IFC attribute or pset property and colour code the model by the value for a visual cue when auditing IFC data
  • Minor UI clean-up to hide panels by default
  • New import option to toggle import of IfcSpace objects
  • Handle import coordinate offsetting of IFC2X3 files created from Tekla which are poorly geolocated
  • Version bump to the latest IfcOpenShell library, which includes fixes for more stable geometry import

The stair design, which was done purely using open-source software, is moving into fabrication. A couple of cute pictures:

… and from the front …

Thought I’d also share a cool use of Blender that inge_handagard on the BlenderArtists forums had showed me. He used BlenderBIM to automatically parse point data from a compactor machine when building a highway, and creates an IFC from them so that BIM users can see the results to ensure that the road is being properly compacted.

Shown below is the IFC opened in Navisworks (proprietary), which is how others might open the file. This process is run automatically every day! (Blender is highly scriptable and automatable)

Get the latest version today: https://blenderbim.org/

2 Likes

Archipack 2.2.7 released - with faster workflows of drawing buildings. This may open a few eyes for those unfamiliar with how domain specific modeling can be used within Blender.

1 Like

Hello @Moult !
From the Universities of Argentina we are interested in contributing work to have an open source BIM alternative within a reasonable time. We think the work you are doing on blender is brilliant !!
I am doing a comparison between Revit / Archicad / Bricscad to fix targets, and it caught my attention that you managed to extract 2D construction documentation with BlenderBIM. The ability to do construction documentation is very important !
I have installed Blender + BlenderBIM but I don’t see this functionality. Will it be part of a new version not yet released? Can we test it? .
Greetings from Argentina !
Joselaks

Thanks @joselaks! The functionality is included, but not documented - so it is not obvious. Perhaps it’s easier to share a screen to demo this? I am generally online during all working hours Sydney time (and them some) in the IRC live chat: https://blenderbim.org/community.html

The ability to do construction documentation is extremely important, but still very raw. I am happy to say that for very, very small projects, I am able to apply it already, so perhaps with increased streamlined workflows and optimisation of the cutting process, it will grow to larger projects.

Here’s another sneak peek of some documentation produced with BlenderBIM (yes, these are colourful, but I can also produce pure black and white style drawings if it is appropriate for the job):

2 Likes

I agree with the importance of construction documentation!
I will be very attentive to your progress. Extracting the build documentation from a project designed in Blender would be great!

A new version of the BlenderBIM Add-on is now released: v0.0.200328! Get the new version today: https://blenderbim.org/.

One month since the last release, there have been over 30 fixes, stability improvements, and new features. Highlights include new import features for simplify and merge IFC models, brand new IFC to/from CSV data export and import, basic support for BCF-XML 2.1, and simple construction documentation sheet management.

  • Latest IfcOpenShell version, with various stability fixes to import more files!
  • BIMTester can now just generate reports if required
  • BIMTester can run a single test instead of the entire test suite
  • Fix import bug with some IFC object types aren’t related correctly
  • New BIMTester test to check if an element doesn’t exist
  • Improved support for IFC2X3 materials without transparency
  • Fix import bug where IFC spaces with the same name might not be in the right location in the spatial tree
  • New import option to auto-merge geometry by IFC class
  • New import option to auto-merge geometry by IFC material
  • New import option to disable element aggregation
  • Hidden lines in construction documentation may now be in 3D, useful for showing exploded axonometric views
  • New IFCCSV tool allows querying an IFC file and exporting attributes and psets and reimporting an updated CSV to the IFC model
  • IFCCSV tool allows querying using IFC class, attribute, pset, and qto filters, with multiple operators, AND and OR statements
  • Export fix where sometimes you could create an abstract IFC class
  • All IfcSpatialElements are now supported including obscure ones like IfcSpatialZone and IfcExternalSpatialElement
  • IFC exports now support multiple materials on a single object
  • Fix export bug where some aggregates don’t export
  • Fix import bug where some objects inside a space won’t import
  • New import feature to automatically clean meshes to get nicer topologies
  • New export feature to export objects inside spaces and any spatial element
  • New import feature to record the spatial relationship of objects inside spaces (with ability to scale for large projects)
  • New import feature where quantity take-off quantities are imported
  • New export feature where you can manually fill out quantities and export them
  • Fix import bug where materials may be on multiple shape representations
  • New support for BCF XML 2.1!
  • View list of BCF topics in the UI, showing basic metadata about each topic
  • New button to uninstall add-on, to improve the upgrade process
  • See multiple viewpoints for each BCF topic and launch a camera view for each viewpoint
  • Any type of curve object is now supported for construction documentation annotation objects
  • Spatial containers are auto-detected when exporting making it more convenient for users to do quick exports
  • Support for BCF topic comments
  • BCF topic reference links, BIM snippets, document references, and related topics are supported with buttons to quickly open both external and internal references
  • New buttons to quickly view BlenderBIM Add-on homepage, docs, wiki, and forum
  • Documentation titleblock and view templates heavily optimised to a fraction of the filesize - mere kilobytes!
  • New UI feature to add new sheets and add views to sheets
  • New UI features to quickly open sheets and views in external SVG programs / viewers
  • Views now store view scale in their vector output - in an indsutry where our vector output is non-semantic, which really changes things!
  • Fix IfcPatch bug for broken ResetAbsoluteCoordinates recipe
  • New feature to publish sheets with automatic view titles, scales, view numbers, and sheet names
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