In General

When using Autodesk Revit, it is very easy to open a non-empty 3D view and start Enscape to begin exploring your project in a photorealistic real-time environment. This post will mention a few things you might consider in Revit to streamline your Enscape experience and make it more accurate. These tips can not only aid in your firm’s internal design process, but also facilitate smooth and effective meetings with your client or project stakeholders.

First, let’s talk about a few things that can go wrong. We open the Default 3D view, as shown below, and start Enscape.

Sample project provided with Revit

In Enscape, the model looks nice; we see realistic reflections on the glass and interior lighting. We might use Shift + Right click & Drag to adjust the time of day to brighten things up a bit.

Sample project in Enscape with default settings

Depending on a few settings in Revit, we may notice some elements don’t look quite right or are altogether missing. For example, as one approaches this entry canopy shown in the next image, the client might say “I love the cantilevered roof” while the structural engineer follows up with “where are my columns and bar joists?”. Now you must tell the client the project budget could not possibly afford such a design and let the structural engineer know your photorealistic portrayal of the design is missing elements.

Sample project in Enscape with default settings; structural elements missing

Revit’s Detail Level for the view you started Enscape from influences what appears in the scene. If the Detail Level is set to Coarse, there may be many things missing throughout your model – just as they are in your Revit view. Let’s see how the scene changes when we adjust the Revit view from Coarse to Medium.

Change Revit’s Detail Level to Medium for the current view

With the Detail Level in Revit set to Medium we can now see the columns, but the bar joists are missing the webbing.

Sample project in Enscape, Medium Detail Level; structural joist webbing missing

Now let’s try changing the Detail Level from Medium to Fine.

Change Revit’s Detail Level to Fine for the current view

We can see all the structural components for the project; the columns, bar joists and joist webbing. Thus, it is important to set the Detail Level to Fine to ensure everything shows up in Enscape. Other than users having older graphics cards, I have not come across a project, in terms of size, geometry and textures used, where I had to use Detail Level at Coarse or Medium to manage system resources–Enscape does a great job at managing system resources itself.

Sample project in Enscape, Fine Detail Level; all structural elements showing

To save time and ensure all elements are visible in Enscape, consider creating a dedicated 3D view in Revit, from which to start Enscape. In this view, do the following:

  • Name it. For example: Enscape –Exterior – Main
  • Detail Level: Fine
  • Visual Style: Anything but Realistic
    • Realistic makes the view/Revit slow, and “realistic” is Enscape’s job!
  • Sun Settings (see first image below):
    • Solar Study: Still
    • Settings:
      • Location: Select project location on Earth (see second image below)
      • Set Date and Time
    • Visibility/Graphic Overrides:
      • Model tab (see third image below);
        • Turn on, or off, what you want to appear in Enscape
      • Analytical tab (see fourth image below):
        • Turn off this entire section for this view
        • FYI: This is for structural analysis and energy modelling

Sun Settings to adjust for a given Revit view

Setting location on Earth for Revit project

Element visibility control for a given Revit view

Analytical Element visibility control for a given Revit view

In addition to the Location, which is a project-wide setting (not just a view setting) you must also set True North for Enscape to depict the sun and shadows accurately. This can be accomplished from any plan view as shown in the following image.

Setting True North for a given Revit project

Once True North is adjusted, notice the shadows look a lot different in Enscape; compare the image below with the previous images at this same vantagepoint.

Shadows now accurate for project location and true north

The first image shown above also looks quite different now that True North is set properly. Not only is True North important for visualization, but it is also key in Revit and Autodesk Insight’s energy modeling workflow.

Shadows now accurate for project location and true north

If your priority at some point is not on true natural light angle, but on nice looks instead, you can also temporarily move the sun orthogonally to its natural trajectory. To do this, press [Shift] + U / I or [CTRL] + U / I. To reset its position, press [Pos1].

Creating a dedicated Enscape view with all the settings properly adjusted, you can confidently launch Enscape at any time for an internal design review or client meeting. Just agree within your team that the “Enscape” views should never be modified in Revit—meaning, someone should never use the Revit views to hide all the structural views and roof elements to get a better look at the model in Revit.

Let’s take a look at an interior example. When a Revit view has Detail Level set to Coarse, we notice the casework hardware is missing as seen in the Enscape generated image below.

Interior view, course detail level; Casework hardware missing

In case you are new to Revit, in the Family Editor, each 3D element can be tied to specific Detail Level setting as shown in the next image.

Interior view, course detail level; Casework hardware missing

When the same view has the Detail Level set to Fine, we see all the hardware appear in Enscape.

Interior view, fine detail level; Casework hardware now showing

In addition to have a primary view from which to launch Enscape, you can create additional convenience views. These views can be used to efficiently walk a client through a project; as quickly accessible waypoints. We can have camera views and cropped 3D views (with a Section Box). Again, including “Enscape” in the name will keep them organized, safe from modification and easy to use. The image below shows a possible naming convention for even greater view organization and ease of project navigation.

Possible View Naming Convention

With Enscape open, clicking a view from the Enscape tab in Revit, as shown below, the Enscape viewer will instantly update to that location.

Switching between saved views

On the Enscape tab, selecting a View with a Section Box enabled will update the Enscape view to have the same crop. Not only is this a good way to discuss your talking points about this space with the client, this also can enhance Enscape performance as there is less geometry and textures to process.

View cropped with section box in Enscape

Keep in mind that a Revit view’s Phasing and Design Option settings will have an impact on what is displayed in Enscape, as well.

A final point about Revit views relates to ones created by Enscape. Clicking the Create View button on the Enscape tab results in a Revit view being created to match the currently composed Enscape view. Keep in mind, based on certain Revit settings, this view may not have the Detail Level and other settings discussed in this article, set properly.

Creating a saved view in Revit based on current Enscape view

In conclusion, while it is certainly possible to enjoy your project in Enscape with nearly zero effort, there are a few steps you can take to make the process more predictable and accurate.


Dan Stine

Dan Stine
He is an Author, Blogger, Educator,
BIM Administrator and Wisconsin registered architect.
He work full-time at LHB – a 250 person full-service design firm.

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