Thursday, May 28, 2009

Interference Checking and Design Options

The Interference Check tool does not filter out results for elements assigned to various Design Options that "interfere" with one another. Keep this in mind the next time you are reviewing the results. You'll have a lot a "meaningless" collisions if you have any number of of options.

You can open the report in Word and use Find/Replace to highlight results that include Options as part of the interference information to make it a little easier to "evaluate/ignore" them.

The reporting process could use some more options like: Ignore Design Options, include interference between element in the same option, primary options and main model. It would also be great to be able to check two linked models against each other from within the host.


I've been neglecting my own writing here because I've been busy wrapping up something else. That something else is new magazine that is being developed by AUGI and Extension Media. In the brand new issue of AUGI Hotnews this image appeared.
As the editor for this issue I can tell you that it has twenty-plus articles about Revit Architecture, Structure and MEP as well as cross-discipline subjects. It features contributions from volunteer writers: David Baldacchino, Jarrod Baumann, Bill Brown, Lay Christopher Fox, Bruce Gow, Laura Handler, Anthony Hauck, Jim Keller, Joel Londenberg, Michelle Louw, Robert Manna, Toby Maple, Matt Mason, Damon Ranieri, Jamie Richardson, James Salmon, Elizabeth Shulok, David Thirlwell, Cyril Verley, & Tom Weir. I'm very grateful to them for their willingness to contribute their time and knowledge to the magazine!

It will be an "E" magazine available to read online or download. Stay will be out soon. We hope you'll like it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Newest BIM Product on the Road!

While driving to Los Angeles this morning I saw a tractor trailer with the name of what must be the latest offering in BIM software.

Okay maybe not, apparently it's really a Bakery called BIMBO Bakeries. They got a cute bear mascot eh?Watch out Autodesk! Once they get done taking over the baking world they may come after the rest of the BIM "world"?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dept. of Unfair - Filters in RAC/RME and RST

First off this post does not only apply to 2010, it also applies to 2009.

In RAC & RME filters can be applied to elements according to parameters associated with that element or elements. When you select the Filter tool you are presented with this dialog.

You choose a parameter, a condition, which element(s) to affect and name it. In Visibility/Graphics you can add the Filter to the view. Once added you can alter the appearance of the affected elements or even turn them off.

In RST filters do that AND you can build selection sets and use those as a filter too! When you start the Filter tool in RST you get the dialog hiding behind the foreground dialog. You get this foreground dialog when you click NEW.

So are you getting annoyed yet? With RME we use filters extensively to manage the appearance of duct and pipe according to the system they belong to. With RAC we use them to alter the appearance of plans for "FFE" (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment) requirments and fire/life safety documentation to name just a couple.

Imagine you could build a filter by just selecting a number of elements instead? Select this, that and the other thing over there...okay now you are part of a filter and you can do all the same override stuff!! Very nice!! When you enter into the "Select" mode you get a new contextual Ribbon tab that looks like this.

Similar to Groups you can add/remove elements from the Selection Set. I did notice that the Filter tool isn't available while in this mode. This makes the Multiple check box on the Options Bar a bit anemic since you can't use Filter to remove a category of elements after using a crossing selection window. But then maybe getting to use the Filter tool while using the Filter feature would be "redundant"?? If so I'd have to post this in my Dept. of Redundancy Dept.?

I have to ask the obvious question...does someone think that Revit Architecture & MEP couldn't use this feature too? That said, I believe that this is the "Selection Sets" extension that was released for RST in past years getting incorporated into the native code of RST. It's a shame that it isn't in the others. Perhaps next release!?!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dept. of Lost and Found - Revisions

Rolly Stevens with Ellerbe Becket shared this one with me the other day.

He writes:
"Just when I've started to like the new Revit 2010 interface, I had to go looking for the Revisions dialog. Common sense told me to look under the Manage tab" I'm with ya Rolly!

He writes: "When that failed miserably, I searched other, less logical places. I finally had to resort to the help file (which, for any Revit geek, is admitting defeat). The help file said to look under View. Bewildered, I look under the View tab. Then I look again, finally I had to re-read the help file!"Go Rolly, go Rolly!

He continues: It turns out that there's a tiny diagonal down arrow in the bottom corner of the Sheet Composition panel. That is the new "Logical" place for the revisions dialog!

He writes: "By the way, there's also a hidden down arrow in the Graphics panel that opens the Advanced Graphics Settings dialog.

Thanks for sharing Rolly!!

Edit: Hey Rolly! Rick pointed out in a comment that it IS on the Manage tab, but listed under the Settings Split Button. So much for "discoverability" 8-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dept. of Subtle - Seeing Double?? Revit 2010 QAT

This one was sent to me by Eric Stewart with Design Development Architects. He thought he was seeing double on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT, new term for 2010). First he thought that he added the same tool twice. Upon closer inspection he realized that Copy and Create Similar were...well...similar! have to make sure you are seeing "double discs" when you want to Copy!! Thanks Eric!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Exploding CAD Data

Just say no! Friends don't let friends explode cad data! Any other words of wisdom?

If you have is some text from the 2010 help file:

When you import a drawing into Revit, you are importing all the elements, such as blocks and external references (xrefs) from the drawing. (See Implications of Importing vs. Linking for Xrefs.) They are all contained inside a Revit element called an import symbol.

You can explode (disassemble) the import symbol into its next highest level elements: nested import symbols. This is a partial explode. A partial explode of an import symbol yields more import symbols, which, in turn, can be exploded into either elements or other import symbols. This is analogous to exploding in AutoCAD 2010 with nested xrefs and blocks. For example, you explode an xref into other xrefs and blocks. Those xrefs and blocks can, in turn, be exploded into more blocks and xrefs.

You can also explode the import symbol immediately into Revit text, curves, lines, and filled regions. This is a full explode.

NoteYou cannot explode linked files or an import symbol that would yield more than 10,000 elements.

Resulting partial explode import symbols can be exploded again by selecting them and clicking Partial Explode. You can continue to do this until all import symbols are converted to Revit Structure elements.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Revit 2010 - Edit/New = Edit Type

Another little change in language with the release of 2010.

When you open the Element Properties dialog you see this in previous releases, an Edit/New button. Edit for editing the Type Properties and New for the opportunity to make a new Type.

With 2010 the button just says Edit Type.

Once you are in the Type Properties the button for Duplicate is present.

The previous button implied you could Edit or create a New element. Or maybe I'm just used to that being possible so it makes sense now? With the 2010 language I just see Edit and no "clue" about how I'd make a "new" version or that it would even be possible. Only after the dialog opens does it become apparent. Maybe the average use won't be confused and they'll only care about how they make a new one later on?

I like the new Element Properties button. This permits us to open the instance properties dialog by clicking on the primary part of the so called Split Button or selecting the Type Properties from the two choices Instance or Type. Not less clicks on the "way in" but a little less mouse travel and one dialog to close instead so less clicks on the "way out".

I guess we'll see if anyone actually notices the difference and says one way or another?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Clicking and Clicks

There has been some rather strong criticism in various places about the new user interface for Revit 2010. With regard to the number of "clicks" it takes to do something I'm afraid it is difficult to find fault with the logic that the new UI is less efficient compared with the same task in the previous release. Of course that is focusing on a single task as opposed to overall but still users get frustrated at very subtle things when they keep "poking them in the eye".

One example is the Objects Styles Dialog. This is where we control the overall appearance of the elements in our projects. We don't have to visit this dialog endlessly but we do visit it at various times during a day/week/month.

Old UI - Settings menu > Objects Styles (click count 2)
New UI - Manage tab > Settings button > Object Styles (click count 3)

Another example is the Export Settings for a dwg file. Again not a frequent stop for every user but some users like a BIM manager will visit this very frequently.

Old UI - File menu > Import/Export Settings > Export Layers DWG/DXF (Click count 3)
New UI - Application menu > Export > CAD Formats > DWG > DWG Properties tab > Build Button (Click count 6)

Note that this build button has no tool tip or explanation for what it does, no label. The click count is technically (6) six, though you don't have to click if you just hover over the Application menu items and move your mouse over the other options as they eventually display. So you don't HAVE to click but you ARE waiting.

I'm sure that "metrics" said that the typical user opened this dialog once in a "blue moon". So that user isn't affected or annoyed. The data leader for a project, the one who has to export to cad every couple days or the BIM manager who is setting up office standards for ten (10) offices and has to revisit them much more often won't find this new process very efficient. Considering that you have to start the Export process to get to the file to edit it in the first place!

In my view everything we manage, like these two, should be under the Manage Ribbon tab. Object Styles is, but it is under a pull down menu style selection which reintroduces a concept that the ribbon was supposed to eliminate?

Compare with Office 2007 and Word. The Ribbon in Word continues to grow toward the right when panels exceed the available space and an arrow appears at the right end of the Ribbon to allow you to scroll for more. This means there is no reason for a pull down type UI on the ribbon (yes it takes a click to scroll though)...every tool that we need to "manage" Revit settings/rules could have its own button and place on a panel.

It is too easy to dissect the user interface, at this level, and find examples. It should have been hard to find such things. Inefficiencies ideally should have been the exception, not the rule.

Last, I'm not an icon guy. I don't remember what little picture is which tool. If you turn off the labels for the tool bars in 2009 I'm lost, for a bit. I still can't tell you which picture is for which tool unless I'm looking at it right now. The fact that the Ribbon tools have words too is, for me, a life saver.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

RDB Link - Alive in the Labs

For those of you interested in connecting the Revit model to an external database Autodesk's It's Alive in the Lab blog announced today that they have such a feature available now, called "RDB Link".

Check it out? Maybe it will help!?!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Licensing Timeout Issue - Network Licensing 2010

James Vandezande at SOM posted this yesterday. I read a similar post at AUGI earlier this month as well.

If you are experiencing licensing problems be sure to contact support so they can track the problem down as quickly as possible.

Seems to me that during beta testing network licensing probably doesn't get tested adequately because we are encouraged to avoid using the software on any mission critical work which implies that there is little point in deploying the software. Perhaps this strategy is flawed and bound to wait to "fail" until the software is in the wild and too late?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Detail Level Icons - 2010

In the previous releases we've had the following icons for Detail Levels: Coarse, Medium and Fine.

With 2010 we now have these.

While I appreciate the more accurate portrayal I do find it "harder" to determine at a glance which detail level is used now. Since they all have the "same" kind of pattern I now have to actually stare at the icon longer. Perhaps it is just my aging eyes but with the previous empty white square it was easy to just glance and see that Coarse detail level was in use or not. It is still harder (for me) to determine whether medium or fine were being used with the older version too but then not a lot of views use Fine by comparison.

Remember that the Detail Level settings are also available in the View Properties dialog. I haven't used that route since the View Control Bar was added though. Well I have altered the setting in the dialog but only because I already happened to be there doing something else.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Line Weights - Plotting and Scales

Regarding the Line weight Settings in Revit, this was provided to "Archman" (member username), a member of AUGI, in July of 2006 at AUGI by Autodesk support and David Conant confirmed its accuracy.

The question had to do with the logic of defining line weights and the various scales present in the Lineweights dialog. Specifically, "What line weight(s) does Revit use when you use a scale that isn't defined there?"

Autodesk Support wrote:
In this case the line weights will be assigned to the last lineweight before it until the lineweight can be rounded to the next one. For example: between 1/16" = 1' and 1/32" = 1'. If you only have these two weights defined at scale and none of the increments inbetween then 1" -20' and 3/64"= 1' will default to the 1/16= 1' setting while 1" = 30' feet will round up to 1/32" =1' . Any of the line weights after the last defined scale will default to the last defined scale.

To add to this, when a scale is not defined, and a view is plotted that uses it, and it falls in between two that are, Revit will use the next largest scale.

To summarize, it uses the closest or larger scale depending on the proximity to the defined scales and it uses the corresponding lineweight settings.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dept. of NfSCD - iPhone Tip

If you have an iPhone...

When the phone is off - Double Click the "Home" button - displays iTunes mini menu.

When the phone is on but "at home" - Double Click "Home" button - display Favorites (contacts)

When the phone is on - Press and hold the "Home" button then press Power button - Generates a screen capture of what is on screen and adds it to your camera roll.

Want more?

Applications I use:
Pandora - The Music Genome Project - Radio station that plays music you like based on the "type" of music based on artist or song selection. (free)

Yelp - location based recommendations for restaurants, bars etc. (free)

Shazam - Find out what that song is, hold you iPhone near the speaker and let it listen, pretty amazing.(free)

Clinometer - Cool level, yes as in a level to find out if something is "level", not tilted, "geek food". (not free)

NfSCD = "Now for Something Completely Different"

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Revit Structure - Missing Columns - Graphical Column Schedule

Have you seen this message?

If so the solution is pretty simple. When was the last time you checked your elevation views? Notice the grids in the image? Just make them tall enough to encompass all the columns and "she'll be right"!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Bug - Structural Columns - Paste Aligned

When you work with Structural columns you have the option to define them according to their Height or Depth relative to the level you are working on. This is in response to the fact that Revit used to only place them according to Depth and that was frustrating for most users. Having the choice is good!

When you want to propagate a Level's columns to another Level or Levels by using the Copy to Clipboard followed by a Paste Aligned - Select Levels by Name don't get a choice. Revit's code places the new columns using Depth regardless of the fact that you placed the originals using Height.

If you aren't careful you'll likely end up with a warning like this one.

Now the programmer will take issue with the "bug" designation because it works as written. True or doesn't work the way I'd expect it to work.

The solution? When you use Paste Aligned, remember that the Level you are pasting from and the one above it should not be selected because the next set of columns above will be starting at a level and using a Depth placement logic instead of Height. Here's an image of the Paste Aligned Result when I select Level 3 for destination even though I selected the columns on Level 1 as the originals.
It is interesting that skipping Level 2 in the selection process produces a column whose Instance parameters end up "correct" though.

Unfortunately this image is from 2010 and that means it isn't "fixed" yet...and yes this is an "oldy" but not "goody".