Modeling in Revit With Point Clouds

Points clouds are becoming more commonly used as a resource for creating a Revit model.  In my Revit model creation from point clouds, I use a few techniques that I am sharing in this article to help ease the process for you.  While I am sure some others do things a bit different, I have found that these work well for me.  There are some tools on the market that assist in getting a Revit model from a point cloud, but many people do not have the financial resources for them or rarely use point clouds.  Therefore, this article is geared to those not having any additional tools.

This article does not address how to create a point cloud or manipulating it outside of Revit.  It only addresses using the point cloud for creating a Revit model.

Typically, a file with a “.rcp” extension will be provided to you.  From the Insert tab, select the Point Cloud button and select this “.rcp” file.

Point Cloud Positioning

  • “Origin to Origin” or “Shared Coordinates” may work for positioning.  However, often the setting will need to be “Center to Center” and moved into position.
  • Rotate the point cloud as desired.
  • Be sure and Pin the point cloud in place so it does not get accidentally moved.

Visibility Note

  • The visibility of point clouds is view-specific.  After a point cloud is added to a project, a tab is added to the Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog box for Points Clouds.
  • The Color Mode setting has 5 different settings and comes in as “RGB” by default.  The “RGB” setting has the point cloud appear like a 3D photo.
  • The point cloud will likely appear very cluttered when inserted due to seeing so much of the 3D point cloud.

Create Levels

  • Create a Section through the Point Cloud and adjust or create Levels as necessary.
    • Many Architects use a floor level elevation of 100′-0″ for the main floor level.  The point cloud will likely need to be moved to accommodate this situation.
  • The Far Clip Offset parameter for the section may be changed to a small distance to reduce clutter of the point cloud.

Plan View Display

  • Switch to a plan view for much of the modeling to be done.
  • Go to the Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog box for the appropriate plan view.
    • In the Point Clouds tab, change the Color Mode from “RGB” to “Single Color” and set the color to “Red”.
    • This will make the Revit modeled elements highly visible in contrast to the point cloud.  This allows you easily see what has been modeled and what has not yet been modeled.

Create Grids

  • If there are columns in the point cloud, it may be evident where structural column grids are located based upon the center of the columns.

Create Walls

  • For the View Range, set the Cut Plane for the appropriate plan view to be 6″ above the associated floor level.  Set the Bottom to be 4″ above the associated floor level.
    • This will eliminate most of the clutter and only show the walls, door openings, columns, etc.
    • This low elevation will typically be below the windows.
    • Setting the Bottom to be above the floor eliminates a lot of floor clutter shown in the point cloud.
  • Place walls as needed and be sure to go through the door openings.

Place Doors

  • Place doors as needed throughout the plan.
  • In most cases, it will be somewhat easy to see which side of the opening the door panel exists.
  • Temporary sections that view the door face may be needed to determine which direction the door swings if the doors were not open when the point cloud was created.

Place Windows

  • For the View Range, set the Cut Plane for the appropriate plan view to be 6′-0 above the associated floor level.  Set the Bottom to be 5′-6″ above the associated floor level.
    • This will eliminate most of the clutter and only show the openings that are typically at the elevation of windows.
    • Since doors are already placed, it will easy to tell which openings are windows and which are doors.
    • Elevations can be used to determine the height and type of windows.

Place Other Components

  • Other components can then be placed in the model.
  • Changing the Cut Plane in the appropriate view in conjunction with using sections and elevations will allow you to “see” most components and place them appropriately.

Section Boxes

  • Creating a Section Box in the model and adjusting it allows you to move around in the point cloud and just see what is necessary as you work and eliminate most of the undesired information from visibility.

Summary

A key item is to reduce the amount of point cloud information seen in a view and control how it is seen.  This makes it much easier to see just what you are trying to reproduce in the model with Revit elements.

3 thoughts on “Modeling in Revit With Point Clouds

  1. Hello! Nice article, thanks for your job! I prefer work with 3d view section box and view cube when placing some objects like windows. It allows to define size with the parameters in the same time.

    • Good point. I actually do more windows in elevation view than in plan view, Using elevations in a section box that you mention are a good way.

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