Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dept. of Subtle - Elevations

I chose the Dept. of Subtle for this because what pleases one person may be unsatisfactory to another, thus subtle. I got an email asking for some assistance with improving elevation views. After sending off a quick reply with a list of choices I thought I'd put it here too. I often respond to a question, then later think I wrote a post here only to realize that it was just a private reply. Quite frustrating when I search my own blog for a subject I'm positive I wrote "something" about.

For elevations there isn't an easy button. At least not an automatic nice elevation button. You get a view easily, no problem. The elusive quality of nice is a bit harder to automate.

Here is the list:
  • Object Styles - Global changes that affect all views but checking them may reveal that certain categories are not set to ideal lineweights. Adjustments should start here.
  • Visibility/Graphics Overrides - Where Object Styles fall short this option give you the abililty to make local (view specific) changes to improve the appearance of element on a category by category basis.
  • Filters - These permit further customization based on category and/or parameter settings to alter the line weight, color and patterns for elements. They are applied by view so they only affect the views you need to improve.
  • Silhouette Edges - Part of the Graphic Display settings you can force edges of walls and openings to take on a heavier line weight. This is usually a bit too much like a "shotgun" fix which will require some use of the Linework tool to offset the "massive" alteration of a view.
  • Element Overrides - Right Click option when you select an element or elements. This will give you the ability to alter the appearance of elements further back in elevation or to even hide certain items that are confusing to see in the view.
  • Linework Tool - This tool is meant to override the appearance of a single element at a time. It is focused on Line Style so you can increase the line weight or pattern by choosing a specific line style to show instead of the current appearance of the element. It is not adding new lines, it is simply changing how the line of an element is displayed. For this reason it is a better choice than using detail lines to enhance the view.
  • Drafting - If you can draft in AutoCAD to improve the appearance you can do the same thing in Revit. Just use detail lines and sketch over the model in the view. These lines will only show up in the view you add them to but you won't have to export to cad etc... Last resort ideally.
  • Regions - These can be used to impose patterns and color, even masking to help improve the appearance of a view. For example, a heavy "base" pattern for the "site" ground plan can be achieved by sketching a solid filled region whose color is black. This can be used instead of the fill pattern for the site toposurface (turn it off in V/G). You can also experiment with the Object Styles and V/G settings for toposurface but often an elevation looks better with a simpler approach.
  • Color Fill - These can be used in sections to show rooms with color or patterns if desired. Won't work in elevations though because the rooms needs to be "cut" for the color show.
  • Materials - For example for curtain wall panels you can customize the materials to show different panel styles more clearly. You just need to new material and panel type for each kind of panel. Same logic applies to other elements.
  • Detail Level - Remember too much detail in an elevation view can hurt print/plotting performance so use V/G to set certain categories to show the appropriate Detail Level if coarse isn't quite detailed enough.
To manage some of these remember View Templates, they'll make the repetitious application of some of these tools much more pleasant!

Any comments? Additions?


Jason Bailly said...

A nice one that I saw originally from sean burke
is to overlay two or more elevations on the same sheet. They align easily in the sheet view. I think His example was to VG override one to be all gray and 1 to represent the building beyond. I helped someone with this trick when they needed to show curtainwall in some funky way on an elevation. Can't remember the specifics though...

bullsnbears1 said...

I know it's not standard practice, but I turn on shadows for elevations. I set them very lightly (30% if I recall?). It really makes a difference when you start to see very light shadows on modeled window trim, facia profiles,etc.

Steve said...

I agree, shadows do improve a view unless the elevations don't offer much relief for shadows to be cast. Distorting reality to get shadows is sometimes necessary for the best "look".

Ben May said...

Steve, One option I believe you can add is show hidden lines.

As a structural user we quite often only want to see structural elements but we want to see all hidden elements behind.

The only option at this moment if you want to automatically see hidden lines is to use sections.

I would love to see an option for framing elevations to show hidden lines automatically for those cases where you really want to see all hidden lines