4D Virtual Builder

Presented by Reinhart Viane


Using the D-Studio 4D for SketchUp plugin

Due to some technical problems, detailed notes from this session are unavailable.  I’ve done my best to summarize what I could and to provide follow-up links to literature and videos for those who are curious enough to keep digging into this very cool piece of software.

Essentially, with the 4D plugin, you can set up construction schedules and other information in Microsoft Project, Primavera, or another planning tool and then visualize the building construction in SketchUp by using this plugin.  Taking a model from 3D to 4D is a matter of assigning time schedules to each of the elements that will be constructed, and then visualizing what the site looks like at any given time.

Most of the work in using the product, at least in a trivial way, is in making a reasonable schedule in Project and connecting it to the plugin, as well as creating rudimentary building types or other visualizations, to connect to each of the tasks in the project.

Tasks can be linked and unlinked, or given different properties to sequence them or illustrate their connections.  For instance, several tasks can be linked together, with environment, setup, grading, concrete, ironwork, construction, finishing, and demolition.  On a very large project, each item can be given its own "4d type" that allows it to have a different visualization color.  In that way, you can see when each step starts and ends and the buildings can change colors depending on what state they're in at any given time.

It is possible to import any information from Primavera or Project into this plugin for visualization.  For instance, in one project, construction is done on an active area with a shopping mall, offices, etc.  It became necessary to model the number of parking spaces available throughout the project, which is possible with this program.

It is possible to perform imports and exports with XML.

One of the particularly neat features of this product is the ability to export a series of slides into MS PowerPoint for presentation to a boss or client.  It is too bad that the information can’t make use of LayOut instead, but there is simply no publicly available API to connect into the LayOut program like there is for SketchUp.

Much more detailed information is available from the 4D virtual builder website, www.4dvirtualbuilder.com.

Also check out YouTube for tutorials.

For example: