Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Free Revit Families and Sample Downloads from 'What Revit Wants'

Luke Johnson at 'What Revit Wants' has been very kind in sharing a very large list of Revit families, tips, tricks & workarounds.  

You can visit his post & the available downloads HERE

**Updated 13/06/2017: The link for the new What Revit Wants site has been reinstated, however the link to the original post is no longer available. I recommend visiting Luke's site and search for similar free families and content there. He has a number of other posts that may assist like this one: Free Family Content
To learn more about the What Revit Wants Site update, click here

Thanks Luke! 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Upgrading to Revit 2017 - Text Issues

There has been much hype about the Revit 2017 release. This year, Autodesk have released quite a few exciting new features which has got many people talking. Top of that list amongst others is the update to the text tools. I mentioned earlier in the week though, Autodesk also highlighted some upgrade issues to look out for. For me, the biggest ticket item for upgrade review was the text changes. 

Well, I just spent some time upgrading a few projects to Revit 2017 to test the upgrade problems Autodesk warned us about relating to text. It isn't pretty. Until now, I was only thinking text notes would be affected by the updates, it didn't even occur to me to think of everything else with text in it. That's right, think families.
From the projects I have tested so far, I will need to fix many of my annotation families, including all my reference tags. The text in many of them, now exceeds the limits of the tag design as you can see from some screenshots I have taken. 

Because text has gotten slightly larger, text notes overlapping is occurring all over the place. In some cases, it has messed with the location of where the leader is coming from. (It has moved the leader from the base of the paragraph to the side, causing some wierd long leaders). My titleblocks are also affected, along with keynotes, electrical symbols (some have text in them) & view references. 

I decided to test the OTB template and added a number of text notes, symbols and tags to a wall in Revit 2016. Then I opened it in Revit 2017. This is the affect to the OTB families. I have placed red detail lines so you can see the visual change more clearly. 
Revit 2016 Template

Upgraded in Revit 2017

The north point was interesting. More so, because I opened the Revit 2017 template and the family hasn't been updated by Autodesk. Trivial stuff, but it made me wonder how many of the families in their default libraries will be affected. As I mentioned, our titleblocks will need fixing, but in checking Autodesks titleblocks they appear largely unaffected. Text style and justification as well as the limits of the text box appears to minimise the damage. 

So it seems the negative affect to projects is going to vary depending on text styles your office uses, text spacing & how your reference tags are designed. Schedules are another victim of all this. Our schedules have gotten longer (due to the slight increase in text height). So if you were tight for space, you may need additional sheets. 

Below is an example of large amounts of text and schedules being updated. In this example, the text extends off the sheet and overlaps in some areas due to more than one text box being used. You will also notice the increase in length of the schedule.
Revit 2016

Upgraded to Revit 2017

I can't help but laugh though. This is a feature users have been asking for improvement on for the better part of 10 years. Is this a classic case of be careful what you wish for?? 

I was listening to the latest episode of BIMThoughts last night, where they discussed Revit 2017 new features. I think it was Steve Stafford author of Revit OpEd Blog who made an interesting comment about the text updates. He commented he would have liked all the effort that went into updating text to have gone into other things we really need due to the increase in data & metadata in models and less on text notes. Looking at our latest template and the changes we have in the pipeline, I understand where he is coming from. 

The reason being, we have gotten so use to the shortfalls with text in Revit we have adapted our workflows and reviewed our drawing standards around it. All our general notes that once covered our front sheet & plans are gone (creating proper lists and editing them was always a nightmare). Instead we rely on including these in the specification, preliminaries and trade sections for these types of general notes. (Which is probably how we should have always been doing it). 
All our abbreviation legends are generated using multi-category tagging & schedules as well as custom key schedules for standard keys, an example would be a door legend key. We have only a few symbol legends using the legend views tool in Revit, and none of the text in them uses lists anyway. We are also working on improving keynotes to take care of many of our notes throughout the drawing set.

So in thinking about it, perhaps I would have preferred them dedicating time to the problems surrounding leaders which will still affect all of the above & into the future. More control on their appearance, how & where they come off notes & tags, adding them to view references, handling of elbows when moving tags and text etc. 

Interesting thought. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Delete Unnamed Reference Planes Using Dynamo

A few weeks ago I wrote my first post about Dynamo. I attempted to answer the question 'What is Dynamo?'. As I mentioned in the post, I am a newbie to Dynamo, having only started playing with it, since late last year. 

I firmly believe Dynamo is going to have more of an impact on the way we work in the coming years. Whilst Dynamo can do a broad range of tasks including creating geometry, for the moment I have a keen in interest in Dynamo's ability to read & write data from Revit, either directly, or via Excel. It's ability to save considerable time on repetitive tasks is really amazing.  

So, if you have never used Dynamo before, I will introduce you to the easiest dynamo graph you will ever make. It can't get any simpler, it only has one node!!

As part of my regular model management, I have a rule of thumb when working on team models, to name your reference planes. If you don't, it is understood they are up for deletion at the end of the week. In the past, it has been a manual processes of tidying up, selecting one reference plane at a time, checking its name, and if it's blank, bye bye reference plane.
Well, thanks to Konrad K Sobon author of the '' package available on Dynamo, this task now only takes a few seconds. This package contains a node called 'Delete Unnamed Reference Planes'. Drop this single node on the graph and a second later, all unnamed reference planes are deleted. Told you it was easy! 
Konrad has a website that I would strongly recommend checking out, it has some great stuff. 
Now if that doesn't convince you to take a sneak peak at what Dynamo has to offer, I don't know what will.

Never used Dynamo?
No problem, follow these step by step instructions to download the package & run your first graph!

1. To start download the latest Dynamo here: selecting 'Dynamo' (not Dynamo Studio)

2. Start Revit and Open a blank project.
3. Place a few horizontal AND vertical reference planes in the view, naming only the horizontal ones. (This is just to demonstrate as we intend to delete the vertical reference planes, as they will remain unnamed)
4. Go to the Add-ins tab and click Dynamo.

5. Download the archi-lab package by selecting 'Packages' > 'Search for packages'.

6. Search 'archi lab' and click install.

7. You will now notice the 'Archi-lab_Grimshaw' package in the list.
8. In the search bar type 'unnamed' to find the node we want

9. Click the node and it should drop on screen.
10. Hover your cursor over the node and list information will drop down telling you how many reference planes were deleted. 

11. By default Dynamo is set to run automatic, so it's already completed! Take a look! You should only see horizontal reference planes (The reference planes we named) the rest being deleted!
13. For future reference, change 'AUTOMATIC' (bottom left of the Dynamo screen) to 'MANUAL RUN' so you can run graphs when you are ready to.

Note: This node is unique in that if you wish to run it again, you will need to delete it from the graph and then add it again for it to work. I am assuming this is so if you have it running in the background, ref planes aren't being deleted as you place them.

This works over the whole project, not just the view. So you can now try adding reference planes to other views or test it out on a project! Now you can show off to your work colleagues!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Upgrade Information for Revit 2017

Revit 2017 is looking good to me. There is some welcomed functionality and features that is enough to convince me to upgrade fairly soon and that's not including the further improved performance for Revit 2017. 

However, with each new version comes a section in the Help Menu 'Upgrade Information for Revit 20xx'. I feel it is a section of the Help Menu that is often overlooked prior to upgrading. For 2015, there were 3 fairly harmless items in this list and last year there was only 1 relating to filters. 
The list for Revit 2017 warrants your attention, in my opinion, more so than previous years.

For Revit 2017 the items noted by Autodesk that may be affected are: 
 > Text
 > Toposurface
 > Keynotes
 > Railings
 > Structural Connections
 > Render Settings
 > Family Categories for MEP fabrication
 > Revit.ini changes. 

So I would recommend completing the necessary testing before upgrading projects and I certainly wouldn't be upgrading anything that has a deadline nearing, but hopefully that goes without saying. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Revit 2017

*UPDATE* - 15/04/2016
Steve Stafford has done a great job outlining many of the new updates for 2017 at Revit OpEd. So head on over to get the latest on what I mentioned previously and lots, lots more. Thanks Steve!! 

The release of Revit 2017 appears to have commenced... The Autodesk Help menu online is giving us some information here... 

After going through the content contained at the Help menu link above, here is some of what I have seen or read about so far: (To be confirmed when something more official from Autodesk is released!)
  • Depth Cueing - Control how elements that are farther away from the viewer display in section & elevation views.
  • Text Enhancements - A new 'Edit text' contextual ribbon includes paragraphing & list improvements, indents & convert upper/lower case controls. (See below for more on text notes)
  • Calculating Values for Schedules & Annotation Tags - You can include calculated parameters in tags.
  • Combine Parameters in a Schedule - Combine two or more parameters to display in a single cell of a schedule. eg: Combine the Height & Width parameters to display [Height x Width] instead of two separate columns. 
  • You can Add Subcategories to Reference Planes - It was demonstrated in families.
  • Hosted Railings - You can now sketch a path and host railings on the face floors, slabs, slab edge, walls or roofs.
  • RFA to FormIt Converter - Do you use FormIt? You can now convert your existing Revit library. 
  • Stairs has now been included as a category for In-place families.
  • Autodesk Raytracer is the only rendering engine now available.   
  • Dynamo is included in the Revit 2017 installation. It will appear on the Manage ribbon.  
  • Manage links - Additional options will be available when using worksharing. Users can unload links locally only. 
  • View Templates for Schedules and Assemblies. 

More on Text Notes. This has been extracted from the Help Menu:

The text editor has been enhanced to add text notes directly in canvas. During editing, text displays in the correct font and style. Other text editor improvements include the following:

- For quick access, new contextual text editing tools are available in the ribbon.
- All text is visible while editing.
- Text wraps, scales, and scrolls as you expect.
- You can zoom and pan while editing a text note. The zoom scale does not affect text wrapping.
- You can enter unnumbered or non-bulleted text in lists by pressing Shift+Enter. 
- You can specify the text editor to display an opaque background and a border when editing a note. This option allows you to better see the text while typing over complex drawings.

I will update this post as more information is released. 

RTC Australasia 2016

The good news... as of now, we are 29 days, 23 hrs & 41 minutes away from the 12th RTC Australasia 2016 kicking off in the Hunter Valley!! 

The bad news... I can't make this years event. Unfortunately dates just didn't gel well this year so I have had to give it a miss, but I look forward to hearing all the feedback from colleagues and friends who are attending. There looks to be some really interesting talks scheduled, so if you haven't registered yet, it's not too late! 

This year's event is at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley. The event runs from the 12th - 14th May. 

Having attended the last 2 events, I can say that this is just about the best money you will spend on professional development when it comes to Revit & Building Information Modelling. The last few years has also seen the event evolve by looking at more than just Revit, with a focus on various software and concepts to really improve the way we do things in the industry. 

Photo's from last year's event on the Gold Coast. 

Welcome to RTC Australasia 2015
Speakers & Representatives from a broad range of companies attend.
We are in the information age & Data is a hot topic!
It's not all work! Sea World opened at night just for RTC attendees! 
 You can register here.

Can't make the Australian event? There are plenty more around the world! 

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Parts & Colour Schemes

The 'Parts' tools in Revit are a great asset. Since their introduction, I have read a lot about them in the positive. I find this is mainly due to them being fairly versatile compared to other tools in Revit and it is the main reason I like to use them for interior materials & finishes scheduling. 

A student of mine recently discovered Colour Schemes won't work on plans showing parts. I am not entirely sure if this is a glitch or not, but there is a very simple fix.
By default, a
ll views are assigned 'Show Original' for the 'Parts Visibility' property. When we create parts, Revit automatically defaults the 'Parts Visibility' property for the view to 'Show Parts' instead. When this is activated, colour schemes won't show in areas where parts are being used. 
As you can see below, the rooms on the right are displaying colour schemes, as this floor has not been edited with parts. The rooms on the left have been edited and the colour scheme won't show.

I mentioned the possibility of a glitch, because when I select the floor on the left, we can actually see the colours from the colour scheme behind the divided parts. 

Regardless, the fix is to change the property for 'Parts Visibility' to 'Show Both'. You will now be able to see the Parts created and the colour scheme used. 

Revit 2016 - R2 Update 4 (Group Rotation Fixed!)

Revit 2016 - Release 2, Update 4 has been released recently. This is a special update because if you read the release notes, you will notice a fix for groups! 

Just last week I posted about groups and getting to know a number of problems related to using groups. Well we can strike one off the list now. Rotating groups was sometimes a problem because face based families would flip on there host if you rotated the group 90°. The wierd thing was, if you rotated 45° twice, it would be fine. 

I did a test this morning by creating a group with a face based family and rotated it. Behaviour was as expected. I then installed Update 4, reopened the project and rotated the group, problem fixed!

Now, if you don't have access to subscription only updates relating to Release 2, don't worry too much, Revit 2017 is just around the corner and this will likely be part of it. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Dynamo Course Training

I am the proud owner of a shiny new certificate!

This week I took some time out to complete the new Dynamo course by Ian Siegel over at The course duration is just over 3 hours, it took me longer as I followed along with the videos, but I can say it was a very good course. It does a good job of introducing you to a broad range of nodes available in Dynamo and what you can achieve in wiring them together. 

The course focuses on the Dynamo plug-in for Revit. You can still participate with Dynamo studio, but there is chapter at the end that focuses specifically on Revit nodes which you won't have access to. 

The course can be found here and I would recommend it if you are starting out with Dynamo. 

Happy learning! 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Duplicating Views with Linework

This is just an echo of a post by Tim Waldock over at the 'Revit Cat' recently, about duplicating views with Linework overrides. 

If you use the linework tool on elevations for example to create your overrides and you want to duplicate the view, 'Duplicate with Detailing', does not retain any of those linework overrides. 

We now know, to duplicate the view and KEEP those overrides, you need to 'Duplicate as Dependent'. Then, right click on that newly created view and select 'Convert to Independent View'.

Nice one.