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Monday, July 25, 2016

Overlay Drawing PDFs Directly onto the 3D Model in Revizto

The new sheet overlay feature in Revizto is one of the coolest things I've seen this year. Now, we can directly view the drawing sheet (which is typically the contract document), in context with the live federated 3D model. This is hugely powerful in terms of understanding and explaining the design.

The feature itself works nice and easy if you have everything in Revit. You just tick 'export sheets' when you export the model, and you will have that sheet attachment ability.

However, if you import a 'dumb' PDF directly to the 2D space in Revizto, you don't get the attachment capability.

So... in the workaround below, we take a PDF, make it into an image file, locate that image file accurately in Revit, put it on a sheet, then export to Revizto. Initially, I thought this wouldn't work as we are essentially using Raster Data. However, it seems that the Revizto exporter and / or overlay feature uses some sort of alpha transparency to fade out the white stuff (paper), so it all still works!

Things you will probably need:
  • blank sheet title block family that matches sheet size of pdf
  • "No Title" viewport type
  • View Template that only shows Raster Images and Grids
Important note: Shared coordinates should be set up across all of your Revit models and Navisworks files if you want to get this working reliably.

Initial Conversion and Import:
  1. Convert all PDFs to PNGs. I used Bluebeam to open the PDF and Save As PNG, but there are ways to batch process this part.
  2. Make Floor Plans at required levels
  3. Place PNGs in Floor Plans and align to Grids (scale if necessary)
  4. Make 1 sheet for each PDF
  5. Place Floor Plans on Revit Sheets (you now have the PNG at scale on a sheet). Switch Viewports to "No title".
  6. Number and name the Revit sheets to match the PDFs

Export to Revizto:
  1. Link the Revit project with these 'PDF sheets' to the Revizto 4 project using Revizto 4 - Link Settings
    (as per note above, Shared Coordinates should be consistently used throughout)
  2. Open any 3D view
  3. Revizto 4 - Export to Revizto, Append as a new model
  4. Choose desired Sheets only (untick 3D model)
  5. After export is complete, Sync to cloud.

Using in Revizto:
After export, you will see the sheets in the 2D space in Revizto.

When you open each sheet, you can click on the green scissor icon to create a sectioned 3D view with the plan view overlay.

Then, you can save that view overlay with the Pin (Viewpoints) icon.

Finally, any Issues or Viewpoints created with a sheet attachment active should automatically adopt that sheet. Very nice.

Here's how you could update the dataset when you get new PDFs:
  1. Replace the updated PNG
  2. Use Manage Images in Revit to Reload 
  3. Re-export the sheets to Revizto
Other tips:
  • Use a Guide Grid in Revit to accurately locate the sheet elements consistently
  • You can turn off all Revit model and annotation elements aside from Raster Images in the export views
  • In the above example I work with Plans, but the same principles could be applied to Section and Detail views, provided you cut them at the right place in Revit before importing the image


  1. Hey, great post. Quick question, have you tried same work flow but with 'linked' DWG file instead of JPEG file? Thanks.

  2. DWG would definitely work, but I went with the PDF because DWGs sometimes hard to manage layers etc.