Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Column 'Construction' Properties

One of the reasons I enjoy training so much is because I have the opportunity to always be learning on the job. Take for example my most recent training session, where one of my group members came across this great little nugget on column properties. 

Below, we have an architectural column with an unconnected height set to just below the roof. If we take a look at the column instance properties, you will notice aside from a few constraint options, there isn't much else to work with...


...but, something I never noticed is that the properties actually change once columns are attached to components! Notice anything different about the properties after I attach this architectural column to the roof above it?


The Construction heading give us two new parameters when the column is attached to a surface: 'Attachment Justification At Top', with 3 drop down choices that sets the top justification condition: Minimum Intersection, Maximum Intersection & Intersect Column Midline


The other parameter is 'Offset From Attachment At Top'. This offset is best seen when the attachment justification is set to 'Intersect Column Midline'. 


Oh, and if your thinking does this also apply to Structural Columns, the answer is yes.

I did ask myself how I never came across this setting before, but I don't use architectural columns as much as I probably could (often using walls instead) and not a whole lot of the structural framing modelling I do comes down to that sort of detail. That being said, it's certainly a nice little concealed couple of parameters to know about!

Credit for this post goes to Bonnie who found these helpful parameters for the class, despite moments earlier hearing me say "I don't think you can do that"


Looks like I was wrong! Never stop learning! 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Autodesk University 2017 - Creating Intelligent Details in Revit

The 2017 year is wrapping up fast. It has been a very busy last few months for myself as you may have noticed with my lack of blog posting recently. The good news is, I have been working on a series of posts that I hope to finish soon, but in the meantime I wanted to post some of my favourite Autodesk University presentations. 

If you didn't know, Autodesk University was held in Las Vegas not too long ago (about a week ago) and many of the presentations are posted online as part of the AU website. This site is ridiculous (in a good way), as there are hundreds of videos & presentation handouts from past events available for viewing and download, completely FREE. If you are keen on learning about Revit from the best, then this learning portal is a no brainer. 



Today I wanted to recommend a presentation "Creating Intelligent Details in Revit" by Brian Mackey. It is an excellent presentation on some tricks and ideas to getting the most out of detail components in Revit and how you might go about putting your details together in Revit. 

Enjoy!


AS122882 Creating Intelligent Detail in Revit By Brian Mackey

Description from the AU website:
"Everyone knows that Revit software is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) program, and that it has intelligence when modeling. However, this intelligence is sometimes lost when creating details. In this session, we'll show how to create intelligent details using detail components and nested detail components. In doing this, we'll be able to keynote these elements to maintain a consistent noting procedure, and be able to send this information out to our spec writer so even the detailed items aren't missed in the specs. If keynoting isn't your choice, we'll also cover how to tag these elements so that there's consistent notation of the details on every project".


Sunday, 8 October 2017

More Revit Ideas...

I recently updated 'My Revit Ideas' with a couple of ideas that have bugged me about Revit for a while now. I was surprised I couldn't find any similar ideas, so I posted them. 

Two in particular have had steady voting since I posted them, so I thought it might be worth mentioning them here and perhaps give them an extra boost! 

'Create Similar' for Symbolic & Model Lines (in families)
Make 'Create Similar' functionality available in families for Symbolic & Model Lines. 

View Name Bold under Sheet Names (when activated)
View Names (when activated) should be 
bold text under sheets as well. 


Other ideas... 
Area Scheme displayed in Area Schedules
To be able to easily identify which Area Scheme an Area Schedule belongs to.

'Place an Image' Button (for previously loaded images)
We need a 'Place Image' button somewhere within the UI. 
We currently cannot place an image previously loaded into the project unless we find the image first and copy.  

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Browser Sorting, View Templates & Dependent Views - Resolved.

Waaaaaayyyy back, in the Spring of November, 2014 I wrote this post about the discovery of a problem with dependent views and view templates not updating parameters. 

In summary, if you applied a view template to a view and subsequently created a dependent view afterwards, changing a custom text parameter via the view template would result in the value updating in the the parent view, but not in the dependent view.

Dependent View not updating custom project parameter

I am pleased to report that a test on Revit 2018.1 today seems to demonstrate this problem as resolved! 

Finally! Now we can confidently make changes to things like browser sorting without 'left over' parameter values hanging around. 

Unfortunately though, it doesn't seem like a fix ever made it to Revit 2016 or 2017, which a number of users are still on. If you are curious, to replicate the problem, follow the below steps:
  1. Open a blank architecture template
  2. Create a text project parameter for the 'views' category (eg: For browser sorting)
  3. Apply a view template to your ground floor & type a value in the new parameter.
  4. Now create a dependent view of the ground floor
  5. Check the parameter for each view... they will match
  6. Go to view templates and change the value for the custom parameter, click apply
  7. The parent view will report the new parameter, the dependent view does not.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Everyday Dynamo Tip - ESC Key

Here is a great little Dynamo tip I learnt recently. 

If you hold down the ESC key while in Dynamo, it activates the background!

Nice, quick & easy. I like it! 



Sunday, 3 September 2017

Revit Roadmap Update (+ Updates to my Revit Ideas)

A few days ago Autodesk posted an update to the Revit Roadmap, some minor changes, but this latest one seems to just promote how many ideas they implemented into Revit 2018.1. (They have also relocated the roadmap to the Revit Blog). To go with this, it seems, Autodesk did some spring cleaning of the Revit Ideas as well.

The downside, a few of my Revit Ideas and ones I have supported and really wanted to see implemented, have been archived. Damn. 



If you are interested, a few months ago I gathered many of Revit ideas into one location so I could keep better track of them. I have updated the post here... 'My Revit Ideas'

The Revit Ideas forum has slowly grown out of control. It was good to begin with, as major problems users have been complaining about for years were generally posted first and got the votes they needed to put Autodesk into action (for some anyway). Although, that being said, some ideas I have supported, also recently got put in the "blackhole bin" (aka archvied). 

This idea relating to materials and wall sweeps, which has been complained about since 2009 (as far as I could find) has been culled and more surprisingly this idea relating to edit profiles via the type properties has also been binned. Not even marked as future consideration? I don't get it, Autodesk just gave us a subtle improvement to stairs in Revit 2017.1, and you can now access the properties of the top rail via the stair type properties. So wouldn't access to the type properties of profiles, which are within so many Revit components, be the next logical improvement?

Unfortunately, at this point, there are more ideas being assigned as 'archived' than any other status.

Meanwhile... 162 votes and counting... 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Revit 'Course Detail Level' for Structural Components

Something that can often catch new users out is the structural steel components in the default Revit library. 

There are so many visibility options in Revit, but when it comes to families, aside from the typical project visibility issues, often the settings in the family itself are overlooked. 

If we take the above example using the structural steel components, most of these families have been built with the course detail tick box turned off under 'family element visibility settings'. 



The families will instead display thick lines at this detail level. If you have ever seen structural engineering sections, you will notice this display. 


Personally, for my Architectural drawings, I have never had a need for either of these settings but I know structural engineers use them all the time. I have simply made a copy of this library content and modified each of the families for use in our projects. 

Tip! Something else to be mindful of with the structural families, particularly the SHS or RHS members. These components have 2 extrusions within the family.
You will notice one extrusion with filleted edges (this is on fine detail level) and another extrusion in the same place with a hard edge, (this is on the medium detail level). Occasionally I find this causes issues with dimensions or using the measure tool as Revit can't find the face in fine detail level. Changing to medium detail level always fixes the problem as you can now find the 'edge' of the element. Something to keep in mind for next time!




Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Revit Convert Lines Greyed Out

I had something unusual happen to me today. I was working in a family and wanted to convert some model lines to symbolic lines. The problem was, the 'convert lines' button was greyed out, so Revit wouldn't allow me to convert the lines. (I couldn't get it to grey out again though, more below, but this is the button I am referring too).


After a bit of head scratching, I realised it was simply because Revit wasn't detecting a work plane to drop the line onto once converted. 

In writing this blog, I thought I would try and replicate the issue in a new family...except, I couldn't.
I tried removing reference plane names, deleting previous work planes and I even successfully got the Revit workplane to report <not associated>, yet I couldn't get the 'Convert Lines' button to grey out again. Weird. 


If I work out a way, or find something on the forums I will update the post, but for now it seems like one of those rare events. At least now I know what the fix is.
 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Enscape 2.0 Released!

Enscape 2.0 was released a few days ago! Some fantastic new tools to play with. 
Checkout the latest blog post and version update details here!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

New Parameter Category: Schedules

When Revit 2018 was released, Autodesk highlighted three new categories available to us for the purpose of scheduling & creating parameters; Revit links, Model groups & Schedules.




We can now create a project parameter for schedules, the same way we can for views and sheets. I am still thinking of what I could potentially use this for, but the first idea that came to mind was the ability to sort schedules in the project browser, unfortunately, we still can't do this though. 
Can you think of another useful purpose for it? Leave your idea in the comments. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Revit Roadmap Update

The release of Revit 2018 last month saw the Revit Roadmap also get updated. Some things have changed since the first edition, mainly due to feedback and ideas posted in the Revit Ideas Forum. Knowing that multi-monitor support is on its way, can't wait!

To see the latest Autodesk Revit Roadmap, click here. 


Sunday, 21 May 2017

Why is Revit Not Backwards Compatible?

Ahh, the million dollar question. The question most often answered with a cynical response "Autodesk do it, so we are forced to upgrade".

Obviously, after enjoying the days of AutoCAD, (that could be rolled back 10 versions) moving to Revit with NO backwards compatibility what-so-ever, can be a shock to the system for first time users. Even seasoned users express frustration with the complications that come with making sure everyone (including consultants) are on the same version. 

So it was no surprise then when it was posted on the Revit Ideas Forum by a user titled "Save as Previous Version". The idea gathered 260 votes and by the forums standards, that is very high. As you can imagine, it got a healthy discussion going, some comments less helpful than others. 

It has since been Archived. 


So, here it is, why Revit is not, and will not, become backwards compatible...
The following is a post by Sasha CrottySasha is one of Autodesks core product managers for Revit. She responded to the idea explaining why the development team decided to archive the idea. It is the most detailed explanation I have seen so far from Autodesk responding to this request. I would also recommend listening to Episode 87 of BIM Thoughts, where Sasha is a guest and they briefly touch on the subject of compatibility. 

"With regrets, as I am sure there are going to be a lot of people here who will be disappointed, I am archiving this idea. While we fully understand why this request is important and would be of great value to you, it is not feasible for us to add it to the Revit roadmap. Before you share your thoughts, I do ask that you please read my full response here as I will do my best to explain the reasons behind the decision.

First off, let me say that this is not a decision that we take lightly. Further, there is no motive that is not expressed in this post. Despite what a few posts here suggest, this decision has nothing to do with how we sell our products, nor is it a strategic move on our part. It is quite simply an exceptionally difficult (impossible?) technical challenge, which, were we to embark on fixing it, is unlikely to fully deliver on the expectations and experience that you deserve (more on this later). If backwards compatibility was an easy thing for us to do, we would do it in a heartbeat because we understand that this would enable workflows that are a true challenge today.

There are two ways we could approach the problem: freeze the file format or add converters that transform new data to old data to recreate the old file format. Let me address each one in turn.

To be quite frank, freezing the file format would significantly hamper the speed of Revit development as the majority of Revit features require changes to the file format. I took a quick look and by my estimation at least 14 of the top 20 ideas on this forum would require changes to the file format. Comparing our development build to the 2017 file, there are about 3,000 changes to the format. So, on average, there are over 10 format changes per development day. This also doesn't account for the fact that one change can have a huge impact. For example, the ability to have OR in filters could arguably be reflected as one format change, but that change could impact hundreds of views and sheets.

If we had to wait 3 years to get significant enhancements you, it would also mean we would it would be another 3 years before we could make further improvements/corrections to features. We often hear feedback that we don't improve the product fast enough; unfortunately this would aggravate, not alleviate the problem.

I also want to point out that we already make an effort to identify and work on improvements that don't require a format change. These changes are shipped as part of our point (previously R2) releases. We're excited that we are able to get these new features to you as soon as they are completed. That's why we’re all here on Revit ideas right? So that we can get you the improvements you need. I, for one, don't want to wait three years to make that happen.
So, approaching this from the other angle, why not save back to older versions? I'm going to give you three examples of why this is an exceedingly difficult technical challenge, and why, if attempted, it would not result in the behaviour you would expect.
  1. Imagine for their birthday someone gives your kid a gift of alphabet blocks in a fancy gift box that is just big enough to house the blocks. The next year, someone else gives them a set of nicer blocks, but the blocks are 5% bigger in size. You want to keep the new set, but store them in the old box, but no matter how you try they just won't fit. In fact, if the box housed 36 (3x4x3) original blocks, the box will only house 12 (2x3x2) new blocks! You could start sawing the blocks I suppose, but I think that defeats the purpose of alphabet blocks. File formats work in a similar way, a small change in the definition can have a huge cascading effect on the look and behaviour of the file.
  2. So why is the impact so big? Let's take our OR in Filters example again. In a greatly simplified solution, the change from AND to OR could be stored in one new true/false property of filters (true = AND, false = OR) in Revit X+1. Of course, Revit X has no idea about this property, so as far as Revit X is concerned all filters are AND. Now imagine saving back a file from Revit X+1 to Revit X where you've used OR filters in 10, 20, 100? views. If we literally copied the filter conditions back to the Revit X format, suddenly your filter would be an AND filter. What happens to those views? Elements change color. Or worse, elements appear/disappear. Schedules change. I could go on. Ok, so that's not a valid solution. Can we have developers write code that converts OR filters into AND filters and saves them that way? I'm a CompSci major and let me tell you - this is not straightforward code to write. And in some more complex cases I'm not sure it's possible to write it in a way Revit X would understand. This is why OR filters are being requested in the first place, right? Now imagine doing this for every one of the 3,000 changes…
  3. If that hasn't convinced you, here's a simplified element-based example. Friendly reminder: in Revit geometry is derived, not primary, data, so it's not necessarily even stored in the file. In a world where Revit X only knows how to create linear walls and Revit X+1 introduces arc walls, what would happen if you took a Revit X+1 arc wall and saved it to Revit X? Because Revit X code has no idea how to use the extra data, your arc wall would show up in Revit X as a linear wall!
wall-format.png

So at least for model objects, if we can’t write back to data, can we somehow save the exact geometry? Maybe (assuming the geometry kernel hasn’t changed), however this would mean that all of the intelligent behavior that you expect with Revit would be gone. So the arc wall would show up as an arc, but you wouldn’t be able to change it and Revit wouldn’t know how to make it act like a wall (e.g. clean up wall joins, etc). It would be a geometry that does not understand that it is a wall, so at that point what we have is un-editable CAD, not BIM. Exporting to IFC and importing it in the earlier version will give you at least the same, and likely much better, geometry consistency.

All this is to say that if we were to save backwards without freezing the file format, we would be unable to guarantee consistency of view settings or contents and it will result in the loss of intelligent behaviour for elements. In other words, views would look different and elements would be frozen. The amount of work to achieve this “broken” state would also be huge. Giving you an unpredictable backwards save would not really help you with collaboration problems, in fact, it would quite likely cause errors in your deliverables. We don’t consider this an acceptable solution from a customer experience perspective, which is why we have chosen not to pursue it.

So that brings us back to freezing the file format as the only option we can consider. I mentioned earlier that this would slow down our development process because it makes it harder for teams to fix bugs (yes bug fixes often require format changes) and hinder our ability to give you the improvements being requested right here in Revit Ideas. In truth, we are looking to change the process in the other direction. We want to give you the latest and greatest as soon as it is available. We realise that that means reworking our install infrastructure and experience so that it is easier for you to get the latest version and increasing the reliability of upgrades so that you are able to trust the quality of the upgrade. We have not done a fantastic job of this to date, so there is a lot of space for us to improve. The ideal state is the Google Chrome experience. How many of you know which version of Chrome you’re running? We realise that there is a lot more complexity to installing and updating our software than Chrome, so I am not implying that this is the right solution, but that kind of simplicity of experience is the direction we want to pursue. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to care about Revit versions in the first place? We think so and that’s why we’re archiving this issue. We understand that there is a problem, but we believe there is actually a better solution than backward compatibility."

So, there it is. I for one, have few thoughts on the matter. Do I at least wish families could be backwards compatible? Sure, but I know how Revit works, I have systems in place to work with it, so I don't worry about it. To be honest, I rather the effort by the development team be put into the future tools I need as a designer. The idea that in the future, I may not even have to worry about what version I am in, sounds VERY appealing. 

Thanks to Sasha for taking the time to respond to customers in such a detailed manner. 

Again, the original source can be found here with all the subsequent comments. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

What Revit Wants - New Web Address

Do you visit and read the 'What Revit Wants' blog by Luke Johnson? I do and you may have noticed last week that his usual web address has been disabled by Google. 

Don't worry, Luke was quickly on to it and you can find his new web address and more here: 

http://wrw.is/here/

I have a number of links to Luke's great & helpful blog content in previous posts. I will slowly make my way through all of these in the coming weeks and where possible, link to his new site address. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

My Revit Ideas

*Updated 8th October, 2017
In my last post I spoke about the black hole that is becoming of the Revit Ideas Forum. Whilst I was a bit critical of things, I do think it is a great way for users to have a say and also to learn about what others think is important. 

I have posted a few ideas myself, some popular, others less so. I was starting to lose track of them, so I decided to keep a live list of my own ideas here in this post together with there status. I will update the list when/if I post new ideas. I encourage you to vote for ideas in the forum (as well as my own of course), if you think they are something you would like to see implemented in the future. You can even leave a comment if you having something to add or post your own idea! (Just do a good search before posting!)


In no particular order, my ideas so far...
Red = Under Review (Fingers crossed!)
Magenta = Implemented (Woo! See latest release)
Green = Accepted (It's coming...eventually, see the *latest Autodesk Roadmap)
Blue = Future Consideration (In other words, don't hold your breath)
Grey = Archived (Your idea was either a: unpopular and few people though it was a priority at this time or b: Lost in the black hole of 3000+ other ideas and hence, not voted for c: Autodesk have reviewed the idea and decided it is not worth marking as a future consideration)


Monday, 15 May 2017

Revit Ideas Forum - 12 Months Later...

In May of last year Autodesk announced at the then Revit Technology Conference (now known as BiLT) the new Revit Ideas Station. A short time later I mentioned and collated some of the top ideas at the time.

So, 12 months later, how is it all going? Well, ideas have been coming in thick and fast. In fact, there have been so many ideas, Autodesk seem to be struggling to maintain the forum. I started getting so annoyed by repetitive ideas myself, I even wrote an idea about the idea forum! You can see it here. Repetitive ideas due to the lack of searching before posting & the lack of filtering tools are some of my biggest gripes. Then there are the ideas that are actually just complaints. Many users shared my feelings, with the "idea" gathering over a 100 votes in less than 2 months plus a healthy discussion on what can be done to try and improve it. (I realise that some of these problems are out of Autodesks control such as users posting repeat ideas but providing a tool set to manage them IS in their control). 

One positive I have seen come out of the idea and subsequent discussion is a significant jump in the number of ideas being marked 'archived' and repeat ideas being combined. (Autodesk have told us the 'report' icon under the idea, can be used to help them with this and to provide a link to duplicate ideas when reporting). 

One of the other problems with the forum is ideas simply getting lost. I blame the extremely vague filter category of "Gathering Support" for this one. How do I know they are lost and not just a bad idea? Repeat ideas. You see what happens is, an idea pops up, it get's 20+ votes in a few weeks, yet search for the duplicate idea written months earlier and it only has half a dozen votes. The problem is now, they have been relegated to somewhere between page 5 and page 144. What's that saying about the second page of a google search result??


At the time of writing, there were 162 pages or almost 3000+ ideas. That's about 250+ ideas per month!! How are you supposed to see this many ideas, let alone vote for them without good filtering tools? Well you can't and considering this isn't Autodesk's first ideas forum for one of their software applications, I am surprised they didn't come up with something better. Although, admittedly, the number of ideas in the other forums is, in most cases, less than 500. So maybe the popularity of the station was underestimated?

My latest thoughts on improving the idea station is to have the ability to filter or categorise ideas by tool, instead of the vague tagging categories of 'User Interface' or 'Multi-discipline'. 
For example, let's say you had an idea about design options. You would go to the forum and select or search from a list of tools in Revit. You would find and see only the ideas relating to 'Design Options'. Furthermore, they could be filtered by discipline, vote count, status, date, author, etc. If you can't find what you are looking for, write an idea and categorise it accordingly. This may even help Autodesk see what the discussion is around a particular tool set. 

"There are a lot of tools in Revit" I hear you say? Yes there are, but here is some food for thought... In another 12 months, assuming some slow down of ideas pouring in, there will be well over 5000+ ideas. Good luck sifting through all of them...

Thursday, 11 May 2017

What's New in FormIt - v16.0

Autodesk FormIt v16.0 was released last month. The update is a big one with some significant updates to the material editor & performance improvements. You can now import DWG files too. 



Visit https://formit.autodesk.com/ to get the latest update and read more about new features. 

I would also recommend watching episode 24 of FormIt Friday which covers some of these new features. One thing to also note is when you create a formIt file, instead of an RVT file being created in 2015 format (within your A360 account), it will now be created in 2018 format. Don't worry though, because you can still use the FormIt conversion tools if you need a previous version of your FormIt model. 

Oh yes, and you may notice, they have removed the '360' name, so now it is just FormIt. I believe we may see a similar change to the Insight plugin in the future too.  

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Lots of Revit Schedules - Managing Your Model Data

Schedules aren’t just there for documentation purposes. They can be a great tool in managing your model data and components.
Take a basic room schedule for example; even though a room schedule may not form part of your typical documentation set, they are the best way to quickly identify rooms ‘not enclosed’ or ‘not placed’. When you delete a room from the project, doing so from the model environment prompts the following warning…
‘A room was deleted from all model views but still remains in this project. The room can be removed from any schedule or placed back in the model using the Room command’.
Use the delete row button in the schedule ribbon to completely remove the room from the project.



Another example of a must have schedule in your project is a ‘View List’ schedule. Large projects can have hundreds if not thousands of views to manage. Ensuring all the right data is in place through the properties panel of each view is a tedious way to manage so many views. A view list schedule will give you a global look at the parameters related to all your views in the project. View templates can expedite much of this data entry. 
When it comes to sorting your schedules, there isn't much choice. Naming convention is the only option really. You can't custom sort schedules in the project browser the same way you can for views. We all wish we could! It has made its way to the Autodesk Idea forum HERE, but in the meantime I typically prefix schedules created solely for data management with '_Manage'. This keeps them together and clearly identifies there purpose to other users.

I make 'working views' of most schedules. This allows me to place instruction for users to help with data entry and I format a number of columns to make it clear where data is needed. All working schedule headings are shaded yellow for easy identification whilst in the schedule.

Another advantage of separate working schedules is the issue with text wrapping. Only when a schedule is placed on a sheet does text wrapping occur. The schedule itself, does not text wrap. A few releases back, Autodesk made a change that meant the column width adjusted in the schedule, matched the column width on the sheet. The downside to this is narrow columns adjusted on the sheet, makes the column difficult to read in the schedule view, because there is no text wrapping. Staff would adjust columns to work in the view ruining the formatting of the schedule on sheets.
Hopefully one day schedules will be viewed as 'what you see is what you get'. 

Don't limit your use of schedules to just what you need for project output, use them for model management as well, it will save you a whole heap of time. Combine this with Dynamo or addins such as Ideate BIM Link and you have some very powerful tools for controlling data.  

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Material Take-off Schedules & Wall Sweeps

Problem: "Materials from my wall sweeps aren't displaying in my material take-off schedule".


If you use sweeps for things like skirting boards in your model, you will likely want to be able to see the applied material listed in your schedules.


In my quick example below, I have applied a default wall sweep to my wall. You can see in my 'Material Take-off Schedule' the material I have applied (Interiors - Paint - Blue) does not display.


The solution is to select the sweep and convert it to "parts" first. 


As soon as you do this, you will notice the finish applied to your wall sweeps, now displays in your schedule. 


Sunday, 30 April 2017

Reported Issues Resolved with Revit 2018

A few weeks ago Revit 2018 was released with some great new features. You can read more about it in my previous post here. (There is already a 2018 hotfix released. 2018.0.1 should be available through your Desktop App).

There was a discussion in the Autodesk Revit forums recently about a user trying to obtain the release notes, in particular, a documented list of 'resolved issues' for Revit 2018. Someone from Autodesk came to the party and provided a link to a list of 'Reported issues resolved with Revit 2018'. Well, here it is, and it's a loooong list!

In reading through this list, I noticed there were a few minor "fixes" or "improvements" that I thought were worth highlighting as they result in new behaviour.

In no particular order here are a few that stood out to me...

"Added the ability to use the middle mouse button for manipulating the view when a warning dialog is open"
Previously, if reviewing warnings in a 3D view, you could only zoom the model when the warnings dialog was open. We can now pan and orbit to help us see warnings in 3D views.

"Fixed an issue with view templates so that the 'view orientation' is not editable when a view template is assigned to the view"
In 2017, the view orientation (True North/Project North) was editable, even when a view template was applied. In 2018, this has been fixed and now appears greyed out when the view uses a view template.

"Fixed an issue so that floors, ceilings and roof elements can now have 0-thickness membrane layers, similar to wall elements"
Self-explanatory, which now means the membrane is also accepted as a "face layer". So you shouldn't see this warning anymore...


"Added a warning message when two floors occupy the same place".
Ever notice when you had duplicate floor elements you didn't get a warning message like walls? Well, now a yellow warning dialog pops up if you have 2 floors on top of each other. It will also now appear in your warnings dialog.


"Fixed an issue so that subcategories in the Object Style dialog can be deleted and renamed using the default keyboard shortcuts (Delete and F2)"
This was a welcome fix. Previously object styles could only be deleted and renamed using the buttons in the dialog box. In 2018, they have fixed it so the 'delete' and 'F2 keys' work as expected to delete and rename object styles.

"Removed the positioning option 'Manual - Base Point' from the Link CAD Formats dialog".
I never used this. It never worked. Seems Autodesk couldn't get it to work either? So they just removed the option entirely! ("Too hard" basket perhaps or maybe lack of complaints that it didn't work highlighted how few people used it?). Steve Stafford at Revit OpEd documented the problem back in 2015!

Link DWG in Revit 2017 
Link DWG in Revit 2018


"Enabled the activation of the right-click content menu through the context menu key on Windows keyboard. The context menu key is to the right of the right-Windows key".
I don't use it. Someone out there must have asked for it? Unless they read this blog, they will never know!

"Improved the performance of the Type Selector and Structural Connection Settings dialogs in steel connections context".
I documented this in a previous post last year explaining how you got a 'no matches' result in the type selector after placing a steel connections component. This has now been resolved. (This was resolved in the 2017.1 update)

Suite workflows: Showcase removed
If you didn't already know, Autodesk Showcase has been discontinued as of this year. Therefore, the 'Suite Workflows' for Showcase in the application menu no longer appear. A lonely menu now.

So, there you go, minor things? Sure. Worth knowing? I think so, it can't hurt and it all goes towards improving your experience with Revit. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Rewind Navigation Tool in Revit

I was reminded of the 'rewind' tool today and with it, learnt something new!

We all navigate 3D models and camera views often throughout the day. One thing that has always caught me out is accidentally orbiting a camera view, forgetting that I would not be able to get back to the view angle I began with...at least I thought. Cue the rewind tool!

The rewind tool allows you to retrieve previous views from the navigation history that is retained for each view opened. The tool saves thumbnails of previous views states as you navigate within the view. 

Where can you find the rewind navigation tool? There are a couple of methods. The first is to look for your Navigation Bar in your model view. It typically docks just below the view cube.


If you cannot see it, ensure you have it turned on via the User Interface button on the View Ribbon.


You can also activate the Navigation Wheel via the built-in shortcut SHIFT+W.

To 'rewind', just hold down the rewind button on the navigation wheel and drag your cursor to the left or right to return your view back to the desired location! Easy!  


Always a good day learning something new!

It is also worth mentioning, you can always lock your 3D views using the 'Save orientation & lock view' via the visual control bar...


Friday, 14 April 2017

Revit 2018 - What's New & First Impressions

*Updated 15/04/2017
Revit 2018 has arrived...


In this post you will find some links to the Autodesk Knowledge Network information as well as my initial impressions of the interface. I think there are some really nice new features to get excited about for this release, but first, the links. 

You can find the Revit Knowledge Network article on What's new for Revit 2018 HERE.

The 'Upgrade Information for Revit 2018' can be found HERE.
It is important to note, that if you are upgrading from 2016 or earlier you will need to read up on the information related to text. You can find the Autodesk knowledge network article about text measurement HERE.
I have also posted previously about the issues I encountered when upgrading to Revit 2017 last year (when the new text measurement method was introduced) See 'Upgrading to Revit 2017 - Text Issues', 'Upgrading to Revit 2017 - Text Issues in Detail' & 'Revit 2017 - Text Justificaton'. 

Finally, there has also been some installation changes for 2018. Autodesk continue to expand on bundling Autodesk addins with the software. (For Revit 2017, Dynamo was included). We now see popular addins such as e-Transmit, Worksharing monitor and more included. Unlike Dynamo which moved to the Manage ribbon, these addins remain on the 'Addins' ribbon. Read more HERE

Revit 2018 may not yet appear in your account management yet. I also note at the time of writing, Autodesk Virtual Agent didn't have access to Revit 2018 yet either. Luke Johnson at 'What Revit Wants' has more links for the Autodesk 2018 suite of tools, including Revit Live (Previously known as Autodesk Live).

Installation & Dynamo Conflict
A few days ago, I updated Dynamo to the new 1.3.0 version released on April 6th. It seems Revit 2018 might not like that....I received this warning during installation...



We'll see what others experience. If you look at my ribbon though you will notice the 'Visual Programming' panel (introduced in Revit 2017) is missing entirely! 


So I had to reinstall Dynamo 1.3.0 for 2018 & then the visual programming panel showed up with Dynamo & Dynamo Player. Something to be aware of if your Dynamo disappears!



What am I most excited about in Revit 2018? 
Number one would have to be the ability to have railings hosted on topography. (In Revit 2017 Autodesk introduced the ability for us to host railings on floors, walls and roofs). 
So with this new ability we get more creative with our railing profiles for site. We can use railings for road kerbs, retaining walls and even just to host a sweep. Finally something that follows topo! 


What about a Rescode building setback railing?! ('Rescode', aka Clause 55, is part of our local planning scheme requirements here in Victoria, Australia).

Rescode setback following topo! No Dynamo required!
Although I didn't have to try very hard to break it already! 




The other feature that I was really happy to see was the ability to schedule links and groups! Finally, we can schedule apartment types in multi-res work, room types in health projects, general model management and more. 



An Unexpected Change
The Revit application menu button in the top left of the screen has been replaced with a 'File' Tab. I like it, subtle yet effective. I think this type of stuff goes a long way towards making the program interface more professional.

The Interface
When you open Revit 2018 for first time, one thing in particular will stand out. The interface has had a cut & polish. You may notice the panel titles have had their background colour removed and the icons appear more crisp.
What is most noticeable however, is the 'Dark' theme. (You can apply this in the options under Interface)
Autodesk seemed to have really dialed up the 'darkness'. I think the icons are a little harder to read on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) and for someone like myself who likes the QAT below the ribbon, it creates a more noticeable dark heavy band separating the options bar and ribbon. It's a shame the colour doesn't adjust according to which position the QAT is in.  Decide for yourself, you can see in my comparison below: 


Looking on the bright side (no pun intended), the 'Light' theme option actually looks much nicer in my opinion. So maybe it's time for a change? 

There are some subtle changes too. We now have a Print button on the QAT. Although the 'New' button is still off by default. I never have, and never will understand that.

Guess the Version Game: The application icons look identical between Revit 2017 & 2018. 
Can you tell which icon is 2017 & which is 2018?!?

Is this really so hard?
I know that is going to annoy a lot of people. Why Autodesk don't attend to this is beyond me, especially when you are working with an application that pretty much guarantees most users will have at least 2 versions on their machine. Is it so hard to add an '18' to the icon? 

We had enough time to add tick boxes to the 'Tag All Not Tagged' dialog box though... 

Don't get too excited about the listed feature regarding 'Tag All not Tagged'. It's just tick boxes...


Stairs & Railings
Multi-storey stairs now parametrically update with levels, even if the level heights vary. You can watch the video HERE. There are also updates and improvements to railings HERE.
Some minor tweaks to the railing icons now indicate 'Place on Stair/Ramp', instead of the previous 'Place on host'. The 'Stair by Sketch' drop down has now been completely culled. 


This was a slow phasing out which started a few releases back, and is now completed in Revit 2018. You can still create stairs by sketch, however your only option now is to convert component stairs to a sketch. This will now remove any confusion. That being said, if you are reading this and saying "I use stair by sketch", then read this post by the Revit Cat.

Tim Waldock at the Revit Cat has written A LOT on stairs and railings in the past. Stay tuned to his blog, no doubt he already has a few things in the pipeline to discuss these new features and what he did to break them!

Worksharing Monitor
Now included as part of the Revit install (finally!). This feature is a must have for worksharing projects. Even without worksharing, the system performance monitor integrated into the dialog is a nice tool. We also see e-Transmit and Model Review addins included. 


Coordination Model - Link Navisworks Files
You can now link a Naviswork model into your project for context. You will find the new 'Coordination Model' icon on the Link panel on the insert ribbon. Fantastic, looking forward to using this feature. It allows you to insert NWC and NWD files. I will be interested to explore this feature in terms of performance and file size. 


*Insight 360 Plug-in for 2018
I haven't seen any news yet of any Insight 360 updates. I am expecting them though as the Autodesk team have made mention of it in the forums a few times. In the mean time, you can access the new Insight 360 plug-in for Revit 2018 HERE.

So, that's it for now, no doubt more will come next week as webinars and those who are far more in the know than I am post their comments. There is also an upcoming webinar by Autodesk, you can register HERE.