Color Mapping in SMC v9.6

A useful, though sometimes overlooked capability in Solibri Model Checker (SMC) is the use of color maps.  By default, whenever you open a model in SMC, model colors are used for components, which are likely based on the materials applied to those components in your model authoring tool.  This means that slabs of concrete appear solid grey, brick walls appear a dark red color, and windows are transparent as they would appear in real life based on those materials.

However, it may be useful to differentiate components visually by color, based on their discipline, the type of component, or what system they belong to. For example, the structural model below looks realistic, but it isn’t very easy to discern the different components:

Model Colors of a Structural Model
Model Colors of a Structural Model

Right-click the file in the model tree and click Set Color Map.  You’ll see that “Use Model Colors” is set by default, but there are many different color maps to choose from.

Setting the Color Map of a file
Setting the Color Map of a file

Select the Structural Elements.material color map.  You’ll now see the different components are colored coded by component type:

Structural Elements Color Map
Structural Elements Color Map

Right-click the file in the model tree, click Set Color Map > Color Map Editor. The color map editor will open, showing the different colors that have been set for the various components that correspond with what is seen in the 3D View:

Color Map > Structural Elements
Color Map > Structural Elements

Using the Add New Row Add New Row and Remove Selected RowsRemove Selected Rows, you can add and remove rows for components and set their colors by double clicking in the color cell. For example, we can remove all rows except Beams and Columns, add an additional row for Assembly components, and set all three components to display red.  We then add a last row for ‘Any’ other component that has a grey 75% transparent color as shown below:

Color Map > Structural Elements Edited
Color Map > Structural Elements Edited

Upon clicking OK, you’ll now see the beams, columns, and assemblies highlighted in red as specified in the Color Map Editor:

Edited Structural Elements Color Map
Edited Structural Elements Color Map

In addition to what the component is, you can also specify colors in the Color Map Editor based on the Type property or System property of the component.  Below is a screenshot of an MEP model with model colors applied.  It is hard to differentiate the plumbing from HVAC, and all the various systems look the same:

MEP Model with Model Colors Applied
MEP Model with Model Colors Applied

By creating a new color map for plumbing based on the system names found in Revit, we can create a new color map that will display very similarly to a color coded view of plumbing in Revit.  To do this, we’ve specified the corresponding system names in the Type/System column based on the default plumbing system names found in Revit, colored them accordingly, and added a final row to make ‘Any’ component not already colored based on their system appear transparent grey:

Color Map Editor > Revit Plumbing
Color Map Editor > Revit Plumbing

With the color map applied, the plumbing stands out in the 3D View differentiated by system:

Revit Plumbing Color Map Applied
Revit Plumbing Color Map Applied

This same method can be used to create an HVAC color map in the Color Map Editor:

Color Map Editor > Revit HVAC
Color Map Editor > Revit HVAC

With the color map applied the HVAC stands out in the 3D View differentiated by system:

Revit HVAC Color Map Applied
Revit HVAC Color Map Applied

More information on the Color Map Editor can be found in the online SMC Help: Help > Color Map Editor

Color Maps can be applied to models based on their discipline at the time they are opened, through the settings option in SMC.

Click File > Settings > Discipline and Color Map… > Discipline to Color Mapping.

A dialog will open that maps disciplines of files to different color maps.  By default, the disciplines are set to various color maps; however, the Use Model Colors checkbox is marked, which is why model colors are used:

Discipline to Color Mapping
Discipline to Color Mapping

More information on Discipline and Color Map settings can be found in the online SMC Help: Help > Discipline and Color Map

You can download the Revit Plumbing and Revit HVAC color maps from the examples above through the following links:

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Color Mapping in SMC v9.6

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