How to Create Revit Models from Point Clouds

Software update lets users turn 3D scans into Revit geometry.

Some of the biggest innovations in BIM lately have involved large-scale 3D scanning. These projects range anywhere from a building to an entire city and often include complex architectural details.

As fascinating as they are, these details (think gargoyles) can pose a problem if the scan is going to be rendered in building information modeling (BIM) software. Users often have to resort to modeling these shapes by hand, which can become time-consuming and tedious very quickly. What’s a BIM user to do?

Building Information Modeling and Point Clouds

A point cloud rendering of a building and its Revit model counterpart. (Image courtesy of IMAGINiT.)

A point cloud rendering of a building and its Revit model counterpart. (Image courtesy of IMAGINiT.)

Point clouds are the product of 3D laser scanning. This technology is especially useful for scanning large areas quickly and effectively, but specialized software is required to turn them into useable information.

One such software is Scan to BIM for Revit. Sure, it’s more of an add-on, but it performs a key task: creating native Revit geometry from a point cloud. It does this with a capacity to recognize and place various architectural elements ranging from walls and columns to pipes and ductwork.

Scan to BIM and its creator, IMAGINiT, made an appearance at Autodesk University 2015. The company showed off the software’s newest update, which includes two features with the potential to make life just that much easier for Revit users.

What’s New in Scan to BIM

The first new feature, called Create Mesh, lets users model complex details like elaborate steeples – and even gargoyles – with relative ease. It also promises to let users create custom families and native Revit geometry from these details.

Check out this video to see how it works:

Short tutorial of Scan to BIM’s Create Mesh feature. (Video courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.)

Create Mesh holds a lot of potential to assist with remodeling, renovation and even historic preservation projects.

The second new feature, Auto-Find Walls, intends to take much of the tedium out of modeling an existing building. Instead of letting a user sort through millions of points, many of which represent single walls, the Auto-Find Walls feature can make the first pass. With parameters like minimum height and width, it can create a set of discovered walls and convert them into Revit elements. It also distinguishes between other surfaces like floors and ceilings.

Here’s a video of how it works:

Short tutorial of Scan to BIM’s Auto-Find Walls feature. (Video courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.)

IMAGINiT offers a 21-day trial that works with Revit 2014, 2015 or 2016.

To learn more, check out the IMAGINiT Scan to BIM website.