Thursday, May 31, 2007

DWG Import/Export Crashes Revit

Focused on Revit Structure but I imagine just as relevant for the other versions, just a copy of what was posted at the BIM & BEAM blog: Here's the text of their post, be sure to check out the rest of the blog.

We had several users reporting crashes when they import or export dwg files with Revit Structure 2008 for the following build numbers:

DVD Build is: 20070324_1700
Web Build is: 20070404_1700

We did some investigation and we found out that the reason was related to the presence of an old version of DWG TrueView on the computer.

In order to so fix this issue, you need to uninstall DWG TrueView and upgrade it to the latest free version available at . After the upgrade of DWG TrueView, RST2008 should be able to import/export DWG files properly.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

When I says Mass I Means Mass

Said with "Popeye the Sailorman's" voice...

When a savy ADT user starts using Revit they can get into trouble quick when they start getting comfortable by applying the ADT concept of "Mass" to Revit's concept of "Mass". The equivalent terminology for Mass/ADT is Generic Model/Revit. When you use the Mass category for a piece of furniture you are creating trouble for yourself. Revit expects you to use the family category "furniture" for that.

What kind of trouble? You can't schedule them as furniture, you can't change them to furniture, you can't turn off massing because you "need" it visible because you made "furniture" using Massing...get the idea?

When you create a curvy swoopy wall, don't "lean" toward mass, lean toward an In-Place Wall family. Now experienced users are thinking, "But Steve, I can use Massing to create the shape I need and then apply a wall to that!"

YES, THAT is what Revit's use of the term "Mass" is intended for. Mass or Massing in Revit is meant to describe what the terms are used for in the context of architecture, building form, not arbitrary discreet pieces or parts. Revit has lots of pre-defined categories for those and for those that don't fit into one of them we have Generic Model and Specialty Equipment. As a means to describe the "broad brush" building form a Mass Element can host Walls, Floors, Roofs and Curtain Systems. Here's a quick example I did in the past that just shows massing and floor slabs, well...a helicopter and a couple cars too...

The above represents a building that is 945K+ SF, mocked up in about 15 minutes, nothing serious, just playing around.

Here is another little example I played around with on a plane ride the other night.

I was thinking of a medium size design firm in a semi urban setting where the executives would park beneath the building. The patterns are just material/surface patterns assigned to the massing. Good old shadows make it "nice"

One more for the road...this is three curtain wall systems applied to massing that describes curving surfaces in plan, elevation and section so that it has a slight "beer" belly. The massing is off in the view leaving behind just the curtain systems. I was sloppy because I didn't take care to align the curtain grids/mullions but then we did this on a short break between "real teechin"...a good old "Can Revit do X" question.

Elements created using the Mass category cannot be changed to other categories. This is because of the hard-wired behavior Revit assigns to elements using this category. If you make in-place "walls" and choose the Mass category instead of the "Wall" category you are headed for pain and re-work..."you know who you are"...sorry, I warned you didn't I?

If you haven't explored Revit's Massing tools, take a look at the help documentation to get a sense of its purpose and capabilities.

Then try it out!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Network Licensing and Revit xxx 2008

A little reminder. If you are upgrading to the latest release you must also upgrade the FlexLM software that manages your licensing. The required version is supplied on the DVD that you receive from Autodesk. The current version required is and Revit will not work with earlier versions. If you don't upgrade it first, frustration will ensue! Good Luck!

Here's a link to the license manager if you can't find it

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dept. of Subtle - User Interface

Three subtle improvements were made in the Revit 2008 line that I'd like to point out on the off chance you haven't noticed them.

First is the repositioning and naming of the Right Click menu item Properties. It is not called Element Properties and positioned at the bottom of the Right Click menu, right next to View Properties. Every class I've ever taught had a least one user click View Properties instead of Properties even if I warned them first. I joke that "View" isn't a verb, as in, "yeah, I want to view the properties!". Now that it is repositioned I'm sure it will confound "old timers" for awhile but I think it is for the better or at least clearer what they are for. Here's a screen capture.

Next up is the Design Bar More Tools >> feature that permits you to access the tools that have been buried beneath other tabs when your PC/Notebook display resolution "runs" out of space to show them all. This button presents a small flyout that contains the hidden tools so you can still get to them without resorting to using the modelling menu "all the way" at the top of the interface. I always imagined a scroll bar to resolve this but this works too. Here's a screen capture.

Last is the additional feedback offered on the Status Bar as various operations take place. Reloading a link, saving to central, opening a file and other lengthy processes will display a progress bar and information to the left of the bar so it is clearer what is happening. You'll have to pay close attention to catch it though. I tried a few different things to catch a screen image of the feature and I couldn't time it just right so you'll have to just watch for it next time!

I think this release is a pretty solid one and it grows on you fast, a day or so and you don't want to use that "old" 9.1 again.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Freshman

Lately I've been using the stages of development that schools use, Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior to discuss the various levels of knowledge required of users to be successful making content for Revit.

For example a Freshman can work productively all day long if the things they need exist in the project template or are available in the content libraries. As soon as something doesn't exist they need to graduate into another level or ask someone who is at a higher level for help. Which level that is will depend on how hard it is to make what they need.

A firm can be quite successful with a majority of Freshman if they have one Senior. They can even be successful without a Senior for quite some time if they sought help to establish a solid library and well defined template(s), assuming the stock content isn't enough or completely acceptable.

Here are some reasonable expectations for each level of development.

This person will routinely place, find, load and when needed, modify existing content to create additional types using existing parameters. They can add information to a family so schedules report the information they need. They will come calling when they need something they can’t find or if a parameter they need doesn't exist in a family.

This level requires the ability to create annotation and symbol content to support a firm’s documentation standards. This is either done based on existing content or from scratch. Additionally they should be able to make basic content that is made from scratch and may not require parametric flexibility. This can be done as 2d/3d objects at the simplest level of graphic representation or at least enough to create a placeholder until a more sophisticated element is prepared. They should also be able to modify existing content to include basic features that do not exist, such as additional information needed for scheduling. This also assumes that the geometry is already present but just needs slight modification.

This person is capable of planning for the behavior of flexible content and creating new content using templates. These families are parametric in at least a couple dimensions to provide modest flexibility and control, for example common windows, doors, furniture and casework. They also understand how to provide additional parameters to make scheduling and tagging content more effective. They understand how to take advantage of visibility controls to manage documentation and graphic quality.

This person completely understands how to model difficult geometry and effectively assemble complex content. They are able to discern the best strategy to deliver graphical quality as well as information for scheduling. They know how to get the information from staff that they will need to provide content with the least amount of rework. They can also mentor or guide the other staff as they become more accomplished and try to advance to higher levels.

Disclaimer Section
This isn't a "one size fits all" observation but in general I find it to "fit" in most of the places I've been. People and their personalities certainly factor in. The Senior isn't always the most patient person or the most capable at communicating to others. In some cases they may resist sharing their knowledge for a variety of reasons.

What is the secret to becoming a Senior? Work...make families, do the tutorials, read/ask questions at AUGI/Revit City/Autodesk NG's/blogs and get training either by hiring a consultant, attending a reseller's class and/or attend Autodesk University. One or more of these can fit your budget.

Last, this can apply to Revit overall too, a freshman can be quite productive when they know how to do the basic things they need to do. Revit is pretty simple when you tackle one feature at a time. It can be a bit daunting when you try to wrap your arms around it all at one time.

Here's to becoming a Senior!