Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Happy Holidays, See you in 2016!!! (Christmas Gift Inside!)

My Christmas gift for 2015 is a link to a previous post I made back in mid 2014. It still remains one of the best hidden settings for Revit I have come across so far! 

Click the image to open your gift! 

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday and New year! I am itching to get stuck into my classes for 2016! 
I won't be publishing any posts for the next few weeks or so, but stay tuned as I will be preparing a few in the background! In 2016 I will be posting video using Autodesk's fantastic Screencast, posts on Dynamo & I will report back on my experience with Vray for Revit over the break! So Easy! 

Revit Room Separation Lines (in elevation views) - Wish List

I wish by default, room separation lines were turned off in sections & elevations. 

By default, these lines are cyan in colour and they are thick, so you really do need to turn them off before doing any kind of printing. 

Isn't it unusual though that these lines are even on in elevation & section to begin with? For what purpose would you need these on? You can't even use the 'Room Separator' tool in elevations & sections! 

I have this turned off in my view templates, but I still find it a bit of a nuisance, Autodesk help us out? 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Temporary View Properties (Revit Glitch)

There is a strange glitch with the ‘Temporary View Properties’ tool in Revit.  You may have noticed when in sheets, you can’t activate the tool. It is designed just for active views.

The ‘Temporary View Properties’ function introduced in 2014 is a great tool, one I use on a daily basis and therefore has warranted its own keyboard shortcut.

The tool allows you to temporarily override the properties of a view made through the visual control bar and visibility graphics. The best example I can give for using the tool is when you want to temporarily override view templates. I have also heard of it being used as an alternative to ‘working views’.

Image with view active on sheets

Image with view deactivated on sheets

When in sheets, the tools available on the visual control bar are limited to ‘Temporary Hide/Isolate’ & ‘Reveal Hidden Elements’.  As mentioned I have a shortcut assigned to this particular command though. In the past I have accidently run the command without activating the view first. When I do this, Revit throws a “Serious error has occurred…” message. The first time I did this, I had a mini panic attack, clicked ‘Yes’ and expected my Revit to crash immediately after….. but… it didn’t, and never has. 

Since then I have run the command accidently a few times and for this post did it half a dozen times deliberately in sheets just to test it, Revit never crashed.

Since by default, this tool is not supposed to be activated when not in a view, having a shortcut assigned must override this function. Revit appears to get confused and throws up a warning, but rest assured, it appears Revit is only bluffing!

Using shortcuts for the other visual control bar tools not available, does not cause the same error. 

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Revit Text Leaders (Wishlist)

Updates to the text editor in Revit has been a long standing wish. These days though, it is seen to be more of a long standing joke. (At a recent RTC event, the Autodesk rep even made a joke of it in his own presentation, while the audience laughed through gritted teeth). 

Do a search query on 'Revit Text Editor' and you're bound to come across a whole heap of discussion on the subject (99% of it is complaints aimed at Autodesk). 

Whilst I am just another Revit user with the same wish, there is one element to text and arrow leaders that is continually on my annoyance list....text leader elbows. 

When you create a text string with an arrow pointing at something you may create an elbow in that text leader. The problem though is when you want to move the text, say to justify or bring text further or closer to the detail, the leader elbow moves too! And it shouldn't!!! Then you have to go back, grab the elbow and slide it back to 90°.

When you move text up & down, the elbow moves as the line between the elbow and the arrow gets longer and shorter. Now if only they could translate that between the elbow and text for left and right movement. 

My (wishful) prediction for text editor updates in Revit is 2018..... hey, I did say wishful!

Filtering Model Lines in Revit

Unfortunately, you can’t filter model lines (or detail lines) in Revit. To be honest, I very rarely come across a situation where I actually need to perform this task, I don’t use model lines that often except in families. However for some, it is desirable and whilst you can’t filter them through the usual methods, one work around I use is to simply create ‘purpose built’ line styles.

For example, let's say you are documenting a carpark for a site plan and you are using model lines for the layout. In various other floor plans though, we may want to see these carpark lines for context, but we typically want them faded or greyed out as they are not the focus of the particular drawing. At the moment, you may selecting all these lines and applying an element override, and you may have to do this a few times. There is a better way though using Visibility Graphics. 

Start by creating the required line styles; for example, ‘Carpark-Kerbs’ & ‘Carpark-Dashed’. 

Now it is just a matter of going to the view in question and modifying these line styles in the Visibility Graphics. In this case, I have overridden the line column with a grey line colour. You could add the change to your view templates too. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

V-Ray for Revit

Exciting News! The beta version of V-Ray for Revit is here! 

Visit their website for more details and to register your copy.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Revit Structural Beam System

I discovered a new tool today, or more accurately, used an existing tool for the first time. I have to be honest, I haven't spent a great deal of time on the MEP & Structural ribbons, not sure why either, so today I thought I would have a bit of a poke around!

First on the list was the 'Structural Beam System' tool on the Structural Ribbon, found on the Structure Panel. It's a goodie! 

Simply sketch the shape of your floor and boom, instant array of floor beams! 

Once the sketch is complete, click finish. Only the beams are shown, but I have hovered my cursor over the beam so you can see the boundary of my sketch, highlighted in green above. 

So I sketched a typical 25mm yellow tongue floor on timber floor joists, completed in seconds... 

The properties provide you options for things like elevation, layout, spacing, justification and of course, the family or beam type. 

I recently modelled a ceiling with timber battens (not to mention lots of timber decks) and this tool would have really come in handy! Serves me right, you should never stop trying new tools in Revit! 

Now, what other hidden gems are on these ribbons... 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Copying Schedules in Revit

Did you know you can copy schedules in Revit from project to project? I don't mean the 'Insert from File' option under the insert ribbon, (this method is good for bulk copying) I mean literally CTRL+C / CTRL+V. 

If you like the way a schedule looks, the parameters it uses including any custom project parameters, simply place the schedule on a sheet, then use the windows based 'copy' (CTRL+C). Open your new project and paste (CTRL+V) the schedule onto a new sheet. Visit your project parameters and you will also notice it has brought them along too! Easy. 

One thing worth noting, this method will also copy over text styles, you will receive a warning if there is additional things, so read it to keep track of any unwanted standards, particularly from old projects. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Revit Schedule Naming & Schedule Titles

In Revit schedules, the name of the schedule view is often accepted as the title of the schedule, but when you have a number of schedules in your project, you may want a naming convention to set them apart.

Unlike views, schedules do not have a 'Title on sheet' parameter. This doesn't mean though, we cannot have independent naming conventions. Revit allows another method to achieve this. 

When we click in the cell of the schedules title, we can use the 'Clear Cell' formatting button to clear the cell and type a custom title, independent of the schedule name in the project browser. 

Revit Legend Views

Legend views are 'dumb'. We just need to accept this. We expect everything to synchronise in Revit, but this just isn’t the case….yet. Our expectations are perhaps a little too high when we move to Revit. We are lead to believe it is the answer to all our documentation problems.

These legend views are unique in that they allow us to duplicate them on multiple sheets. Unfortunately though, legend views cannot amongst other things, synchronise with references tags (inhibiting our ability to create for example, intelligent door and window elevation drawings).

Therefore, limit the use of these legend views for things such as general notes, stamps or office standards that very rarely change. Legend views also allow us to bring in components to the view and then annotate these components, however views of these components can also be limited. Detail line tools available to us in drafting views can be used in legend views.

There are a number of workarounds for what we wish legend views did. Using design options or phasing is the most common techniques (assemblies are also an option). Whilst not perfect, if you spend a little time refining these alternatives, they can work quite well. Also don’t forget about keynote legends and schedules.

Don't rule out tweaking your workflows a little. Revit is a tool, so make the tool work for you. If you choose to stubbornly stand your ground and say “NO, Revit should do this, it’s what I pay subscription fees for, this is BIM software, blah blah blah…” then you will remain frustrated and what should be a positive experience will remain a negative one.

I think it’s funny that many of us have gone from manually coordinating everything for years in AutoCAD to “Revit should coordinate EVERYTHING!” Well, yes, that is what they are aiming for, but for now, how about a little of both? If you know of perfect software, point me to it!

In the meantime, help out the community by visiting AUGI Wish List. Post your wishes and support others by voting. 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Understanding the Coordinate Systems in Revit

There was a time I thought I understood the Revit coordinate system. Project base points and survey points, it seemed straight forward. Then a few years ago I learnt about the 'hidden' internal coordinate system in Revit that Origin to Origin uses and I started to pay a little more attention.

The problem for me with shared coordinates is that it is not an area of Revit I use on a regular basis. I would typical mess with it at the start of a project to set up files and consultants links, then be working on the project for 6 months and forget it all. I wrote a 3 page step by step process to help and have referred to it ever since. 

Some months ago though I was troubleshooting a shared coordinates problem with a colleague. We had a consultant link not playing ball and I was getting unexpected outcomes trying to fix it. It made me realise perhaps I hadn't grasped the Revit coordinate system as well as I had thought...until now. 

I recently watched an Autodesk University presentation by David Baldacchino. You may recognise the name if you are a reader of his blog 'Do U Revit'

The presentation he gave 'Navigating through the storm using coordinate systems in Revit' is definitely worth the watch. Its full length is around 90 minutes and if you visit the link you will find handouts and resources to go with the presentation. Thanks David!! 

Revit Rendering

I get a lot of questions from my students about rendering this time of year. Fair enough, it is a complex process of material setup and asset configuration. Add in the various options to rendering quality, lighting, shadows and rendering engines available and the outcome can be a slow and sometimes confusing process. 

I myself am no rendering expert. The type of work I do in the office often doesn't give me the opportunity to play with rendering as much as I would like. There are a number of rendering tips out there though, that I often refer too and share with others. 

I have collated a handful of them (some new, some old), hopefully they can assist you in getting the best outcomes from your rendering. 

Remember, a good rendering takes a lot of hours. Ensure you allow enough time in your program to spend on materials and lighting and also decide which rendering engine you will use from the start, as outcomes will vary. Also don't forget, Revit doesn't have to have the last word on the final render. Don't hesitate to take your final render into photoshop afterwards to make any final lighting and material tweaks to improve the final image. 

Finally, if you create a good quality material or bump file, don't lose it! Start your own material library and keep materials, entourage, lighting settings etc filed away, ready for next time. 

Happy Rendering! 

Updated Family Types Dialog Box

The 'Family Types' Dialog box has been updated in Revit 2016 R2. Previously, tools displayed as text buttons. These are now icons to give us more real-estate in the dialog. As part of this change, you may notice now, you can click the modify icon for built-in family parameters. In 2015, the modify button was always grey, which sometimes caused confusion for those not in the know. 

In 2016 R2, when you click the modify, it displays a dialog box identifying it as a built-in parameter. You still cannot edit or delete this parameter, however it should make things clearer for those unsure as to why Revit won't let you modify the parameter. 

I like enhancements like this, I find in teaching, things like this help a great deal in explaining what Revit is actually doing and makes things clearer for the end user.

Revit 2015

Revit 2016 'R2'

Revit 'R2' Update

In August I posted about 'Autodesk Revit Sunrise'. It gave us a sneak peak into some of the enhancements Autodesk are working on. 

Well as many of us were hoping for, some of these enhancements have been delivered by the way of an update, 'Release 2'. The update is for subscription customers only and rather than rehash what many have already posted, I have provided a few links on what's new. 

My personal favourites so far would have to be...

  • Isolate solid voids with filter tool (finally!)
  • Family element visibility setting
  • Project browser enhancement (The smallest things are often the best)
  • Named reference planes
Global parameters is an interesting one. I will have to play with this one a little more before I give any feedback, but I can certainly see the potential. If in the future you can link it to family parameters, that could be very powerful. 


Friday, 28 August 2015

Revit Features under 'Revit Sunrise'

On 'Inside the Factory' recently, we got a preview to what is now available in Autodesk Revit Sunrise

You may have heard of Revit Sundial last year that gave us some insight to future improvements in Revit. Some of which turned up in an update shortly after 'R2'. 

Well now we have Revit Sunrise and I have to say, some of these updates got me excited! 

Let's hope some of these updates are made available in the same way they were for Revit 2015 R2...which would mean we may get some very soon, likely to subscription customers again. 

This turned up on Twitter feeds... nice View Range Dialog from Revit Sunrise. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Ironman Revit

Some days Revit just doesn't work for you. Then you get a reality check and are shown what can be achieved with a whole lot know-how, a LOT of hours and a significant amount of persistence!

This morning, that reality check came in the form of Ironman. You can head over to 'Revit Swat' to see how it was done. Impressive! 

Image: Courtesy Revit Swat Blog

Many of us have seen it before, but we can't talk about complex Revit modelling without referring to Marcello Sgambelluri's Revit Elephant. This thing isn't just a rigid model, oh no, its parametric! 

You can find more information about this crazy elephant at Buildz blog. You will also find a stop motion animation of it moving!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Australasian Revit Technology Conference 2015

I am going! Are you?! The Australasian Revit Technology Conference on May 14 -16. 

I can't wait, very much looking forward to this year, as last year I was only able to attend the one day in Melbourne. This year though, I am up to the Gold Coast for 3 days to absorb as much as I can about what the latest news and techniques are in Revit & Building Information Modelling. 

If you haven't registered yet, its not too late. Registrations close on May 8. The schedule has also been updated as of late last week. Quite a number of changes as a matter of fact and some repeat classes too, probably due to popularity and a lengthy waiting list. 

I'll be sure to give a report when I get back on some of my favourite sessions. 

Latest on Revit 2016

Blogs listing everything new about Revit 2016 has been much slower this year. Not sure why? Maybe because there wasn't many updates reported by Autodesk on release? 

Well, its turning out to be a 'hide and seek' affair. Steve at Revit Oped has been posting a number of blogs lately finding all sorts of hidden items not initially mentioned by Autodesk. So head on over to his blog for some of the latest...

You can find more sources of information at 'What Revit Wants'. There are even some videos here.  

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Revit 2016

The release of Revit 2016 this week means information is slowly trickling in about updates, so there doesn't appear to be any comprehensive lists as yet but Autodesk does have a few items on its website here

Yesterday, In The Fold posted a few things here as well and Chris Price over at Revit Rants has put together a nice list too with a little more explanation. 
Before you start reading though, don't get too excited. If you upgraded to R2 (subscription only update) last year and kept to date (up to release 7 now), then you have essentially seen most of what Revit 2016 will have to offer, including site designer tools. There are a few new features but from what I have read, most of the updates have been noted as performance gains and fixes. 

On the flip-side, if you have no idea what the 'R2' updates are, then you are in for a treat with Revit 2016. Many of the updates that we saw with R2 have become daily usage tools for myself, so much so, that I don't like when I am having to use non-updated versions or 2014.  

As for the rest of us, we will have to wait and see, I will keep in touch with the usual blogs and post links as more info pops up over the next week or so. 

p.s. Autodesk's website also has a comparison between Revit & LT here.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Blogs; what I am reading.

You can't write about Revit blogs without mentioning Revit Oped by Steve Stafford. Steve's blog is infamous within the Revit community and he is a regular presenter at RTC with 'What's new' in latest releases.
It's updated regularly and the information is always educational and of great quality. If you have read some of my blogs you will have seen a few links in the past to some of his articles.

For something old, see Revit Zone by Ian Nichols. Ian writes some really good easy to read step by step blogs about Revit. I always send beginners to this website for the fundamentals section which has blogs on things like view range, levels and design options.

This brings me to something new. Last year Ian began a new site over at BIMscape where most of his new articles will appear. So if you like Revit Zone, BIMscape will also be worth keeping in touch with.

For something different I have recently started reading The Midnight Lunch by Ceilidh Higgins. It's not always about Revit and captures design in general, however Ceilidh is an interior designer and writes from a different perspective, hence why it peaked my interest.

Practical BIM by Anthony McPhee is another blog I enjoy reading. Anthony's blogs are often about discussion in practically applying BIM in the real world of design offices. His articles have sometimes caused some debate over at LinkedIn, but I think that's the point. Afterall, discussion and debate on relevant topics can breed new ideas and our approach to BIM and its use in the industry.

Other rated blogs I keep in touch with worth mentioning: In no particular order....

What Revit Wants by Luke Johnson
The BIM Jedi (Formally The Revit Jedi) by Scott Chatterton
The Revit Kid by Jeffrey Pinheiro
Revit Add-ons by Tim Grimm
The Revit Geek by Brian Mackey

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Creating a Basic Window Family

I am asked often how to go about creating a basic family. I created a 2 part video last year for a colleague who was learning Revit. They wanted to know how to build a basic window family. See below for the method I use when creating this family. Over the next few months, I may expand on this example and slowly build varying complexity into the same family. 

Creating a Basic Window: Part 1 (Geometry)

Creating a Basic Window: Part 2 (Materials)

Video's created by Damien Ferlazzo.
Drawing Technologies

Revit Schedules: Grouping Headers

We can group headers in Revit schedules to create a new header above. It would look something like the image below.
Example 1
To do this, select multiple header cells > Group (from the Titles & Headers panel). This will create an empty cell above the selected cells that will allow you to type any text. Some examples can be seen below.

Group Headers

Example 2

Example 3

To remove the group header, select the cell > Ungroup (from the Titles & Headers panel). 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Revit, A Step by Step Guide

If you are starting out on Revit, there is something I try and teach all my students, clients and colleagues and that is to take it slow. It sounds obvious, but it is something you really need to remind yourself of each time you use Revit because trying to use the software quickly and skipping vital steps will only lead to problems & frustrations.

Revit requires a step by step approach. Sometimes you need to do things in a certain order for it to work properly. When starting out, read all the warning messages and strange dialog boxes, and make your way through menu's top to bottom to understand all your options available to you, don't just rush to the 'APPLY' button. 

The speed will come, but your understanding of the software needs to come first. Give it 3 months, you will wonder how you ever got by on 2D CAD software. 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Virtual Reality for less than $50

I recently came across a link to the dodocase. If you haven't heard about this device, visit their website

After watching the preview and reading about what these clever cheap cardboard boxes could do I made a purchase for one. I will post again when I have had an opportunity to test them out!  

Split with Gap

Unless you do a lot of work with precast panelling, the 'split with gap' tool doesn't really get much use in the office. It is a worth while tool not to forget about though.

I was recently in the middle of documenting a building with internal masonry walls. We decided to run downpipes in the walls, thereforing requiring the masonry wall to stop and start at each downpipe location. Cue the spit with gap tool. Clicking once on the wall creates an automatic gap in the wall to the desired distance entered in the options bar. In our case 200mm for a 150 dp. Revit allows a maximum gap space of 308mm. While the regular split tool with 'delete inner segment' ticked could do the same thing, its more tedious dealing with a small specified distance as accurately. 

Managing Revit Callouts with Crop Region Breaks

In Revit we can create callouts in most view types. In Architecture, when we create these callouts they may be larger than required. We have the ability to apply crop view breaks by clicking the break symbol on the crop region boundary, breaking the view in two. This keeps the detail smaller and shows only the critical areas. 

However, this creates problems for us when documenting as we wish to see the whole view while detailing and only crop for the sheet. It would be nice if there was a temporary expand on views with breaks. This would save us having to reset the view each time. 

There is an easier way though. The use of dependent views work extremely well in these instances. The main view has the crop break applied and put on a sheet as desired. Crop boundaries are not affected by dependent views, meaning we can have two different crop regions setup. So the dependent view enables us to detail in the whole view while keeping the view (with the crop region break) on the sheet intact. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Revit Wisdom

“If you keep in mind that there are no shortcuts in Revit, you will work on doing things right at first and not have to "fix" them later”

                                                 … Some dude on the internet.

A colleague of mine came across these words of wisdom in one of the forums years ago, when we first started implementing Revit into our office. We thought it was so true and effective in its message, it found its way onto the cover of our office Revit standards guide. 
I thought I would post it today, as I continue to reference it when trying to help those struggling with the step by step approach often needed when using Revit.  

Solid White Fill Region vs Masking Region

What is the difference between solid white filled regions and masking regions?

That's the question I asked myself a few days ago when I came across a solid white filled region on a project. So with a little trial and error and some forum research I have pulled up the following.

Firstly, filled regions: Usually used for fill or hatch patterns, be it a brick hatch or a simple diagonal line hatch. This is not always the case and sometimes we create solid hatches, greys, black’s and colour if the need arises. (You will notice I didn’t say white! We will come back to that).
Filled regions also allow us to change the colour of the pattern and we have the choice between an ‘opaque’ and ‘transparent’ filled region within the type properties.
When we export our Revit drawings, filled regions are exported as hatch patterns.

*Masking regions are always opaque, we cannot make them transparent and you can’t apply a fill pattern to them.
Most importantly, when exporting out of Revit, masking regions don't create solids. If your masking regions use invisible lines, then they won't even export. Any lines that cross the masking regions will not show, maintaining the graphic appearance of the view. Draw order also comes into play. elements must be sent behind the masking region to be cut. 

In short, I would recommend using these particular tools for their intended purpose to save you hassle later. Masking regions to mask objects & filled regions for patterns / hatches.

*This post was edited August 2015