Updates Server Upgraded to Accommodate More Features

Over the past few weeks your Dashboard may have prompted you with the message “AV.02.007 cannot connect to updates.archvision.com.” Increased user traffic resulted in connection time outs. To address this we have re-engineered a new server to accommodate the increased traffic, as well as, provide users faster access to downloads. Users should now only experience this error message when their Internet Security product (firewall) is preventing their Dashboard from connecting to ArchVision’s Updates Server. We appreciate your support during the upgrade process.

Error Message AV.02.007

Error Message AV.02.007

ArchVision Software License Overview

ArchVision currently offers two annual licenses that give users access to all RPCs and plug-ins for 3ds Max, AutoCAD and Photoshop. The ArchVision Software License Floating (sold for $499/year) is portable and can be hosted on a network server to be shared among multiple users (one user concurrently). We also offer the ArchVision Software License Node-Lock version ($249/year) that enables RPC usage on a single computer. I have created a new video to show an overview of purchasing and activating either of these license types.

Things to know about RPC Content and Revit 2013

Revit 2013, image courtesy Autodesk, Inc.

While your overall day-to-day workflow won’t change with Revit 2013, you will find you are able to view RPC content with Realistic Visual Style Views using the new Material User Interface (MUI). The new MUI was recently profiled by Dan Stine in AECbytes and is definitely worth a read.

Things to know:

  • RPC content in realistic visual style views will not export to DWG. Use a non-realistic visual style when exporting RPC content to DWG.
  • RPC content will display both back and front of the intended image in the Realistic visual style if the Cast Reflections type parameter is turned on. Turn this parameter off to view properly.
  • RPC Content Drag & Drop is not enabled.*

    Want to try RPC in Revit 2013? Start a free trial of Revit through Autodesk and free trial of RPC with ArchVision Dashboard.

    *Unfortunately, Autodesk Revit 2013 did not enable RPC Content Drag & Drop. However, ArchVision’s development team is working on an alternative to enable Drag & Drop from ArchVision Dashboard into Revit scenes. This will behave similarly to the Drag & Drop behaviors available to 3ds Max and AutoCAD users. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this feature.

  • Easiest RPC Opacity Trick Ever

    Just when I think I know everything there is to know about RPCs, I learn something new. My latest nugget of knowledge came from long time user Steve Phong, of Overland Partners in San Antonio Texas. Steve taught me a super easy way to change the opacity of RPCs using Mental Ray. I had always thought that the only way to do this was via the material editor or via scripts available for the Scanline renderer.

    To change opacity in Mental Ray:

    1) Right click on an RPC and select Object Properties.

    2) Change Visibility to a value between 0 and 1. A value of one is completely opaque. A value of 0 is completely transparent.

    Thanks to Steve for this excellent tip. If you you have a tip or trick to share, please e-mail me at support@archvision.com.

    Rendering the RPC Environment with a Mental Ray Daylight System

    Many users have noted unexpected results when using the RPC Environment with a Mental Ray Daylight System. This is primarily because of the way that Mental Ray blends colors. There is a large sky texture that is some shade of blue and a ground plane that is brown or green. The effect of the blending of these two becomes a murky brown/green where blue should be. Through a little trial and error I have created a settings formula that works nicely with most scene configurations.

    When the RPC Environment is added to a scene with a Mental Ray Daylight System it will render something like this:

    RPC Environment with Mental Ray - Default Settings

    This looks nothing at all like the rendering results with the scanline rendering. I will show you how to fix this.

    We will start by changing the Physical Scale values under the Environment and Effects panel. I have changed from Physical Units to Unitless and changed the value from 1500 to 90,000.


    Physical Scale set to Unitless 90,000

    This gives us the following results:


    Rendering results with new Physical Scale

    There isn’t much change shown, but when we make the next modification it will be apparent. Go into the RPC Mass Edit Dialog and change the Self-Illumination value from 0 to 55.


    Mass Edit Dialog Self Illumination

    Now the RPC Environment’s color will render much better.


    Rendering with New Values Applied

    Finally the sky looks more blue than green. To make it look even better I will brighten the scene by boosting the exposure value from 15 to 14 (lower values increase brightness). This will give us a rendering that looks like this:


    Rendering with New Exposure Control Value

    Utilize the exposure controls to tweak your rendering even further.
    I hope this tip helps and good luck with your next rendering.

    Revit Architecture: Using Additional RPC Content from ArchVision

    RPC Plants & Trees in Revit Architecture

    RPC Plants & Trees in Revit Architecture

    Many users refer to our video tutorials for tips and tricks using RPC Content in Revit Architecture. Another great resource is Autodesk. Autodesk provides a great series of Revit Architecture User Assistance documents.

    Topics include:

    • Creating an RPC Family
    • Specify a Render Appearance for an RPC Family
    • Create an Entourage Family
    • Using the ArchVision Content Manager
    • Using Additional RPC Content
    • Placing Plants and Entourage in a Project view
    • Changing the Size of Plants

    We encourage you to check them out. Happy rendering!

    Fall Harvest: Custom Meshes for RPC Creation

    Begin in 3ds Max by drawing the outline of your mesh. Users typically load an image that that they used for creating an RPC into the background and trace it using splines. Don’t worry about the size. This is determined at the time the RPC is created. Be sure and close the spline.

    I have created an outline of the pumpkin from October’s blog and create a shape to represent the base of the RPC. The tip of the triangle depicts the front of the RPC. Right click on these and select Convert to editable mesh.

    Once I have created the shapes for my RPC’s mesh I arrange them the way the final mesh will look.

    To export the mesh, select the geometry to be exported and then click on the 3ds Max icon (File button), Export then Export Selected. Choose AutoCAD *.DXF as the file type when naming the file. Choose the option for Selected Objects and click on OK.

    At this point a .DXF file should be successfully created, however we will need to convert this into a .msh file to use it with RPC Creator. This can be performed by using the Convert to RPC Icon Tool. This file can be downloaded here:

    ConvertToRPCIconInstall.exe

    Once installed open the Convert to RPC Icon Tool and select the .DXF file just generated and then select a name and creation path for the RPC Icon Mesh file that will be created. Click on Convert and the .msh file will be created.

    This is the file that will be used during the RPC Creation process. Select the custom mesh option and then browse for this file.

    When the RPC is added to a scene it will now have a mesh representation prior to rendering so that a better example is given of what the actual rendered object will look like. Custom meshes save RPC users the time necessary to have to reposition objects that could have been placed more accurately using this technique.

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