Thursday, October 28, 2010

Revit Technology Conference - RTC USA 2011 Web Site Ready

Just a quick update on the conference. Our hard working webmaster Bo has prepared the site, it's now live! Some pages are still awaiting data so bear with us as details get resolved.

The most recent development is that Carl Bass, the CEO of Autodesk, has committed to appearing as the opening session keynote speaker for the conference.

We are looking forward to seeing and hearing what he has to say! He has had a long history in the industry and is an avid woodworker. He could entertain us for quite awhile on that subject alone but he'll probably talk about technology a bit, just a guess!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AUGI | AEC EDGE Summer 2010 issue is Available

The new AUGI | AEC EDGE Summer 2010 issue is now available in Online Reader format and low/hi resolution pdfs. Check it out!

This issue features contributions from:

Joseph Ales, Paul Aubin, Christian Barrett, Robert Bell, Richard Binning, Jeremiah Bowles, Jason Dodds, Brian Frank, Laura Handler, Jeff Hanson, Larry Longenecker, Courtney Pagani, Damon Ranieri, Pedro Rivera, James Salmon, Damian Serrano, Marcello Sgambelluri, Vanessa Vanbeusekom and Kara Vollman.

Thanks to each of the authors!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Revit Worksharing - Instant Messaging via Bluestreak

Project Bluestreak on Autodesk Labs has introduced a new communication feature

Autodesk Project Bluestreak is a cloud-based collaboration solution that helps AEC project teams collaborate informally and coordinate their work efficiently. Project Bluestreak simplifies AEC project team communication by consolidating the information silos used alongside design, analysis, and data management applications. Project Bluestreak is the first collaboration solution to integrate informal project team communication and automated notifications from AEC applications, starting with Revit. By combining team communication tools with Revit worksharing notices and one-click file access in a compact desktop app, Project Bluestreak consolidates multiple tools for BIM processes, making team modeling more efficient.

The most recent update includes the following enhancements:

Bluestreak Desktop - a compact window that works alongside any Autodesk or other desktop application so you can stay connected to your distributed AEC project team with real-time communication and automated application notifications.

Autodesk Revit Activity Stream App – an app that connects Revit to Bluestreak cloud services. It combines automated notifications of Revit worksharing events with informal team comments so team members can communicate when models are saved to central to ensure efficient hand-offs.

Autodesk ID - Autodesk Bluestreak now uses Autodesk ID so you can sign in to multiple Autodesk applications with a single username and password, making it easier for you to remember and manage your account information.

Liability? That a firm must allow users to participate in Autodesk Bluestreak so that they can collaborate. One more thing for EyeTee to do, so to speak.

Monday, October 25, 2010

IDEATE BIM Link - Sneak Peek

I spoke with a couple folks at IDEATE the other day and they let me know about something they've been working hard on. It will become available in the near future. As it turns out their YouTube Channel has four videos you might be interested in watching to get a sense of where they are headed. I've embedded them here but you can watch them at You Tube too (ONE, TWO, THREE and FOUR).

If you'd like to keep track of their progress then visit their BIM LINK page.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dept. of Off Topic - Introducing Pins Mastering in a Wrestling Match

In sports news this morning:

Despite the difference in their weight classes Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 managed to pin Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 in a brief battle lasting just 20 seconds. IARA said in a short interview after the match that, "it all comes down to diet and preparation". MARA was too shocked to reply to questions simply saying, "We'll be looking for a re-match".

The match began with IARA leaning into MARA innocently.

A few seconds later the crowd was stunned as MARA landed heavily and IARA maintained its control for the three count. IARA was declared the winner to a silent crowd that took a moment to regain its composure, then erupted into a victorious cheer for the underdog.

More on ESPN Book Wrestling highlights tonight at 6pm.

This blog post has been inspired by WWF and the clever MARA in the wild posts at Arch | Tech. IARA and MARA...a match made in... oh never mind, that's pushing it.

Donations - More Selfish Promotion

I ran a poll a year or so ago asking about Google Ads and Adsense. I resisted the temptation to enable that because I don't want to clutter up the site. I'm also somewhat skeptical about how much revenue a niche blog like this could generate anyway via ads like those. No ads going forward still.

I did decide to create a Donate option so that Mr. OpEd can start living a true SoCal life. Actually I just got my notice that all the related domains I have are due for renewal and it's starting to add up to money!! I added the Paypal donate option to the Site Information sidebar section. It's pretty subtle and down the page so I'd be surprised if it gets much notice day to day.

If you want to help keep the lights on here, donations are welcome!

Pick a Favorite Article - AUGI | AEC EDGE

The Summer 2010 Issue is just about ready, any day now. If it isn't obvious the eZine comes out after the end of the season it is named for. Well...somewhere nearish the end of the season, that's the goal. Stay tuned and watch the site for this new cover!

I know it is asking a lot but I'd be interested in hearing which article you enjoyed the most in all the issues of AUGI | AEC EDGE. I know that different ones will resonate with different readers but it will be interesting to see if any particular articles standout.

Our publisher is interested in including the most popular one in a special separate publication they do that features all of Autodesk product related articles. I hope I can cajole you into thinking about this and telling me via EMAIL and/or respond to the post at AUGI or LinkedIn.

Data Embedded in Revit

Carl Kilgore asked a question at AUGI.
Beyond assigning parameters to the various families and components of the Revit Model or placing a link to a web site, what is the prescribe methodology for embedding data into the Revit Model for downstream use by FM software.
For instance I have a cut sheet on a piece of equipment in a pdf format that is being used on the project how do I attach it to the Revit model and force a link within a parameter of the equipment to look internally at the model data files?
Is this possible or am I looking at this all wrong? This doesn't seem to be possible within Revit and I'm hearing so much chatter about the 3D B.I.M. being a data repository. Seems like Revit should have a data folder into which I can put such information.
Here's my reaction, stream of consciousness reply:

The germ of what he wrote would be cool, that an external file could somehow be tied to data in the family itself. That is essentially a Type Catalog except that we have to create them and fill in the data. There is no mechanism to automagically (my friend Bill's term) extract values from a manufacturer's document.

Something I imagined when I first started to use Revit way baaack was manufacturer's providing content and type catalogs. When the product's data changed they just issued updated Type Catalogs. Looking beyond if everyone could agree on common language for parameters a family could just point to a web based repository for the information. Although...imagine waiting for a family to update if it relies on a manufacturer's server to retrieve the information just as it goes down for maintenance, your ISP cuts you off or a car takes out the wiring closet for your service area.

Getting to the question though, Codebook (and others like Archibus and Artra) attempt to work as middlemen between the Revit model data and external data that doesn't really need to be inside the Revit model.

The difficulty with FM (facilities management) is nobody (vendors are, I mean arch/eng professionals) is really asking the people that do this work what they really want from a BIM. An owner may insist on a BIM but for the most part they are really interested in a better coordinated construction project that gets done on time with as few cost issues as possible. They want to get open so they can start generating income. The long term issues of design tend to lose out to immediacy. I've heard of more projects that start out really "LEED" only to end up "wishing they were LEED" than actually get there. Whether LEED is part of the problem itself is another subject perhaps.

It isn't really practical to expect that a building manager will hire a BIM expert to manage their model. More likely they'll revert to old school measures like walking or riding over to that other building to go count chairs.

Managing inventory isn't really something Revit is cut out for unless you are going to move chairs around in the model to match where they really are in the building. I'm imagining; "Oh, the science professor borrowed ten chairs yesterday? Why didn't he get permission from the BIM manager first??" Wait we could put a GPS tag on each item and let it update the model for us!! Well, maybe not today for a reason ROI (return on investment).

One other item in Carl's post had to do with providing a link. We can create our own Catalog Cut URL parameter and store the web address for the catalog cut. This allows anyone who touches the model later to review the data that inspired the family they are seeing. A printed schedule can include the parameter too so it can be used downstream.

The Revit database can/will store a lot of information. The question is does it really need to be there? Will the person who really needs it be likely to rely on a Revit model or something else for it?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dept. of Events - New Books at BUGIE Next Week

I will be making two copies of the new book available for the BIM User Group of Inland Empire (BUGIE) meeting next week, October 26, 2010.

Just as I did for LARUG and SCRUG, I'm suggesting that the two newest Revit users get them since it is an Introduction to Revit book. I'll leave it up to Brian to sort out the details.

Dept. of Events - New Books at SCRUG Next Week

I will be making two copies of the new book available for the South Coast Revit User Group (SCRUG) meeting next week, October 28, 2010.

Just as I did for LARUG, I'm suggesting that the two newest Revit users get them since it is an Introduction to Revit book. I'll leave it up to Jay and Miguel to sort out the details.

Dept. of Echo - Hot Fix Revit 2011 Products Released

Posted at The Revit Clinic

A new hotfix has just been released for Revit 2011 products.Hotfix – Black Preview Swatch is now available for download. The new hotfix corrects a black preview swatch in the Initial Color Dialog and helps to reduce the occurrence in some Language Formats where aspects of the User Interface fills the application window after accessing the initial color dialog.

Make sure to apply Update Release 2 before applying the hotfix and check out theRead me. If you have the UI problem you can fix it by Resetting your Revit User Interface. After applying the hotfix, you should not need to reset the UI again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Intous 4 - Pen Tablet

I wrote a response to a thread at AUGI a long time ago that discussed using a pen tablet instead of a mouse with Revit. I was using the Wacom Graphire then. I wrote a post here called The Mighty Pen after the post at AUGI.

I stopped using it when I started traveling a lot. It was just another thing to pack and I gave into the smaller simpler mouse. I pulled it out every now and then but the last time I realized our new puppy had managed to sink her teeth into the cord in such away that I couldn't repair it. I tried with solder and iron in hand but gave up.

Last week I was contacted by Mike at Wacom about my experience with their products and Monday I responded to the door bell to find a couple boxes with the Wacom name on them. The smaller one contained their intous 4 Pen Tablet. I'm not going to get into what the larger box contain in this post, doing so would break my Five minute rule.

The packaging is first rate, very polished looking and everything very neatly presented as you opened it up. It only took a few minutes to get up and running. The tablet software took the longest to install but even that was only a couple minutes. I received the smallest version because I mentioned that arm travel can be a bit of a problem while using Revit. The conventional wisdom that I've acquired and heard from others is that smaller is better for Revit work and the larger sizes are better for graphic artists. It still comes down to personal preference I suppose.

The Graphire that I had didn't have scrolling functions or any extra buttons. The intous carries a scroll wheel (think iPod) and a center button as well as six extra buttons, three above and below the wheel. I quite like the wheel for scrolling web pages and documents. I still haven't gotten used to using them for SHIFT, ALT, CTRL but its only been a couple days now. It comes with a mouse too but I've only used it for a couple of seconds here and there. I've stuck to the pen.

In my previous post I mentioned poor posture and arm discomfort. Since I went through that before I've been better about it from the start. I hold the pen so that my thumb can trigger the toggle button for Right Click and Double Click. I settled on that arrangement before too so I didn't have to struggle with it either. The pen is much more substantial than the one I had before. I was always worried about breaking the Graphire's pen. This one doesn't worry me at all.

I picked the right side orientation, it supports either orientation. Here's how it's playing with my other stuff right now.

This next image is a long one, I'm sorry about the scrolling! It's the menu that shows what each button is programmed to do. The top button turns it on.

If you've thought about getting one the Intous models are a bit pricier than the Graphire I had before. The Small (approx. 12x8) that I'm writing about now lists at $299.00 on the Wacom site. The XL size (approx. 24x18) hits $798.00 and the Wireless version (about the same size as the Medium (approx. 14x10) is $399.00.

If you can't tell, I'm enjoying getting to use a pen again! After I've been at it a bit longer I'll follow up with some additional thoughts. That other box is for another post *-)

[Full disclosure: I may get to keep the intous. They made no requirement for posting or otherwise was imposed on me but I wanted to be able to try them out and post reviews.]

Revit Lifeline

Please pardon a little shameless self-promotion.

I've created a new support option that I'm hoping proves useful. I decided to call it Revit Lifeline. It is intended to be an option for the common user that doesn't have a large firm or EyeTee staff devoted to him/her. So that means small firm or sole practitioner. It can also fit in a larger firm's scope of support services as an overflow option. My hope is to be available as a resource when I'm not otherwise engaged. If it proves successful and demand suggests expansion, which would be excellent, then increasing the time that the Lifeline is ON would be a priority. To accomplish that I'd have to be able to support more hands-on-deck to be a Lifeline.

To find out more you can visit the Revit Lifeline site which is a page on my just revamped AEC Advantage site. I also have a Revit OpEd sub-page dedicated to it. Just take a look at the upper right corner of the sidebar.

When you visit the site looking for help just check to see if the Lifeline is ON.

Then follow the instructions on the site. Here's to having Lifelines!

Dept. of Events - New Books at LARUG Tonight

As if an evening talking about Revit stuff isn't enough to get people to go to a Revit user group meeting I've got two copies of our new book waiting for a new owner. I'm heading off to drop them off with Jay Zallan (co-leader of LARUG with Tom Weir) so he can give them away.

I'm suggesting that the two newest Revit users get them since it is an Introduction to Revit book. I'll leave it up to Jay to sort out the details. Unfortunately I can't attend myself because of needing to be in several places at once.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dept. of Events - Date Change for AIA/LA TAP @ USC

Changed Date!
Event: AIA/LA Technology in Architecture Practice (TAP)
When: November 5, 2010
Time: 6-8 PM
Where: USC - Wong Conference Center in Harris Hall 101
Admission: Free to AIA members, $10 General Public
Continuing Education Credit (CEU): 1.5

Subjects: Tiger by the Tail - Small firm strategies in BIM Adoption
  • Tom Morales, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP (Outsource model) Adjunct Professor, Cerritos College & BIM Consultant
  • Shobhit Baadkar (Collaborative model) - Principal, Titan AEC
  • Cliff S. Moser, MSQA, AIA, LEED AP (Partnering model) - VP Operations and Healthcare Practice, CADFORCE Inc.
This session will involve an interactive discussion about streamlining the adoption of the BIM model in small architectural practices. It will cover the ways of collaborating and working with BIM providers and colleagues in order to ramp up quickly and effectively in providing professional services. Why do small firms have an advantage in using outside sources for the BIM process? Because they can easily tailor their work flow to the different process that BIM demands, having only a small investment in digital, hardware and communication overhead or in tech personnel. This is a strategic advantage because in order to truly take advantage of BIM there must be a complete overhaul of the traditional work flow process.

You can register by clicking HERE.  Admission is FREE to AIA Members and $10 for General Admission.

Monday, October 18, 2010

IsReference Setting - Weak and Strong

I've written posts about Reference Planes in the past, these are a couple specific examples:

Once Upon a Reference Plane
Is you Is or Is You Ain't

I've neglected to mention this change: In the past using the Weak reference setting would not generate drag arrows. They've changed this at some point, which I haven't pinned down (2010ish) but I think it had to do with the changes to the massing conceptual design environment.

The Video that appears below demonstrates some subtlety between the Weak and Strong reference settings. The nice names like Front, Back, Top and Bottom are all Strong references by the way. When you combine Weak references with a dimension assigned to a Instance parameter you get "move" behavior when you use the Align tool. When you do the same for Strong references you get "stretch" behavior. If you want your family to move, think Weak. Think Strong for Stretch.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dept. of Off Topic - Site Cleanup

I don't have a sense of how attached people are to what I've stored on this site but I do know that I've grown weary of scrolling my own site to get to various links. I've condensed all the links that I used to have on the right side bar to the maximum of ten sub-pages that blogger allows.

If you've become accustomed to finding something via my blog then most likely you'll find it on the sub-pages now. I hope that you'll find the shorter length of the blog page overall as pleasing as I do. Another advantage of the sub-pages is that I can use more html formatting to start considering flagging blogs or sites that I want to highlight as more active etc.

I have been told from time to time that people rely on the Builds and Updates page to check for the most recent build information. I try to keep that as current as possible and it is easier to check the build number here than on Autodesk's site since they buried the build number in the pdf they issue for each web update.

I also increased the maximum number of posts that can appear to five so that the posts and the sidebar are nearly the same length. I hope these subtle changes make the site a bit cleaner and clearer. As you were...

Managing Visibility of Linked Files

Aaron Maller of Malleristic Revitation and Beck Group shared a technique (in a comment to my previous post) that he and his current firm like to use to manage the visibility of specific categories in linked files. He/they rely on View Templates extensively to manage the user project experience.

The trouble, for most people, with View Templates when it comes to linked files is that they may not know when the linked files they'll need to use will become available. This means that they usually wait for them and then spend some time dealing with cleanup.

The technique that Aaron describes involves linking blank/empty placeholder files into their project templates. This way their View Templates can be configured to affect the placeholder in advance. Once a real project file is available they can use Reload From to replace the placeholder. Their View Templates and its views are already configured to hide certain categories so no real effort is required of the project team at large.

Different/special coordination views and View Templates can be used to show Levels and Grids for example so that it is easy to use Coordination Review or Copy/Monitor.

We can manage visibility of linked files with:

  • Visibility/Graphics - RVT Link overrides
  • Workset manipulation - as described in my previous post
  • View Templates - as described in this post
  • Some combination of the above

Which is easiest depends on your perspective. A small firm with a few users working on their own projects might choose one route while Aaron's firm will many users to support have chosen this one. Either way his/their approach might just be something you haven't considered?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Workset Visibility in Linked Files

Warning: Worksets are not for visibility control purists need to walk away, put some ear plugs in and repeat after me, "Nah nah nah, I can't hear you Steve, I can't hear you".

When you work with linked project files a common issue people deal with is controlling the display of the linked levels and grids. The first person I recall discovering the technique I'm about to describe is Daniel Stine, the author of several Revit books.

If your project and the other project files use specific worksets for certain elements, like Levels and/or grids you can control their visibility quite easily. Here's the steps:

  • For each linked project file - define a workset(s) name for the linked elements
  • Have the source of each file make sure the elements are assigned to this workset(s)
  • Create the same workset(s) using the same name in your own project
  • Un-Check Visible by default in all views

When you import the other project file Revit will recognize the workset that uses the same name and respect the fact that your workset by the same name isn't supposed to be visible, rendering their workset "invisible" too. I've created a brief video that explains this too.

For the purist that prefers to use Filters for visibility control, Revit doesn't provide access to project file parameters like file name or project name. If Revit did then we could filter for the grids in the other file instead. If the grid family name chosen by the other project file creators was carefully assigned/selected we could control it with Filters.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Little Finish before the Big Finish - Copy Monitor Etiquette

Here's a quick one. When you use the Multiple selection option during the Copy/Monitor process you must remember to click the little finish button on the Options bar before clicking the big FINISH green check mark button. If you don't you don't get your copies or any monitoring to take effect. Here's a quick video to show what I'm referring to.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revit MEP gets a book!

Wiley recently published their book for Revit MEP: Mastering Autodesk Revit MEP 2011.

It has been a long time coming. It started out with different authors, got postponed due to schedule conflicts and finally settled in on the current author team of Don Bokmiller, Marvin Titlow and Simon Whitbread. I don't know Don or Marvin personally but I've known Simon for many years now. It takes a lot of time and effort to write a book and that they accomplished it must be a relief and satisfying. A least the terror (I know I've felt terror) is past them...for now.

If you are getting started with Revit MEP then you'll want to check out their book. If you've been using it for a few years you might wish for more depth but I'm certain you'll still find useful information throughout.

Here are some links you can review:
Table of Contents
Author Information
Part 1 General Project Setup

Monday, October 11, 2010

Revit AppStore

Jeremy Tammik of The Building Coder wrote a post over the weekend that shared some info on a new site called the Revit AppStore. Carl Hoffstedt with Astacus AB has started the site with the intention to help manage applications for Revit.

The site lists three reasons to use Revit AppStore:

  • Run your apps from anywhere
  • Easy way to find new apps
  • It's Free!

The site asks:
So, are you a Developer?
The RevitApp Store SDK is small and simple to use. It is based on an IExternalExtension interface that is the communication with the RevitApp Store. The Apps you create will be protected against copy and execution outside of the Revit AppStore using an AppProtection class.

It also invites us to suggest applications that ought to be available. It will be interesting to see how it develops (pun intended).

Friday, October 08, 2010

Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 is Available

I got an email today from a friend letting me know that my book arrived today. I say my because the book is Patrick Davis' project. Charlie Busa, Beau Turner and I contributed chapters to the book earlier in the year. I was a bit surprised to get asked to contribute considering a few years ago I bailed out on Willem and Wiley/Sybex. No hard feelings retained, lucky me! I haven't mentioned it until now because I'm slack and I lost track of where it stood in the publishing process.

This book is meant to be a lighter text than the heavier (literally) Mastering Revit Architecture 2011 book, its bigger brother. Here's a few details:

ISBN: 978-0-470-64971-8
544 pages
Listed Price: $49.99 USD (Wiley site price)

If you'd like to see a bit more of the book you can review the following:
Author Information
Table of Contents

Excerpts (PDF):
Chapter 1

Speaking for myself, and I imagine for the others, I sure hope that it meets the needs of people getting started with Revit!!

Dept. of Events - Two Sessions at Acadia 2010

For more information and to register, visit the ACADIA 2010 Site.

Event: Acadia 2010 - Conceptual Design in Autodesk Revit Architecture Workshop
When: October 18-20, 2010 (three day workshop)
Time: 9:00AM -4:00 PM
Where: Cooper Union - New York, New York
Admission: For event registration refer to website (ranges from $120-$595)

Subject: Conceptual Design in Autodesk Revit Architecture
Matt Jezyk, Senior Manager, Autodesk AEC Conceptual Design Products
Lira Nikolovska, Principal Designer, Autodesk AEC BIM User Experience
Greg Demchak, Senior Designer, Autodesk BIM User Experience
Zachary Kron, Autodesk AEC Senior Quality Assurance Analyst

The aim of this workshop is explore the new Revit conceptual design workflows, specifically parametric modelling and performative design using Autodesk® Revit®. The first part of the workshop will focus on the ins and outs of the new form making and manipulation tools including creation of parametric rigs to drive and modify form, surface panelization, reporting parameters and adaptive components. The second part of the workshop will focus on analysis applied early into the design process (conceptual energy analysis, solar radiation, use of structural analysis plug-ins), and will also provide overview of API features such as Analysis Visualization Framework and Dynamic Updating.

30-day trial copies of Autodesk Revit Architecture / Autodesk Revit MEP will be available for those who do not already have this software. Educational copies of Revit are available for free for students and faculty and can be downloaded in advance.
Event: Acadia 2010 - Sustainable Design Workshop
When: October 18, 2010
Time: 9:00AM -4:00 PM
Where: Cooper Union - New York, New York
Admission: For event registration refer to website (ranges from $120-$595)

Subject: Performative Design with Autodesk Ecotect Analysis
Presenter: Dr. Andrew Marsh, Sr. Principal Engineer, AEC-Simulation

The aim of this workshop is to explore the boundaries of generative and performative design using Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis, Autodesk® Green Building Studio® and Autodesk® Revit®.

The workshop will focus on the use iterative techniques and automated feedback from performance analysis to optimise and refine building geometry. While developing scripts in Autodesk Ecotect is quite easy and the fundamentals can be picked up during the course of the workshop, some experience with programming concepts and/or languages will be advantageous.

While mainly directed sessions, there will also be scope to develop some custom scripts, so participants are encouraged to consider problems specific to their own schemes or designs as the basis of their work. 30-day trial copies of Autodesk Ecotect Analysis and Autodesk Revit Architecture / Autodesk Revit MEP will be available for those who do not already have this software.

Dept. of Events - RTC USA Call for Abstracts - Now Open

Would you like to present a session at the Revit Technology Conference in Huntington Beach, CA this year?

As I've mentioned in earlier posts it is now scheduled for June 23-25 (Thursday-Saturday). The committee is now ready to receive session proposals (abstracts). If you are interested you can submit your ideas HERE.

I've created a RTC page here at OpEd just to capture some info as we move forward.

Dept. of Events - AIANY Tech Committee - DESIGNING, Design, Assembly, Industry

Event: AIA/NY Tech Committee
When: October 12, 2010
Time: 6-8 PM
Where: Center for Architecture (Tafel Hall - Lower Level)
Admission: Free through support by ABC-Imaging

Subject: DESIGNING Design, Assembly, Industry
Presenter: Scott Marble Marble Fairbanks - NY,NY

Based upon the recent work of Scott Marble and Marble Fairbanks.

The logic of digital processes in architecture has begun to structure the way that architects design, builders build, and industry is reorganizing. These processes have generally followed one of three directions that are only now beginning to coalesce into a coherent system of architectural production: Designing design is a procedural issue, and addresses how design processes are being influenced by new digital workflows; Designing assembly is a material issue, and addresses how digital production, processes, and material properties influence design concepts; Designing industry is an organizational issue with a drive toward integration, where vast amounts of design information span across multiple disciplines and can be modeled and managed more efficiently. Scott Marble, a founding partner of NY architecture firm Marble Fairbanks, will present these topics in the context of his firm’s recent work, as well as within the context of a current research project (and forthcoming book) that he is directing at Columbia University’s GSAPP, entitled, The Columbia Building Intelligence Project (C BIP).


Dept. of Events - AIA/LA TAP at USC

Changed Date!
Event: AIA/LA Technology in Architecture Practice (TAP)
When: November 5, 2010
Time: 6-8 PM
Where: USC - Wong Conference Center in Harris Hall 101
Admission: Free to AIA members, $10 General Public
Continuing Education Credit (CEU): 1.5

Subjects: Tiger by the Tail - Small firm strategies in BIM Adoption
  • Tom Morales, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP (Outsource model) Adjunct Professor, Cerritos College & BIM Consultant
  • Shobhit Baadkar (Collaborative model) - Principal, Titan AEC
  • Cliff S. Moser, MSQA, AIA, LEED AP (Partnering model) - VP Operations and Healthcare Practice, CADFORCE Inc.
This session will involve an interactive discussion about streamlining the adoption of the BIM model in small architectural practices. It will cover the ways of collaborating and working with BIM providers and colleagues in order to ramp up quickly and effectively in providing professional services. Why do small firms have an advantage in using outside sources for the BIM process? Because they can easily tailor their work flow to the different process that BIM demands, having only a small investment in digital, hardware and communication overhead or in tech personnel. This is a strategic advantage because in order to truly take advantage of BIM there must be a complete overhaul of the traditional work flow process.

You can register by clicking HERE.  Admission is FREE to AIA Members and $10 for General Admission.

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?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Creating a Local File - Clue to a Problem

The Revit Clinic confirmed an issue I've been seeing for some time now. I thought I wrote about it in the past but it seems that I haven't. If you click on a central file (2010 and 2011) Revit detects this and checks the Create New Local option.

If you find this option disabled (gray'd out) then that's a clue that something is wrong. The situation I've observed and the clinic's first listed problem is that Revit thinks that your computer is finding the central using a different path than other members of the team that have also created local files. In my case I usually find that someone is showing a path that reflects the Network Neighborhood path instead of a formal Drive Letter mapping. In a couple of other cases I've encountered a specific IP address instead.

A post yesterday at The Revit Clinic confirmed that these issues are indeed a problem for Revit when we intend to create a local file. If you find the Create Local File option disabled, STOP. Get some help to fix your path before you find yourself unable to Synchronize with Central.

There are two other explanations offered in The Revit Clinic's post; worksharing isn't enabled and a corrupt central file/thumbnail issue. I've also observed that the so called corrupt central file is occasionally really a local file. In this situation someone saved their local file in the folder where the central file was and chose to overwrite the file. The unfortunate consequence of this is that nobody else can synchronize with central because it isn't a central file anymore. Take care, it's dangerous out there folks.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Conceptual Energy Analysis

In my earlier posts I didn't get into the details of the new features revealed in the Subscription Advantage Pack that just became available. A post today at Inside the Factory means I can be lazy and just point you in their direction. That is, assuming you haven't already watched them?

Autodesk is getting quite proactive about explaining features with video. The only trouble with this is figuring out where to find information on a given feature. Pulling it all together so the average user can find it all will be the ongoing challenge, I think.

Here's the links to each video, just to be a little bit redundant:

Choosing the Project Location and Weather Station
Using Automatic Form Rationalization
Changing Energy Settings
Customizing Form Rationalization
Performing Conceptual Energy Analysis