When modeling in Revit, your project is like a piece of clay that’s as moldable and modifiable as you wish. You can raise the pitch of the roof, or give the exterior walls a little more length. Maybe the living room is too small, or that wall in the kitchen needs to be taken down.

However you want to alter your model, the free Lumion LiveSync plugin enables a high-quality, synchronized connection between Revit and Lumion. This way, you can see Revit changes in a photorealistic setting and gain insight about how your project will look and how its spaces will feel.

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In this blog post, you can discover some helpful tips to speed up your workflow while using LiveSync. So, for that steeper roof, taller walls or expanded living room, you can make better, more informed Revit modeling decisions while visualizing your model in all its HD beauty.

How to Download LiveSync for Real-Time Revit Visualizations

The Lumion LiveSync plugin for Revit is, at its core, a workflow optimization and render preview tool. It bridges the BIM components of Revit with the high-resolution 3D visualization and rendering capabilities in Lumion. As a result, the real-time link between these two programs allows for a more comfortable and efficient workflow as you tinker with your project in Revit and visualize it in Lumion.

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Source: CWelton Design LiveSync tutorial

Before using LiveSync, there are a few technicalities to get out of the way first. For instance, this feature only works with Lumion 7.3 (and newer versions), and it will work with both Lumion Basic and Lumion Pro.

1. The first step is to download the free LiveSync plugin. It contains two features:

  • LiveSync
  • Collada (.DAE) File Exporter

2. The LiveSync functionality will install directly into Revit3. Locate and click on the Lumion tab. Then, simply go to the Lumion ribbon and press the ‘Play’ button

  • If you cannot find it, you may need to restart your program

4. Open both Revit and Lumion 

  1. In Lumion, open a new scene or load a saved scene
  2. In Revit, switch to a 3D view to allow LiveSync to work
  3. If you start the LiveSync without Lumion open, then you’ll be prompted to launch Lumion

When you’re ready to initiate the real-time link, simply click on the “Play” button in the upper right-hand corner. Now, you may have to wait anywhere from one to five seconds, depending on a range of factors, but once your model appears in Lumion…

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…you’re ready to get to work. Now, let’s take a look at how you can best use this tool.

Workflow Convenience Tip

To enable a smoother, more convenient workflow experience while simultaneously modeling and visualizing, keep your Revit project file in a consistent location.

Having a consistent file location will maintain a link between Revit and Lumion, even after you close both programs down. As a result, when working independently in Revit, you can restart LiveSync at any time to automatically update your project in Lumion.

Tips for Optimizing Workflow Speed With LiveSync

Your Revit model is live in Lumion. What’s next?

To improve your workflow and adopt better, more efficient practices when using LiveSync, it can help to understand a few of the “ins and outs” of this real-time functionality. For instance, some of the things that you can do in Revit, that’ll automatically update in Lumion, include:

  • Moving the model and other objects
  • Adding new objects
  • Changing the Revit materials
  • Deleting objects

At the same time, while LiveSync is designed for speed and ease-of-use, this feature isn’t meant for rendering. Instead, it is designed for visualizing your model as you continue modeling and working in Revit. When you want to add Lumion’s high-quality materials or entourage and context, or when you want to render your model, you should export the Revit model for import into Lumion.

And that’s pretty much the key point about LiveSync. It’s a tool adapted for real-time viewing your design, as you make changes to it. It is especially useful in the early stages of design, when you’re still experimenting with design ideas.

Above is an introductory video to using LiveSync. After watching the video, let’s take a closer look at a few ways you can improve your LiveSync workflow.

Moving the LiveSync Model in Lumion
After hitting the “Play” button and waiting a couple seconds for the live link to be established, the Revit model should appear in your Lumion scene. By default, Lumion places the Revit-LiveSync model near the scene’s axis point. The scene’s terrain, however, might not automatically match the terrain or the foundation of your LiveSync model.

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To move the LiveSync model, click on Move Mode in Lumion and select the model. Now, you can move the object, rotate it, make it larger or smaller, and change its height.  

Editing Your Project’s Materials
Keep in mind that the LiveSync model is much different than an imported model, or really any other type of model/object in Lumion.

The LiveSync model is truly its own thing, and one of the first things you’ll notice about the LiveSync model is that you cannot apply Lumion’s high-definition materials to it. Lumion materials are essentially ‘disabled’ for LiveSync Revit objects.

Instead, you can only make material adjustments in Revit. These edits will automatically appear in Lumion, but for a high-quality, photorealistic render, you’ll need to export your model.

LiveSync does support Revit exports of the following materials: ceramic, concrete, generic, glazing, masonry, metal, metallic paint, mirror, plastic, solid glass, stone, wall paint, water, and wood.

Furthermore, the following properties are converted when exporting into Lumion:

  • Color
  • Tint color
  • Color texture
  • Color texture brightness
  • Bump texture
  • Bump texture brightness
  • Automatically converted glass

Rich Photorealistic Content (RPC), such as People, Cars, Revit Trees and other Objects do not come in at all. You’ll either need to use these objects from the Lumion library or import them in.

Editing the Revit Model
Imagine you’re designing a home in Revit but hesitating about the window in the kitchen. With LiveSync you can get a good impression of how the window influences the look and feel of the kitchen by removing it in Revit and then immediately seeing the change become visible in the more realistic Lumion environment.

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Through LiveSync, structural changes and other major changes to your 3D model are visualized seamlessly and instantly, helping you to weigh up your design choices in a slick and efficient way.

Using the LiveSync Settings
The Lumion LiveSync plugin in Revit has a simple, straightforward interface with options such as Play/Pause LiveSync, Stop and Settings. 

Under the Settings option, you can fine-tune these settings according to your needs. Some of the options under LiveSync Settings include:

  • Origin insertion point options – choice between shared coordinates survey point, or project base point
  • Surface smoothing – basically deals with the compression of the image geometry. This slider is associated with the graphical detail of your model. Sliding this all the way to the right should result in a finer detailed model, but a larger file size.

Exporting the LiveSync Model

By downloading the plugin for LiveSync, you also acquire the Collada (.DAE) File Exporter. While LiveSync is designed for real-time feedback during modeling in Revit, the Exporter allows for a .DAE file export from Revit into Lumion

This is perhaps the most efficient Revit-to-Lumion workflow technique as it’s also the fastest, and the only issues you may have are related to the materials and the mesh definition.

After importing your model’s .DAE file into Lumion, you can start making your model look more realistic by adding high-quality materials, context, landscaping and adapting the model’s terrain, among others. 

You can also really easily update the model’s geometry by saving it after making any changes in Revit, then simply refresh the model in Lumion.

Learn More About Lumion LiveSync

Optimizing a workflow from your modeling software to your visualization software depends on your project’s specific needs as well as your architectural firm’s goals. Nevertheless, by understanding LiveSync and applying best practices, you can make the most out of this feature to save time and become more effective at tuning your design in Revit. Once tuned, you can start to produce renders in Lumion as beautiful as the one below.

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Work faster, and work smarter by incorporating workflow efficiency techniques and tools, such as LiveSync and many others. For more information, visit Lumion.com.

Lumion Blog | Beautiful renders within reach.