There are different methods of installation, depending on your situation.
Unstable installation is recommended for power users helping with testing.
Bundling for Blender is recommended for distributing the add-on.
Live development environment is recommended for developers who are actively coding.
Packaged installation is recommended for those who use a package manager.
Unstable installation is almost the same as Stable installation, except that they are typically updated every day. Simply download a daily build from the Github releases page, then follow the same instructions as the Stable installation.
You will need to choose which build to download.
If you are on Blender >=3.1, choose py310
If you are on Blender >=2.93 and <3.1, choose py39
If you are on Blender <2.93, choose py37
macosm1(for Apple M1 devices), or
windepending on your operating system
Sometimes, a build may be delayed, or contain broken code. We try to avoid this, but it happens.
Bundling for Blender#
Instead of waiting for an official release on the BlenderBIM Add-on website, it is possible to make your own Blender add-on from the bleeding edge source code of BlenderBIM. BlenderBIM is coded in Python and doesn’t require any compilation, so this is a relatively easy process.
Note that the BlenderBIM Add-on does depend on IfcOpenShell, and IfcOpenShell does require compilation. The following instructions will use a pre-built IfcOpenShell (using an IfcOpenBot build) for convenience. Instructions on how to compile IfcOpenShell is out of scope of this document.
You can create your own package by using the Makefile as shown below. You can
choose between a
You can choose between a
$ cd src/blenderbim $ make dist PLATFORM=linux PYVERSION=py310 $ ls dist/
This will give you a fully packaged Blender add-on zip that you can distribute and install.
Live development environment#
One option for developers who want to actively develop from source is to follow the instructions from Bundling for Blender. However, creating a build, uninstalling the old add-on, and installing a new build is a slow process. Although it works, it is very slow, so we do not recommend it.
A more rapid approach is to follow the Unstable installation method, as this provides all dependencies for you out of the box.
Once you’ve done this, you can replace certain Python files that tend to be
updated frequently with those from the Git repository. We’re going to use
symlinks (Windows users can use
mklink), so we can code in our Git
repository, and see the changes in our Blender installation (you will need to
restart Blender to see changes).
For Linux or Mac:
$ git clone https://github.com/IfcOpenShell/IfcOpenShell.git $ cd IfcOpenShell # Remove the Blender add-on Python code $ rm -r /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/core/ $ rm -r /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/tool/ $ rm -r /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/bim/ # Replace them with links to the Git repository $ ln -s src/blenderbim/blenderbim/core /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/core $ ln -s src/blenderbim/blenderbim/tool /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/tool $ ln -s src/blenderbim/blenderbim/bim /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/bim # Remove the IfcOpenShell dependency Python code $ rm -r /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/libs/site/packages/ifcopenshell/api $ rm -r /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/libs/site/packages/ifcopenshell/util # Replace them with links to the Git repository $ ln -s src/ifcopenshell-python/ifcopenshell/api /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/libs/site/packages/ifcopenshell/api $ ln -s src/ifcopenshell-python/ifcopenshell/util /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/libs/site/packages/ifcopenshell/util # Manually download some third party dependencies $ cd /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/bim/data/gantt $ wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jsGanttImproved/jsgantt-improved/master/dist/jsgantt.js $ wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jsGanttImproved/jsgantt-improved/master/dist/jsgantt.css $ cd /path/to/blender/X.XX/scripts/addons/blenderbim/bim/schema $ wget https://github.com/BrickSchema/Brick/releases/download/nightly/Brick.ttl
Or, if you’re on Windows, you can use the batch script below. Before running it follow the instructions descibed after rem tags.
@echo off rem SETUP BLENDER-BIM LIVE DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT rem Setup blenderbim addon location below (probably just need to change "x.x" for your Blender version). rem Put the script to the folder where IfcOpenShell git repository is located rem (script will try to clone IfcOpenShell.git if it's not present). SET blenderbim=%appdata%\Blender Foundation\Blender\x.x\scripts\addons\blenderbim git clone https://github.com/IfcOpenShell/IfcOpenShell.git cd IfcOpenShell echo Removing the Blender add-on Python code... rd /S /Q "%blenderbim%\core\" rd /S /Q "%blenderbim%\tool\" rd /S /Q "%blenderbim%\bim\" echo Replacing them with links to the Git repository... mklink /D "%blenderbim%\core" "%cd%\src\blenderbim\blenderbim\core" mklink /D "%blenderbim%\tool" "%cd%\src\blenderbim\blenderbim\tool" mklink /D "%blenderbim%\bim" "%cd%\src\blenderbim\blenderbim\bim" echo Remove the IfcOpenShell dependency Python code... rd /S /Q "%blenderbim%\libs\site\packages\ifcopenshell\api" rd /S /Q "%blenderbim%\libs\site\packages\ifcopenshell\util" echo Replacing them with links to the Git repository... mklink /D "%blenderbim%\libs\site\packages\ifcopenshell\api" "%cd%\src\ifcopenshell-python\ifcopenshell\api" mklink /D "%blenderbim%\libs\site\packages\ifcopenshell\util" "%cd%\src\ifcopenshell-python\ifcopenshell\util" echo Manually downloading some third party dependencies... curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jsGanttImproved/jsgantt-improved/master/dist/jsgantt.js -o "%blenderbim%\bim\data\gantt\jsgantt.js" curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jsGanttImproved/jsgantt-improved/master/dist/jsgantt.css -o "%blenderbim%\bim\data\gantt\jsgantt.css" curl -L https://github.com/BrickSchema/Brick/releases/download/nightly/Brick.ttl -o "%blenderbim%\bim\schema\Brick.ttl" pause
After you modify your code in the Git repository, you will need to restart Blender for the changes to take effect.
The downside with this approach is that if a new dependency is added, or a compiled dependency version requirement has changed, or the build system changes, you’ll need to fix your setup manually. But this is relatively rare. Reviewing the Makefile history, here, is one quick way to see if a dependency has changed.
There is a useful Blender Addon (see forum thread) that adds a Reboot button in File menu. In this way, it’s possible to directly restart Blender and test the modified source code. There is also a VS Code add-on called Blender Development that has a similar functionality.
Arch Linux: Direct from Git.
Chocolatey on Windows: Unstable.
Tips for package managers#
If you are interested in packaging the BlenderBIM Add-on for a packaging manager, read on.
The BlenderBIM Add-on is fully contained in the
blenderbim/ subfolder of the
Blender add-ons directory. This is typically distributed as a zipfile as per
Blender add-on conventions. Within this folder, you’ll find the following file
core/ (Blender agnostic core code) tool/ (Blender specific logic) bim/ (Blender specific UI) libs/ (dependencies) __init__.py
This corresponds to the structure found in the source code here.
The BlenderBIM Add-on is complex, and requires many dependencies, including Python modules, binaries, and static assets. When packaged for users, these dependencies are bundled with the add-on for convenience.
If you choose to install the BlenderBIM Add-on and use your own system dependencies, the source of truth for how dependencies are bundled are found in the Makefile.
Required Python modules to be stored in
ifcopenshell bcf ifcclash bimtester ifccobie ifcdiff ifccsv ifcpatch ifcp6 pystache svgwrite dateutil isodate networkx https://github.com/Andrej730/aud/archive/refs/heads/master-reduced-size.zip deepdiff jsonpickle ordered_set pyparsing xmlschema elementpath six lark-parser hppfcl behave parse parse_type xlsxwriter odfpy defusedxml boto3 botocore jmespath s3transfer ifcjson
ifcopenshellalmost always requires the latest version due to the fast paced nature of the add-on development.
ifcjsoncan be found here.
Required static assets are:
bim/data/gantt/jsgantt.js (from jsgantt-improved) bim/data/gantt/jsgantt.css (from jsgantt-improved)