To start import process with ModelPort just go to the ArchiCad File > Open > Open… menu or select File > File Special > Merge… or go to the ArchiCad ModelPort > Import 3D model… menu. Among the standard formats will see the 4 additional format supported by ModelPort.
If you go from ModelPort top menu, only the supported 3D object formats will be shown. In addition you can see which formats are supported by your license. Unlicensed formats will have a “DEMO” comment, like in this example where you have ModelPort FBX license.
After you selected the file to import the ModelPort main dialog comes up. Here you can see all the important parameters + information what you need for the successful import.
The ModelPort dialog has 4 main areas: Scene Item view – Scene Settings – Basic Settings – About
Scene Item View
Scene Item View provides quick overview about the scene items you would like to import.
You can switch between two view modes: Hierarchy and List
In Hierarchy mode you can see all the scene items (meshes, cameras, light, etc.) in a tree hierarchy.
Note: Please keep in mind that only the mesh items are imported!
In List mode the program shows only the items ModelPort can import (currently only mesh items).
The list items are selectable. You can do two things with the selected items. Change the item visibility (by clicking on the button with the eye) and most importantly change the import status of the items. Items with check sign will be imported, items without check sign won’t be part of the new Library item.
On the Scene Settings tab you can see the parameters which are more related to the actual scene. With these parameters you can change how ModelPort generates the final ArchiCad mesh, by changing these parameters you can achieve better on not so good results so it is important to find the right settings for the actual scene.
Library Object name
This will be the name of the new Library part. In default it is the name of the original scene file, but you can change it to your liking. The new part will be placed into the “Embedded Library” folder under the subfolder of this add-on. (You can change the name of the add-on subfolder too, please see the Import Into Library Folder parameter on the Basic Settings tab.)
Tip: In case the original scene file was changed and you would like to update your ArchiCad project with the new file, just import the file again with the same Library part name what you used for the first import. At the end of the import process choose Overwrite original part.
Put into Sub-Folder
If this checkbox is ON, the add-on creates an extra subfolder for the library part (with the same name what you set at the Library Object name parameter). This can be useful if you import scenes with many texture maps, so all the texture maps and the library part will be under the same folder (so you can see more easily which files belong to which parts).
Tip: You can open the ArchiCad Library Manager to organise, delete, etc. your library part from the File > Libraries and Objects > Library Manager… menu.
Normally the add-on doesn’t split the n-gons (polygons with more than 3 sides) into triangles only in case the n-gon is not planar (ArchiCad can’t handle non-planar n-gons). Keeping n-gons has one obvious benefit: the size of the Library part is smaller. This can be really important in case of huge meshes. Another ArchiCad related benefit is that ArchiCad can have problems to display textures of too small triangles. For this problem you can an example on the following image.
In other cases you have to turn on the Force Triangulation checkbox! In case ArchiCad gives warning message that it can’t build the 3D geometry “edge is not perpendicular to the polygon normal” or something like that, the Force Triangulation flag can solve this issue.
Auto Smoothing (at Angle…)
ModelPort can automatically set the smoothness status of the mesh edges. In ArchiCad an edge can be smooth and hard.
In case the angle between the two adjacent surface normals are smaller than the Angle parameter, the imported edge will be a smooth edge. In case it is bigger the edge will be a hard edge.
Note: ArchiCad smoothness handling is quite limited. In case any of the edges of a polygon is smooth, ArchiCad will handle the polygon as a smooth polygon. It means all the edges of the polygon will be displayed as smooth edges. As a result the displayed object doesn’t look as good as it is possible in other 3D programs.
Invert Transparency value
In some scene files transparency value 0.0 means fully opaque material. In other files 0.0 means fully transparent material. In case your object transparency doesn’t look ok, try to change this flag.
Scene Scale with
It is very important to set the correct size of the imported object. Here you can adjust the new library part size on every axis (height, length, width) by setting the scale value or changing the actual size.
Tip: There is a global Scale library parameter for each imported model.
While the FBX file format stores the original scene unit inside the scene file other file formats are not so advanced. For example the Alias OBJ format stores only the vertex position values but it doesn’t say anything about the actual scale we should handle these coordinate values (as millimetres, meters, inches or…). With the Import Units popup you can set the unit to the original unit of the modeller program from where you exported the file.
You can see here some important information about the actual import. Number of imported items, number of polygons, vertices, and the size of the scene Bounding Box.
Warning: scenes with high polygon number can slow down ArchiCad radically. It is recommended to import models with moderate polygon density!
The Basic Settings tab contains the add-on parameters you usually like to work with. Normally you don’t changes these parameters often.
Import Into Library Folder
The new library parts are saved into the ArchiCad project “Embedded Library” folder (so the parts are stored inside the ArchiCad project file).
ModelPort doesn’t place the new files directly into the Embedded folder, but it creates a subfolder first. With this parameter you can set the name of this subfolder. In case it is an empty string, the library parts will be saved directly into the Embedded folder.
It is possible to choose any other folder for Object import. Just uncheck use Embedded and click on the Browse for folder… button.
Create ArchiCad materials
ModelPort can create ArchiCad materials, so it is possible to fine tune any parameter of the object materials inside ArchiCad.
You can set a prefix for the imported materials. It can be the model’s name or a custom text.
Tip: Custom names are good for finding the materials easily later and prevent automatic overwriting of old materials.
Add 2D Hotspots
Add Hotspots (4 corner + 1 center) for the new library part (2D view).
Add 3D Hotspots
Add Hotspots (8 corner + 1 center) for the new library part (3D view).
Add material parameters
Add material overwrite library parameters for all the scene materials. In case the actual overwrite material is set to 0, the library part will be displayed with the imported material settings, otherwise the material will be overwritten by the selected ArchiCad material.
In case this parameters is OFF the library part will have only one overwrite material which can overwrite all the materials of the library part.
Add mesh parameters
Add visibility library parameters for all the imported scene items. It means the add-on creates visibility flags for all the scene items the library part contains, so it is possible to change the visibility of the individual parts without recreating the library part.
These are the default library parameters of the created library parts. Please see the Parameters of the new Library part section about more information.
With this popup you can set how detailed information you would like to see about the import process. The import information can be seen inside the ArchiCad Session Report window. You can open the Session Report window from the menu File > Info > Session Report.
If you want to see really detailed information choose Report Level “Debug”, but keep in mind because of the huge amount of text it can slow down the import process!
On the About panel you can see a quick description about our add-on with the actual version number.
By clicking on the Online Documentation button you can easily navigate to the Online Documentation of this add-on.
Note: In case your add-on works in demo mode, you can click on the Activate ModelPort or Upgrade License button and the program opens up the ModelPort activation window. You can go to the online store by clicking the Buy button, or you can enter a license key if you already purchased one.
Parameters of the new Library part
Rotation Mini Tool
With the Rotation Mini Tool you can rotate the new library part interactively. In case you don’t like the mini tool, just turn it OFF.
Set the line color of the 2D display mode. This will be the color of the displayed edges in the 3D view too.
Set the display mode of the 2D view. There are three display modes: Contour + Base, Base Only and Contour
In case your object doesn’t contain too many polygons, it is recommended to use the Contour + Base mode, because this gives the best presentation and it is easy to select the object.
If it is a heavy model calculating the 2D contours can take some time for ArchiCad in this case it can be better to choose the Base Only mode.
Set the fill type of the Base in 2D view mode.
Scale the library part along the x-y-z axes.
Set the up axis of the library part. With this setting you can change the main orientation of the part.
Place on ground
Re-position the library part, so it stands on the floor (Z position=0). If this parameter is ON it places the part on the ground even if the Place in Center parameter is on too.
Move to Center
Re-position the library part, so the center of the library part will be in the 0,0,0 position.
With the material parameters it is possible to overwrite the actual material with a selected ArchiCad material. Set this value to 0 (this is the default) if you don’t want to overwrite the material.