Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fence Linestyle?

Revit doesn't allow us to create a line style that includes text as a symbol. Common uses for this are pipelines, fences, overhead electrical lines and many more. Revit’s repeating detail makes this somewhat doable if you create a detail component that has the symbol you need, not text though, you must draw the letter with lines. The line based detail component is another possibility. The thinking goes that we should use tags to identify things like pipe. Instead of drawing a line with HW embedded as a pattern we just apply a tag for the pipe system's abbreviation of HW. That doesn't really help for a fence though...

...and about a fence and mimicking a fence line idea popped in my head, “What about a railing and baluster to do this?” We probably want a 3D fence anyway but what if we want the --X-----X-- in plan? At first I thought, “naah, can’t do it because you can’t create a baluster that gives you subcategories to manage visibility of parts”.

So I dismissed it until now. Then I thought, if you nest a detail component for the ---X--- and nested a generic model family for the baluster or fence portions you can assign each to visibility parameters that will give you control over each via visibility graphics under Generic Models and Detail Components. Ultimately we need the ---X--- with no rail visible in plan and the rails/baluster/panel in 3D with no ---X---.

It all comes down to what you really want but this is what I mocked up, messing around. Maybe the concept will spur some other ideas?

Hopefully they’ll just give us more options with line styles and it’ll be easy!

Download the sample File

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Future Phases

Revit has four states relative to phases, New, Existing, Temporary and Demolished. There is no future state. What can you do if you want to indicate where the future phase work will be located?

Overlay views on sheets!

It is a simple matter to create a view whose phase is assigned to the Future phase and tell Revit through Phase Filters that you don’t want to see Existing, Temporary or Demolished elements. The building you draw in this future phase will look new. If you don’t want it to you can use visibility graphics overrides to make it look different or even much simpler.

As long as the scale of the views you need to overlay on the sheet are the same you’ll find that Revit will snap them into alignment. Here is a simplistic representation of all the phases on a sheet in two views overlaid.

This example is one that has a different overrides applied.

This is the Future phased view setup to put on a sheet.

If you look closely I've used the Linework tool to make a small wall that will be demolished between the New and Future work look like it is to be demolished.

Give er a try?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Autodesk University 2006 - Class Survey Results

I’ve held off writing anything about my AU 2006 experiences because I’ve been busy but also because I’ve been waiting for the class survey data to be compiled and distributed. I’m writing regarding the classes I presented.

As I wrote earlier, I presented two classes on the family editor, a lecture format and a lab format. AU management made arrangements to repeat the lab when the first filled up so quickly. This brought me to a total of three presentations. Overall my scores were very good. For those of you who attended my sessions and were pleased I am grateful and glad that they worked for you!

It would be easy to stop this article right here with the “thank you very much” but that is only one side of the story. I’m going dwell on the negative side of the story and I hope you fail to hear any excuses because I don’t want to utter a single one.

The survey results include the comments that are supplied on the bottom of each survey form. These comments vary from both ends of the spectrum, from completely negative to completely happy. I can honestly relate to each comment because as honest as each comment is they couldn’t compare to how brutally I picked apart my performance, you can ask my wife.

Naturally I’d like to focus on the positive remarks and feel good. Nevertheless, sometimes the truth hurts and every negative comment held truth that needs to be considered. As proof that I can trust “my gut” the lab I presented first felt wrong to me and sure enough the survey results were not as high as the second lab, which I retooled overnight before presenting the next morning. My apologies to the first lab! The second lab felt better but I was still dissatisfied. You can only fix so much overnight.

On the other hand the lecture felt good to me during and after but with such a large audience I knew there was no way I could really satisfy everyone. Sure enough there were some disappointed remarks.

In some cases the truth was probably simply a matter of wrong class, wrong student, mismatched agenda’s. In other cases it is a matter of approach or delivery, right idea, wrong message. For those who were not satisfied I am sorry, deeply so. I understand how much it means to take time away from family and work to attend AU and to be part of any dissatisfaction is hard to bear and certainly not intended.

The subject of content and the family editor is a deep subject and the last two years I’ve provided classes on the subject have been living proof that you can’t please everyone. At least not with one class or one level of experience in mind. Even if you think you’ve got it correct someone will come along and provide insight that you failed to consider.

I will encourage the next AU to provide a broader scope of training focused on the family editor. Ideally a beginning to end structure as the power track was intended to provide for the project side of Revit, a power track for the family editor if you will. Whether I’m a part of it or not is immaterial, that it happens, and that you are successful with Revit is important to me!

Thank you for attending and caring enough to share your thoughts so we can all strive make AU even better every year!! (and make me better too!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

White Pawn takes Black Knight

Recent newsgroup question, "How do I get white text over a black background?" Like this:

Here's how:

Use a filled region to create the black background then edit your text/labels.
[True for 2009 and previous]
Color: White
Background: Opaque.

Amended for for 2010
Color: RGB 251,251,251 (nearly white, RGB 254,254,254 is displayed "black")
Background: Transparent

That's it!

Caution if you export sheet views to dwg you'll need to adjust your pen table to plot the text correctly. If you assign the text on the titleblock to its own layer you can tell AutoCAD to plot them using the object color so the text will plot over the background hatch. There are probably other options as well.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fillet This! - The Options Bar

In the "if t'were a snake itta bit ya" category the Options Bar appears often. The question asked, "Can I copy something multiple times?"...the answer, "the Options Bar".
Another, "Can I copy something when I rotate it?"...the get the idea.
The subject of this post is, "Where is the fillet command?" The answer..."the Options Bar, sort of". Trouble is that most everyone seems to think that the fillet command is an editing task. All those years in other software told em so!

Along comes Revit and they seem to view it as a creation tool. A fillet is creating a third element, a line or wall arc where nothing was before except two lines or walls meeting at a corner or maybe not even meeting. With this in mind the process to fillet between two walls or lines is a creation event and the command is hiding within the commands for both, wall or lines.

When you are sketching a wall/line you have to take a closer look at the options bar because there is a little innocent check box next to Fillet and a place to enter a radius value. Check it, enter a value and when you sketch you'll get an arc between the segments you draw. Like this box:

Now what if you have a box already and you really meant to have radius corners? Start the wall/line command again and this time take another look at the Options Bar. Click the little pull down arrow next to the sketch tools and look at the list offered. Choose the Fillet Arc option.

Now you can select the two walls/lines you want to fillet between and graphically decide where the arc should land or specify a radius on the Options Bar first.
When in doubt, take a good look at the Options Bar!

When is Revit...Not?

I stumbled across this interesting REVIT website this morning. Here is the text from their about page:

Within North-West Europe six partners have come together to improve regenerating their brownfield sites by sharing experience and developing new concepts and innovative approaches.

Revitalisation of brownfields
In every country and in almost every city of North-West Europe (NWE), there are brownfield areas that need to be revitalised in order to preserve or improve the quality of urban living conditions. The revitalisation of brownfields may enhance coherent urban development, but can also create new employment and stimulate the local economy. Ultimately revitalising brownfields for a variety of future utilisation preserves new building land and makes cities aware of that value.

Six partner areas
The approaches to regenerate brownfield sites in North-West Europe are manifold and differ due to the specific national legislation and administrative instruments or the local economic situation in the different partners' areas.
Nevertheless, the six partner areas involved in the REVIT project confront problems in the context of brownfield regeneration that are in essence very similar and need to be tackled more effectively by improved co-operation within the NWE region.

New approaches
Until August 2007 the transnational working teams will develop new approaches for different aspects of brownfield regeneration. To ensure the practical realisability of the new approaches the teams will be testing the new tools in each partner area before publishing final guidelines and recommendations.

Good thing I didn't try to attend the conference they held back in 2004, titled "Revit Conference". Would have been surprised they weren't talking at all about the software!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fixed "Map" Grid Overlay

Got a call from a friend today describing a situation he was sorting through. He needs a gridwork to overlay on his project that defines the project much like a map defines each grid cell by the letter on the vertical and horizontal borders. Just like the National Cadd Standard Uniform Drawing System (NCS/UDS) suggests for our sheets. In this case the project is so large that they want this grid to help find parts of the project. So this grid needs to appear in all views possible automatically.

The obvious issue with just using Revit grids in the project itself is that they compete with "real" grids for structural steel etc. The answer? We came up with nesting a separate Revit project with the grid layout. Guess we'll see how well it works as it goes forward. The grid below is a mockup and each square is 150 ft. x 150 ft.

The catch? Since you probably want grid cell labels you need to set up a view for each scale so you can add some text in between each grid. So for each scale view that you need to see the grid in the host project, you create a view and annotation for it. Then in the host file you override the visibility graphics for each view to assign the correct scale view.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Revit User's Residential Example Project - Diary

Robert A. van het Hof, Assoc. AIA created this SITE as an example for a computer user group that was discussing 3D modelling software. Let him know what you think. He says on the site that it is a temporary web site so I don't know how long it will exist, check it out! Here's one of the images he posted:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Egress Re-gress

I've enhanced the earlier example by adding annotation symbols "Dot" and "Arrow" to the Egress family: Path of Travel. There are three types within, Start Middle and End. She looks like this could do the same...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Viva la "BIM Revolution"!

A new blog surfaced in October 2006 called BIM Revolution. Created by Mark Hulme a Job Captain at Flewelling & Moody, an architecture firm in Pasadena, CA. His mission:

This blog has been created to detail the planning of and promote the Pasadena & Foothill Chapter of the AIA's 2007 Technology Symposium: BIM (r)Evolution: The Path In.

The site is also intended to become a repository of BIM information and resources as they become available, filtered by and for architects. Welcome, and thanks for joining us.

Keep an eye on it to see what develops!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Four BIM

A new site called 4BIM will debut in the Spring of 2007 but there is page there now. Miles Walker is the editor of 4BIM and he is the CAD Manager and BIM and buildingSMART specialist for HOK International in London (and clever guy, my words).

Egress Path

[added Nov 22, 2011] I've written quite a few times about this now, more than ten times. A quick search of this blog for the criteris "Egress" will yield links to all the posts. If you just want to download examples you CAN HERE.

Often my articles are inspired by something I read on the newsgroups or forums. Other times they come from client questions. In this case it came from both and when line based families were introduced I applied them to this question, “How can I describe and then document exiting paths?” I discussed this approach at Autodesk University 2006 and the files will be available at AU Online.

This first image is the plan representation of the line-based family I made:

This image is the schedule results after sketching the segments you see above:

This image is what the family looks like in a 3D view:

I used a sub-category of generic model to allow me to turn on/off the 3D guy that’s sliding along the egress path.

This is an image of the family itself:

It is a line-based solid sweep using a silly looking “human” like form as the 3D object. A symbolic line in plan sweeps along with it. Finally a Multi-Category Tag family reports the “length” parameter (yes, a shared parameter) of each segment in the plan view. A multi-category schedule filters for just elements that have an egress related comment.

The trick to getting the Path of Egress shared parameter to report the length of the line-based family is to connect it to the default Length parameter present in line-based families already. Just entering the parameter name “Length” in the formula column for the parameter “Path of Egress” connects them.

I suppose I should have made a girl version too? Modular man? Give it try, see if the concept works for your needs?

Refer to the email instructions on the sidebar if you want to get a copy of the project file, which will give you the family, tag and the schedule as well as what you see above naturally.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Easy RGB - Paint Color RGB Values

A fellow Revit user, C. Ryan, posted a link to Easy RGB at the Autodesk Newsgroups and I thought it was something I ought to do too. Looks useful for those of you doing rendering/color matching, among other things?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Which Objects Cut?

So how do you know which objects Revit will cut? Well you could look in the help files and read the chart.

Help File Location:


Or you could just open Settings menu > Object Styles and gaze upon the list of categories. Any element category with a gray box underneath the CUT column...well...doesn't.

Fwiw this image of the object styles was captured using the Scrolling Region function of SnagIT. This makes it easier to capture the information that isn't possible to report in Revit any other way.