Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hyperlinks From Revit or AutoCAD to Navisworks

A few weeks ago I gave a little presentation regarding Navisworks and we got on the topic of hyperlinks in Navisworks.  We had a GC that also spoke and she mentioned that they use hyperlinks quite a bit for sending “final” models to the client.  Those NWD’s include a lot of hyperlinks to OE manuals, product cuts sheets, etc.  Someone then asked if you add a hyperlink to an object in Revit, does that come through into Navisworks?

Great question…that I didn’t have an answer for immediately.  I figured it would, but I wasn’t 100% sure.  So I did a quick check and sure enough, if you add a URL (hyperlink) to an object in Revit, it will come through as a hyperlink in Navisworks.  I also tested adding a hyperlink to an AutoCAD Arch door and it worked as well.

Note: I did this test from Revit Arch 2009, Revit Arch 2010 and AutoCAD Arch 2010 using the Navisworks 2010 exporter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yes There are 4 Navisworks Programs

Many folks think there is only one Navisworks program and are very surprised to hear/see that there are actually 4 programs to choose from.  Okay, 3 that you have to pay for and a free one.  The 3 you have to pay for are Manage, Simulate and Review.  The free one, is Freedom Viewer.  While the literature on Autodesk’s website gives you a very brief overview, some people have been telling us that they really don’t know the difference between the products.  So, I’m going to attempt to explain the differences between all 4 programs in “plain english”.

First, starting with the free program, Freedom Viewer (FV).  FV allows you to view published files from the other 3 programs in either a DWF or NWD format.  (For more on Navisworks formats, see this post.)  You can view DWF files directly created from any program as well…not just from the other Navisworks programs.  FV also allows you to play back animations and 4D simulations, view any saved views (or viewpoints as they are called), object properties (as long as they are saved within the NWD), view comments that were made (including redlines) and be able to turn objects on and off.  What you cannot do is create a project, create redlines, measure, create animations, etc.  Basically, you can’t really create anything in FV.

Next up is Review.  This is the lowest “cost” program in the line-up.  With Review, you can create a project…meaning you can open up and merge together a number of file formats.  You can create redlines, do measurements, create simple animations (walk-thru, fly-by), create sections, create comments and link in database info… to hit the high points.

Next, is Simulate.  Simulate takes everything you could do in Review and adds on functionality.  This functionality includes doing 4D scheduling/animation, add materials, create renderings and animate objects (like opening a door during a walk-thru).

Last, but not least is Manage.  This is the “big boy” that many folks seem to think is the only one.  Manage takes everything discussed above in Review and Simulate and adds in Clash Detection.  Clash Detection is the big thing everyone is talking about…being able to check objects against each other to see if they are either too close or actually clashing.

Hopefully this clears things up a bit.

Differences between Navisworks File Formats

This is a common question I get…what’s the difference between the 3 Navisworks file formats - NWC, NWF and NWD?  Here’s how I typically explain the differences…

NWC – This is sometimes also called the Cache file.  These files can only be read into Navisworks and Navisworks cannot export out or be saved as a NWC.  NWC  is the format that is typically created (exported) from products like Revit and AutoCAD, and also is created automatically when Navisworks opens up a DWG directly.  When you open a DWG, a NWC is created and is used the next time the Navisworks project is opened unless the DWG is newer.  If the DWG isn’t newer, then the NWC is used and loads much quicker.

NWF – This is the project file.  The NWF contains all of the Navisworks data and pointers to the files that are loaded.  Think of it this way (from the world of AutoCAD)…NWF is the sheet file and that sheet file contains a bunch of XREF’s, which are the loaded (appended) files.  The content that is saved in an NWF are things like redlines, saved viewpoints, materials, etc.  Again, this is your project/working file…this is the file you use daily to update info and reload updates from the linked/appended files.

NWD – This is the equivalent of a DWF or PDF.  Typically, you take your project file (NWF) and publish it to NWD…which removes all links and keeps everything in the NWD.  Again, to relate it back to AutoCAD…it’s like binding the XREF’s in the sheet file.  This allows the ability to share a project with someone externally without having to send all of the linked/appended files.  A NWD can be opened with any Navisworks program, especially Freedom Viewer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vela Systems and Navisworks Together in the Field

The following excerpt was taken from the press release on Autodesk’s website.  The full press release can be read HERE.

Autodesk,Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a world leader in 2D and 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, has announced that it has collaborated with Vela Systems, Inc., a provider of mobile field automation software for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries, to integrate Vela Systems Field BIM Software Suite with Autodesk Navisworks. Navisworks is a software tool for combining project contributions into a single, coordinated 3D building information model. This technology integration extends the building information modeling (BIM) process to the field by making it possible for Autodesk Navisworks 3D project models to reflect the state of objects within the design based on field-gathered data.

Using Vela Systems software --including bar-coding and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking technology--builders on-site can access a data-rich Autodesk Navisworks project model during the construction phase. Instead of leaving the Autodesk Navisworks model and its data behind in the office or job trailer, jobsite users can work with Vela Systems software on mobile tablet computers to access the intelligent model on-site. This makes it possible to track material production and installation, manage commissioning, conduct quality assurance/quality control inspections, do punch lists and create electronic owner-handover documentation. Autodesk Navisworks users may designate which information will be managed in Vela Systems and, as a result, the Vela Systems software enables this data to be properly managed and used in the field. The integration between the products is bi-directional and automated. The result is that the information from the field connects the "should be" state-of-design to the "as-is" state-of-construction.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Navisworks Trial Period

This is one of those questions that comes up and with Autodesk products, it can vary…How long is the trial period?  Is it 30 days of usage or is it 30 days from installation?  For some products, like AutoCAD based products, it’s 30 days from installation.  A product like Revit though, you have 30 calendar days of usage.  Meaning if you open it up today, but don’t open it up for another 5 days, that’s only 2 days off the 30 days.

So, where does the Navisworks trial fit in??  Well, it falls into the AutoCAD type category…30 days from installation.  So if you get the trial, don’t install it until you are ready to use it!  Because after 30 days from the installation, it’s a “dead” product.  “Dead” meaning that you have to authorize it in order to open it up.

One thing to remember with the trial…you can install the trial and let it expire and still use the NWCOUT command in AutoCAD or the Navisworks Exporter in Revit.  I have another post in the works about this though coming soon!