Friday, April 29, 2011

Navisworks Exporter Utility

Need to Export from Revit to Navisworks?

Don't own Navisworks though?

You can download the Exporter you need for free, well free in $$, you'll still have to provide some personal details to get the installer.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Railings and Stairs - Usability Study

The Autodesk User Experience team is looking for Architects, Drafters, Designers and CAD Managers who use Revit Architecture or other products to design stairs or railings, to participate in a usability study of some Autodesk software concepts.

The sessions are approximately 90 minutes long. If you are interested in participating, please take a few minutes to fill in this short questionnaire. Participants who are a good match for our study will be contacted within a few days.

Your involvement helps make Autodesk products better.

Dept. of Bugs - Intous 4 Pen Tablet and 2012

I've been experiencing a quirky issue with the Type Selector in Revit 2011 and 2012 since I started using the Wacom Intous 4. If I use the pen the Type Selector will not expand to show me the list. If I use the mouse they provide it works fine. Read a post at RevitForum this morning that also mentions this.

It also mentions a bug I observed regarding the materials dialog in 2012. If I open the materials dialog and then click on the Appearance tab, followed by clicking on any part of the dialog, as if I were going to change a setting...Revit will crash when I click OK to close the dialog. I'm taking the hint to just leave materials alone! Hopefully with some reports to Autodesk it will get sorted out between Wacom's driver and their material .dlls.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Importing DWG and Exporting to DWG

Here's a few things that have come up lately regarding importing dwg data:
  • Revit imports from Model Space unless there is nothing in Model Space. It then asks if you'd like to import the stuff it finds in paper space.
  • Revit only recognizes the World Coordinate System (WCS)
  • Revit doesn't "see" AutoCAD points, doesn't snap to them, you'll see them but can't "use" them.
  • Revit doesn't "see" or even show AutoCAD Xline or Ray elements.
  • Save details as single cad files not composite "sheets" of details. Single cad files can be added to individual drafting views and added to sheets allowing Revit to keep track of the sheet and detail numbers for us.
  • Perfect world in Revit = no dwg files imported or linked, don't rely on them forever, work toward native Revit details and detail components.
For Exporting to DWG Revit 2012 offers the ability to define Layer Modifiers so that we can tell Revit to generate better layers for things like supply air ducts versus return air ducts.

They've also added a short list of predefined standards to pull from (technically based on the previously provided layer standard files, just presented more obviously now):

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dept. of Subtle - Click in Empty Space

A quick video to demonstrate to concepts that are so foreign to the other applications we use at work. The first is to finish a dimension string and the second is to wrap up typing text. In both situations we have to click away from what we are doing and resist the temptation to press the Enter key, hit ESC or click on something else.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Revit Server - Heading Off Road

If you are curious about Revit Server and using less server like hardware/software, David just posted the results of his experience doing exactly that. He's been able to get it up and running on extra equipment. Caution though, you'll be stepping outside the "support range" of Autodesk's support crew...

Check out his post now!?!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dept. of Subtle - Text Output to DWG

With 2012 we can now map Revit fonts to fonts in AutoCAD. I can export Arial to Romans for example.

I got a request to check something out today and the results are curious. Here's a drafting view of four Arial font sizes: 1", 1/2", 1/4" and 3/32" (using view scale of 1:1).

Here's how it looks going from Arial to Arial (Revit 2012 - AutoCAD 2012).

Here's how the Text Height transferred (Revit/AutoCAD):

I used the "deepest" units setting in AutoCAD for Fractional of 1/256" so that's altered the value for 3/32" to register the "correct" amount. The decimal equivalent for 3/32" is 0.09375 though so the reported value (when I change the units to decimal instead) of 0.09220621 is also off a bit.

Then I exported from Revit Arial to AutoCAD RomanS, same sizes:

Here's how the Text Height transferred (Revit/AutoCAD):

Can't really measure text height accurately in Revit since none of the tools that measure or dimension can "touch" text. It's possible the fonts are "off" in Revit to begin with, just can't say for sure. I don't know that the inaccuracy is enough to get upset about but it doesn't result in text heights that match what you'd expect.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dept. of Echo - Printing Problems with Revit 2012

Alan posted this tonight, "Printer and Plotter Bugs with Revit 2012". He's having issues with their KIP plotter and he reports that another London Revit User Group member is having trouble getting things out of their HP plotters.

Might have a quick read and weigh in if you can corroborate with your own issues. Serious enough that it might justify a early Web Update...if they can pin down the cause(s).

On another note (A flat), having trouble with your printer out-feed tray? Maybe this will help?

Saw it at a clients office recently, "Hmmm, finished stirring my coffee...I can recycle this!"

Dept. of Subtle - V/Gs or V/G?

Maybe this is something that only freaks out someone trying to write about something. Is it Visibility/Graphics or Visibility/Graphic?

I'm used to seeing and writing Visibility/Graphics but the dialog actually says Visibility/Graphic, no "s". The Properties palette uses the "s" however.

The review of one of my chapters for the 2012 version of Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012 flagged it as a question about consistency. I opted to go with the dialog "s-less" version. I hope it doesn't make anyone mad! :)

Stay tuned, we'll let you know when the book is finished and ready to ship! Here's the new cover, recently shared by Pat Davis on the Tampa Bay Revit User's Group blog.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trolling the Past - Model Text Family

A couple years ago (try nearly seven!!), in June 2004 I responded to a thread at AUGI regarding some model text and it being used on a sign:

These are the general steps I took to make it:
  • First create a generic family
  • Add model text to it, center justify it and put it at the origin
  • Add a parameter for the text value and assign the model text value to it
  • Nest that family into your sign family
  • Assign the text to the text parameter in the host
  • Lock the nested model text to the center reference plane
In playing with the seven year old example that was a rush job if I recall correctly I was able to break it again. It may be a bit unfair but I fixed the family in 2012 today. I've posted the revised working family and the nested model text family so they can be downloaded:
 (now you have another minor excuse to get 2012 installed)

I also wrote:

Oh...I coined a new term while fumbling with words a little while ago...Family and Formula are now;

Monday, April 18, 2011

Room Renumbering - Autodesk Labs Plug-in of the Month - Updated 2012

For those of you that have downloaded this plug-in and starting to use 2012 in production, there is now a version for 2012 too.

Poking at them, it should have been rolled into 2012 but I'm grateful that it exists and freely so. Check out the Autodesk Labs blog post.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dept. of Echo - Installing 2012 Products

David Harrington mentions this morning that it is easy to overlook the option to customize your installation.

See that little "down-arrow" next to the text..."Bring Building Information Modeling..."? That's the key, click that to expand the screen to offer configuration options for content and file locations. Since you may be "in-the-same-boat" you ought to read through his post before you get too deep?

Harlan and the gang at The Revit Clinic have posted a couple critical items for anyone who is about to deal with installing software.

First is that it is no longer "easy" to switch from Network to Stand-alone licensing types. You have to reinstall for one or the other. Honest reaction..."yuk". Better forewarned?

Second item is that some "Cheese-has-moved". Read through the post to see how it affects these items

  • Journal Files
  • UserDataCache and Revit.ini
  • OmniClassTaxonomy.txt
  • UniformatClassifications.txt
  • shxfontmap.txt
  • UiState.dat

As you wait!!

Alan reminded me that he also wrote something about installation as well as referencing another Clinic post. They wrote to let us know that some content is still downloaded over the internet during the installation despite the initial sizable download to start the process.

Okay, now as you were...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taking Tests

I wrote this after reading a thread at RevitForum called Autodesk Certification.

In the thread there, a quick mock-up "test" that one member submitted is a good example (I think) of why it's hard to make a test. When we write a question for a test, it and the answers we offer have a bias. If five people submitted their own 15 question tests, I'm confident that anyone who takes it would be able to take exception with at least a couple questions in each. That's why test instructions say "pick the BEST answer", which usually translates into, the one that the test's writer wants selected.

Oddly enough, I often think that people with a lot of experience can have a rougher time with a test because they are aware of exceptions to the rule, all the ways that something can be twisted into being. That and these tests are written by people that are presumed to have significant experience, but what kind of experience? training?

How about this question and set of answers? (which btw I've actually seen, not word for word but the essence of that test's question)

In-Place Families...
  • a) should never be used.
  • b) should only be used sparingly.
  • c) can only used for custom casework.
  • d) are best used for sloped walls.
  • e) are used for massing.

  • Answer A is an opinion
  • Answer B is a recommendation
  • Answer C suggests an office preference or standard
  • Answer D is too specific/limiting and suggest a preference
  • Answer E is true, people often forget that massing is in-place families.

They are all "true" depending on your point of view. Which one did I intend to be the "best" answer? Perhaps "E"? It depends on what I wanted to test "for". Revit knowledge or appreciation of subtleties? Applying Revit to our office standards?

    A test's wrong answers can be as interesting as the correct ones. Failing the "right" kind of test might actually demonstrate deeper knowledge of the subject.

Something Aaron Maller once wrote somewhere (AUGI/RevitForum/Blog) that his employer (Beck Group) strives to hire the best architect/engineer they can. They'll teach them the software if necessary. It's a good strategy assuming "you" aren't hunting for an office guru. If nobody in your office has guru status it will be a bit harder to select one (evaluate one), he/she only has to know more than your smartest user to "impress".

There is a lot more a potential candidate can do to prove their value besides showing they passed a test. Remember getting a license to practice architecture (no small feat) means that person passed the minimum qualifications to be able to do so. These other things could be their past work history, references, teaching experience, problem solving examples, writing, and speaking. Oh and the interview shouldn't just be with the HR folks, how will they know they've got the right person? With something like this?

HR Check List:
  • Nice suit/outfit - check
  • Grooming Excellent - check
  • Revit tattoo on forehead - check
  • Degree at BIM Tech - check
  • Autodesk Certification - check
  • Can spell Rivit - check
Recommendation: Hire at 3x the salary

Imagine being eliminated from consideration only because you didn't take the Autodesk test? At best a test is just one of many possible ways to evaluate someone's fitness for a job.

As for testing and an unsolicited plug, you could check out Knowledge Smart.

I got a chance to take one of their beta tests last year or so, been awhile. Their process involves using Revit and provides a nice summary of results afterward. It isn't inexpensive, but they'd like to remind us that the cost of hiring the "wrong" person can be pretty costly. So their testing methodology isn't pennywise/pound foolish. Fellow blogger David Light recently posted a recommendation after talking about them with Robert Manna (another blogger). I vaguely recall hearing the conversation while we were at Autodesk last week.

As for the original question at RevitForum, does anyone recommend taking the Autodesk certification exam? The answer remains elusive and personal. Why do you need it? Is it a requirement? Do you like taking tests and having certificates? Will it help differentiate you from other people at your company, your region, your realm of influence? If many people take it will it no longer be special or rare? In the job hunt, are you competing for a position with just a few others or hundreds? These days with so many out of work it might well be the latter. A candidate will have to have a resume that has some pretty special stuff in it...regardless of Revit certification.

Is there an answer in there somewhere? Only you can know for sure...good luck!

[edit: Seth Godin posted something this morning that I thought was slightly related.]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Building Design Suite Peek

Looking forward to getting a closer look!

Cool Splash Screen - New Max rendering style

RAC Splash

RST Splash

RME Splash

Max Splash

Structural Detailing Splash

Suites are set to make a "splash"

RevitCity Issue

Recently received an email from RevitCity.

Here's a partial clip from the text:

Recently was the victim of a hacker who was able to successfully bypass the security measures we had in place. After discovering this security breach, we moved as quickly as possible to isolate and contain the problem. In order to best protect the server from additional harm and perform a full security examination, it was necessary to temporarily take RevitCity offline.

In order to protect your own privacy, it is always a good idea to change your password as frequently as possible.

The emphasis on change your password is mine. Hopefully they'll get it all sorted out for the long run. I guess it is a sign of the times, that Revit is getting popular enough for a hacker(s) to even notice a Revit site?

Help? Helped!

I got an email this morning alerting me to the fact that my post yesterday was a "perfect storm" of sorts. My post came on the heels of other users letting the "Factory" know something was amiss.

The web developers are always working to improve search speed etc. Some changes over the weekend resulted in 2012 information being left out of the search. This morning finds WikiHelp feeling much better!

Nice to have you back WikiHelp!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Observations about the new Wiki Help for Revit and other Autodesk products:

Internet Explorer 8 - some things just don't work. The controls to scroll move in the opposite direction and the cursor icon seems stuck on the "hand" for some reason. Okay I'm a bit behind, haven't installed IE9 yet.

[Edit: This bit is "knucklehead syndrome", my tablet device is the culprit for the interface change and me not being very observant. I'm leaving this because perhaps there is something in it that their web developer might find useful.]

Switch to Firefox 4 - all least from the UI standpoint. Odd because Autodesk's web stuff almost always seems to have a preference to the IE browser.

As it turns out I never noticed the little "hand" cursor on my IE8 toolbar. I noticed it after recording the video. Clicking on it turns "on the hand" and that's when the page misbehaves. Turn it off and back to normal. There is no tooltip but turning it on allows you to use the mouse to scroll a web page. Turning it back off allows you to select text. I never noticed it before and have no idea how I turned it on earlier. Microsoft Word calls it "Panning Hand" so I imagine that IE8 should too? A bit more research yields, the "panning hand" becomes available in IE with tablet PC's, so my Wacom Intous 4 must be "adding" it.

I'd like one thing to always be true for help documentation. If I type in the name of a feature in the product I'd like the help search to return an actual topic, not this:

It's not like I made up the text string I chose, I pulled it from here:

Tried "Sun Path", also found in the Properties Palette for a view, no results found.
Tried "Title on Sheet" - I get a link to a tip to create a small 3D view submitted by a member of the User Experience Team

From my perspective I'd like to be able to take something that I'm curious about and find what help has to "say" about it. Since the Display Analysis Styles feature was new to 2011 and there is something more to look at with 2012 I was curious to see what the Help documentation had to "say". I wasn't surprised that I got my result. I'm used to it happening unfortunately. With the Wiki concept it nows becomes a question of whether or not I dare to start a section for it or not...or wait till "someone" else decides to.

Back to the thing that started this post, Display Styles for Analysis. There is a section for THIS. Since I searched for the text found in the Properties Palette I thought I'd use a simpler string now that I know that the topic exists. I tried "Display Style"... "Your search query did not return any results". Nuts! When I try entering the exact title for the topic displayed below...same result, zip nada.

Hoping for the day that the search functionality works!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Revit 2012 Available for Download via Subscription

In the North American market the 2012 products can be downloaded via the Subscription site, which presumes "you" have access to the subscription site. I've read posts in the forums at AUGI and RevitForum that say that the Australasian market is able to download the software too. Only the English versions are available right now. The other language versions will be released over the next few months.

Revit 2012 New Features via WikiHelp

Not everything at Autodesk is ready for 2012 products, for example when I click on Free Trial where the nice new package for RAC2012 is pictured I get an opportunity to download 2011 (at least that's what it looks like. There is a nice note saying that 2012 will be available soon.

Here's a VIDEO about the new Construction Modeling tools:

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Revit 2012 Draws Nearer

Hearing reports that Revit 2012 software is available in some markets via the subscription center. Might be worth checking during the next few days to see if it becomes available in your market. As of tonight I'm not seeing it here yet.

The rumored release data, meaning "boxes" shipping is April 11th. That means, if the past is any measure, that the online access to it will be some days prior. Essentially once the final compiled version is turned over to the media preparation side of operations it can be posted online. Just a matter of file transfers, and web page preparation and voila...the download "meters" go wild for a few weeks at Autodesk!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Media Day at Autodesk - Day One

I am attending this event today and tomorrow. We've been tweeting away like madmen and women...well some of us. We seem to have "killed" Twitter for the moment.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Keynote Application Update

Steve Faust is getting the word out that he has updated the application he created to improve our interaction with Revit Keynoting feature. I wrote about his application back in April 2009. Time flies and version 10 has been released HERE.

Jay Zallan wrote up a nice piece about it today, check it out too!

Friday, April 01, 2011

RTC USA 2011 Early Bird Window Closing Fast

Phil posted this at Arch|Tech and I couldn't say it all any better so here it is again...echoed:

FYI! Having quickly reached the "early bird" limit for attendees of Revit Technology Conference this year in Huntington Beach, CA early bird registration will close as of this Monday, 4 April (midnight PST). So far registrations have been received from 17 States across the USA as well as several other countries.

Interestingly, over 80% of registrations received have been from outside of California (including international registrations). So mark your calendars, book your flights early and let's get together to teach, share and support:
For all of you that have already registered, thank you for your support! For the rest of you, keep in mind these three important points:

RTC is keenly focused. We're deliberately concentrating on BIM and related AEC technologies!

BIM isn't just one technology. It takes an ecosystem of customers, developers and exhibitors to make it all work!

Time is money! RTC is incredibly complimentary to Autodesk University. And because Autodesk historically releases new software in the spring of each year, RTC is strategically timed to help you get up to speed quickly as possible - then share your success with others this December in Las Vegas!

Early bird registration ends Monday (and what you'll save could cover your airfare!). So sign up today and we'll see you in Huntington Beach this June!
I'll add this bit: As a testimony to the resilience of the people of Japan, the conference already has six registered attendees who hail from their stricken country! We wish them and their countrymen/women all the best and a speedy recovery effort!! We look forward to letting them take their minds off deeper issues for a bit by entertaining them with Revit during the conference in June.

Tip - Control Visibility of Image via Size Parameters

You can't control the visibility of an image file like you can other elements in a Revit family, such as mapping a parameter to the "Visible" parameter. Daniel Stine mentioned this the other day as another candidate for a blog post and I agree!

If you have an image in your family, say a logo for a title blog, you can turn it on/off by increasing and decreasing its "size".

Selecting the image and mapping a parameter looks like this:

It's only necessary to map one of the "size" parameters to make it "zero" high or wide even though my example has mapped both to parameters. As soon as one parameter is "zero" the image can't appear anymore. So I did double the work that I really needed to, didn't take long though, phew!

Here's a video to demo what we are attempting to explain.

Hey, happy April Fools Day! No special post for today...uninspired and lazy! Plus nobody would believe anything I wrote today anyway. The tip is for real!