Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reflect on Enscape + Materials

While reading Phil Read's post, Three Steps to Beautiful and Natural Looking Materials in Revit and Enscape, the other day I thought of a few things to add to the discussion on Enscape, Revit Materials and Reflections...

I have one main point when it comes to reflections; context helps, a lot.

I have done this, and have also seen it a lot; an exterior rendering with reflections, in the windows, of the horizon line a million miles behind you. Not very natural looking.

In a few recent VR project we added more context around the building in Revit. As you will see in a moment, the reflections get a lot more natural.

In this first image, of a Revit model in Enscape, you can see the amazing reflections of the road, sidewalk and even the adjacent buildings.

You are probably like, wait... what car family is that! Well, I do not know him, but a big thanks to bradley911 for posting this and several other vehicles on Here is a link to the Mustang: 2013 Boss Mustang.

I would not go filling a parking lot in your Revit model with these bad boys as they are detailed to the max. They are also DWG models imported into a Revit family. But they have all the Revit materials, including lighting, as shown in these images!

Here are a few more angles. Be sure to click on the images to enlarger them.

Notice the building reflected on the hood, windshield and bumper of the van in the image below. Also, the yellow striping on the right side. Nice!

BTW, this is a project for our civil department, so we literally modeled every concrete joint! That is super important to them.
  • BTW, notice the pedestrian bridge in the image below? This 3.5 mile second-level downtown pedestrian corridor/network (aka Skywalk) is sure nice in the winter when it is -60F outside and I am craving Starbucks (don't need a jacket to walk six blocks)! 

The van interior is super cool in VR. Like I said... don't load and copy a bunch of these into just any Revit model - they are not for the faint of heart.

A quick right-click and drag of the mouse in Enscape adjusts the time of day. This AutoCAD DWG file linked into a Revit family not only has Revit materials applied, but even Phil's recently promoted neon lighting trick!

Let's pull the mustang family out of context and see what is looks like in an empty model... and play with a few material settings. Here I created a material to apply to a floor placed below the car. I personally think it is okay to use Revit's "physically accurate" materials, rather than just the Generic ones. However, when images are used, they tend to get washed out in Enscape.

Notice this "Plastic" material has three Finish options; Matte, Glossy and Polished.

No floor, just floating in space within Enscape. We still get some sky reflections, which is better than nothing. Also, this is not the best example due to the irregular surfaces, but the unnatural horizon line would be part of the reflection here as well.

Floor added, Asphalt: Matte

Floor added, Asphalt: Glossy

Floor added, Asphalt: Polished (maybe a rainy day look?)

Another interesting option, I mentioned in a previous post, is to load a Skybox via Enscape's Settings within Revit.

The Skybox takes over the lighting, but as seen below, it helps to embellish the reflections.

Crazy level of detail; LOD 500?

Here is how one of the materiel's is defined in the downloaded mustang family. Notice it is also a "physically accurate" Revit material (Metallic Paint).

In my top-rated 2015 RTC-Asia session on Revit materials I created this chart for the handout. It compares all the settings available for each Appearance Asset Type. As Phil mentioned, the Generic type offers the most options.

One interesting point about the list above, is that every type has the Tint option. This is really great when you want to change the color of a material, or even an image, but you don't want to edit the image file. This is how I changed the grass to "smurf blue" in a previous post!

Fun stuff...