Since 2016 BIMx Desktop Viewer is not tightly connected to the latest version of ARCHICAD but is an independent desktop application for viewing ARCHICAD models. It is free to use for anyone, available to download here.
Usually the architect prepares their design model for the client with ARCHICAD and the client can review it in BIMx Desktop Viewer application. As they view the model they can choose between a few viewer options that are easily accessible but cannot further modify or save the file. All important and often used settings options have been migrated to ARCHICAD or are saved locally on the computer.
Please note that these settings have an effect on the model’s viewing options only on the computer where they have been saved.
Let’s see the settings in groups as they appear in the Menu structure:
- Black and white
- Simple shading
- Hidden line
- Global illumination
When the hyper-model is exported from ARCHICAD Headlight render mode will be set by default if there is no Global Illumination (GI) and the model will open with this render mode. If GI is set in ARCHICAD for the model, then Global Illumination render mode will be selected when the model is opened for viewing. Black and white render mode can be activated if GI was turned on during the export. You can read more about Black and White Models in BIMx here. These three (in bold) are the most often used render modes and these can be controlled from ARCHICAD. Black and White is more like an option of Global Illumination that you can turn on and off in the viewer. The other render modes can be selected and viewed but cannot be saved in BIMx.
These can also be set in ARCHICAD. If you wish, you can change it in BIMx Desktop Viewer but you cannot save it. It is the architect who decides which background option is best for the model.
Stereo View and SSAO
These are early VR-like viewing options you can choose in the desktop application but cannot be saved with the model since these are usually not what you want to see when you open your model.
View Cone, Camera Height, Camera Radius
These are not defined in ARCHICAD during export and can be set in BIMx Desktop Viewer. These settings are stored in a configuration file named BIMx_Config.conf. If necessary you can modify the settings in the config file. It’s location is:
- on Windows: C:\Users\Username\Documents\BIMx
- on macOS: System drive/Users/<username>/Documents/BIMx
Once you have set these, the values are stored and the application will open with the set values next time.
Speed, Mouse Sensitivity, Mouse Invert
These settings can only be controlled in BIMx Desktop Viewer by the individual viewing the model. These cannot be preset by the architect and cannot be stored in the model since the client most probably has a different level of experience in navigating in the model. A certain speed can be too fast for someone while the same speed can be too slow for somebody else.
- Feet and Fractional Inches
- Decimal Feet
The Units setting follows what is defined in the operating system of your computer.
On Windows: Control Panel > Region > Location and Formats > Additional Settings > Measurement system
Note: BIMx Desktop Viewer is unable to detect the Measurement system setting on Windows due to an error. It will always open with Units set to Metric. You can change this in the application and in the configuration file. The error is planned to be fixed later.
On macOS: In System Preferences > Language & Region:
The Units setting is saved locally in the configuration file mentioned above. Once you set it, the application will open with the defined unit next time and will not follow the changes in the operating system’s Measurement settings any longer.
Sun Altitude, Sun Azimuth, Sun Brightness
The ARCHICAD view parameters are written in the BIMx file, so these are defined in ARCHICAD.
Shadows, Shadow Filtering
Since shadows can be turned on and off with just one key (F3) it is not saved in the file.
Fly Mode, Walk Mode
Files always open in fly mode ensuring a correct spot to start viewing the model from. You can switch between fly mode and walk mode by simply pressing F. Read more about the differences of these two and all the other settings in the BIMx Desktop Viewer User Guide.
Full Screen or Window?
You can decide which one is more convenient for you: BIMx Desktop Viewer can open in a window with a fixed width and height and it can open in full screen mode too. You can define this in the configuration file named BIMx_Config.conf too.
Windowed = 1 > opens in a window
Windowed = 0 > opens in full screen
You can also set the sizes of the window by defining the values of these two parameters in the same file:
You can change the language BIMx Desktop Viewer uses in Control Panel > Region > Administrative > Language for non-Unicode programs: