buildingSMART Forums

Presenting Blender as a new IFC authoring tool

Of course, you can choose fully how much detail you want to go to. If you want to model at a lower geometry fidelity, you can choose to do so.

I have two projects currently testing this, one with ~750 elements (not counting repetitive instances) which is a relatively small building, and the other with 31,000 individual elements. This is similar to what the film industry deals with and it most certainly is manageable. The process shown in the video is manual, but there are bulk assign/editing tools available. This is certainly being tested on big projects, because we really do work on big projects :slight_smile:

Update time: apart from the COBie developments which are already covered in another thread, BlenderBIM now has an interface for people to use (including friendly drop downs and filters for classifications) which allow people to do bulk classifications and assignments of types.

It also has a QA module which allow for QA, which is really exciting! Because very often we get IFC models which are very badly misclassified.


The QA module includes a feature to allow applying a temporary colourscheme to the model based of a property. For now, the interface allows you to colour it by IfcClass, but you could theoretically colour by anything (fire ratings, acoustic ratings, any property …). Here is an example, showing walls, doors, columns, slabs, and some floating building element proxies:

You can bulk approve or reject classifications and keep track of what elements you’ve audited for various properties. Any IFC property auditing will get tracked in plaintext format in Gherkin syntax, so it reads like English:

Even though the sentences read like English, they function like unit tests in software, so they are run automatically on model publish to a CDE. If any regressions are made in the BIM model, we can get notified instantly. Standard reporting like no. of issues, changes over time are all there because it publishes to JUnit XML, so pretty much anything can read it including any CI system like Jenkins. Here’s an example of the tests being run on the model - red ones are QA failures.

We now have workflows that allow us to rapidly audit and continuously monitor the OpenBIM quality of projects.


I think it’s the time for:

If/Then clauses

And in the near future for AI-based (Deep Learning) classifications

Given/Then in Gherkin syntax is equivalent to If/Then.

Classifications based on AI is possible with computer vision and a training set of things like doors and columns and walls. Perhaps we can build AI-assisted classification, yes.

For your convenience, @gester, I have attached some screenshots showing the type of modeling that you are looking for. These tools are part of Blender’s Archipack, created by Stephen Leger, who has done some amazing work, and allows for parametric architectural modeling, where walls know they have layers, windows know they have hosts, and so on.

The scene below was modeled in … well, perhaps a minute. And yes, the diagonal cladding is parametric, and creates holes for openings. The stair is, of course, also parametric. The floor boards, also, are parametric. The little kitchen cabinet is a drag-and-drop library part.

As you can see, it is very easy to plug these “parametric” shapes, as well as any custom modeled shape (or pretty much anything - generated, using visual programming like Sverchok, the Blender equivalent of Grasshopper, or anything you can imagine) into IFC data, and export into IFC. At the end of the day, it is just geometry.

See this test export I was playing with:

I think there is opportunity to create a tighter integration with Stephen’s work and some of the IFC stuff I am doing to make it even simpler for users in the future.

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Update time:

  • You can now select objects by GlobalId
  • New basic UI for georeferencing data
  • Custom psets are now supported - it can also support complex data types and you can load in your own pset templates too!
  • New UI for adding in attributes, with drop down selection of possible attributes taken from the spec. Now everyone can easily add attributes!
  • New UI for adding / removing property sets (and you can set them in bulk!)
  • New quick project setup button to add site / building / storeys.
  • Bugfixes for importing, assigning classes, and roundtripping geometry with Revit (Revit seems to expect normalised direction vectors, even though the IFC spec doesn’t require this)
  • Now supports assigning surface colours directly to object representations via styled items, as well as assigning surface colours via materials - and as the user, you have the choice which way you want to do it. To my knowledge no other BIM authoring tool supports this feature!
  • New BIMTester tool is now packaged and available for Windows. It audits your BIM file to customised rules, and generates HTML reports!
  • New UI to explicitly assign how swept solids are represented, to make it easy to round trip with Revit.
  • New UI to assign externally defined materials - more on how this allows people to create incredibly detailed CG rendering workflows soon!
  • IFC import has been somewhat rewritten in preparation to start supporting the ability to import this data too, not just geometry and basic materials and ID. The importer has been merged with the exporter and packaged as a single package to make it easy to install.

The BlenderBIM website has been updated:

A new article explaining the GlobalId attribute has been added:

This is very important for consultants providing IFC files to make sure they play nice with their GlobalIds.

Little pic of the material settings:


BIM Tester picture:


The little video below shows how easy it is to add and assign native IFC data. (Sorry for the compressed laggy GIF)

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is archipack available for macosx?

@gester - yes, it is. Everything in this thread is cross-platform, and that’s the beauty of free software! I’d recommend testing out the paid version, version 2.0 - it is miles ahead of the free version.

ok, you’ve got me interested…

  1. is there a mobile version (ios)?
  2. what is actually blenderbim? another add-on? is it necessary to the archipack?
  3. is there a chance to generate a construction documentation out of the model?