Monday, July 30, 2012

The Ribbon and Training

This one comes up during every training session. I tell the group to click on such and such button and someone says, "Hey Steve, where is that button? I don't see it?" A quick glance at their pc and I see that they've got a deeper resolution than I do or the reverse.

The clever ribbon bugger stretches and contracts to show more or less of the ribbon (and tool buttons) according to the resolution of your computer. That means I might have a great resolution, and the projector supports it fine, but unfortunately someone else in the class is using a laptop with a lesser resolution. That means "my button" is bigger/smaller than "theirs".

It sure makes class fun! Since projector's often sets the "bar lower" I suppose I could force everyone to use my resolution? In a perfect world we'd all be using the same resolution? Yep yahshooeryoobetcha!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Due Diligence

I was musing about a recent conversation where one guy's position was that BIM is hype, unnecessary and worse really just being foisted upon our profession in a scheme to get more money from "us".

If I was seriously ill and a surgeon proposed cutting into me without considering using an MRI, CT Scan, blood testing etc. I'd be a bit on edge and worried about the outcome. More worried at least. Using an MRI or CT Scan doesn't supplant a surgeon's skill, training, knowledge, intuition or purpose. Years ago neither diagnostic tool existed yet today would it be appropriate to operate without them?

It seems to me this notion of using Revit (BIM) and "us" isn't all that different. Sure we could get our job done using our existing tools, we used to be able to pull it off with a pencil and paper too. Is it responsible to ignore advances in technology, improvements in our tools and process? We shouldn't get lost in our admiration of them to the detriment of our profession but ignore them or devalue their role? I don't think so...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Panel Schedule and Load Calculation Addition

A thread at AUGI that started in December 2011 described a situation that Panel Reports show some connected loads as "0". The thread wandered around a bit but Martin Schmid with Autodesk responded on Tuesday with some insight after the development team did some research. Martin prepared a video to help explain what can cause this.

He wrote in his reply at AUGI:

I was able to reproduce this today with some help with our development team. The issue seems to be related to having your connector's Load Classification Parameter associated with a Parameter that has an empty value specified.

You can see in the video that when I create a Load Classification parameter, it has no value... when I then associate that with the connector, the connector ends up with a load classification with no value. Thus, when you connect this, there is no value that propegates into the panel totals, since the panel totals are dependent on summing values from load classifications. As soon as I set a value on the parameter associatd with the connector's Load Classification, the values tabulate.

A reply at AUGI shortly thereafter reminded members to also check the Part Type setting for their families. Using stock content it isn't likely that this would be the issue but for any custom content that has been downloaded or created internally, checking everything you can won't hurt.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Electrical Panel Load Calculations

Another "inside" gem from Inside the System which offers deeper insight to how the numbers work. If you are a Revit MEP user and electrical is your game, then you'll want to read it. Thanks to Martin for taking the time to put it together.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Revit 2013 Service Pack 1 Available

Read elsewhere on the internets: This bit via The Revit Clinic's post.

Update Release 1 is now available for Revit 2013 products. A few changes have been made this year as to how the updates are accessed. Just a reminder - with the introduction of Autodesk Revit 2013, make sure you are installing the correct update for your product!

For Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Revit Structure, and Autodesk Revit MEP, you can find the update in the Data & Downloads > Updates section of each product page:

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 UR1
Autodesk Revit Structure 2013 UR1
Autodesk Revit MEP 2013 UR1

The update for Autodesk Revit 2013 can be found in the Design & Creation Suites Support > Data & Downloads > Updates & Service Packs section.

Autodesk Revit 2013 UR1

The Installation ReadMe files and Update Enhancement PDFs are available at each of these locations as well.

From the readme documentation for what has been addressed with the service pack:

Autodesk® Revit® Platform 2013 Enhancements
  • Improves stability when opening projects from previous versions of Revit.
  • Improves stability during Copy/Paste operations.
  • Corrects display of solid filled regions with transparent backgrounds.
  • Allows exporting of materials painted on elements to ODBC.
  • Improves performance of opening and closing sketch mode in projects with many families.
  • Improves stability when setting a Design Option as the Primary.
  • Improves stability when Fixed Distance option for a divided path.
  • Improves stability while browsing to Revit Server when there is no network connectivity.
  • Improves export consistency of Space and Zone elements when multiple elements have the same name and number.
  • Allows Raytrace mode to work with DirectX 9.
  • Improves stability when using Raytrace mode with Hardware Acceleration disabled.
  • Improves Raytrace mode rendering output.
  • Improves Surface Transparency override by element for multiple selection.
  • Improves printing consistency when tone mapping is enabled.
  • Disables Sun and SunPath from being rendered in Raytrace mode.
  • Improves stability when using manual exposure in Raytrace mode.
  • Improves stability when rendering views.
  • Improves stability and performance when using visualization features like Sky, Exposure, and Anti-Aliasing.
  • Improves stability when importing IFC data which contains special characters.
  • Improves the setting of custom parameter values during import of IFC data.
  • Improves stability when importing IFC data which contains an invalid line pattern.
  • Allows Markups from DWF to be exported to DWF.
  • Improves stability when drag and drop a DWG file into a Revit project.
  • Improves stability when importing DXF data.
  • Improves dimension fidelity when exporting to DWG with export units set to Meter.
  • Improves alignment of hatch and fill patterns when exporting to DWG.
  • Improves stability when selecting a new host for an element within an In-place Wall.
  • Improves section creation within a project with linked model.
  • Improves stability when working with Materials.
  • Improves the displayed Pattern Type assigned to an element with the Material Editor.
  • Corrects the display of the materials category within the Paint interface.
  • Corrects the printed display of fill patterns within perspective views.
  • Improves stability of Type editing when multiple element types are in the selection set.
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2013 Enhancements
  • Improves stability when closing a sketch editor, such as slab or site which create a large number of points.
  • Improves creation of U-shaped winder stairs.
  • Improves stability when editing winder stairs.
  • Improves performance when many railings exist within a project.
  • Improves stability when support type is not defined for stair.
  • Improves railing representation in coarse view.
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2013 Enhancements
  • Improves placement of analytical nodes when in 3D views.
  • Improves stability when enabling “Show Analytical Model Categories in this View” when the Warning dialog is open.
  • Improves creation consistency with Physical Wall when coping an Analytical Model Wall.
  • Improves stability when editing an Opening within an object which spans to the boundary of an Analytical Surface.
  • Corrects the reporting of the “Structural Parameter” on slabs.
  • Improves masking of linked files by Mask and Filled regions in Structural Views.
  • Improves stability when placing Rebar.
  • Improves stability when copying Area or Path reinforcement between projects which have differing value for the Reinforcement Project Setting: “Host structural rebar”.
  • Improves visibility of round rebar when displayed in fine detail level.
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2013 Enhancements
  • Corrects the Slope value on placeholder pipe when slope is greater than 15 degrees.
  • Improves consistency when applying a slope to a layout which contains a transition.
  • Improves stability when splitting pipes which belong to different systems.
  • Corrects visibility of the center line when displaying rise/drop symbols.
  • Improves stability when opening a Revit 2012 project which contains a pipe placeholder
  • Improves consistency of unit formatting within Panel Schedules.
  • Improves consistency of adding circuits to equipment that are connected to a pipe or duct system.
  • Improves stability when adding a device, which is connected to a wire, to a circuit.
  • Improves display of annotation on duct and pipe transitions.
  • Improves stability when inserting duct fittings.
  • Improves stability when viewing Routing Solutions.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reference Planes and Wall Closure

Daniel Stine wrote to let me know that his new Interior Design book is now available for 2013.

It covers the new Materials and uses the new stair tool to create the stair shown in the image below (actually, the reader creates everything in the image).

He was also worried about me not posting as much lately so he shared something that's part of his book I could post it here. Cool, I don't have to be creative and come up with something to post on my own! Aah...I feel so relaxed, thanks!

Control Wall’s Material Return

A door or window family has the ability to control the return of materials (i.e. Layers) for the host wall in a project. The exterior and interior materials can be controlled separately. These adjustments change the 3D model, not just the 2D plan-view. A single door family is controlling the various conditions shown below.

Note the two “wall closure” parameters (shown below) need to be “locked” so they stay positive (in the correct direction) when the host wall thickness changes. Also, these values can be set to 0’-0” for the default instance value.

You can set two Reference Planes to “Wall Closure” in a family.

In plan you get something like this.

[Edit: added this section 08/18/2013 - realized I didn't mention this part]

It is also significant that the Reference Plane setting works together WITH Wall Type Properties. If you don't tell the wall to allow the wrapping at inserts it won't do anything. I've added this image below to help explain.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Moving Ceiling Grid Pattern

Scott wrote about an issue at the other day. He's been using Revit about as long as a person could use it so if it trips him up I'm betting it trips up others too!

Jesse came to the rescue with advice that perked up my Dept. of Subtle ears. He wrote:

"When you tab through to the ceiling grid while in the move command, look near the top (meaning Options Bar) at the "disjoin" check box. Revit will automatically remember if you had this box checked the last time you used the move command. It's going to be greyed out when moving a hatch pattern, and when it's checked you can't move the pattern.

To fix it, select something else, do the move command, uncheck the check box and press escape to cancel. The next time you go to move the ceiling grid the box should be unchecked!"

It's easy when you know how? :) Thanks to Jesse!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Revit Family eBook

A new eBook is available for family editors out there. It's priced at $19.95 and weighs in at 16 chapters and 751 pages (virtual weight since it's an eBook). If you are familiar with the Little Details Count site then you are familiar with Michael Anonuevo's work. He's prepared a sampler PDF that you can download to evaluate before committing your Twenty. The sampler is 113 pages.

Seems to me that this book will undermine his content site? He's sharing his experience with everyone and now we won't need to buy his highly detailed content? :) His "loss" is our gain!

Click to Download the PDF.

Friday, July 06, 2012

YUZU Site Measuring

I received an email yesterday letting me know about YUZU. Their website is found via Picard Innovations, a Dutch firm based in Amsterdam. For readers that are already familiar with the Point Known PKNail site measuring system it appears to be similar, at least in concept. Perhaps it's just that they both involve using a Leica Disto or equivalent device.

They have a brief sales video, I've embedded here. They offer a free trial but I believe you'd need to already have the Leica Disto in hand to take advantage of it. The software boils down to these concepts: Defining Levels and Lease holders and then using 5 different tools to deal with measurements: Distance, Ortho, Offset, Rectangle and Triangle. They claim that with these features you will be able to create any drawing, shape and size of buildings.

I think attempting to evaluate this type of technology would benefit from a few videos that show it in use, the practical application of it on-site. Too bad we didn't get this for Glorius Gadgets at RTC in Stone Mountain! Maybe at RTCEUR 2013 in Delft,'s pretty close by for them!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Chameleon for Grasshopper and Revit

Hiroshi Jacobs has some news about a plug-in for Revit (and Grasshopper) that he's been working on. A hint of this leaked out a bit early last year if I recall but he's now ready for more eyes on it. He's calling it Chameleon and it is a plug-in that makes it easier to transfer geometric data between Grasshopper and Revit, plus other tools. It is currently compatible with Revit 2012 and 2013 and Grasshopper 0.8.0066.

It offers a Curtain Grid Manager that controls both panels and grids now, offers a preview of the system as well as helping to distinguish between vertical and horizontal orientations. There is a Chameleon Forum on his Revit City site as well as Chameleon Group at

Here's a video from his site: