Visualization (7:24 min)

Visualizing your Design

Let’s complete our exploration of the Revit workflow with some tools you can use to visualize and present your designs.

Exercise 1–Graphical Display Options

There are many visualization tools to help you create unique and compelling presentations of your designs. Let’s start with a look at the “Graphical Display Options” dialog.

Catch-up file completed to this point: 22_Medical Center_Visualize.rvt

Shading Modes

Most views default to Hidden Line display. But there are other useful shading modes as well.

  1. Open the Default 3D View – {3D}.
  2. On the View Control Bar at the bottom of the view window, click the Visual Style pop-up and choose: Shading (see Figure 22–1).
  3. Compare this to: Consistent Colors.

Figure 22–1 try various Visual Styles

At the top of this pop-up menu there is also a Graphical Display Options item. This opens the “Graphical Display Options” dialog. This dialog has many more options.

  1. From the Visual Styles pop-up, choose: Graphical Display Options.

At the top of the dialog, the Style list is the same visual styles. You can change it there too.

  1. Change the Style to: Hidden Line. Check the “Smooth lines with anti-aliasing” checkbox. At the bottom click the Apply button (see Figure 22–2).

Figure 22–2 Anti-aliasing will smooth the edges to make them less jaggy

  1. Try the Transparency slider. Click Apply in-between. Set it back to: 0 before continuing.


There are several other groups of settings in this dialog. Shadows is simple, but makes a big impact on the view.

  1. Expand the Shadows item, then check the “Show Ambient Shadows” checkbox. Click Apply (see Figure 22–3).

Figure 22–3 Ambient shadows adds nice shading around the edges and in corners

  1. Turn on Cast Shadows and apply (see Figure 22–4).

Figure 22–4 Turn on Cast Shadows

  1. Expand Lighting. Next to Sun Setting, click the button (currently labeled <In-Session, Lighting>).
  2. In the “Sun Settings” dialog, select the Sunlighting Top Left preset and then click Apply (see Figure 22–5).

Figure 22–5 Change the lighting preset and apply to move the shadows

Also in Lighting, you can use the sliders to adjust the intensity of the Sun, Ambient Light and Shadows. Give it a try.


  1. In the “Graphical Display Options” dialog, set the Visual Style to Shaded and then click OK.

Notice that the ground plane is a dark brown color. It is currently using a default Earth material. It might look nicer if we adjust this.

  1. On the Manage tab, click the Object Styles tool.

This displays the “Object Styles” dialog with a list of all the categories and their default settings. The settings here are the ones we are overriding when we use the Visibility/Graphics command.

  1. Scroll down and select the Topography item.

Notice in the far-right column, it says Earth (see Figure 22–6). This is the material that is used for all topography by default. We can change it here and all toposurface elements will update accordingly.

Figure 22–6 Object Styles controls the default settings of each category

  1. Click the small browse button next to Earth.

This will open the “Material Browser” dialog.

  1. In the Search field at the top, type in: Grass (see Figure 22–7).


Figure 22–7 Search for grass materials

In the figure, there are two panes at the left. Materials in the current project file show in the document area at the top. The library area at the bottom displays external material libraries. To see the lower pane, click the icon indicated in the figure. After searching, there are no grass materials in the current document, but there are two options in the library.

  1. In the library pane (lower-left) hover over either grass material to display a small up arrow. Click this arrow to add this material to the current document.
  2. On the right-side pane, check the box “Use Render Appearance.”

This sets the color of the material to match the render material settings and it should turn a shade of green (see Figure 22–8).

Figure 22–8 Load a material from the library and make its color match the render material

  1. Click OK twice to dismiss both dialogs and see the results.

This changes the color of the topography to green to match its new material assignment. If you change the shading mode to Realistic, you will also see that a texture has been applied for rendering. You might need to zoom in to see it better (see Figure 22–9).

Figure 22–9 Realistic shading displays the bitmap textures tiled across the surfaces for a more realistic look

Let’s make another material for the roads and parking.

  1. On the Manage tab, on the Settings panel, click the Materials button (see Figure 22–10).

Figure 22–10 The Materials tool

  1. Back in the “Material Browser” dialog, search for: asphalt.
  2. In the library pane (bottom-left) locate the Asphalt, Pavement, Dark Grey material and load it into the current document just like we did for the grass above.
  3. Check the “Use Render Appearance” check box and then click OK (see Figure 22–11).

Figure 22–11 Load a material for the roads and parking

  1. Back in the 3D view, select the toposurface for the roads and parking.
  2. On the Properties palette, next to Material, click the small browse button and then choose the new Asphalt, Pavement, Dark Grey material.

When you deselect it, it will be apparent that the new material is applied (see Figure 22–12).

Figure 22–12 Apply the asphalt material to the roads