Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ready Made Selection Sets for Navisworks

Want to save time in Navisworks when it comes to selection sets? Try exporting select views of the model to establish ready made "selection sets". We've already got natural organization with categories, worksets and filters doing some heavy lifting in our project. If we export several NWC files with just things like all the plumbing, HVAC, furniture, fin tube radiation, medical equipment, and so on, we'll have separate ready-made selection sets. Further finer grain selections can then be made by focusing on the separate files within Navisworks, if it's even necessary.

Sure that's what Navisworks is good at, selecting and searching for criteria but things are already pretty organized in a Revit model. Seems a waste of time to export a big pile only to want to break it down into smaller piles inside Navisworks? Want to run slash detection on pipes and ducts, just pick the two separate files as soon as they are loaded. If information doesn't get sent to us like this, we can just ask. If it still doesn't then we've still got Navisworks search ans selection sets in our back pocket.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Placing Based Content Tips

This happens very often, probably more often in RME than others though. Select a face-based component to put in the model, start clicking away and then realize that it isn't hosted like you hoped it would be. Face-based families cannot be preset to prefer a certain face. Revit will decide that a Vertical Face is what you want by default. You have to remember to change it to one of the other two choices, Face or Workplane. It would be GREAT if we could preset a preference, not yet however.

Regular content, like a desk or a chair, doesn't offer a choice unless they have been changed to be Work-plane based. If that's happened then you get a choice between a Face and Workplane, like below.

You need to be careful with those choices if you have linked Revit models. The Face that Revit finds may be something in the link instead of the Level of your host project. If you select a family and find the associated work plane shows a linked project file you've got some "fixin" to do. Not hard to fix, just click the Edit Workplane button and choose the intended workplane, such as the Level it is on.

Face-based families offer you three choices and Vertical is the default one you'll get.

Placing content you have to be vigilant and notice which kind you are dealing with. If you don't change it you might get something like this, where your air terminal is hosted on the Vertical Face, or in as in the image below on the "vertical face" of the ceiling grid, uh oh!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Big R is Puzzling me with Poor Performance

I've got a recurring issue, since about December that is. I did some extended work for a client and we set things up so I could have access to resources without actually joining their domain (adding my PC to their network formally). I've done this for years but I haven't experienced this however.

When I click on the Big R (application button), to start a new project or open something, I have to wait as long as 60 seconds sometimes before it expands to display the menu. I've been primarily using Revit MEP but occasionally Revit Architecture too. They both exhibit the same sluggishness response to using the Big R. Revit Structure 2012 doesn't seem to be suffering from this however. Also if I just click the Open icon on the Quick Access Bar there is no delay. None of the Revit 2011 versions seem to be bothered by it either but I didn't use them during the last couple months either.

Some additional clues are:
Was connected to shared resources (drives and printers) without being added to the domain
Was using a Named Network Location (not a mapped network drive)
Have since deleted journal file data
Have since removed all Places referencing these shares
Have removed the shared printers
Removed references to invalid locations in Revit.ini files (main and user)
Removed CMDKEY stored information related to past external resources
Have done registry cleaning for references to the past network locations
Have removed the most recent installed external applications
Have a certain version of Revit installed that isn't supposed to be installed side-by-side

With all that in mind, when I revisited my .ini files tonight I removed all references to recent files and the performance is back to normal for now.

Any readers also experiencing similar sluggishness? Resolved it? Lemmeno

Monday, February 20, 2012

Revit Equipment in Action

Just a little unsolicited plug for a friend's work in Revit. Who says Revit equipment families can't be "sexy"? :) Nice work Taylor!

RTC AUS VISDay - Something New

If you have been watching the The Revit Technology Conference site (for Australia) you probably noticed that it is introducing a special additional day, the day before) called RTC VisDay.

    The inaugural RTC Visualisation Day is an adjunct to the Revit Technology Conference, dedicated to best-of-breed visualisation technologies and methodologies. It will be held immediately preceding RTC 2012 Australasia. It recognises the unique attributes of visualisation as a process, and the skills of those in the industry. We are proud to have secured some industry heavyweights to share their knowledge and to support an open dialogue in an intimate environment - similar to established RTC events generally. Come and learn from some of the industry's best, from Australasia and abroad.

The current roster of speakers is: Scott Ballis (Atomic 3D Pty Ltd), Daniel Flood (FloodSlicer), Pat Carmichael (HKS, Inc.), Phil Read (M-SIX) and more to come.

It's scheduled for Wednesday May 23rd, 2012 (the day before RTC begins) and runs from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

Check out the site to see if it is for you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Clarity for Revit Server

Joe wrote a post on the IMAGINiT blog last night regarding a new product that I first heard rumors about at Autodesk University 2011. It says in the post that there will be a demo at BIM Spectrum today (It's a virtual event so you can attend - 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM EST).

Here's the text of the post...

Clarity for Autodesk Revit Server
Well, it's out now... what started as an idea and grew into something that captured all sorts of attention at Autodesk University has now become a real offering from IMAGINiT!

As is mentioned on our Clarity news release:

IMAGINiT Technologies has released IMAGINiT Clarity for Autodesk® Revit® Server. This web-based solution from the same IMAGINiT software development team who created Scan to BIM was built specifically to enhance the Autodesk Revit Server platform. IMAGINiT Clarity allows team members and external partners to share one centrally located BIM model securely from multiple locations.

It's first public presentation will be at BIM Spectrum tomorrow, and more information from our news release can be found for your viewing pleasure here

The full product page with even more information can be found here

This is the video embedded on their site. I heard nice things about it at AU...looking forward to learning more about it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Keynotes - Files, Tags and Legends

Here are a few quirky "gotcha" items you can encounter when you get serious about using the keynoting tools.

If you apply User Keynotes and then change the number values (the Key Value parameter) for them in your keynote file they don't change in the Revit project to reflect the new numbers, even after you Reload the file. That strikes me as undesirable but I believe I understand why. There is no GUID to keep track of. I'm wrong, actually there is one, it's the Key Value parameter but it isn't effective as one. When you change it...Revit can no longer reference it in the project. In order for Revit to update the Key Value too there would need to be a separate GUID (that we can't change), so it could keep track of them.

When this happens Revit keeps the old value intact. You'll have to select the keynote tag and redirect it to the correct value. You can also type in the correct value in the Properties Palette. Yet another way to manage this issue (in a project) is to have a master User Keynote legend (drafting or legend view). Place an array of a small detail component (not grouped and associated though) and apply each User Keynote to them so you end up with one keynote for each unique one you plan to use throughout the project. This view serves as your master "fixer" view. You can go through them all in this one view and fix any that need to be updated. All the others that have been placed throughout the project will inherit the change...change in one place...changes it everywhere else, phew.
    Does that make sense? How or why would this even happen? Need a practical example? Let's say you create your own keynotes for architectural finishes that use the numbering scheme A200 and there are values that run from A201-225. You apply keynotes to a lot of stuff. During a design review the project manager decides that we should revise our existing A200 series to AW200 (wood finishes) and create a new AM200 series for metal finishes. Never question the pm :)

    When you renumber the A200 series and reload the keynote file into the project the existing numbers in the keynote tags don't change. If you click on the tag and then the keynote value Revit will open the keynote file but it won't expand the list to show it is associated with the correct keynote, you'll have to do that. As I mentioned before you can just select the keynote tag and in the properties palette type in the new value, inserting the new "W" in the number. That will fix it and when you open the keynote file to check it will work correctly. Not a big deal for one or two or ten. Hundreds is another story.
Another item is that keynotes will still show up in a legend (on the sheet) even if the item that has been tagged isn't visible in the view. For example, if you apply a keynote tag to an element and then use Visibility/Graphics to turn that category off, the keynote legend still sees the keynote tag...and it shows up in the list.

Yet another item is that keynote tags that are in Legend Views aren't included (selected) when you use the Select all Instances option In Entire project.

If, for some reason, you decide you want to use that to delete all the keynotes you won't get the ones in Legend views. You'll have to open those views to track down any refugees. If you want to test it out yourself just add some keynotes to elements in the project. Also add a keynote to something in a legend view. Go back to the other project view(s), right click on a keynote tag and use Select all Instances - In Entire Project, then Delete them. Now visit the project browser and try to delete the keynote tag there. You'll get an error message telling you there is still a keynote tag in the project, like this message.

Unsolicited plug, if you do anything with keynotes at all, are you using Steve Faust's Keynote Manager (Revolution Design)? Why not? I really can't imagine spending any time dealing with keynotes without it, seriously.

Seriously nice little application. I should mention it supports multi-user editing and it creates backup files. That saved me and my recent client some heartache a few weeks ago. A quick search of the backups and back in business we were.

Funny Words I Learned Today

This gang here...funny bunch, good spirits. Tossed in my general direction today were these:

Fa├žadification - The process of designing the building fa├žade
3Deality - Yet another way to refer to 3D computer generated virtual reality

There was another one I really liked too but I've been wracking my brain all night, no luck. Maybe they'll remember tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fun Learning Worksets

A bit lighter post tonight. Had a gang of 12 working together getting acquainted with (and some reacquainted) with worksets. One task I put to such a group is to work without coordinating their efforts, intentionally. I have them do so for a few minutes and then have them all sync their work.

It usually makes for a lively discussion, for a bit. In conversations with Paul Aubin about teaching this feature we've both encountered students adding trees, sketching their names with walls, creating curvy cool things and much more. This afternoon was a first for me...99 Luftballons...

Thanks for a good laugh!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ceiling Plans and Generic Model Families

A bit of inequity exists for Generic Model families. The casework and specialty equipment category have no problem projecting information into a RCP plan as long as some portion of the geometry is "cut" by the view's cut plane. The same family geometry that works for those two categories won't work the same if assigned to the category Generic Model. Seems unfair to me :(

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spammy Comments

Are you reading this blog and thinking, "I'm going to post a comment so I can put some links to Cialis or Viagra or bathroom hygiene products?" Maybe it would be great to sneak in a link to some railing products or even curtains and drapes?

Sorry, comments are moderated. That means I see them first and you can write warm and fuzzy accolades about how much you love my blog or writing, or how smart you think I am... still won't work. I won't believe you AND I can see the links so...nope, not gonna happen.

Go try to post your links in sweet comments on a blogger that isn't pruning the "spam", though I don't mind a little spam now then, the food that is.

Unfortunately the post that someone, inclined to do this, will read is any but this one, so this is a bit spammy of me. :(

Feed Reductions

I'm seeing a trend lately. More and more of the blogs in my feed for Google Reader are limiting how much information can be read there without going to the actual blog site to see the whole post. What a drag... The whole point of the reader is to pull it all together so I can read through a post in a single place, to avoid visiting hundreds of sites. I wish they weren't doing that. If I get annoyed enough I may just stop visiting altogether. Hmmm, that sounds like a threat. :) Don't know if it matters to them or not but it's a drag from this bloggers viewpoint.

Grips Location - Reference Planes vs Lines

When you apply an instance parameter to a strong/weak reference plane you'll get grips that let you alter the element directly in the view. When you do this to a reference line you get them too. There is a difference between the two Reference types in how they affect the grips though. Here's a pair of "desk" families. Compare the two forms in the image below, look carefully at where the grips are located in this one.

If you build the "bones" with Reference Lines and limit them to the size of the geometry they are meant to constrain you can define where the grips are displayed with much more control.

Don't worry, be "Grippy"!

Visibility Pecking Order

Worth an echo. Ryan at The Revit Clinic wrote a post this morning that lists the order of power, the pecking order, the order in which visibility settings and override tools stack up...who wins when multiple things are applied. Good info, check it out! Here's the need to read his post to get the graphics.

(10 is the lowest and 1 is the highest, using walls as an example)

  1. Line Work Tool
  2. Override Graphics in View > By Element > Halftone
  3. Graphic Display Options – Silhouette Edges
  4. Override Graphics in View > By Element
  5. View Filters
  6. View Depth – “Beyond” Line Style
  7. Phasing Graphic Overrides
  8. Visibility / Graphic Overrides > Override Host Layers > Cut Line Styles
  9. Visibility / Graphic Overrides > Projection \ Cut Lines
  10. Project Object Styles

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Pushing Parameters Around

Alternate title, "Getting What I Want"

I wanted to show a parameter for Mounting Height. I needed it assigned to a variety of elements. This isn't hard for families that are not hosted. Face-based families on the other hand seem to know what their "Elevation" value is but they are uninterested in sharing that data with a schedule. It's just not listed in the Available Fields list. Mean Revit!

This is a story of a white knight coming to the rescue, or rather Whitefeet coming to the rescue.

Obviously not the cat, I must mean the tools that Mario Guttman has made available to us via his alter ego "Whitefeet Tools". To get what I wanted I created a shared parameter called Mounting Height and added it to my project. For this post and this example I've assigned it to the cateory Data Devices. Once that's in place the steps are pretty easy (apart from getting the tool installed).

You either select all the devices first or just tell the tool to apply it to everything in the model. You start by running the Parameter Tools.

Next you click the Math Calculation button.

Now you've got to fill in some blanks and click a button.

When your information matches the image (change the category appropriately, I show Security Devices for example, Obviously this picture and the next one don't sync up, taken at different times).

Once the routine runs you can close the open dialog boxes and check the results. Cool eh?

Want to watch a video?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Revit MEP - Analyze This

Wondering why Revit displays this when you place electrical components (similar for HVAC/Plumbing)?

Easy, just visit the Analyze tab, then Show Disconnects. If you un-check the Electrical Option they'll go away. Use it later to check your circuiting progress.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Short Walls don't Look Right

This is re-post or echo of a post I wrote six months ago. The subject came up again in a couple emails.

I was positive I wrote about this in the past but I can't find a post in the pile of posts I've made since the end of 2004. I suppose it could be buried in a post at AUGI...

If a wall is less than six feet (or 2000mm, no not exactly equal to six feet) it will NOT use the Cut line weight, it will only show using the Projection line weight. You can "force" Revit to show it as Cut by setting the Top Constraint to the level above and using a negative Top Offset value to drop it back down to it's intended overall height. A bit obtuse but it works! [Added this: Chris mentioned in a comment, "you can set the Top Constraint to the same level as the Base Constraint and then use a positive value for your Top Offset value."]

I thought to post this (was thinking re-post but couldn't find a first) because it came up during a session at RTC (during Harlan Brumm's Troubleshooting class) and then was tweeted.

It is also documented in the current WikiHelp.

Keep in mind that if the height of the low wall is still lower than the cut plane of the view's view range setting it will not show using the cut lineweight, only the projection lineweight. The distinction of this post is for walls that are taller than the cut plane but not quite tall enough (six feet).

You can read the series of comments in my earlier post regarding Low Walls.

RTC USA 2012 Gala Dinner - Packway Handle Band

Phil Read was instrumental (pun intended) in selecting the entertainment for the next RTC in North America. He wrote a nice post about it on his blog this morning, Read all About it. BIM and Bluegrass in Stone Mountain!

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Fat Pen - A Tale Two Lines

Every now and then I read or hear someone say that it is faster (in early design) to just sketch lines to create a quick floor plan for concept design (often as a justification for doing the work outside of Revit as well). I also hear that if we are going to do that (in Revit), we should just use Room Separation lines because we can put rooms in to identify them. I think both notions are "off", use walls.
    "But Steve I don't want two lines, I just want a "fat pen" (think Sharpie)."
I say either sketch using really thin walls or use the Coarse Scale Fill Pattern as intended. That's my choice because they aren't any more work than sketching lines (ignoring their height), they provide boundaries for rooms and they can host doors and windows. It's also simple to change them to a better type later. If you use room separation lines first and then need walls you have to recreate stuff that's already there, they just aren't the right "stuff".

Years ago I worked with a guy that I found sketching lines in plan first. I asked why and he said he needed the lines to know where to put the walls. Somewhere deep inside we have this notion "we must draw lines". Everything he was doing was just as easy to do with walls instead...he "needed" lines first. Sometimes we must forget what we know. ~ Try walls, you'll like'em.

Still thinking that those "lines" are better than walls? Can those lines do this? (Please don't be distracted by my clever building design)

Okay, sure they can do that but what adding rooms and doors?

And then a few clicks more...this?

or easily changing to look like this instead (by changing wall types to use "Coarse Scale Fill Pattern")?

Can those lines generate cool shadows? (well, I think they are cool)

or switch to a more construction oriented appearance by changing "Detail Level" (okay, should have turned off the shadows)?

Do I really need to bring up schedules or 3D views or sections/elevations or enlarged views or ceiling plans and so on? I guess I just did. Walls set the stage for everything else downstream ~ I say use'em!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Oh Where Art Thou Camera?

I wrote a post in March 2008 about this, still waiting. It would be excellent if in plan we could document where a camera is placed. Sure we can create a family to document where they are but that doesn't provide the automatic view reference that other view annotation enjoys. Seems kind of un-Revity to me, you?

If you decide to create a camera annotation how do you know exactly where it is after you place the camera? Good old "right click" will help, just select the view in the Project Browser, Right Click and choose Show Camera. Make a note of where it is and drop your annotation there.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Shared Parameter Article at AEC Bytes

Since I recently wrote a series of posts about them I thought I'd mention yet another source of information about them. Daniel Stine wrote an article recently for AECbytes. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Nano Copters

I imagine this video is going viral to some degree by now. First thing I though of was how CGI and movies could harness these things to create even more realistic flight sequences like in Star Wars for example. I particularly like how the one copter can flip. I started imagining our own flying saucers one day. night, as a prank, these guys head for farm country, hook LED lights up and fly over Old MacDonald's farm and generate some UFO sightings? Cool and fun!

Scope Boxes

Dave Baldacchino wrote a post at his blog the other day focusing some attention on these so I dug this information up.

I wrote the following documents in 2004 while I worked for Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (WATG). It's still relevant today though some improvements in visibility control (such as using filters for managing grids instead for example) have reduced the necessity for using them, somewhat. Their facility at managing consistent views of the model for multi/many story projects probably remains the most compelling reason to use them.

Ironically I didn't focus on that in this document, I guess I took that bit for granted. What I did do is focus on their role managing the visibility of datum in views. There is a sample project file on my site. Below this first embedded document is another that is a guide to experimenting with the file.