Navisworks Rendering vs. Shading

This blog post was originally written for the Cn3D Construction blog. Cn3D Construction is now a U.S. CAD company, so please check back here at for more written articles by Jennifer Lanzetti and our new U.S. CAD Utah team.

Although the rendering option in Navisworks continues to improve, many of us want basic colors for our 3D Spatial Coordination and other useful tools. Many owners are dictating what colors they want model objects to be, to improve communication during design review and other important meetings.

For instance, these are the colors according to a popular BIM Management Plan:

  • Architecture: White
  • Structural Steel: Maroon
  • Concrete: Gray
  • HVAC Equipment: Gold
  • HVAC Supply Duct/Diffuser: Blue
  • HVAC Return Duct/Diffuser: Magenta
  • HVAC Pipe: Gold
  • Electrical Equipment: Dark Yellow
  • Electrical Conduits: Light Yellow
  • Communication Conduit: Light Blue
  • Electrical Cable Tray: Dark Orange
  • Electrical Lighting: Yellow
  • Plumbing Water: Cyan
  • Plumbing Sewer: Magenta
  • Plumbing Storm Drain: Green
  • Fire Protection: Red
  • Pneumatic Tube: Dark Green
  • Equipment(Medical):LightGreen
  • Medical Gas: Light Green
  • Security Systems: Orange
  • Fire Alarm: Fuchsia
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Improvement means change, and change often means moving buttons and commands. For those having trouble coloring their models, follow this sequence:

1. Append your models together, in render mode it will look similar to this:

render mode model blog

2. Set up your sets
3. Set up your Appearance Profile according to the owner’s or your company preference.

appearance profile blog

4. Go to the Viewpoint tab, the Render Style ribbon section, select the Mode drop-down arrow and pick ‘Shaded’.

shaded mode blog

5. Voila, your model colors are correct.

shade mode model blog

6. Remember to export out your clash batch tests and sets (xml file) and your appearance profile (dat file) so you can use them on all your projects.

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