This is the last of my three blog posts explaining the Forge business model. The three posts are:
- How to Access Forge
- Forge and Cloud Credits
- What does each Forge API cost? (This post)
So let’s get going and look at the Forge API line-up to see what (if anything) each API costs.
There are four specific API endpoints that incur a consumption charge when you call them.
Model Derivative API
The Model Derivative API allows you to ‘translate’ models from one format to another, and to access data that has been extracted from the model. The Model Derivative API requires a Forge subscription (or Trial). There is one endpoint that incurs a consumption cost:
No other Model Derivative endpoint incurs a charge, but they all require a Forge subscription (or Trial).
This is the endpoint that translates a model from one format to another (and is most commonly used to convert a model to SVF in order to render it in the Forge Viewer). The consumption cost for this endpoint is:
- 1.5 CCs to process a Revit or Navisworks model to any other format.
- 0.2 CCs to process any other file format.
The cost is per model, which means that a multi-file model (e.g. an Inventor assembly and all the part files) only counts as a single job. (So that entire Inventor model will only cost 0.2 CCs to process). There is no charge for failed jobs. The cost is also independent of file size. A 1MB model costs the same to process as a 1GB model, so the best way to estimate the cost is to estimate how many models and of what type you intend to process.
Design Automation API
The Design Automation API allows you to run ‘headless’ versions of Autodesk desktop products in the cloud, into which you can load your add-ins (with the UI stripped out) in order to perform batch automation tasks. Currently supported products are Inventor, Revit, 3DS Max and AutoCAD. There are two endpoint that incur a consumption cost:
These APIs set a task running on the Forge server. No other Design Automation endpoint incurs a charge, but they all require a Forge subscription (or Trial).
Because this API allows you to run your own add-in ‘in the cloud’, a single API call could result in a task that lasts 1 second or 1 hour. Therefore, the consumption for this API is charged on the amount of processor time on the server that your task takes – this is the time from when a task starts uploading files to when is has finished downloading your results. There is no charge for failed tasks. The consumption costs are:
- 4 CCs per hour of processing time for AutoCAD.
- 6 CC per hour of processing time for Revit, Inventor and 3DS Max.
A good way to make an initial estimate of the cost of using this API is to time how long the same operation takes with the same add-in running on a desktop copy of Revit, Inventor, 3DS Max or AutoCAD. I recommend you also ready this excellent blog post by Adam Nagy and Augusto Goncalves that provides additional information to help you estimate your Design Automation API costs.
Reality Capture API
The Reality Capture API is a photogrammetry API - it allows you to convert a set of photos of an object into a 3D mesh. There is one endpoint that incurs a consumption cost:
No other Reality Capture API incurs a charge, but all require a Forge subscription (or Trial). There is no charge for failed jobs.
The consumption cost for this API is 3.5 CCs per gigapixel processed, so you can easily calculate the cost of calling this API from knowing how many photos and at what resolution you plan to process.
There is no consumption charge for any endpoint other than those described above. However, some of them require that you purchase a Forge subscription (or add Forge to your EBA contract) in order to use them.
In order to call any Forge API, you first need to authenticate your application so that the Forge service knows you are a legitimate user. In the case of 3-legged authentication, this also allows a BIM 360 Docs, Fusion 360 or Fusion Team user to grant your application permission to access their data.
Data Management API
The Data Management API allows you to access the Forge ‘file system’. This includes uploading files, downloading files, and listing files. There are two sub-categories of Data Management API – APIs to access files in a Project Hub (files stored in BIM 360 Docs, Fusion 360 or Fusion Team), and APIs that allow you to store and access files in a storage location that is private to your application (the Object Storage Service) – see here for a more detailed explanation.
Access to the Object Storage Service requires an active Forge subscription (or Trial). The other Data Management APIs are available to use at no additional cost with a BIM 360 Docs, Fusion 360 or Fusion Team subscription.
The WebHooks APIs allow your application to subscribe to event notifications. For example, your application can ask to be notified when a new file is uploaded to a folder in BIM 360 Docs. It is available to use at no additional cost with a BIM 360 Docs, Fusion 360 or Fusion Team subscription. Uniquely amongst Forge APIs, the WebHooks API is also used by Fusion Lifecycle
BIM 360 API
Forge includes a growing range of BIM 360 specific APIs, that are collectively (and obviously) called the BIM 360 APIs. All BIM 360 APIs are available to use at no additional cost with a BIM 360 Docs subscription (of 100 seats or more). They aren’t relevant to any other product.
The Viewer API allows you to embed a zero-client 2D/3D interactive model viewer in your web or mobile application. The Viewer API can be used at no additional cost as long as you have an active Forge subscription (or Trial). However, the Viewer requires that models be translated to a common file format (SVF) in order to display them. If you’re creating a ‘standalone’ application, then this translation is done using the Model Derivative API. Calls to the Model Derivative API consume CCs (see above). Once translated, a model can be viewed any number of times at no additional cost (as long as you maintain an active Forge subscription).
If you’re creating a BIM 360 Docs integration, then BIM 360 Docs translates all supported file formats to the SVF format so that the can be viewed using the Forge Viewer implementation inside BIM 360. So, when using BIM 360 Docs, there is no additional cost for preparing files for Viewing when those files have been uploaded by your customer to their BIM 360 Docs project. This is an important nuance of the Forge Business Model – it significantly reduces the cost of many BIM 360 Docs integrations.
Fusion 360 and Fusion Team translate models ‘on demand’, so you may have to explicitly translate models stored in these products. This will incur Model Derivative API consumption costs.
Token Flex API
The Token Flex API allows you to programmatically query your Token consumption for your EBA account. This is only relevant if your company has an EBA contract.
Do you have a question on pricing that this series didn't address? Please email me at email@example.com.