How does Modelo redefine the standard of Project Delivery

This months marks the two year anniversary of Modelo’s first product Modelo DAM (Digital Asset Management), which was launched out of beta at the AIA convention in April 2017.

In just two years DAM has achieved record-high usage, as of this month, we have:

Thanks to our strategic partners, our users and our community members, Modelo DAM has achieved the following progress:

Let our users tell their story of using Modelo and how it has improved their communication and workflow efficiency:

In just two years time Modelo has grown from a single-product start-up to a SaaS company that provides tailored and data-centric solutions serving the entire building cycle from design, construction, to facility managment. Our customer base has expanded into all stake-holders in the building industry from investment, design, construction, to facility magement, and our products cover integrated design asset management, to BIM, BI and AI technologies. Here is Modelo’s current product roadmap.

View Revit Files Online

View BIM properties and elements from Revit in 3D

How do you view a Revit file if you don’t have Revit installed on your computer? Or when you don’t have the correct version of Revit installed. Look no further, Modelo’s new support for Revit will save you thousands of dollars every year on maintaining Revit licenses.

Simply drag and drop your Revit files into Modelo’s upload window, you would be able to view the 3D design and all the 3D element’s BIM information right in your browser.

You can search families and types. The searched elements will be highlights to give you a quick count of the items.

Revit BIM data to Excel

There are many ways to download Revit schedules to excel but do you know the element properties can also be downloaded as an excel document? Having these properties downloaded into excel you can quickly make quantitative analysis that helps you make the right business decisions.

And the best part of this is – You don’t even need to maintain a Revit license to do it! Simply upload the file to Modelo, and we will convert the 3D file into a data sheet that can be downloaded with a simple click. No installation required, no Revit license required.  You can save thousands of dollars on software licensing fees every year.

Step 1 – Drag and Drop your Revit file into Modelo, we support Revit 2015 to 2019.

Step 2 – Open Share Tool Bar and click to “Download BIM Data”.

New Features from Modelo to Improve Your Workflow: October

New Modelo Features to Improve Your Workflow

Modelo’s latest release empowers your design workflow with improvements that save you time and create efficiencies for you and your clients. These intuitive improvements include easy model re-uploading, PDF present mode, embeddable panorama images, and a metric-focused project overview page.

As a reminder, these updates will be deployed at 9:00pm (EST/UTC/GMT -5) on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017. At this time, Modelo will be unavailable for up to 30 minutes.

Introducing Modelo Light!
Modelo Studio now has a new name… Modelo Light! It will remain a streamlined presentation tool for CAD users. As a reminder, with this plan, users can creative interactive 3D presentations, share them with a simple URL link, and even hide information that’s not ready to share with stakeholders.

Embed 360º Tours and View in VR
When you customize your 3D model page to include your company logo, the branding will then carry into your embedded panorama images. This allows you to host and showcase custom tours on your website or brand your projects for presentations.

What’s more, you can not only view panorama images in VR, but now you can now virtually walk through 360º tours in VR by clicking on the orange hotspots and creating immersive tours for clients, colleagues, or contractors. Learn more by creating your first 360º tour today!

Plus, even embed or share your 360 tours or 3D models on your website with your custom branding.

Re-uploading Models
Undoubtedly, models and projects go through many different phases throughout the design process. Once you’ve shared your model with a client or colleague, there is still a chance that another version is on its way. We’ve saved you the hassle of re-uploading and recreating settings or comments.

Now you can re-upload your model to include the same comments or settings, without changing the URL link that you previously sent. Meaning, your client or colleagues can still use the same URL even when there are changes being made. If that’s not efficiency at it’s finest, we don’t know what is.

Walkthrough Settings
If you made changes on your 3D model, you can now create walkthroughs that mirror either the default settings or other settings you’ve made. With the click of a button, you can change walkthrough settings, allowing you to save even more time to spend on designing.

Project Overview Page
Keep track of your project’s lifecycle and stay on top of important files or changes. When you enter your project page, you will go directly to the overview page. Here you will find metrics about your project, such as project size, tags, and the total number of models, reviews, 360 images, and assets, keeping you in the loop more than ever.

PDF Present Mode
Marking up PDF files in the browser has been possible with Modelo for some time now. But what if you want to present a PDF with red lines to stakeholders during design reviews? Now Modelo’s PDF Present Mode offers a smooth interface that enables you to go full screen to focus solely on the PDF, and not be distracted by other tabs in the browser or the toolbar.

List and Grid View
View projects, models, assets and panoramas in a list or grid view, so it’s effortless to find the project that you’re looking for in the style you prefer.

Lastly, we wanted to let all of our users know that as of November 2, 2017, Modelo’s mobile apps will be retired. We apologize if this causes any inconvenience, however we’ve decided to dedicate our time and resources to focusing on successfully operating our web app for all Modelo users to enjoy.

4 Awesome Panorama Images of Boston Courtyards

For this post, we sent our intern, Ian, on a quest to take 360º panorama images of the nicest courtyards in the immediate Boston area. Here’s what he found!

The Boston Public Library
Built in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a gorgeous building with a beautiful courtyard. With pillars, a fountain and a statue of an angel, the courtyard is extravagant but also it is still tasteful. A wonderful place to enjoy a book and cup of coffee!

Isabella Gardner Museum
This indoor courtyard is different than the rest. With colorful flowers and multiple statues this courtyard is heavily decorated. Additionally, as you ascend up and around the museum, you can always look down on the beautiful courtyard from new heights. Relaxing, tranquil, a must visit!

The Prudential
The courtyard outside the Prudential is great for anyone looking to take a shopping break. It is an open and more urban courtyard. With a beautiful fountain and grassy area, you almost forget where you are. A great place to read a book, enjoy lunch or just get some sun.

Museum of Fine Arts
At the Museum of fine arts is a lovely courtyard. With chairs and tables it is a great place to relax after a long day of walking around the museum. Plenty of shade to relax! Pro Tip: go after 4 PM and you get into the museum for FREE!

Learn how you can start embedding panorama images just like these on your own website with Modelo. Sign up today for FREE!

How to Create BIG(Bjarke Ingels Group) Style Diagrams by Using Modelo

create a Bjarke Ingels Group style diagram in 3D in Modelo

As a former architectural designer myself, it’s common to always get attracted to these “we-don’t-know-what-to-call-them” style diagrams. One of the firms that produces such drawings is BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). Below is an example of how you can create BIG style drawings in Modelo:

Example of a complex BIG drawing

How to create a BIG style diagram in Modelo in 3D
Here is the diagram animated in Modelo

Part of the reason my Co-founder and I founded Modelo is that we wanted to save the time involved to generate these time-consuming renderings, drawings, and diagrams. I remember I used to spend hours back and forth between Rhino+Vray and Illustrator to achieve such visual effects. Thus, we started to rethink about what we can do to establish a standard visual style that’s appealing enough to be used in presentations and design reviews and easy enough so that we can focus on design, not overlay Make2D lines on top of a white Vray renderings in Illustrator. Introducing ArchitectEffect. (We’ve put together a Pinterest board for such drawings, if you are interested in contributing to this board, please contact us).

In this post, I will show you how to easily create BIG inspired diagrams in Modelo. 

First, because I don’t have the model of this diagram, I created a simplified version of it. Below is how it looks in Rhino. I separated the four different components (site-4, building body-3, inner courtyard-2 and building envelope-1) and put each of them into a unique layer so that we can easily turn them on and off in Modelo. 

Creating a BIG style diagram in Rhino for Modelo

Now if we upload this BIG inspired model to Modelo, it looks like this:

Simplified version of BIG style Diagram created in Modelo

From here, you want to open up the setting panel, turn on the ArchitectEffect, adjust the Pen Detail which controls the amount of outline that gets rendered in the scene. Adjust the Ink Contrast so that all curves have a unified color. Then turn off the shadow (since there is no shadow in the example diagram, but you can keep them on depending upon your needs) and adjust the lighting direction. After all the adjustments, click Update to save this setting as the default.

Create BIG style diagrams in Modelo and adjust settings

Now if we take a look at this model, it gets the outlines and some ambient occlusion, but not as apparent as that in the example diagram.

Update model in Modelo to make sure scale is correct

The issue is I made this model based on my assumption of the scale of a museum, as you can see from above, the sites’s width is around 90 meters. However, because the model is oversimplified, it doesn’t have the same level of geometrical complexity as BIG’s model does. And since our ambient occlusion is calculated based on real units, this model is basically too big for the AO to show up nicely. So I scaled the model down by 90%. Here is the result:

Simplified version of BIG style diagram in Modelo

You can tell the areas around the intersection of geometries are darker, and it’s pretty close to what the BIG diagram looks like. Note, the AO will look even nicer with a more detailed model. Here is a side by side comparison with BIG’s diagram, not bad, huh?

Comparison of BIG style diagram created in Modelo and BIG diagram

Now you know how to use Modelo’s ArchitectEffect to generate a BIG inspired diagram drawing. In addition, since everything in Modelo is interactive, we can explore further options. I went back to Rhino and created several more layers, like this:

Adding layers to BIG style diagram in Rhino to upload to Modelo

These new layers have the identical geometries from layer 1, 2 and 3. But are located where the building components are supposed to be. Now with this setup, after I upload the model to Modelo, I will have more layer configuration options. So I did a quick four-step setup in Modelo:

Then I selected a right camera view of my model and under each setting, I added a new 3D view:

With all these set up, I can then simply use the present option to achieve an animated diagram by circling through these four comment cards.

Below is how it looks in Modelo, try spinning the model around or zooming in.

BIG diagram By Qi Su Modelo »

After seeing how simple it is to create a BIG inspired diagram in Modelo, give it a try. Get started by creating an account today.

CAD today isn’t about design | Modelo Modelo wants to change that.

CAD today isn’t about design | Modelo Modelo wants to change that.

Since I’m an architect by training, I think people construct this stereotypical image of me using pens and paper to design magnificent, detailed buildings. Although I’d like this vision to be true, it is not. Instead, we architects intensively use computer software every day for creation. One type of software in particular is CAD (computer aided design), which you’ve probably heard of if you pursue 3D design — whether it be architecture, mechanical engineering, or industrial design.

CAD software has become a giant industry driven by design demand. But don’t get confused — even though the software is for designers, the CAD industry isn’t really about design at all. Today’s leading CAD design software was likely proposed by managers and built by software engineers. All of the necessary tools are there for designers to use, but the way in which they’re presented simply isn’t up to par with the modern aesthetic and interface. The clunky software with an overwhelming breadth of options is then sold to visually-driven designers. CAD is still widely used, but the fact is the people who are building the software are disconnected from those who are using it.

So what’s happening?

In the last several years, Sketch and InVision have developed and designed tools for graphic and web designers. Both stand out because they diverge from the old way of thinking about making software; they instead focus on producing design technology for designers. Their efforts are rooted in understanding what designers really want, what they care about, and how they work every day.

Compared to software engineers, designers pay more attention to visual details, spending hours tweaking design elements. We work with a variety of media — Moleskine notebooks, Pilot razor pens, Adobe Suite, Rhino — to give life to our ideas. We mostly prefer iOS to Android for its user experience. Our favorite colors are of the neutral orientation. We designers are fundamentally a different group of people from software engineers, so we have tremendously different work habits.

The reason is simple: designers don’t know how to build their own software, engineers do. And very few of them can share insights about design. Not to mention, understanding 3D design presents a whole new level of complexity to people not practiced in design thinking.

CAD started with Mr. Ivan Sutherland, who created “SketchPad” as he pursued his doctoral degree at MIT. His work became foundational to the formation of computer graphics, leading to the development of graphical user interface (GUI) and object-oriented programming. In his doctoral thesis, he states:

“It is our intent with this example to show what the computer can do to help us draw…”

He intended to have the machine help people, not regulate them. But the programs that grew out of Sutherland’s preliminary work often feature tools that hinder, rather than help, the design flow.

Programs like AutoCAD, Rhino, Maya are strong from the software development perspective. But these programs’ UI/UX environment is a visual catastrophe. Compare Sketch’s future-forward user experience, above, with AutoCAD’s 3D design interface.

Not that great, huh? Why does it seem like these tools don’t support designers? Well for starters, they’re overcrowded, confusing, and clunky. Only the most seasoned users can call themselves experts, priding themselves on learning to wade through the murky interface, memorizing each button and command.

How Can We Make A Change?

Making change in a well-established industry is going to be difficult. All businesses in the 3D design world depend on hefty software subscriptions, which is why the CAD software development industry is in constant demand. They are dealing with complicated users from the oldest industries, like architecture and manufacturing. There isn’t much initiative for the large 3D software developers to make great change. Once they are in the game, they will stay there and expand the breadth of their capabilities (take a look at this list of Autodesk acquisitions). Hyper-simplification of the tool is not exactly in the business model.

Yet, the ecosystem is changing. We’ve experienced so much new tech coming into the market — 3D printing, portable 3D scanning, democratized VR/AR. This is not the era when your 3D software will sell because it’s the first of its kind. The world is full of software and users are tired of choosing and switching. People need both a tool and a team of designers that really care about their needs, their workflow, and their feelings.

This attention to the work-style of designers was our primary motive when we started Modelo. The goal was to leverage design in order to express the urgent needs of our fellow 3D designers. We trust that the rise of web applications and 3D technology will bring us joy while we work together. At the end of the day, it isn’t about CAD. It’s about design, and it always will be.

Modelo’s Academic Program | Modelo for Students & Professors!

Modelo’s Academic Program Modelo for Students & Professors!

Modelo offers academic accounts for students and educators of accredited courses. 

If you’re a student or educator in an architectural or 3D design program, you will be eligible to access to the Academic version of Modelo using your “.edu” email address. This means students and educators working with 3D modeling software like Rhino, Revit, SketchUp, Vectorworks and others will be able to present their designs, share feedback, manage projects and transfer files all from a single web-based platform (works on phones and tablets too).

Did we also mention Modelo is the fastest real-time 3D rendering platform in the industry?

Why Free for Student and Academics? 

Modelo was conceived as a thesis project by founder and CEO Qi Su during his studies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. After experiencing his own difficulties sharing and presenting 3D models in both class and professionally he decided to develop a prototype to represent student projects in real-time. After a lot of hard work, we have transformed that prototype into a fully fledged software company providing 3D presentation and communication solutions to some of the world’s most renowned international architecture firms.

For a project born in the academy, we feel it’s only right to provide the service to digital-native students to help them communicate and present their designs and prepare for the professional world.

Why Now?

During the fall semester of 2015 and spring semester of 2016, Modelo was piloted with a few select academic programs. Our users found considerable success with a number of the platform’s key capabilities. Being able to communicate directly through 3D models in a browser-based environment was a big change for the professors and lecturers using the tool. For the students too, Modelo proved to be an invaluable tool.

Since that time, Modelo has come a long way. We’ve support for new formats, created new administrative user types, improved our mobile experiences, added VR with Google Cardboard, added a ton of 3D Viewer control enhancements and a whole bunch of other awesome stuff. The time is right to open the gates and see how students can use Modelo in new and experimental ways to represent their 3D designs.

Get Started

If you’re interested and would like to learn more, please reach out to Modelo’s Customer Success Manager, Phoebe Zhang at using your .edu address and provide your full name, educational institution, and proof of enrollment. More information below:

1. Send your syllabus or proof of enrollment to Phoebe Zhang at
2. Professors: send your class size and course start date and end date
3. Register for a free account first with your .edu email, then your account will be upgraded
4. Students will receive a 1 year, individual license. If you like to access Modelo’s sharing and collaboration functionality, please ask your professor to reach out to Phoebe Zhang at
5. Professors: you can set up access for your whole class, which includes access to Modelo’s collaboration and sharing functionality. Please email Phoebe Zhang at to set up a time to discuss your needs.

Only those with complete information will be answered; incomplete inquires will be ignored. We will then respond with your Modelo login credentials within 5 business days.

100 Design Manifesto Interviews Completed and Updated at Modelo Blog Series

100 Design Manifesto Interviews Completed and Updated at Modelo Blog Series

We’ve reached a milestone… 100 Design Manifestos interviews! Check out the infographic below to see what we’ve learned along the way.

We’ve enjoyed forming a community of inspiring individuals. Our goal for the next 100 Design Manifestos is to add more diversity to our series by interviewing more women and minorities.

Thank you so much to those who have participated and made this possible. We’re always looking for more people to join the conversation. Here’s to the next 100 Design Manifestos!

Modelo was proud to announce its new partnership with Pitcrit