Friday, May 27, 2011

Dept. of Echo - Revit Roles - The Freshman

Quick post, sorry for being quiet but activities at RTC have been dominating my attention.

Back in May 2007 I wrote The Freshman post. It was written after writing a little longer document, called Revit Roles.

I decided to track down the post because the concepts came up a couple of times in the last two days while chatting with attendees at RTCAUS. I thought it would be easier to find if I mentioned it again. It doesn't feel like it has been four years since then...time flies...

We all start out as freshman with's to graduating!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RTCAUS 2011 - Getting Underway

It's midday Wednesday in Australia while it's late Tuesday in the USA. We are well underway getting the conference ready to kick off tomorrow in Goldcoast. We've posted some pictures at the Facebook page for RTC if you are curious. It's quite a beautiful view from the hotel, took this from a committee member's room.

This image is from the meeting rooms and general session spaces combined before dividing walls are moved into place. Attendance this year is very likely to reach 450, quite a difference from the modest beginnings in 2005 in the Blue Mountains.

If you have been mulling over attending the conference here, you can still just show up and register. If you've been waffling attending in the USA then waffle no more! The block of rooms set aside at the Hyatt are running low so if you want to stay at the Hyatt you'll need to act quickly. See you here and/or there!!

If interested you can follow the tweets for both conferences:
Follow at Facebook!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dept. of Echo - My First Revit Plug-in

The Autodesk blog BIM APPS revealed a new website aimed at helping people who want to get started with the api.

Emile Kfouri writes:
Are you an Autodesk Revit power user with an interest in becoming even more productive? Would you like to automate or extend the capabilities of Revit, but are new to computer programming? Are you envious of all the really cool add-ins that others are developing and you want to join the fold or show them you can do better. If so, then this guide is designed for you.

My First Plug-in” is a self-paced tutorial guide for a smooth introduction into the programming world. This is a “one-stop shop” learning path for users who know Autodesk products but are absolutely new to programming and are thinking about taking the plunge. In this guide, you will be working with the Autodesk Revit .NET API and the C# programming language. The supported product version is Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 and succeeding versions.

Check it out and give them feedback via EMAIL.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Filter Dialog - Hey Me Too!

Quick request, in the recent releases more and more dialogs are become flexible/stretchy. Unfortunately the Filter dialog remains steadfast and un-flexible, boo! We'd (well me and a few others at least) like it to be stretchy too! Thanks in advance!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Revit Technology Conference - Australasia - iTunes App

I suppose the word is getting out when a blogger (Revit3D) that is attending the Revit conference in the USA (RTCUSA) manages to let people know about this before the conference marketing committee members do?

Three enterprising fans of the conference have conspired to create an iPhone, iPad app for the Australasia conference that begins next week. These enterprising fans are Kingfisher Recruitment, Atlas Industries and Rod Howarth (programmer and app author listed at iTunes).

The app features a welcome screen, schedule, site information and app sponsor page. We've asked them to add a sponsor page to list all the conference sponsors too. Here's the main screens in the app.

If you are one of the over four hundred Revit/BIM savvy people coming to RTCAUS in Goldcoast next week then you might want to take advantage of this free app!

Augmented Reality - Check this out at The ANT Group

Jim Balding (The ANT Group) tweeted about this the other day and I just didn't get a chance to mention it as quickly as I wanted. Robert Manna posted about it today too.

AR Media provides a free authoring plug-in, with limited functionality, it doesn't cost much more to take it up a notch. Jim's site has big button on the left of his logo to download his demo kit. AR has more demo files on their site too.

Here's a photo of paper "plans" (printed and cutout) for hotel rooms on a table (printed out and placed by hand), like cutouts that you can move around to experiment with the best arrangement.

Then you can run the AR tool to see how they work in 3D too.

I'm not sure if Jim is planning to include it during the Glorious Gadgets session at RTCUSA or not, but sure looks like a candidate to me.

Watch this video for a quick demo too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Revit Conferences Draw Near

Are you attending one, the other, or both conferences this year?

Planning to attend but haven't registered yet? Time is "running out"!

RTCAUS 2011 is one week away in Goldcoast, Australia. So little time left to register that you'll have to register on-site if you don't do it quick.

RTCUSA 2011 is just one month away. Come to Huntington Beach California to spend three days with other Revit users, getting your fill of information and meeting and greeting!

As a friend on Facebook shared today:

Ya know... There are three kinds of people:

  1. The ones who learn by reading...
  2. The ones who learn by observation...
  3. And the rest of them who have to touch the fire to learn it’s hot...

Come to RTC to learn by all three!!

North America

Dept. of Rumor Mongering - Vasari Technology Preview 2.0

A little birdie told me that we might be seeing another release of Vasari in the not too distant future. Hopefully the birdie isn't a canary in a coal mine?!

Here's a video preview!

Dept. of Echo - Four Causes for Revit 2012 Angst

From this morning's post at The Revit Clinic, worth a repost!!

1. WSCommCntr3.exe Process
    For 2012 products, the Autodesk InfoCenter launches with Revit as a WSCommCntr3.exe process in the Windows Task Manager. The Revit.exe process could potentially wait on this WSCommCntr3.exe process. If you find Revit not getting past the splash screen, open the Windows Task Manager > Processes > WSCommCntr3.exe > End Process.
2. System Tray Applications
    Verify if you have an application installed on the workstation, which allow the ability or attempt to minimize an application to the system tray. One example would be 4t Tray Minimizer. If present on the workstation I would test temporarily ending the application \ process to see if Revit 2012 launches as expected.
3. Corrupt WSCommCntrData.xml File
    If the WSCommCntrData.xml file becomes corrupt, Revit may hang when attempting to read it at startup. First verify the file exists at the location below and if so move WSCommCntrData.xml when Revit is closed:
    Windows Vista & Windows 7 ...\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012\ENU\Components\WebServices\WSCommCntrData.xml
    Windows XP ...\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012\ENU\Components\WebServices\WSCommCntrData.xml
4. Corrupt UIState.dat File
    This could also be potentially related to a corrupt UIState.dat file. While Revit is closed, move or delete the UIState.dat file at the location below: Windows Vista & Windows 7
    ...\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012\UIState.dat Windows XP ...\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012\UIState.dat

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Product - SAuBIM Code Calcs v1.0

SAuBIM Code Calcs v1.0 is a code compliance tool to help deal with toilet room and fixture documentation. Revit doesn't permit showing calculated values in tags so this application is intended to smooth the way to calculate and document what is required.
From the site:
SAuBIM – Code Calcs v1.0 for Autodesk® Revit® Architecture is a compact, easy to use, and time saving program. Autodesk® Revit® Architecture is a BIM (Building Information Modeling) program and can be very powerful when pulling the right information in and out. SAuBIM – Code Calcs v1.0 takes advantage of the information in your BIM model and saves you hours of time.

Also from the site:
SAuBIM will create the required schedules to automatically calculate the following items:
  • Occupancy Loads (Per Room)
  • Required Male Water Closets
  • Required Female Water Closets
  • Required Lavatories
  • Required Drinking Fountains
The tool appears to use a journal to accomplish some of its work because when I ran a test on a file that happened to have some missing links it dumped me into "interactive mode" which is the result of a journal that can complete its "run". I haven't asked but wonder if it isn't possible to accomplish the scope of work without a journal? You can watch a couple videos they've provided for your consideration. Looks promising though I'd like to see it happen within Revit without having to close Revit to run the application.

Overview Video

Prepare your office Template
Prepare your Project
Edit your "Use Groups"
Using the Use Group Schedule
Working with SAuBIM Tags

By the way, Jeffery Pinheiro (aka The Revit Kid) teamed up with a programmer to bring SAuBIM to life

Monday, May 16, 2011

Poll Count - Where Did They Go?

I left the RTC post up for a few days to improve the odds of someone seeing and voting. Sorry to go "silent" in order to allow for that. Over the weekend I saw a high of 156 votes but was shocked this morning to only see 92. Apparently Google (Blogger) has been having some issues with polls losing votes over the last few months. At least there are numerous posts regarding this at Blogger help. I don't know if they will all come back or not. As it happens Jay Zallan posted a screen shot on his blog, pitching for keeping RTCUSA on the West Coast. Boston has been leading the rest most of the time. Oh, back to the shows 160 votes. At least this can help establish a higher value than what shows right now. Thanks for posting Jay and the screen capture!

Revit 2012 Parts and Roofs

Via Help: Parts can be created from:
  • Foundation Slabs
  • Floors (no shape editing)
  • Walls (not stacked or curtain walls)
  • Ceilings
  • Roofs (that do not have ridge lines)
This last item, roofs, is the focus of this post. I find that if a roof ever had a slope, causing a ridge/valley line to appear, it will not activate the Create Parts tool even if the slope no longer exists. If you use the Shape Editing features for the roof it too will "kill" the Create Parts tool. If you use the Reset Shape button Revit will restore the Create Parts tool.
    Revit seems to retain the ridge/valley information whereas it will forget it if you use shape editing instead.
The work-around is to recreate the roof. You can use the same sketch by copying it to clipboard and then pasting it into the sketch of the new roof. Just make sure you remove the Defines Slope option before you finish the Roof sketch otherwise you'll end up with the same problem.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Revit Technology Conference - USA 2012 - City Poll

[- The poll is now closed (closed on May 20th), the image below is a screen capture of the poll, not an actual poll, sorry for the confusion it has caused -]

We haven't finished the first RTC in the USA yet but we are already considering where the next one should go. The poll you'll see at the top right corner of this blog offers the cities we've been considering.

There are some "obvious" ones we've considered but decided to try this list first to see what sort of response we get. We'll be sending out a survey to those who are already on the conference mailing lists as well as attempting to get a poll at the Linked In group too. Please take a moment to cast your vote for one of the cities listed or choose "other" and respond to this post with a comment for the one you'd prefer. ~ THANKS!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dept. of Subtle - Opening Transparent in Elevation or 3D

Quick one tonight. The opening element in window families is designed to offer either transparent or opaque behavior when seen in elevation/section views. Normally we like to "see" through glass in 3D views so we can see inside the building. In elevation/section views however seeing the "innards" of the building might be really confusing to the reader. This subtle setting determines how the opening should behave in either condition.

If you want to see through your openings in elevation, check the option for Elevation. It's usually not checked which is why you can't see through them. If you'd rather obscure them in a 3D view to then remove the check for 3D.

In the past we couldn't have more than one Opening element in a single family so we often removed them and used a void instead. I find in 2011 and 2012 that Revit doesn't mind multiple openings in the family. You can't however have a void and an Opening in the same family, one or the other. To be more accurate you CAN create a void but you'll get this message if you try to CUT the host with the void.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Is a Single Model Viable?

I have a couple clients that have done this with some varying opinions on how successful it was.

  • Great to have live interaction between trades
  • Issues were much more obvious and forced resolution sooner.
  • Less linked file updating issues Helped minimize copy/monitor and redundant content
  • Plot day conflicts between trades, arch printing for meetings and MEP trades printing offset and difficult to have teams "stop working" long enough in advance to freeze development of the model so trades could "catch up" with design.
  • Performance...fairly obvious...file sizes became an issue so only really feasible on modest sized buildings
  • More worksets required, more views etc... browser became difficult
  • Warnings increased because everyone had to "see" other trade warnings

One outcome from attempts was the less obvious choice to merge A and E models, they shared one model for Arch/Elec because so many devices were "redundant" in separate models. This put A/E staff in the same model so they could share lighting and devices etc. Kind of obvious logical pairing but not as obvious to think of initially.

A truly single model can work but project size and the way teams interact can greatly affect how much "fun" it is.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Dept. of Off Topic - Masters of Reality

Could be the name of a new BIM product?

Years ago (1981) a band called Masters of Reality got started in Syracuse, NY. I didn't work for them but I had a few friends and fellow roadies in common with them. I saw them once or twice live in a club called The Lost Horizon, a somewhat legendary venue there. An amazing number of bands played on their way up the charts and back down. You know, like Bon Jovi, Guns-n-Roses, Bad English, Arc Angels, John Kay & Steppenwolf, The Stray Cats...and so many more...

Back to MoR as they were also known, they released an album called "Masters of Reality". The second album featured Ginger Baker (yeah, Cream and Blind Faith's drummer)on drums replacing Syracuse native Vinnie Ludovico. The founder Chris Goss is still at it with a somewhat changing lineup over the years. This group is one of those that makes me wonder how they didn't get "huge"...distinctive sound and melodies, different yet familiar.

I've added a number of videos that you can find at You Tube yourself to my Favorites on my You Tube channel for this blog. My favorites? John Brown, Domino, She Got Me...not necessarily in that order. The oldest stuff is my preference but there's something for "everyone". See what you think?

Here's "She Got Me" featuring Ginger Baker.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Revit 2012 Adaptive Components and RTC Teaser

Check out this short video demo of using adaptive components on a facade to experiment with color fin treatment. Especially appreciate the plug for attending Revit Technology Conference to learn more about how to do it!

The Factory - Where Did That Come From?

It is fairly common to hear someone refer to the folks at Autodesk responsible for Revit as someone at the "Factory". Greg Demchak, a product designer who's been working on Revit since before Autodesk bought Revit Technology Company, told me that the idea of working in the "factory" resonated (found it funny and interesting) with him and others. In fact for Autodesk University he wanted to have people wear lab coats which, if I recall correctly, materialized at The Lounge one year during Autodesk University. Greg's avatar at AUGI is inspired by the term too.

The oldest post I can find at AUGI (actually dating back to Zoogdesign) referring to the Factory is by David Conant and his post was on December 11, 2003.

Does anyone remember who the first person is that used the term "Factory" in connection with Revit and its "people"?

It's possible that we started using the term before the forums at Zoogdesign which would place them at the original RUGI forums or even alt.cad.revit newsgroup. Incidentally my response to David was the next reply in that thread just 11 minutes later the same day. Followed by another factory worker, Steven Campbell 27 minutes later. I joked about them wearing their safety glasses and he confirmed that he does!

Writing about alt.cad.revit made me curious and I found that I can search some of that data still via Google Groups.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Rumor is True! - Upgrade Path to Suites

For a limited time, customers who have a current Subscription for select Autodesk products may upgrade to a new 2012 Suite at no upfront cost. To take advantage of this special opportunity, the Contract Manager on your Autodesk Subscription agreement will have to fill out a REQUEST.

Please note: When you renew your Subscription, you will be offered the renewal rate for the suite you select. The Subscription renewal rate for the suite will likely be higher than the renewal rate for your standalone product. Please contact your Autodesk reseller or sales representative for pricing information.

Thanks to Sean at USCAD for letting me know as soon as he knew he could tell me.

Revit 2012 Materials and Property Sets

I like it when someone at the Factory chimes in with some insight like David Conant did at the AUGI forums the other day. Regarding a members confusion about the new material concepts added to Revit 2012 he wrote:

Think of the Material as a container. It contains sets of information that represent different aspects of materiality: Appearance (what it looks like in a rendering), Structure (how strong it is), Graphics (what it looks like in a non rendered view), and general information about the material. In some cases (appearance and structure) the information can be provided to the material by linking to a seperately defined property set (by Property Set), or can be input directly into the material (Independent). This allows several materials to share a single set of properties and changes to that property set to propagate to all those materials.

Imagine you are working with several materials of different types that are all covered with the same finish, green paint for example. In that case you would create as many Materials as needed and assign the same green paint appearance property set to each. To change the paint tint on all, change the definition of the appearance property set. The appearance of all those materials will change together.

Conversely, you might have four kinds of concrete with the same strength but different appearances. In that case you would create the four concrete materials linked to the same Structure property set, but with different appearances.

If you need to tweak the appearance of an individual material without changing any others, set its appearance property to Independent. Your changes will then be confined to that material only.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Dept. of Off Topic - Holy Number of Views Batman!

One of my earlier posts (The Tale of the Dancing Ribbon Tabs) has a video that goes along with it. I just noticed how many views that video has generated at Screencast - 49,393 - Wow! I guess when you create a little video that has a subject broader than the niche that Revit is some serious numbers can show up! I can only assume that the ribbon being in other products like Office apps accounts for this spike. As you were!

Ready for Hard Work?

Seth Godin wrote yesterday that there is a difference between Long Work and Hard Work. I immediately thought how his comments related to how I worked in the past (using AutoCAD and Microstation) and how I work today (Revit and Navisworks). The long work meant showing up, doing repetitive tasks and not really challenging how or why we did things. The hard work is hunting for something better, being dissatisfied with just doing yesterday again today. It took effort to start using Revit back then and it takes effort today. Interested in doing Hard work? It's necessary... Btw, there's Hard work to do even if you've been using Revit for many years too.

As it happens Phil Read also wrote something interesting yesterday, about where "we" stand today after ten years of Revit existence. The hard work I'm referring to is what he is suggesting is needed now/next, where do we go next, what solutions are required next? Read on...worth your while!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rumor Mongering - Building Design Sweet Deal

Read elsewhere on the internets tonight that Autodesk may be offering a nice upgrade deal for existing subscription Revit customers. Essence of the short term offer to upgrade to the Premium level with the catch that the yearly subscription fee will increase at renewal time later. I'm hopeful that this rumor will come true!

Follow Up Post - Family Puzzler

I recorded a quick video to demonstrate how I constrained a nested beam family using the Reference and Shape Handle elements of the beam as well as how it breaks when I use the Family Type data type feature to change beam sizes.

Chris Price at Revit Rants just happened to post a video tonight about his effort to constrain nested columns. Related issue and I suspect that if he tried to make the column type swappable with the Family Type data type that it would compete with his technique to solve the problem. Overall I would like to avoid editing the stock content to "make-it-work".

Family Puzzler - Beam and Family Type Parameter

I'm opening up this issue to my clever readers out there to either enlighten me or corroborate my situation. Imagine a structural support that we'll refer to as a pipe support. If it helps, something like this:

I'm referring to the green "column" and "beam" with the tabs at the ends of the beam to counter potential "roll-off" in a seismic situation. The obvious way to make a family for this is to nest a column and beam family, use a Family Type parameter to swap between sizes when they are placed in the project. I write obvious because it would be nice to be able to use the standard framing families and types to choose the relevant form and configuration.

Everything is pretty straightforward until I attempt to change the type. The length of the Beam resists being constrained if I change the Type. I've managed to get it to work but it tends to break as soon as the beam size is changed.

The puzzler is... has anyone been able to get nested beams to behave when managing the "in-use" type with a Family Type parameter?

Working around the issue, a couple solutions come to mind.

If the Structural Framing beams are not used I can get it to work easily so that suggests a conflict with the category behavior (the structural framing template). If I build my own beams and columns using the same profiles and type catalogs it will work. Unfortunately that means we'd end up with "different" beams/columns than the other "real" beams and columns when we think of schedules.

The other solution might be to use the API to get the information that the user needs to supply and let the API create a custom family from the parts and build/insert on-the-fly. Like the Frame Generator extension does for Revit Structure.


Monday, May 02, 2011

Dept. of Echo - Subtle 2012 Type Selector Improvements

Erik posted today at Inside the Factory to share some subtle improvements in how the Type Selector works. It would make my Dept. of Subtle department but it's his post so it's an echo...

Check it out!