When working on a large-scale architectural project, it’s often not enough to have only 2D drawings — architects need a comprehensive visualization of the building in all layers. That’s where CG services come in handy. However, a model for an architectural n project shouldn’t be just a decorative item but more so an informative one. In other words, simply ordering a beautiful 3D model is not an option for technical foundations of the project — only building information modeling will work.
A BIM project stores absolutely all information on the building — from the parameters of the main structures and MEP systems to all door handles. Therefore, using it, various construction specialists can work smoothly and avoid miscommunication and complications at any stage. They can add elements to the common BIM object, successfully estimate the amount and cost of materials, as well as manage the construction process, using BIM project management software.
However, outsourcing BIM is not that easy – these types of projects have so many nuances and important details that not all remote contractors can deliver. What are these nuances? Let’s get to know 7 main stages of working on BIM projects and how CAD specialists from a professional 3D studio do it step-by-step.
#1. Get the Brief
To begin with, a CAD studio receives a brief, and its project managers clarify all the details with the client. The brief may include 2D plans, sketches, drawings of individual elements, photos and 3D visuals as references. In short, the fuller the brief, the fewer misunderstanding throughout the progress of the BIM project.
Some professional studios, such as ours, have their own convenient CRM system. It allows clients and the team of specialists to exchange files, stay in touch and make revisions during the working process. Needless to say, it significantly eases communication and accelerates the workflow.
#2. Import 2D Drawings into BIM Software
2D drawing is a foundation for BIM project, hence, it’s vital to correctly transfer 2D plans from one software to another. Many CAD programs are compatible with each other, such as Autodesk tools, so reading formats may not be a problem. However, without mindful scaling, the whole project can go wrong. Therefore, a good BIM specialist doesn’t just transfer the file but double-checks the scaling of the input file and software settings so that they match.
After scaling, CG experts can prepare 2D drawings to become a 3D model. For that, they use blueprints as a background and start building up walls and placing all architectural elements based on the plan. They also erase details that are useful for 2D drafts but not needed for a BIM model, such as numbers, sizes, additional lines, etc.
#3. Build Up a Framework for a BIM Object
Now CAD modelers build up the bearing and partition walls, columns, arches, curtain walls considering the foundation load analysis, as well as add false ceilings and roofs. Often, roofs, especially of non-standard shapes, become a stumbling block for amateur modelers. But experts in BIM technology can conveniently make roofs of any design and shape — flats, mansard, domes, and even crazy curved Frank Ghery ones.
Another useful feature is that BIM software can automatically check how stable the structure is or if there are miscalculations in the distribution of weight on the foundation, etc. This error detector allows architects and engineers to make necessary revisions at the planning stage and avoid risks during actual construction.
#4. Add Architectural and Design Elements
Now CAD experts add windows, doors, beams, staircases, balustrade and handrail systems, and other architectural elements. For instance, Autodesk Revit has all the popular types of window framing but, surely, CAD modelers can easily create a custom design if needed. All architectural objects are grouped in Revit Families and stored in various libraries. Therefore, CAD experts can pick ready-to-use Families for Windows, Doors, Roofs, Fences, Furniture, Electronics, and so on, to accelerate and simplify the working process.
Using BIM software, CAD specialists can easily duplicate every element, as well as automatically change parameters of related objects in just one click. This feature is very convenient and works for all BIM items — from doors, windows, columns, and up to each bolt. Using this option, CAD experts can significantly minimize errors and improve the quality of the BIM project.
#5. Choose Materials and Textures
Most of BIM software have large libraries of ready materials and textures. For example, Revit has an excellent base of materials for both exteriors and interiors. It contains any material and texture that architects usually need for their project — different types of stone, brick, wood, steel, etc. All materials in Revit are easy to apply and adjust. Moreover, CAD experts can always find rare texture maps or even create custom ones specifically for the BIM project.
On top of that, some CAD software, and Revit as well, can automatically calculate the amount and cost of materials. This is an extremely important feature for the construction budget planning, hence, it reduces the mistakes due to human factor to zero.
#6. Create the Environment
Using Revit for a BIM project, CAD experts can improve the building’s surroundings. They can add driveways, sidewalks, trees, pools, fountains, and decor — any outdoor element, depending on the customer’s wishes.
As for the sky, in Revit you can select various types of skies and make it clear or more cloudy. In addition, CAD specialists can also customize lighting to create bright daylight, brassy sunset, or serene evening ambiance — anything to enhance the project presentation.
At this stage, a BIM model of a building itself, its environment and lighting are completely ready. Now CAD experts can set up the cameras and proceed to render.
#7. Make Rendering and Post-Production
All CAD programs have different settings of installing cameras for rendering — some require meticulous work and multiple switches in between 2D and 3D mode to make it right. In Revit, unlike many CAD soft, setting up the cameras is a quick and easy process. It is convenient for CAD experts to install them anywhere and adjust the angle and width of the frame. Thus, specialists can choose any angle including non-standard creative ones.
As for the rendering, Revit allows selecting the resolution directly in the render settings — so that one can get both super-quality for presentation and a less resolution pic for transition renders for internal purposes. On top of that, CAD experts can choose different types of rendering, for example, the one with artistic filters to enhance the visualization.
After the render is ready, CG specialists from the studio can do post-production, that is, editing the image in Photoshop or other 2D graphic tools. At this stage of a project, they can also magnify and emphasize the elements, or retouch some details, as well as add color correction.
These are 7 main stages of creating a BIM project and all of them are equally important. From getting a brief to final rendering and image post-processing, all work should be done on the top professional level. CG experts from a well-reputed studio pay maximum attention to project nuances and double-check their results at all stages. Therefore, they can guarantee to complete the project in a given time with the best quality.
Need a first-class BIM project? Contact us for CAD modeling services, we will make top quality BIM architectural objects of any complexity at a reasonable price!