In Best Practices, General

This week I get to discuss, not one, but two of my favorite visualization tools; Enscape and ArchVision. I like to think of ArchVision RPC content as the icing on the cake. Like Autodesk Revit, Enscape supports the ArchVision RPC content. In this post, I will cover the free RPC content which ships with Revit, as well as the subscription-based content available through ArchVision. In a future post, I will cover the options to create your own RPC content!

  1. The Value Proposition
  2. Entourage
  3. Free RPC Content + Enscape Replacements
  4. Subscription RPC Content
  5. Archivsion Dashboard

The Value Proposition

Using RPC content can transform an image from great to amazing! For example, the first image below could easily be confused for a real photograph. In fact, my friend, Revit and VR guru, Joe Banks had commented on Twitter that he thought, at first blush, this Enscape rendered image was a photo.

Enscape rendered view with RPC content

Contrast the previous image with the next one, with no RPC embellishments. Although it looks impressive, it does not have the sense of life we experience in a well-designed space.

Enscape rendered view without RPC content


Entourage — people/cars/trees — has been a staple in architectural presentations for years. Many of us who have been around for a while owning a copy of the ENTOURAGE – A Tracing File book by Burbon (I literally looked to my left, from my home office chair, and read the title and author of this book). And in recent years, many of us have used Photoshop to layer in digital entourage, trying to get the scale and perspective just right.

Revit + ArchVision + Enscape can streamline this process and better facilitate the continuous change that is indicative of a typical professional architectural design process; Enscape’s tagline is “real-time rendering”. The next image shows a few people and some vegetation added to the scene. This addition adds a sense of depth and scale but still does not have the same feel as the first image.

Enscape rendered view basic RPC entourage placed

Free RPC Content + Enscape Replacements

Revit installs with several free sample RPC families provided by ArchVision. This free content can be found in the following locations:

  • C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\RVT 2018\Libraries\US Imperial\Entourage
  • C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\RVT 2018\Libraries\US Imperial\Planting

Enscape has created a sample Revit file with all this RPC content placed. The file can be found here:

The next image is from the sample project. All of these people and the trees in the foreground can be used in your Revit or SketchUp projects.

Enscape sample file with ArchVision RPC content

Much of the original RPC content is comprised of flat individual images; documenting the same pose from several sides. Thus, when navigating in Enscape you may notice a slight jump when transitioning between images. The newer RPC content is different in that the photographic image is mapped to 3D geometry; I will cover this more in-depth in the next post on custom RPC content.

For the free content, Enscape has created high-quality replacements. In the Enscape Settings dialog, simply check the Replace Archvision Content option as shown in the image below (Enscape must be closed and reopened).

Enscape Settings dialog

The following image shows the Enscape replacement content…

Enscape sample file with ArchVision RPC content

The image below shows a side-by-side comparison of the free RPC content and the Enscape replacements.

Enscape replacement comparison

The image below is an Enscape generated view with several of the free RPC “people” content which has been placed in the Revit model. In addition to helping convey how this space might be used, this content provides a sense of depth and scale.

ArchVision RPC Content

RPC Content Replaced with Enscape Content

Same Enscape content viewed from another vantage point… using RPC content can save so much time compared to using Photoshop to develop individual images. With Enscape and RPC content, you (or, perhaps better, your client) have the freedom to explore the design from every angle in real-time.

Same Enscape Content Viewed from Another Location

Subscription RPC Content

Most of the time we need more options than what Revit provides. If we are working on a healthcare project, we need people with appropriate clothing. This is why many resort to Photoshop… however, with the annual ArchVision RPC subscription we have access to thousands of people, trees, vehicles, and clutter. For more on ArchVision’s Architectural Entourage offering, visit their website:

  • The ArchVision subscription is available for a single-user or as a floating license where multiple people share a fixed number of seats. FYI: The ArchVision license must be checked out to view and render the RPC content in Revit and Enscape. When a license is checked out, no one else can use it.

ArchVision Dashboard

The subscription content is delivered via ArchVision’s Dashboard software. As you will see in the next several images, Dashboard is an RPC content management tool. All of the content appears even if it has not been downloaded yet; a blue icon means it has been downloaded and is ready to be placed in your model. A red icon indicates the item has not been downloaded; but, simply click the red icon and it will be downloaded. Each item only needs to be downloaded once. In Dashboard’s settings, we can change the location where the downloaded RPC files are saved. In a multi-user office environment, this location can be on the server. Thus, when I click to download an item, it will be available to everyone else in the firm.

ArchVision Dashboard – People

Many people with gender, ethnicity and activity options from which to choose… Notice the filter options at the bottom.

ArchVision Subscription Content; People

ArchVision Dashboard – Trees

Hundreds of trees, shrubs, and groundcover to choose from… Notice the filter options at the bottom.

ArchVision Subscription Content; Trees

ArchVision Dashboard – Automobiles

Many brands, models and colors of vehicles… Notice the filter options at the bottom.

ArchVision Subscription Content; Automobiles

ArchVision Dashboard – Objects

High-quality “clutter” with a natural look, unlike most Revit content. Notice the filter options at the bottom.

ArchVision Subscription Content; Objects

ArchVision Dashboard Filters

As already pointed out, each tab has filters which narrow options… in this example I wanted a red German car!

ArchVision Subscription Content; Filter Applied – Red BMWs

Another filter example, showing only females in the medical profession. The filters are helpful when looking for specific actors of both genders and multiple ethnicities to create a diverse scene.

ArchVision Subscription Content; Filter Applied – Females Sitting

To place content in Revit, you simply drag an item from Dashboard and drop it in Revit; the current view must be a 3D view (e.g. plan or 3D) and not a sheet or drafting view. For the drag and drop functionality to work, you must first install the Revit plug-in from within Dashboard, as shown in the next image. Notice, they also make a plug-in for Photoshop, if needed.

Must Install Revit Plug-In for Drag and Drop Functionality

Here are a few examples of the subscription RPC content by ArchVision…

Subscription Content by ArchVision

The RPC people are represented by a simplified graphic as shown in the floor plan view of this conference room. The direction the person is facing corresponds to the pointed edge. Use Revit’s Rotate command to reposition.

RPC content in a Revit Floor Plan View

The RPC clutter content needs to be repositioned vertically after placement to align with the surface the item will be resting on. TIP: First place the item in the middle of the room, on the floor, otherwise it will disappear under the raised surface you intend to place the item on.

The vertical position can be determined by using the Spot Elevation tool as shown in the next image, or moved in an elevation or section.

Determining the elevation for the laptop

Once the elevation is known for one item, all other items on the same surface can be adjusted via Properties.

Setting the elevation for the laptop

Here is the result in Enscape…

RPC clutter vertically aligned with a flat surface

Placing the RPC clutter content can take some time. One option to save time is to use Groups and Place as Group. In a project, select all the items on a desk and select the Group option on the Ribbon. Now, the Group can be placed all over, and any changes to one will update all instances.

Creating a Group of several clutter RPC elements

Each Group can be turned into an individual Revit project… select the Group and click the Link command.

Turning a Group into a separate Revit project file

Now, in future projects those collections of clutter can be placed using the Load as Group command. This command will load, in this example, all the desk clutter at once. This can save a lot of time and create a more lively scene.

Use the Place Model Group command to place clutter collections

Use the Place Model Group command to place clutter collections

In one of the next Blog posts I will go into detail on how to bring in your own RPCs or 3D scanned people from AXYZ.


Dan Stine

Dan Stine
He is an author, blogger, educator,
BIM Administrator and Wisconsin registered architect.
He works full-time at LHB – a 250 person full-service design firm.

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