Getting Started

Getting Started

The menu system

Start the ODS Studio modules by using the hotkey combination Ctrl+Alt+U to open the User Preferences window.  It is best to use the hotkey combination because due to a bug in Intel's OpenGL libraries using the File->User Preferences menu can cause Blender to crash. This is a known bug.

The modules that you have started affects the menu items that are created within the Blender interface.  However, there are three primary menu systems in the Properties panel to be aware of:

  1. ODS Studio Scene Settings - This menu holds all of the properties related to the scene or other global parameters such as time of day/year and CFD mesh size and meshing properties
  2. ODS Studio Objects Properties - This menu holds all of the object-level properties such as: CFD boundary conditions and EnergyPlus object relationships (doors, windows, walls, zone, etc. connectivity)
  3. ODS Studio Materials Properties - This menu holds all of the material-level properties such as: Radiance material types, colours and reflectance and EnergyPlus construction material properties (specific heat, conductivity, thickness, etc.)

When the Radiance module is enabled there is also three menu panels that are created in the left-hand-side pane of the UV/Image Editor pane.  These menus entitled Falsecolor, Threshold and Batch Processing allow you to do processing of the resultant Radiance .HDR images.

Refer to the video below for a quick overview of the interface.

Importing a model (focus on Sketchup)

It is possible to import models from Sketchup, ArchiCAD, Revit or other 3D modelling packages.  If possible, import via the .3DS (3D Studio Max) file format generally yields the best results and is most usable.  However if importing from Sketchup (free version) the only option is via the .DAE file format.  The below steps outline the method for getting a model from Sketchup into Blender for use with ODS.

  1. In Sketchup go to File->Export->3D Model and export the model as type Collada (.DAE).  You may leave the options as default for now.  Save the model somewhere on your system such as the Desktop.
  2. Open Blender and go to File->Import->Collada (.DAE) and select the model that you have just exported from Sketchup
  3. For some reason, models exported from Sketchup use units of inches and feet.  ODS Studio expects that everything is in SI units.  The imported model will be too large and it will often be difficult to see the whole thing in Blender.  To correct this go to the Scene Properties menu and select Units of type "None" then press 'a' to select everything that you have just imported and then type 's' and '0.0254' to scale the model down to equivalent of 1-unit equals 1-meter.
  4. Save your Blender model.  Don't forget to ensure that you save to a path with no spaces anywhere in the path!

A few common issues and solutions are:

  1. Increase viewport clipping (in the "View" menu on the right hand side of the 3D viewport) if you can't see the model properly or it appears to be "clipped". 
  2. If you still can't see the model but the counters are indicating that a model exists then try viewing in orthographic (numpad 5) and then view from the top (numpad 7). Then view all selected objects (numpad .). You can then try using 'g' and 'x' or 'y' to move the objects toward the origin.
  3. Be sure to set Scene Units to “None”. By default after import from Sketchup the units are “Imperial”
  4. Its a good idea to centre your model by pressing 'a' to select all and then 'g' and 'x' or 'y'