Collaborative Annotations is a tool for adding notes or annotations (we call these Issues) to aid project collaboration.
This collaboration tool can only be opened when the Enscape Viewport itself is in focus, and by then pressing the [C] key on your keyboard, or by clicking the button in the Enscape Viewport User Interface (UI).
Collaborative Annotation button in the Enscape Viewport Toolbar
The Enscape Viewport will then adjust to allow the Collaboration panel to display at the left side of the Enscape window.
The Collaboration tool can be used with locally stored projects or in conjunction with BIM Track projects (which is a web-based issue tracking platform for BIM co-ordination).
Collaboration Tool panel location in the Enscape viewport
Initially, on opening the Collaboration panel, and before creating any Issues, you will need to define the Collaborations Setting’s Source data, whether it be ‘Local’ or ‘BIM Track’.
This can be done by pressing the small Enscape icon to the right side of the Collaboration panel, which will open up a window to select the source.
This Source button’s icon will change from the Enscape logo to the BIM Track logo when a BIM Track Source is selected.
Collaboration Tool Source Settings button
Source is set to BIM Track
You can either set the Source to ‘Local’, for which you will require a Username that you should attain from whoever administers your local network. Or, you can simply work with the default setting which defaults to user@domain.
Or, you can select ‘BIM Track’ as the Source, in which case you will be prompted to Login to your BIM Track account via your web browser. Therefore, you will need to set up a BIM Track account before being able to select BIM Track as a Source.
NOTE: It is possible to switch the Source between Local and BIM Track, if and when this is required.
Select 'Local' Source
Select 'BIM Track' Source
The options available when creating an Issue differ depending on the Source that is being used, but once you have selected your ‘Source’, you can create your first ‘Issue’.
Otherwise, click on either of the ‘Create Issue‘ buttons in the list or at the bottom of the Collaborative Annotation’s panel.
Create Issue buttons
The other way to create an issue is to Right Click in the Enscape window, whereby you will be offered two options, and you should select the Create Issue option.
Selecting Show BIM data will result in the BIM Information panel opening and replacing the Collaboration panel, and this feature is documented in more detail here.
Create Issue via Enscape window option
If you choose to right click in the Enscape window to create a new Issue, the Issue will be created where you have initially right clicked, indicated by the Issue Marker, highlighted here below on the building’s roof.
Create initial Issue via Right Click
When creating an Issue, a thumbnail for quick visual reference should be automatically created from the current camera position. You can change the Issue’s associated thumbnail by repositioning the camera in the Enscape Viewport and then click the small Refresh button in the thumbnail window to apply that change.
NOTE: the thumbnail will not show the annotation’s marker.
Issue's thumbnail with Refresh button
If you want to change the Issue marker position, then click on the Change Issue Position button.
Change Camera Position button
After clicking the Change Issue Position button, you will then be instructed to click on a 3D surface in the project in the Enscape Viewport to position the Issue marker.
Prompt to select the 3D surface where the Issue marker should be placed
You will see that the mouse pointer changes from the standard arrow to a small ‘Issue marker’ icon in order to aid in placing.
Change Camera Position marker
Once completed, click the Save button, and the Issue will be shown listed as ‘New’ Issue, marked by an orange dot.
Newly created Issue
If you try to exit the Issue without saving changes, a warning dialog will appear.
Confirm changes to Issue
Once you have created a number of Issues, the ‘Sort’ options, found at the top right of the panel, become available. From left to right these options are Sort by ID, Sort by title, and Sort by state. Rolling the mouse pointer over each option will also reveal a hint box.
By default, only Issues that have a State of Open or In Progress are shown. To show Done and Removed Issues, click on the Show all button.
With the Show all button in the ‘On‘ position, Issues that have a State of Done and Removed will be visible in the Collaboration panel, and their associated Issue markers will be visible in the project in the Enscape Viewport.
Show all button
Notice how in the Enscape Viewport, the Issue’s marker color is the same color as that associated with the State in the Collaboration panel.
Show all Issue markers
If you want to remove an Issue completely, then select the Issue from the list and hit the ‘trashcan’ button at the bottom left of the Collaboration panel.
If the Source is set to Local then an Issue can not be restored once it has been deleted.
Setting BIM Track as your Source provides an archiving option which will allow an Issue to be restored. This is explained further here.
Delete Issue button
When you create an Issue when the Source is set to Local, you will be requested to set the Details, including the State (which defaults to New, with the other options being: Done, In Progress, and Removed), the Title, the Description, as well as being able to set a Thumbnail image for the Issue.
The Change Issue Position button is also available.
You will also notice that a Comments tab is available if more information is required at any point. The State option is available across both tabs.
Create Issue using Local Source
Working with a BIM Track Source is slightly more involved than when working with a Local Source, as there are more fields available in BIM Track.
The first thing you will need to do is make sure you have set up a BIM Track Account and it would be advised to familiarize yourself with the BIM Track workflow first.
Although BIM Track will work with all the CADs that Enscape supports, if you are using Revit, then BIM Track additionally provide a free Revit BIM Track plugin.
NOTE: Some limitations currently exist in relation to BIM Track fields and not all fields that are available in the BIM Track ‘Hub’ are currently integrated into the Enscape Collaboration tool. These include:
Once you have set up an account at BIM Track and you have created your first HUB Project, it is good practice to then export the Project from the CAD as an IFC file, which you can then upload via the BIM Track ‘Viewer’ option. Although it is not required to upload the IFC file to BIM Track Viewer (as you can create Issues for a project in BIM Track Hub without uploading the IFC file) it does give you another level of control. So, this information is included for the sake of completion.
Again, you may want to refer to the BIM Track workflow to understand the entire Upload workflow in BIM Track.
Upload IFC to BIM Track Hub
You will then be able to see the Hub and that Hub’s Projects listed in the Source area back in Enscape. So, select the project that you want to add Issues to, and click ‘Save‘.
Take note that you will not be able to access Issues saved when the Source was set to Local when using BIM Track.
BIM Track Source listing
Although you can create Issues in the BIM Track HUB itself, this article will concentrate on how this is done via Enscape. You should find that the two elements synchronize with each other to provide an almost seamless workflow.
So, create an Issue in Enscape, as set out above. The Details tab will be in focus in the Collaboration tool and the State will be set to Open for the Issue by default. There are a different set of fields available than when using a Local Source. These fields will correspond with those in the BIM Track Hub.
BIM Track Available Fields in Enscape
You will notice that we have a different set of Issue State options in a BIM Track Source, and these relate to the available State options in the BIM Track Hub.
BIM Track State options
You will notice the comparison of available fields; to the right the fields available in the BIM Track Hub, and to the left the currently available fields in the Enscape Collaboration tool.
Available fields comparison
Once you have made changes to an Issue’s fields, then you may want to manually update the data by pressing the Refresh button in the Collaboration tool. The data does automatically refresh every 5 minutes by default and by hovering the mouse over the Refresh button an info box that contains the length of time to the next refresh will be visible.
Refresh Button in Enscape
When using BIM Track, it is possible to Archive Issues, and these can also be restored to the project, or deleted forever. Restoring an Issue has to be performed in the BIM Track Hub under the Archived Issues option. This gives you an extra option over working with a Local Source, where no archiving is currently possible.
However, you can preliminarily Archive an Issue in Enscape’s Collaboration tool when BIM Track is set as the Source. To do this, click on the Issue you would like to archive, and then click the Archive button at the bottom left of the Collaboration panel.
Archive Issue button
The Import / Export BCF Menu option only currently works if the Source is set to Local.
Exporting a BCF is straight forward, just choose the Export option from the menu.
When Importing a BCF file, the file must have been originally exported from the same project file, otherwise the BCF file will not import.
It is possible to import a BCF file into a BIM Track project via the BIM Track Hub, but the Issue Markers will require re-positioning, so this is not currently recommended.
The Import / Export BCF Menu.