When starting a new project there are two methods for bringing 3D models into SYNCHRO 4D Pro:
Starting from 2022 (v6.5.1), it is possible to create and import 3D objects and models directly in SYNCHRO 4D Pro even if initial set up is through iModel connections (method 2), and it is possible to have a "hybrid" model. Prior to 184.108.40.206 and earlier versions, the two methods are mutually exclusive.
The method to be used on the project must be chosen when the project is first set up and will be used for the duration of the project. Therefore, it is important to understand the alternate methods in order to make the best decision for your project.
Method 1: Traditional 3D imports in 4D Pro.
After setting up the 4D project in SYNCHRO Control, user opens the project in SYNCHRO 4D Pro and selects File> Import to import 3D, IFC, or Synchro Project (.sp and .spx). The 3D importers support an extensive list of file types including .dgn and .i.dgn, .dwf and .dwfx, .fbx, and .skp. The full list of file types that can be imported can be found here. The Synchro Pro plugins also allow export from MicroStation (.dgn and .i.dgn), Revit (.rvt), and Navisworks (.nwf, .nwc) to .spx which can be imported to SYNCHRO 4D Pro using File>Import>Synchro Project. It is possible to import from files stored locally or in ProjectWise.
When multiple models are imported, their location can be edited after import if needed to create a federated model (although it is preferable to do this in the model source program). After import to SYNCHRO 4D Pro, the models are automatically synchronized to the connected iModel so that they are available to other SYNCHRO 4D Pro users as well as in SYNCHRO Control and SYNCHRO Field.
When the source models are updated, the model should be re-saved or exported in the same file format as used to import it and then synchronized from by going to Navigator>External Data in SYNCHRO 4D Pro. Synchronization is performed on-demand by the user.
When this method is chosen, users may also import equipment and logistics models from the SYNCHRO equipment library or another source. Simple objects (box, cylinder, sphere and polygon extrusion) can be modelled in SYNCHRO 4D Pro, for example to represent temporary objects and material laydown zones. Translucent workspace objects can be modelled from the bounding boxes of 3D objects to help with workspace planning.
All objects imported, created, and edited in SYNCHRO Pro are synchronized to the iModel
When this method is chosen, users perform all import and synchronization of 3D models in SYNCHRO 4D Pro (desktop). After the initial set-up in SYNCHRO Control, there is no requirement to return to SYNCHRO Control (except to manage users/permissions). Of course, users may wish to access all the additional rich project management and 4D review features available in Control, but they don’t strictly need to access Control to perform the 4D planning work.
Method 2: Create iModel by using iTwin Connections
If you are already working with Bentley iModels, or are interested to leverage the iModel technology, you can use one of the workflows below to bridge into iModel. After the iModel is created in a Control project with 4D Scheduling service enabled, you have two choices for how to add the 3D models to the iModel. The two methods can be used interchangeably:
If your project models are authored primarily in native Bentley products (e.g. MicroStation, OpenRoads) iTwin Connections may be a good choice for your project. iTwin Connections provide better support than SYNCHRO 4D Pro importers for native Bentley products: higher fidelity of User Field data and possibility for quicker turn-around on improvements. Bentley iModel bridges also offer SYNCHRO users the option to bridge in .vue format without having to be passed through another product (i.e. Navisworks) as was required in the past to import .vue files to SYNCHRO Pro; for .vue files the best practice is to use the web iModel Connections (not desktop iTwin Synchronizer or SYNCHRO Navisworks plugin). The Connections also support Revit (.rvt) files and IFC among others. A full list of supported applications and file formats can be found here
After the model is bridged into the iModel using the web Connections or desktop iTwin Synchronizer app and the iModel is set up as a 4D collaboration project in Control, the project can be opened in 4D Pro and the schedule can be added or imported as usual.
If the geometry source is from iModel Connections, the following features are re-enabled in SYNCHRO 4D Pro 2022 (v6.5.1) but disabled in 4D Pro in versions prior to 220.127.116.11:
This means that it is now possible to set up the iModel via iModel connectors and import/ create/ edit 3D objects or models directly in SYNCHRO 4D Pro, to have a "hybrid" model. ALL geometry modifications MUST respect how they were created in the first place, i.e. if the 3D objects and models were bridged through iModel connectors, all subsequent changes must be synchronized through iModel connectors; if the 3D objects and models were imported to 4D Pro, all subsequent changes must be synchronised from 4D Pro.
This means that adding equipment, temporary objects, and workspaces can happen in 4D Pro and they will append to the original iModel.
If source of 3D is from iModel bridges, users must always stay connected to the project and offline changes cannot be merged by reuploading an .sp to Control. [A workaround may be possible in a case by case scenario.]
When the models are updated, synchronization are performed via the iTwin Connections or Synchronizer app. These tools have the added benefit of allowing you to schedule model synchronization of model updates on a regular basis. Compared to the traditional method of on-demand synchronization in SYNCHRO 4D Pro when the model source is via the 3D Importers in 4D Pro, using the iModel Connections feature to schedule synchronization means that you can ensure that the 3D model is being regularly updated to the latest, can schedule it for out of office hours to ensure it does not interrupt other users work waiting for the new models to download, and you will save time since you no longer need to perform the synchronization on demand and wait for it to complete.
Detailed directions for setting up the iModel using the instant-on iTwin Connections with Control are here
More details on the different ways to sync your data to an iModel can be found here
A comparison of the 2 workflows is below:
in 4D Pro (desktop)
(web or desktop)
Models can be imported from local storage or from ProjectWise
Use web Connections for models stored in SYNCHRO Control or ProjectWise for
Use iTwin Synchronizer desktop app for models stored locally
Add 3D models
Import files directly in SYNCHRO 4D Pro. Over 50 file types supported.
Bridge model files into the iModel using iTwin Connections online (accessible via SYNCHRO Control)
Synchronize model updates
Manually synchronize each file in the SYNCHRO 4D Pro UI on demand
Schedule automatic synchronizations of the latest model files in the specified model storage location or synchronize on demand using iTwin Connections online (accessible via SYNCHRO Control)
Equipment & Logistics models
Can be downloaded from SYNCHRO equipment library
Import directly to 4D Pro in the same was any 3D model
Bridge into the iModel using iTwin Connections online (accessible via SYNCHRO Control). 3D Importers are only enabled in v6.5.1 and newer. They are disabled in 4D Pro when iModel is the source of 3D in all versions prior to 18.104.22.168.
If created in the source model, can be imported directly to 4D Pro.
SYNCHRO Workspace objects can be created in 4D Pro from the bounding boxes of 3D objects or by extrusion
If created in the source model, Bridge model files into the iModel using iTwin Connections online (accessible via SYNCHRO Control)
Create Workspace tools are only enabled in v6.5.1 and newer. They are disabled in 4D Pro when iModel is the source of 3D in all versions prior to 22.214.171.124.
Subdivisions can be performed in SYNCHRO 4D Pro after import or can be created in the source program before import/synchronization
SYNCHRO Modeler cannot be used with projects where 3D importers in SYNCHRO 4D Pro are used
Subdivisions must be performed in the source model or in SYNCHRO Modeler which is included with the SYNCHRO 4D license.
3D Subdivision is only enabled in v6.5.1 and newer. They are disabled in 4D Pro when iModel is the source of 3D in all versions prior to 126.96.36.199.
After import, it is possible to edit the color, translation, rotation, and scale of 3D objects in SYNCHRO 4D Pro
The assigned translation, rotation, and scale of 3D resources can be edited
Model edits to geometry that came from iModel connectors must be performed in the source model program.
Model edits to geometry created or imported in 4D Pro can use the Edit Manipulators even if iModel is the source of 3D, this is only available in v6.5.1 and newer. All model edits was disabled in 4D Pro when iModel is the source of 3D in all versions prior to 188.8.131.52.
The assigned translation, rotation, and scale of 3D resources can be edited in SYNCHRO 4D Pro. Edit as Assigned manipulators are available – these affect only the transformation of the 3D resources during the assigned task(s)
Create basic geometry
Simple geometry can be modelled in 4D Pro: sphere, cylinder, box, extrusion, text, textured plane
All new geometry must be added in the source model program. Create tools (sphere, cylinder, box, extrusion, text, textured plane) only enabled in v6.5.1 and newer. They are disabled in 4D Pro when iModel is the source of 3D in all versions prior to 184.108.40.206.
No matter which method you decide to use for your project, any additional model imports and all subsequent synchronization of models will need to follow the initial setup method. If 3D importers in SYNCHRO 4D Pro are used, all subsequent imports and synchronization will need to be performed within 4D Pro using the traditional 3D imports in 4D Pro’s UI. If iTwin Connections are used, all subsequent imports and synchronizations need to be performed using the iTwin Synchronizer app or web-based iTwin Connections. Therefore, it is important to consider up front which method will be best for your project
NEXT: Setting up a 4D Project in SYNCHRO Control