Thursday, October 31, 2013

Revit 2014 Web Update 2

Revit tells me there is a new update available. At first when I clicked on the link it reported web update 1. Well I checked again and it seems to be working now. Here are some links so you don't have to wait to get told via Revit communication center (especially if it is off for you).

Revit 2014 Update 2 Links
Revit 2014 (Onebox)
Revit Architecture 2014
Revit Structure 2014
Revit MEP 2014

Column and Beam Relationship Macro Idea

I wrote a post that described the parameters (Start Attachment Type and End Attachment Type) that can be harnessed to make beams respond to column changes, specifically the height of the column to cause a beam to slope. While chatting with some Revit Structure users it occurred to me that it would nice if a macro existed that could automate the process a bit. As it stands now we often need to deal with each beam carefully to determine which end of the beam is actually attached to the column. It is easy to see now with the addition of colored ends (green for start and red for end) when Show Analytical Model is used.

That written, we could just select all of the beams, say for a roof structure, and change both parameters, Start and End Attachment Type, from End Elevation to Distance. If their supporting column's Top Constraint or Top Offset values don't change then the beams won't either. In that context it's not hard to just select them all and apply the same parameter values regardless of whether they will need to change or not.

If we want to be more selective, I imagine it would be nicer to start a macro, select a column and let the macro determine which end is connected, for each beam, and alter the required parameters. Alternatively the macro could let us select beams and then the related column we want the beams to follow. Ideally the macro could let us choose between the two approaches. Technically the macro doesn't need to know which column to change the parameter if we just want to change both parameter values. It matters if we'd prefer to only change the parameter relevant to a specific column.

Perhaps such a macro exists individually or as part of a collection I haven't noticed yet? If so, enlighten me. If not I'd be happy to brag about the developer that creates it. Second it even worthwhile?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Elements are not Displayed or Missing

Some time ago Dave Jones started a thread at regarding finding elements that have gone missing, don't show up. Grant Doherty replied that most situations can be reduced to these major concepts: Visibility Graphics (Model, Links, FILTERS), View Range, Reveal Hidden Elements (The light bulb), Phases, Worksets and Design Options. Later Nancy McClure summarized things by asking if the problem is: Project Wide, By View, By Family (Project Wide) or By Object (per view).

I think troubleshooting also depends on circumstance, meaning did I just get an error message or am I unable to find something "now" based on the belief/experience that it used to "be there".

This is my version of the list, based on Dave's and taking into account some later posts in the thread. Naturally I've added my two cents.

This warning message occurs when we are actively creating something in a view. It confirms that we've just created something but it can't be shown in the view. The following list applies to conditions that cause this message to appear.

Modelling Actions
  1. The wall we created is using Depth, not height (typical of Structural Walls)
  2. The column we created is using Depth, not height
  1. The element's Category is currently off
  2. The view's Detail Level is not compatible with the missing element
  3. A filter applied to the view excludes the element
  4. The Active Workset is not visible (V/G override)
  5. The Active Design Option for editing is not visible in the view
  6. The governing View Template prevents changing the above
  7. The Imported Categories > Imports in Families is not checked and DWG data is used in a family
View Properties
  1. Depth clipping settings are not compatible
  2. View Range settings are incompatible
  3. A family's offset/elevation parameter places the element beyond the view range
  4. Placing the element outside the view's crop region
  5. The view's Discipline is not compatible
  6. The view's Display Model setting is not compatible
  7. The view's Phase and Phase Filter settings are incompatible
These apply to elements that were visible once but no longer are. When elements are missing remember to use Reveal Hidden Elements to see if anyone has done something in the view or to the elements to prevent them from being visible.

Element Overrides in View (often resolved with Reveal Hidden Elements)
  1. Visibility/Graphics overrides applied to element's category
  2. The Linework tool, Invisible lines applied to part of or all of the element
  3. User applied Right click Hide in View > by Element
  4. User applied Right click Hide in View > by Category
  5. User applied Right click Hide in View > by Filter
  6. User applied Right click Override Graphics in View > by Element
  7. User applied Right click Override Graphics in View > by Category
  8. User applied Right click Override Graphics in View > by Filter
  9. The View's Parts Visibility setting is in conflict
  10. User applied Temporary Hide/Isolate > Apply Hide/Isolate to View
Modelling or Documentation Actions
  1. The missing Element was deleted by someone
  2. The family's detail level
  3. The element is being obscured by another element
  4. The element resides within a group and it has been excluded from the group
  5. The element is part of a design option that is not visible in the view
  6. The family was created with nothing visible in this view's orientation
  7. The family uses a yes/no parameter to control visibility, set to off
  8. The family uses an offset parameter than can shift it out of view vertically
  9. DWG data is used in a family and V/G settings don't show it
  10. The element is constrained to a scope boxes that is not visible in the view (datum elements only)
  11. The element  is a mass, and 'Show Mass' is turned off, or mass category is off
  12. The element's host view has been deleted (area boundaries)
  13. Wall is consumed by another wall, join/cut geometry
  14. Random element located far from project affects zoom to fit
  15. The view's scale, element is too large or much too small to see
  16. The element is an annotation element and is not entirely within the annotation crop region
Using Worksets
  1. The Active Workset is not visible (V/G override)
  2. Workset that is not visible in the view (V/G override)
  3. Workset is Closed using the Workset dialog
  4. Workset of a linked file was not loaded during import
  5. Workset that is not visible in a linked file (V/G override)
  6. Workset is not Visible in All Views (Workset dialog setting)
Using Phases
  1. The element's phase settings prevent the object from being shown
  2.  The view's phase settings prevent the element from being shown
Using Design Options
  1. The element has been placed in a design option that isn't visible
  2. The element has been cut and pasted to a different design option that isn't visible
  3. The design option is not visible in the view
  4. Accept Primary has been applied to a design option
  5. The view's design option has been changed, deleting annotation specific to the option
  6. User applied Make Primary, altering the view's display of elements and annotation
Using Linked Files
  1. The element is part of a linked file that is not visible in the view
  2. The user has incorrectly identified the link instance to which the element belongs
  3. The element is in a link that is not in its correct position
  4. User applied Right Click Hide in View > by Element to element(s) in a linked file
  5. The element is a linked instance with coordinates too great for Revit to handle, affects zooming

As with any list, I'm sure I've missed or overlooked something. The more complicated any given project gets, the more features of Revit that it engages, the more opportunity for elements to go missing. Happy hunting?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Opening Views

This is an echo of something I wrote in 2011.

If you are in a plan view, when you open a new floor plan view (any "plan" view) Revit will attempt to respect what you were just looking at in the previous view. For example, if you zoom in to look at a specific room or door family and then open a floor plan for another level, Revit will open the new view zoomed to the same area of the model (but on the other level).

As another example you might have two floor plans, one for furniture and one without. If you are looking at the furniture plan, zoomed in to see a single room and then open the other floor plan for the same floor you'll find Revit opens that new view focused on the same place.

The key is the view you open can't already be open, just in the background. I've posted a video to explain visually...

If you are in the habit of closing hidden windows then this can be quite effective as you transition from one plan to another.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autodesk WikiHelp is not a Wiki Anymore

For the last month or so the Autodesk Revit documentation team has been transitioning to a new system for help documentation. When you click the help icon (?) on the Info Bar in Revit you'll find a new format and different help web domain:

You probably are well aware that a couple years ago they changed things to focus on a wiki based format that moved product help resources to a web based approach instead of the past Windows based .CHM help file format. This affords them an ongoing ability to deal with documentation. The results of their work appears online immediately and the very next time you click to access it. It's no longer tied only to software release cycles. It's certainly necessary to make documentation available as new releases become available but editing and additions no longer have to wait for the next release, nor do they have to consider issuing software updates just to distribute help documentation changes.

Wandering off on a tangent, people are often reticent to rely on help documentation or manuals, and not just for software. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons for that bad habit. Personally, many times the quality of the information is lacking so it's tempting to ignore what I don't find useful. Overall, I find that the quality of the documentation for Revit has been steadily improving. They revisit topics and that means ignoring the information means I miss those changes. That written, I still think the help documentation tends to explain things without useful context. For example, Levels have a parameter called Story Above.

This is the description for the Story Above parameter on the help site (with my snarky comments inline).

"From Revit Help"
Used in conjunction with the Building Story parameter, this parameter indicates the next building story for the level. (Implied by the name) By default, Story Above is the next highest level for which Building Story is enabled (NOT necessarily the relevant floor above). To access a list of all building stories above the current one, click in the field. (Ooh, I have to click on it??) The Story Above does not need to be the next higher level or building story. (Cool, anything else I should know?) If the selected level is deleted later or if Building Story is disabled, any levels with this level as their Story Above will revert to default behavior. (Still confused, why should I care again?)

That description does not really tell me why I should care about this parameter. It does tell us that it has something to do with this other parameter called Building Story. The first time I saw these I imagined that the stair tools might use them to guess more accurately what the base and top constraints should be. You may have noticed that Revit just assigns whatever the next higher level is to the top constraint. This means that if I've got an intermediate level for something like a stage platform that isn't really a building story on its own the stair tool thinks that's the next level instead of the next real building story.

If I happen to read further down in the topic I notice that there is a link for Exporting a Project to IFC. Fwiw, if I use search for Building Story the first result is also Exporting a Project to IFC. When I read about that I learn from this section:

"From Revit Help"
Split walls and columns by level allows you to divide multi-level walls and columns by level. When you use this option, Revit cuts the walls and columns by each level that is defined as a building story {my emphasis}. (See Level Instance Properties.) For elements whose base level is a non-building story level, Revit exports them using the next lower building story as their base level, with an appropriate offset. Revit only exports levels for which the Building Story parameter is enabled, unless no levels are defined as building stories. In that case, Revit exports all levels that are used as base levels for walls and columns.

It would be a LOT more "helpful" if the description for Story Above mentioned that our day to day work inside Revit won't be affected in the slightest by this parameter BUT if we export to IFC it becomes important. The same is true of the Building Story parameter. Features and additions like these that have very specific implementation but opaque intentions just add to the complexity of Revit. If I wrote the documentation I'd have started off with something like, "This is only relevant for Exporting to IFC", if in fact that is true. If it isn't then what else are they not telling us?

Back to the subject of the help format. So far so good. It looks pretty good. The search results provide a portion of the subject to help see if it is relevant enough to focus on. The speed is pretty good. I don't like it's preference for Internet Explorer which I only use when forced to. {Per Jeff's comment this is defined by the browser setting in the Revit.ini (there is one for default and one per user profile) and we can choose which browser we prefer.}

At the moment the lack of access to a unique URL for each topic is annoying. I've read that this is something they are working on so eventually it won't be an issue. For now we have to rely on the Share widget to access one of the social networking share options.

I find that Twitter and Delicious are the only two options the show the unique URL without having to log into the social site first.

This means a Twitter account isn't required to access the URL so I can share it with someone else. Just be careful not to include the "Reading:" portion of the URL information (see the image above). As a member of online Revit user groups like AUGI and I often want to share a link to the help documentation with another user to answer their question. It's tedious to do it at the moment but eventually it won't be.

Then again it's this kind of subtle "miss" that make me wonder what goes through their minds as they prepare to unveil the next great help concept from Autodesk. Maybe they are jaded themselves about how much people actually rely on their work? I hope not. If unique URL's were another week away then perhaps holding off a week would have made for better first impressions? Sometimes I think Seth Godin's "Ship it" is misconstrued to to mean ship it regardless of fit and finish and readiness.

If you rely on Google searches to find help documentation it will take some time for Google to index their new help site. Once it is indexed we should be able to rely on Google searches too. I read that the documentation for older releases is being transitioned to the new site format now so if you are looking for 2012 help you'll be directed to 2014 information for now. The standard line is offered, "We apologize for any inconvenience".

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tagging Elements and their Area

Revit allows us to tag rooms and spaces to display their area. If I'm tempted to do the same for Walls, Floors, Ceilings or Roofs the list of available system parameters (built into Revit) does not offer Area. Revit MEP users can tag a Duct's area.

It seems to me a bit arbitrary to disallow the tagging of data that is part of the element. We can see it in the element properties and include it in schedules. While a schedule is an ideal way to summarize data a floor plan is useful to provide context AND display a variety of information, like area.

It would be excellent to see more parameters unshackled.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Worksets and Project Browser Sorting

I've seen and heard claims that Revit passes changes to the Project Browser sorting along to the central file and therefore on to other user's local files during a Synchronize with Central (SwC).

In Revit 2012-2014 (all that I currently have on my PC) I find that "my" project browser selection does not transfer to other users during a SwC. I do find that anyone who opens their local file will inherit the "current" Project Browser setting.

When we use SwC Revit is storing the Project Browser sorting criteria but it doesn't alter any open local file's configuration. Occasionally I find that if I watch the Revit interface during a SwC that it looks like the Project Browser sort of "flashes" as if it is changing and then restoring "my" setting. I've also noticed that occasionally Revit's "focus" changes (highlights/bold) back to the "Views" heading, when there is a difference between my local and another local's setting.

Anyone that opens a new local file will inherit the "current" Project Browser setting. Current is based on the most recent SwC and that user's setting. This means we can casually change the Project Browser setting while we are working but new local files that are opened after we use SwC will inherit "our" Project Browser setting.

It might be considered polite to remember to set the Project Browser sorting to a "standard" one before we use SwC, at least if we are the last one in the office. It's not hard to pick the browser configuration I want instead once my local file is open and it doesn't really bother me to do so. It does annoy some people though. If a team is aware of this subtle dynamic they can decide how they want to deal with it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Autodesk 360 Rendering Competition

Nisha with Autodesk wrote to let me know that they've opened a rendering competition, beginning today, to help demonstrate the usefulness of rendering via Autodesk 360. What can you win? They will select three winners and those three will feature exclusively in their Autodesk® 360 newsletter, worldwide distribution, as well as receive prizes like an iPad, a $500 gift card and more!

Here’s your chance to show Autodesk your talent and do what you love doing from now until November 15th, 2013.

Interested? Follow these instructions:

  • Create a still image rendering of anything you like: a building model, residential interior or object design.
  • Visit Rendering in Autodesk® 360 and sign in to your Autodesk® 360 account.
  • Upload your design from Autodesk® AutoCAD®, Autodesk® Revit® or Autodesk® Fusion 360.
  • The final render must be done in Autodesk® 360 to qualify.
  • Upload up to 5 images at once to enter here: Autodesk 360 Rendering Competition Site

Friday, October 18, 2013

Text Editing and Zooming

Anybody that's been using Revit for awhile has probably thought, "It would be nice if the text editor was better". It's always been very rudimentary and even with the few improvements it's received it remains so.

One point of pain is using TABS to create columns of information. The frustration isn't the concept as much as how Revit alters the format of the text when we select it to change it. If we get everything just right and return later often the text gets messed up. This is an example of text that I've formatted into columns with the TAB key, text style is set to a Tab Size of 1/8".

Awesome bank balance eh? Here's what happens when I zoom in to see the text a bit better and select the text again.

Autodesk support suggests we try to return to the same zoom factor we used to create the text. That's hard to do if we didn't create the text or if we come back later. They recommend we use the Zoom Sheet Size feature to ensure consistent editing zoom factor.

Zoom Sheet Size adjust the view as if we are printing and viewing the information at 1:1, taking in account the view scale. This image shows using it on both a floor plan and sheet view that has the same floor plan on it. Zoom Sheet Size adjusts both views to show the information at the same "size".

Fwiw, when I see the formatting is messed up I find that using Zoom Sheet Size and then selecting the text and clicking it again to edit the text Revit will "fix" the formatting that was messed up by zooming in closer earlier. Something to consider until text is less finicky.

I should also mention that with 2014 this kind of tabular information could be created in the header portion of a schedule like this.

And again but without grid lines visible, more like the text but with a bit more control over formatting.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Schedule Column Selection Wish

Short and sweet. I wish that when I select a column in a schedule and drag across multiple columns that the view would scroll as I move beyond the frame of the view. This way I could select all the columns in a schedule that is too wide to do so in one pick/drag motion.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Finish Floors and Doors

It's a fairly common practice to create separate floors for structure and finishes. The structural "layer" of a floor may actually be modeled by the structural consultant, assuming the structural engineer we are working with uses Revit and isn't working directly in the same model with us (architecture bias in this post).

Architects usually document floor finishes. Quite often I see this done as a Filled Region exercise. The effort required to sketch a filled region is not much different than sketching a floor boundary. The benefit of using a floor instead is that's it modeled and it will be available in many views, as needed. We can tag and schedule them to study and document the design more effectively. External applications like Revolution Design's Revit Workflows offer a specific set of tools to manage creating finish floors very effectively. KiwiCodes offers their own version as part of their Bonus Tools app. These tools make the notion of using finish floors that much easier to consider.

One side effect of modeling finish floors is that they can compromise the door graphics we use, for example the panel and swing we are used to seeing in plan views. This happens because these graphic features are usually created on the work plane of the host level. The other issue is that, even if the floor doesn't obscure the graphics, the door panel, if just lines, probably won't mask the floor finish fill pattern (if one is used).

If we create a masking region (or lines) directly in the door family, to represent the door panel it will mask the floor finish as long as the Draw in Foreground parameter is checked.

Quirkiness ensues if a nested family is used. I happen to prefer to deal with swing graphics as a nested family. My logic is to make it once and use it in many families; a "kit of parts" mindset. Unfortunately the Draw in Foreground setting fails to work when the nested component is brought into the host door family.

To resolve this we need to make it possible to raise the graphics higher. Filled and Masking Regions can be assigned to a Reference Plane; Model and Symbolic lines too. This means we can use a parameter to change the elevation of the graphics, via the parameter and associated reference plane, to compensate for various floor finish conditions. The setting Draw in Foreground will allow this to work as long as we don't check it, which seems counter-intuitive.

In this image I've use the Draw in Foreground setting on native lines and masking regions, not checked on the left and checked on the right. I've also nested a swing family. The red elements are visible and the highlighted (purplish) are not visible except that they show up because I've got my cursor hovering over the family.

To get the nested swing family to show up above the floor is was necessary to not check the Draw in Foreground parameter for the masking region and lines. It was also necessary to place them on a separate work plane in the family that I could control with a parameter to raise it above the floor elevation in the project.

In the image above the only graphics that don't show up now are the bottom left line and masking region. They won't show up because the Draw in Foreground parameter is not checked. It's easy to sort out once you know.

Speaking of 3rd party applications, I used the Revolution Design tool to create floors for my testing. The app coughed when I tried to put in some floors. After looking at the error message I noticed that the doors I was working with don't map a value to the stock Width parameter, they use their own parameter to control the width. This annoyed the floor tool because it's looking for that parameter, the stock "Width". It's hard enough for programmer's to create applications that suit our varied needs. It's even harder when we create content in a different way than what they might reasonably expect in order to complete their tasks.

At first I was a bit confused but then I remembered that their floor tool will create a sketch that turns into door openings to define where the edge of the floor will stop for thresholds. The application looks at any doors it finds along the boundary of the room and creates a sketch based on the door Width parameter it expects to find. In this case the value was zero width and that made the application mad, Revit too. It was easy to fix. I just used a formula in the Width parameter that mapped it to the parameter these doors were using instead. Just another subtle thing to consider when we make content.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Workset Visibility and Linked Files

In October of 2010 I described a technique we could use to control the worksets in a linked file without having to go through the Visibility/Graphics dialog and the Revit Links tab followed with numerous options for overriding things.

Over the years things change and it appears that is true for this technique now in 2014 (possibly earlier releases). It appears to be better or at least more reliable to decide which worksets to close or open via the Manage Links dialog directly or the right click > Manage Links option when you select a linked file in the Project Browser, like this:

This came about because a member at RFO was describing erratic behavior while trying to use this technique. It would behave as expected when he turned off some other workset's visibility. I found that to be true but less specific about visibility as much as interacting with something local as well as the linked file. Bottom line, I get predictable results if I use the above method instead.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Where did these Rooms Come From?

When you examine the Options Bar while the Rooms command is active you may find something like this image.

Rooms in that list are "Not Placed" but we (someone) may have created them by placing a room and then deleting them later. They could also be left over from when the project template was created, rooms that were created along the way but not eliminated before turning the template over to the project teams. Rooms are to be managed with schedules. We have final control over the reality of a room there. If we don't want them in the list on the Options Bar we can either place them where they should go in the model or delete the room's row in the schedule.

Deleting a room in a floor plan does not remove the room from the Revit database permanently. Deleting one from a schedule does. This allows us to move a room to another location or another floor without recreating the information. I can delete a room on the second floor (in a plan view) and then use the "Not Placed" record of this room to put it where it should go on a different floor. If I decide I don't really need a room I can just open the schedule and delete it for good.

For some background, Revit allows us to create a list of rooms prior to any actual walls defining where they could go. Imagine having a meeting with the client and they give you a list of rooms they want or need. You can create a basic room schedule with number, name, and area for example. Then each time you click the New button in the Row panel Revit generates a new "Not Placed" room. Repeat and fill in information until all of the project's program information is entered. Now as users create walls the room are "waiting" to be placed where they should go.

By the way the same things are true for the Area and Space elements.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Room Separation Line Overlapping a Wall Error

Another inspired by email: When you sketch a room separation line and it overlaps a wall you'll get yelled at. Revit will also store the warning for you to deal with later using Review Warnings if you don't resolve it right now, when the warning first appears.

If you change the Wall's Room Bounding property so that it is "off" or un-checked you'll still get yelled at when they overlap. Revit isn't checking to see if a wall is room bounding when it catches the condition. It's only concerned that they both overlap. No grace for you!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Undoing the use of Clear Cell in a Schedule

I wrote a post in June 2013 that describes the new feature for Revit 2014 schedules called Clear Cell. This allows us to separate the view name in the project browser from the name we see in the schedule header. I got a comment on that post yesterday asking how that can be reset or undone. It's pretty simple though not obvious perhaps. It boils down to putting a parameter into the header instead of the text we used after using Clear Cell.

To reset the header, while in the Schedule Editing mode/view, click in the Header field, notice the Parameters panel on the ribbon?

Click Category: (a drop down list box) > Choose Schedule

Now click the Parameter: (a drop down list box) > Choose View Name

You should see now.

The brackets indicate that Revit will provide whatever the parameter value is. In this case its the parameter value for View Name.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

EQ Constraint without EQ

Another question via email: "I want a column that can be defined as equal width on either side of its center line but occasionally I'd like to be able to make it unequal. Is there a way to toggle on or off the EQ (Equality) constraint in a family's dimension from the project?"

It isn't possible to toggle on/off the behavior of the EQ constraint when we apply it to a dimension string. If we ignore that feature we CAN define two parameters for either side of the center line of the column and when we need them equal we can supply the same value to both. When we need it to be unequal we just provide different values. Same result, just a different way of looking at the problem.

Here's a mockup, one way to tackle it, I'm sure there are other ways, other assumptions we could make. In the first image the Equality requirement is "OFF". The conditional statements in the formula column evaluates when the "Make Equal Width" parameter is on or off and the "Width Primary Side" parameter provides a value to define how much the inequality should be, based on a notion of primary side and secondary side width values. We subtract the "Width Primary Side" value from the "Width" parameter to shift the column over.

This next image is based on the "Make Equal Width" parameter being "ON" and we divide "Width" by 2.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Speaking of Soffits - Ceiling Wish

In light of yesterday's post I wish we could unlock the layers of ceilings like we can for walls. In this image I've unlocked the Gypsum Wall Board layer so I can pull it down to the ceiling surface.

If I want to reverse the relationship and install the ceiling board so that it covers the bottom edge of each soffit I can only use the Cut Profile tool in a section view, which is view specific, not a modelling alteration.

Or perhaps use separate ceiling types for the finish layer of the ceiling apart from the framing of the ceiling. If we could just unlock the layer like walls can it would make it easy to "pull" the finish layer over instead.

Another wish for ceilings? Create by Face would be cool!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Soffit Conditions

I received an email the other day asking for my opinion about modelling soffit conditions. In this particular case they used a thick wall to wrap a steel beam but then worried about the results when using clash detection later between the wall and beam. Since they overlap one another it would be a clash. Determining what constitutes a valid clash when modelling and who is modelling and then doing the clash detection is a deserving topic on its own.

My response is that I prefer to "model it like we build it" as much as is reasonable or possible. In this case I'd take this approach. I'd model the ceilings, one type on either side of the beam and another for under the beam (assuming "hat" channels for structure). I'd use a separate wall type (also assuming "hat" channels for structure) for the soffit "wall" so I could adjust where the gypsum wall board started and stopped.

Here's a section view.
And a 3D view.
In early design I could probably just get away with creating the ceilings and add the walls later when sections were needed.