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2024 Technology Preview Program

2024 Technology Preview Program:
Master powerful new features and shape the latest BIM-enabled innovations

Next-generation BIMx Web and Desktop Apps

Roland Szabo
Graphisoft
Graphisoft

This update is a milestone in achieving unified functionality across all platforms, bringing significant performance improvements and new features for architects, clients, and every BIMx user.

 

As of February 15, 2023, the new BIMx Web is available on BIMx Model Transfer.
BIMx Desktop has also been updated with the same improvements. Download it from the Microsoft Store (Windows) and from the Apple App Store (macOS).


Update: Several features have been added to the next-gen web and desktop apps since February 2023, such as Measure, Shading options, Shadows with date sun positioning, Interactive labels, etc. Check out BIMx News! This article presents the next-gen app's first release.

These next-gen applications include the benefits of our new 3D engine introduced on iOS in 2020 and a year later on Android, in addition to other enhancements described below.


Table of Content


Increased performance

Previously, displaying the list of publisher items and loading complex 3D models could take up to a few minutes, especially in the web app. 

This version improves performance as follows:

 

1. Hyper-model index appears at once

The new version eliminates the loading time of the list of publisher items. Hyper-model index appears immediately both in the web and desktop apps.

next-gen -  index.jpg

 

2. Multiple times faster 3D loading

The most significant benefit of the new version is the increased loading performance. Opening virtual models is up to 15 times faster in the desktop version. Most models load within a few seconds for example, the S-Office sample Hyper-model’s 3D opens within 2 seconds instead of 20 seconds.

Loading can also be exponentially faster in the web app depending on the internet speed. 
Note: The second and subsequent loading of the same model is even faster in the browser application thanks to BIMx Model Transfer's caching technology.

3. Smoother navigation experience in 3D

In previous versions, exploring the virtual model could be jerky primarily in case of high polygon numbers (e.g., many detailed objects). The collision detection while navigating in Walk and Gamer mode reduced Frame Per Sec (FPS) noticeably.

Now our new 3D engine brings increased 3D navigation performance, not only in the default fly-around mode but also with active collision detection if gravity is on.

See how much smoother e.g. the camera rotation is in the new BIMx Desktop (2022.4567):

new app camera rotation.gif

 

Previous desktop version (2022.4390) on the same computer:

old app camera rotation.gif

 

  

4. Optimized memory usage

The new version uses around half of the memory (RAM). BIMx performs more efficiently with other applications running parallel – so fewer content reloads are needed.


Modernized interface

 

1. Revamped Home Screen on desktop

Same functionality, cleaner look.

next-gen - desktop home screen.png

 

2. New, compact built-in help

The redesigned built-in help is simple. Unlike the previous full-screen variant, the new version allows you to explore the complete project documentation when the help is open, so it’s much easier to learn how to use BIMx.

Switch between the pages on the left side menu.

next-gen - new help.jpg

 

3. Relocated Gallery

Gallery moved from the left-side menu to the Views quick menu in the bottom-right corner - since it's related to the currently open 3D model.


Use BIMx’s floating buttons to view separate gallery items or play the animation. Read more about how to export to BIMx’s Gallery in this article.

next-gen - gallery.jpg

 

 

4. Other changes

  • Seamless zoom in 2D – gradual % values are replaced with a more sensitive solution, and the maximum was increased to 3200%
  • Opening Element(s) from Schedules in one click. It saves an additional interaction – previously, “Show in 3D” and “Show all in 3D” popups appeared before opening the Element in 3D.

Enhanced navigation system

 

1. Realigned keyboard commands

More convenient distribution for input devices, like up and down is Q and E instead of R and V; and the switch between orbit and rotate is now space instead of alt/opt keys.

Learn more in the input devices section of the updated online help.

 

2. Inverting toggles

In previous versions, BIMx’s default camera movement directions did not suit everyone's personal preferences.

Based on your feedback, we created inverting toggles. These new customization tools change camera rotation in the opposite direction both horizontally and vertically.

next-gen - invert toggles.jpg

 

 

 

3. New navigation modifiers

Previously, Walk mode used an always-on joystick, and navigation without clicks in Gamer mode worked only with gravity.

 

The next-gen version introduces a new, modularized system for more customizable navigation.

The following modifiers are organized in the bottom-right corner:

  • Gravity (G)
    • Previously used in Walk and Gamer modes
    • Now you can switch it on and off without the joystick
    • Imitates real-life virtual experience by disabling walking through elements except for doors and windows
  • Hide cursor (H)
    • Previously used only in Gamer mode
    • First-person game-like navigation, while the camera is controlled directly by moving the mouse, so no clicks are needed
    • Element highlight/selection isn’t available
  • Joystick (J)
    • Previously used only in Walk mode
    • Now relocated to the bottom-left corner of the screen
    • It doesn’t rotate the camera anymore, use your other hand on the right side of the screen for comfortable control
    • Now it can be used when flying around the building
    • Turn it off on devices without a touchscreen


next-gen - modifiers1.jpg

 

4. Other changes

  • The camera doesn’t turn back to the default horizontal position with active gravity after 3s without interaction
  • Arrow keys can be used only for rotating now instead of automatically changing to move after 1s without interaction
  • Properties with different values in different 3D models are now associated with each 3D model separately instead of one “other” group in the Element Information popover

New features and changes

 

These functions were available only in mobile applications. Future updates will include other features like the Smart Measure tool and shadow casting.

 

1. View Cone and Eye height sliders

The following sliders are available in the new version:

  • Field of view – adjust the camera view cone angle in 3D
  • Eye height – adjust camera height between 1,0 and 2,0m (3,3ft and 6,6 ft) with active gravity

next-gen - camera settings.jpg

 

 

2. Permanent element highlight and selection

Previously, the blue highlight disappeared after a few seconds from 3D elements when opened from a schedule, BIMx Model Transfer hyperlink, or opening the Element Information popover from the context menu.

The green element selection was available only on iOS and Android.


Now similar to the mobile apps, selection is automatically activated on elements when opened from a schedule or via hyperlink created on BIMx Model Transfer. Selection redefines navigation origin and can be applied to multiple elements.

Right-clicking (or long tap) on an element to open the element context menu works with a permanent highlight, to better visualize the relevant part of the model.

 

next-gen - selection-highlight.jpg

 

3. Go to 3D from Zone Element Information

Opening the Zone in 3D from the element information popover in 2D (from Zone Stamp) was only available in the mobile apps. Now the Go to 3D” button appears in Zone Info.

 

next-gen - zone to 3D.jpg

Note: Interactive Zone Labels (similar to how Zone Stamp objects work) are coming soon.

 

4. Cut model according to camera position

Previous BIMx web and desktop applications cut the model at half the height of the 3D model’s bounding box using the "Cut model" function.

Now the "Cut model” (C)" function in 3D already considers the camera position and cuts the model accordingly 1,0m (3,3ft) above the current story level - similar to the typical floor plan cut height.


Note: "Show in 3D" function available on layouts cuts the 3D model 2,3m (7,5ft) above the current story level to better represent interior space.

 

5. Change in visualization

  • Displaying Global illumination is not available anymore – supported only by the old 3D engine (and up to Archicad 25). Find more details about the change in BIMx’s 3D format here. BIMx uses a shading that reflects project orientation with real-time rendering instead of the precalculated GI, see more info in this article.
  • The Ambient Occlusion toggle is not available anymore because real-time rendering doesn’t affect the performance of the new 3D engine noticeably.

In case of any issue or request, feel free to contact us at bimx@graphisoft.com!


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