Datasmith Direct Link Workflow

See how to export content from your design application to Twinmotion using the Datasmith Direct Link workflow.

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The Datasmith Direct Link workflow is available for Archicad, Revit, Rhino, SketchUp Pro, and Vectorworks. To use this workflow, the Datasmith Exporter plugin for your design application must be installed. For more information on design applications that support Datasmith, and where to download the plugins, see Supported Design Applications for Datasmith.

You can use the Datasmith Direct Link workflow to import 3D scenes and assets from your design application into Twinmotion while retaining group hierarchy and organization, components, objects, and materials.

Multiple Direct Links can be created, allowing you to import and mix and match files from different applications such as: Archicad, Revit, Rhino, SketchUp Pro, and Vectorworks into one Twinmotion project.

Only one Direct Link per design application file can be established.

The Direct Link functionality of the plugins also lets you synchronize the files between your design applications and Twinmotion with a single click.

Once you have created a Direct Link, you can use the Direct Link Auto Sync feature in the Datasmith Exporter toolbar to enable or disable automatic synchronization between your design application and Twinmotion.

The Direct Link Auto Sync feature is currently available for Archicad, SketchUp Pro, and Rhino.

  1. In your design application, open the scene that you want to use to set up a Datasmith Direct Link.

  2. In Twinmotion, click Import.

  3. In the Import window, select the Direct Link tab.

    direct-link-workflow-direct-link-tab.png

    The filename of the scene from your design application appears in the Direct Link settings source field.

    If you have more than one design application open, all of the filenames of the scenes that are open appear in the Direct Link settings source dropdown. If this is the case, select the scene that you want to use.

  4. Click Options, and select your Datasmith Direct Link importing options. For more information about the importing options, see Import Options below.

    direct-link-workflow-options.png

  5. Click Import.

  6. In your design application, on the Datasmith Direct Link toolbar, click Synchronize with Direct Link. The Direct Link synchronization process starts, and the scene from your design application opens in Twinmotion.

    The time required for the synchronization process varies depending on the amount and complexity of the data that is being synchronized.

Import Options

Option

Description

Collapse

Keep hierarchy

Select this option to retain the same geometry hierarchy that is used in your source file. In Twinmotion, all objects will be separate and have their own pivot point, so you can move and manipulate them independently. When you select this option, you can also view BIM information for each element in your scene.

This option is useful if you want to create phasings. All objects inside your scene will be separate, making it possible to hide and show them as needed.

Retaining hierarchy is also useful if your scene contains dummy objects that need to be replaced by Twinmotion objects, as you will need each object to be separate.

Note: Although keeping the hierarchy is sometimes necessary, selecting this option will increase the size of your scene in Twinmotion.

Collapse by material

This is the recommended option and is selected by default.

This option optimizes the model for real-time rendering, as it reduces the number of objects that are imported into Twinmotion — all objects that use the same material are collapsed into one single group. If a material is modified on any of the objects in the group, it will also be modified on all objects in the group.

Collapse all

Select this option to import objects or scenes as a whole. In Twinmotion, the entire object or scene will be grouped as one element and controlled by one pivot point only, making it easier to move, select, or delete, or to save in the User Library.

Enable substitution

Select this option if you want to enable material substitution. When importing or reimporting scenes, this option enables you to replace any material that is used in your source file with a Twinmotion material. The material substitutions are defined in a .csv file. This can be useful if your scene contains many objects and you want to simplify material changes by being able to apply the same material to many objects.

Note: This option can be used with any of the Collapse options.

Substitution table

The .csv file that defines the material substitutions that you want to make when importing or reimporting a scene.

By default, the .csv file is located in C:\Users[user name]\Documents\Twinmotion[2022.1].

Using the Direct Link Auto Sync Feature

To use the Direct Link Auto Sync feature, you must have both your design application and Twinmotion open, with a Datasmith Direct Link set up between them.

  • Click the Direct Link Auto Sync button in the Datasmith Exporter toolbar.

    In Archicad and SketchUp Pro, the background of the button switches to light blue when enabled.

    In Rhino, the appearance of the button remains the same when enabled or disabled. You can verify the status of the Direct Link Auto Sync feature in the command history window.

    Enabled

    Disabled

    Archicad and SketchUp Pro

    autosync-icon-on.png

    autosync-icon-off.png

    Rhino

    autosync-rhino-enabled.png

    autosync-rhino-disabled.png

Updating a Scene in Twinmotion

  1. Open your design application and the scene that you want to import.

  2. In Twinmotion, open the scene that you want to update.

    If the file name and location of the scene has not changed,

    Twinmotion automatically establishes a connection between the scene in Twinmotion and the scene in your design application.

    If the file name and location has changed,

    a broken link icon appears on the file name in the Import dock. If this occurs, click the ellipsis (...) above the file in the dock, and in the menu, select Direct Link Settings to locate the file.

  3. In the Import dock, point your cursor above the scene, and click the Refresh icon.

    The Direct Link feature updates the scene in Twinmotion with any changes that were made to the scene in your design application.

If you have made changes to materials or objects, or have deleted objects, you can reimport the original settings for these items only from your source file instead of doing a full reimport. In the Import dock, point your cursor above the scene icon, and select Reset transform on selection, Reset materials on selection, or Reimport deleted objects.

Note that if the link between your source file and Twinmotion is broken, you need to re-establish the link before selecting one of the options.

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