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Optimization, Collaboration & Revisions
Organizing Large Models for Collaboration

7.3_Organizing Large Models for Collaboration

0:00 In our second to last lesson together, we’re going to use one process to address two common issues when working with large models.

0:09 The first is how to allow multiple people to work on the same model at the same time.

0:14 The second issue, assuming the model is extremely large in size or scope...

0:20 ...is to break it up the large model into several smaller models to allow working on just one more manageable piece at a time.

0:27 Then when ready, we can update the larger model, like a CAD xref, to reflect the changes from the individual models.

0:35 Now our Cayton Corner Park model could technically be broken up into smaller elements if needed for collaboration…

0:43 …but given that it’s just me working on it here and that our attention to staying organized and efficient thus far means it really doesn’t require being broken up into multiple models at this point.

0:54 So we’ll use a different model for this demo instead.

0:57 Also, like the previous example with the Revit building, the model we’re going to demo here has not been provided as part of the exercise files so feel free to just watch and pick up a few tips.

1:12 This site model you see here was built for a real project competition and served as the master model and the basis for creating an overall illustrative site plan and several renderings.

1:23 The amount of detail around the model varied depending on what showed up in the views.

1:28 As you can see here, this is an architecture-heavy design on a one-hundred acre parcel.

1:34 The final geometry count wasn’t too bad at about 10 million polygons and 250 mb in file size.

1:42 Beyond site size and architecture geometry, this particular model had other challenges typically associated with large master planning projects.

1:51 For instance, the entire site was on a cross slope with the high point to the southeast.

1:57 Also, since this was a competition, the time was limited to two weeks for everything, not just the model…

2:03 …which meant changes were happening daily, which required the model to be built and organized for collaboration and flexibility.

2:13 So how do we model for collaboration?

2:15 Like I mentioned at the start of this lesson, it starts setting up a geo-located framework or ‘master’ model that everything else will eventually feed into.

2:24 The model you see here was the final master model that all the exports were generated from.

2:31 Most of the day-to-day work happened in other models and we’d re-load various pieces as they were created or updated.

2:40 While several people worked on this project, only one person managed the master model to ensure that there weren’t duplicate copies floating around and that the base linework didn’t shift during the process.

2:51 Since the site was so large, after importing the initial base linework and terrain mesh, it was broken up into three groups:

2:58 West, Center, and East blocks.

3:02 The outer streets were existing so they were kept separate so they could always act as a registration point in case anything moved or rotated by accident.

3:11 The CAD linework was always brought in directly above the existing terrain mesh so that things could be worked out in 2D before applying to the terrain below.

3:22 Similar the methods we reviewed in our terrain exercises and eventually applied to our park model.

3:29 Once the buildings started progressing, they too were broken up by West, Center, and East so that they could be toggled on and off as needed, keeping the model running as smoothly as possible.

3:41 Some of the more detailed buildings were referenced again from these sub-models.

3:47 If needed, the trees could also have also been broken up into the same three groups...

3:54 ...…but since they were 2D trees, they didn’t affect performance and were left on one layer.

4:01 Beyond layer organization, scenes were utilized to show only pieces of the model at any given time.

4:08 A CAD working scene was setup up for working with 2D linework…

4:12 …then a Plan view scene…

4:14 …then a working and full geometry scene for each of the rendering views.

4:19 Having a working and export or render scene allowed for quick back and forth between adding new content and then seeing it in its final state for exporting and review.

4:31 Taking it one step further, we had the ability to save whole chunks of the model.

4:37 Whether it was just the architecture…just the ground plane…or both in order to work on them separately from the master model.

4:45 To show how this works, I’ve isolated just the Central blocks and building layers.

4:51 Then I make it a component and give it a name.

4:55 I can then choose to right-click and ‘Save-as’…which saves just this part of the model to the hard drive.

5:00 It also remembers the model’s location in relation to the master model in which it came from.

5:08 Now myself or someone else can access this part of the site without going into the master model and potentially making unwanted changesLet’s open the new ‘Center-Block’ component up now and make some changes to it.

5:13 For this lesson, I’ll just arbitrarily change the main building just enough so we that know it’s been updated.

5:25 Then I'll save it and hop back to the master site file.

5:33 Select the ‘Center-Block’ component...then right-click it and choose ‘Reload…’ …

5:40 I'm then prompted to browse to the latest externally saved version of this component.

5:47 We then wait a second for it to process…and there it is. We can see that our changes are reflected now in the master file.

5:58 Like I mentioned briefly before, this process is essentially a manual version of AutoCAD’s XREF manager.

6:07 This master and referenced model technique can be used as much or little as required depending on team size and model complexity.

6:16 As you might imagine, the only potential issue here is whether different team mates use different layer naming conventions.

6:23 If someone adds a bunch of new layers or changes a layer name, then it will reflect in your master files layer panel and scenes and potentially cause some problems