Clarity for Revit Workflows Brings New Space Planning to Automation Software Suite

IMAGINiT Clarity IS A POWERFUL TOOL FOR REVIT automation. Recently at AU 21 (Autodesk University), Architosh sat down virtually with Matt Mason, Director of Software Development, IMAGINiT Technologies, a division of RAND Worldwide. The goal was to review IMAGINiT Clarity and its latest updates.

Clarity—its role

Clarity is a product aimed directly at the role of BIM coordinator in AEC companies using Revit as their BIM platform. The software had four main functions: automation, model health, business intelligence, and room and equipment data. A new module which has just been released this year deals with the planning and layout of space.

“This product dates back ten years,” says Matt Mason. “We were looking at people who serve companies in the BIM coordinator role, and those people seem to spend a lot of their time doing repetitive tasks.” These tasks include generating DWG exports for consultants or producing PDF sets for meetings the next morning. These basic tasks that all architects and engineers have to do on big jobs can take up hours a week.

People in the role of BIM coordinator have it tough; if a lot of staff are working on a project and the coordinator is managing five or more projects, it’s hard for them to spend a lot of time in the models checking things out and seeing if best practices are being followed. Clarity’s tools streamline this process.

Clarity allows BIM coordinators to program and fully automate these tasks. “On a medium-sized Revit project, it might take half an hour,” Mason explains. “On a large Revit project, it can take a lot longer. Clarity saves people a lot of time.

Clarity can automate dozens of tasks across multiple functional categories. It can automate both exports and prints, including file formats such as DGN (Bentley), DWF, DWG, FBX, GBxml, COBie, IFC, Navisworks and, of course, PDF. It can also bundle PDF books of datasheets, send Revit BOMs in Excel format, export Revit View images including part image export.

BIM Models—Their Needs

Successful BIM models need attention, and dedicated BIM coordinators best fulfill this role. Clarity comes with tools to power this process. BIM coordinators can run Model Metrics, its Model Performance Advisor report, to gain insight into areas of a Revit model that do not meet best practice standards. More than 60 metrics can be analyzed. (see Picture 02 below)

Image 01 — Clarity can fully automate several types of tasks it can perform, shown here in its Task Timeline window.

“People who hold the position of BIM coordinator have a tough life; if a lot of employees are working on a project and the coordinator is managing five or more projects, it’s hard for them to spend a lot of time in the models checking things out and checking if best practices are being followed,” Mason explains. “Clarity’s tools streamline this process.”

Companies using Revit and experiencing persistent model slowdowns as the project progresses over time would clearly benefit from IMAGINiT Clarity.

Another area where Clarity helps streamline tasks is “model swapping” and management tasks. Clarity can simplify, clean up, and fix links in Revit models.

Clarity Setup

Clarity installs on a Windows server on your company’s LAN. There is also a new cloud version of Clarity that runs on Autodesk Forge. The on-premises server version is what Mason characterizes as lightweight enterprise software.

Clarity for Revit

Image 02 — Clarity provides several tools for BIM model metrics, optimizations and performance advisory reports. These ensure optimal performance of the Revit model in organizations.

Clarity sends its work orders to “task servers”, machines on the local network running Revit (and possibly AutoCAD). Actual Revit models or AutoCAD files may exist elsewhere, including network (LAN) folders, on a Revit server, Autodesk BIM 360, or Bentley ProjectWise. This flexibility is what appeals to Revit users. Mason said they still have many customers engaged in ProjectWise, for example, while the global pandemic has pushed many Revit companies to BIM360.

Clarity has a growing list of “targets” for its output slots. When Clarity generates these PDFs at midnight for the next morning’s meeting, the output locations not only include network (LAN), BIM360, ProjectWise, and FTP folders; they also support cloud drives like BOX, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft SharePoint, MS Teams, Procore, and BIMTrack.

During AU with the big Clarity update, the company also announced integrations with Egnyte and deeper integration with Google Docs. They also have a Bluebeam integration which they hope to have active in the near future.

Clarity for Revit - 3D Viewer

Image 03 – Clarity also includes a 3D Revit model viewer, as shown here, highlighting a wanted object in the project and providing data visualization of that object.

Clarity Cloud was launched in June this year. This fully hosted version of Clarity can automate many of the same tasks that Clarity performs on-premises. It can handle repetitive Revit, AutoCAD, and BIM 360 tasks, saving BIM coordinators hundreds of hours each year.

Clarity Cloud runs on Autodesk Forge, which Mason says is still a “relatively young” product. The on-premises version of Clarity is still a more powerful version because Forge itself has limitations on what it can do.

“The Autodesk Forge side, in terms of automation, is still early. For example, you can’t print PDFs well, which is what people want,” says Mason. “Forge is really sitting for job server machines that are on-premises,” he adds, “and the benefit of those machines is that you know the hardware, you know what they’re capable of and how they work because they’re just like your production workstations.

Some small and medium-sized customers may prefer Clarity Cloud, a solution that offers a pay-as-you-go model while eliminating upfront hardware and IT costs. As Forge matures and its features and tasks are enhanced, the cloud version may offer new advantages over the on-premises version.

next page: Spatial programming module