Monday, November 30, 2015

Deleting All Levels

I have been telling people for years that Revit needs at least one level to function. As proof, if you only have one level you'll find that Revit won't let you delete it, the last one. The Delete button is disabled and it ignores you if you tap the Delete key.

I find it disturbing and interesting that it IS possible to delete all the levels as long as you select all of them and delete them together, at the same time. No complaint from Revit at all.

That seems like more like a bug than a feature to me. It works this way as far back as v2013, as far back as I've tested it.

What if you've done that, deleted all of them? You'll probably be a bit disappointed at the condition of what was your model...but just open an elevation view and create a new level(s).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ooh Spelting Errrs - Descendnig

Daniel Stine found this one and passed it along to me so I'm not being so picky, he is :)

Silly develepers, thats not how your spell Descending.

Just more proof they shouldn't have changed the Family Types dialog ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Walking and Relative to View

When we turn on shadows in a camera view they are affected by a subtle setting called Relative to View.

This setting is part of the Sun Settings dialog. When we turn on shadows in the view, activate the Steering Wheel and use the Walk feature the shadows will move as we walk when Relative to View is checked.

This caught me off guard today while discussing it (the Walk feature). One of the guys noticed the shadows were moving and remarked, "Why are the shadows moving? That can't happen as you walk through a building or around it!"

I wasn't focused on it, didn't even notice it... It took me a moment to get out of my fog, and in that moment, I even imagined Walk was moving the building instead of the camera (walking to and from the building). Then I opened the Sun Settings dialog to check things and another person said, "Oh it's got to be that!" (Relative to View). Yep...

When the option is not checked the shadows stay fixed relative to where the Sun is located. Crisis averted :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Spacebar and Titleblocks

Titleblocks are families. The Spacebar will rotate a selected family (90 degree increments by default). Remember that when you have a titleblock selected. Today that startled a person when they thought they were tapping the space to insert a space in a text field but it was no longer selected. The titleblock spun out of view. What the...? OH...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

BIM Workshops Sessions and Data

I gave presentations at three of the four BIM Workshops this year. The first was in Omaha (August), the second in Anaheim (September), the third in Phoenix (October) and I wasn't part of the fourth event in Honolulu.

Indulging in a little historical review, the Omaha event is four years old now. However for its first two years it was called Central States Revit Workshop. It's founder, Carla Edwards, lived and worked in Omaha at the time. She attended the first Revit Technology Conference in North America hosted in Huntington Beach, CA in 2011. She told me that she was inspired and determined to bring that feeling home to where she worked and to provide that kind of experience to others but with a local focus, the region near Omaha. She found that there were many people eager to help her make it happen as well as sponsors willing to support it. I was happy to be able to speak at her first event too, and each of them since then.

A year later, after wrapping up the second event, she made a big life decision; moved to California and joined U.S. CAD, an Autodesk reseller based in California. She brought the event with her. Now in it's third year, with U.S. CAD's help they expanded the event to two cities; Omaha and Anaheim...and that brings us to this year, the event's fourth. Phoenix and Honolulu were both a single day of sessions while Omaha and Anaheim were two days of sessions.

This year the following people were designated with a national speaker role; Andy Jizba, Bill Debevc, Brandon Pike, Brian Mackey, Carla Edwards, Chris Faklaris, Chris Keck, David Magid, Eric Chappell, Kelli Lubeley, Lonnie Cumpton, Paul Aubin, Robert Bell, Me, Steven Shell and Tom Whitehead.

This meant each of us agreed to give presentations at two or more of the events. Each location also featured a selection of local/regional people who were chosen after being invited to send in their session ideas. That gave each BIM Workshop a broad reach while drawing on local talent too. It was a good mix this year as it has been for each of the previous years.

It has been my intention all along to post the files associated with both of my sessions here so people can check them out. I just waited until the last event was concluded (and I needed a little time to update the documents a bit)...and here they are.

Session: Who Moved my Cheese?
Description: There are over 30 ways to lose something you’re sure was just there. Revit offers so much control over the way things can be seen that we need a chart or list to figure out what happened to them. This session will explore those and provide an opportunity for some group therapy (troubleshooting).

I organized this as a game show to get people directly involved in the class. I selected two contestants for each visibility problem (25 problems in all). They competed for Smarties (yes the little discs of sugary goodness). I was inspired by a challenge that some of the Autodesk Revit technical support team created for a past Autodesk University. They had a booth outside of the classroom areas where people could stop by and meet them. They encouraged us to take part in this Find my Chair challenge which included some pretty diabolical, even despicable, ways that someone could hide a chair. For example, one chair was a family that had been completely stripped, just an empty file now, and reloaded. If someone did that in your office you might be inclined to encourage HR to get involved?

My session wasn't nearly so mean. It was fun to do it. I've heard from quite a few people since that they enjoyed it too. Thanks!


Fwiw, since I ran it as a game show with a winner and loser for each round, more than a few people suggested that I should have awarded each round's loser with a Dum Dums, I did think of it...but I didn't want to harsh anyone's mellow.

Session: Shared Coordinates: Stay Out of the Rabbit Hole
Description: It seems simple enough. Then something goes wrong. There are a few too many ways that we can manipulate this information. People often make assumptions about how it should work but don’t fully appreciate the consequences. Let’s explore the subtleties and avoid falling down the rabbit hole.

In this session I described and demonstrated using a master Revit site model to provide the basis for the real world location of a building or buildings. Then I linked separate Tiny House models (yes, inspired by Sean Burke's own Un-Boxed House project). If you've been reading this blog for long you'll probably recognize the information as being derived from a series of posts I've written here before. As much as I'd like to think every Revit user has read my blog, there are a lot of people out there who have no idea just how much information about Revit is lurking out here in the internets. Then again, maybe they just have a healthier balance in their lives?


I hope that these prove useful or interesting. Let me know if you have your own Who Moved my Cheese Game show sometime.

Oh, Carla recently let me know that she's decided to accept a position with an architecture firm in Denver so she can get closer to project work again AND importantly be much closer to her family. There is that notion of balance again... I wish her all the best and I'm sorry she'll have a lot more snow to deal with there than here in Southern California.

Keep an eye on the BIM Workshops site for next year's details as they become available.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Revit 2016 - Licensing Access has Changed

Prior to Revit 2016 we could either take the Application menu > Licensing or the About Revit route to review our licensing information. Here's the first in 2015.

In 2016 they've removed the Application menu path leaving just the About Revit route.

Not a real hardship, just a big confusing if you were expecting to find it under the Application menu like in the past.

Thanks to Dave for the prompt!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Revit 2016 R2 - Changes to Underlay

They've reconfigured the Properties Palette and changed how they describe and provide access to the Underlay concept.

As you can see above, the Underlay concept now has its own Group Header in the Properties palette. They've renamed the Underlay parameter itself to Range: Base Level. The new Range: Top Level is a read-only value that just reports the next level above the Base Level. That can be helpful when it isn't the one you expected, for example when there is an intermediate level for a stage .

Keep in mind that if a view is created for a level we can't prevent that level (like Stage above) from being the next one, the one that appears in Range: Top Level. I think it could be better if a Level's Building Story parameter could influence this condition so a view could exist for the level but not be factored into the Underlay's display process, allowing it to skip past or ignore the Stage level.

The Underlay Orientation parameter kept its name but the words used to describe its choices are now Look up and Look down. The plainer language seems to help people understand what Underlay is really doing. At the very least Look up is more accurate than implying it is really generating what we have learned is meant by Reflected Ceiling Plan.

Also very worthy of a mention is that new plan views have their Underlay - Range: Base Level assigned to None instead of the Level Below like in earlier versions.

Hmm, writing that last section, it occurs to me...this feature used to just be called Underlay, a parameter AND concept on its own with a second related Underlay Orientation parameter. Now we have a concept of Underlay with three parameters.

Experienced users will now confuse new users by asking them, "What's the view's Underlay assigned to?" or telling them, "You need to change your Underlay setting."  ...ah progress...

Oh, and Hat Tip to Niklas Strannefors, an Autodesk Application Engineer in Sweden, for prompting me to write about this subtle change.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Copy Monitor Wall Location Line Selection

I mentioned in a previous post that 2016 quietly introduced a parameter that lets us choose which Location Line is important to reference when we use the Copy part of the Copy/Monitor features.

Now that I've been trying to use it regularly I'm running into a quirky situation since installing R2 (I can't say for certain it doesn't happen in the previous version too). When I select a wall it works on the just the first wall. When I choose additional walls I get this warning.

Initially I thought it was happening because I thought it is important to assign the Location Line of the walls in the source linked file to be the same as intended in the host file, but then I don't remember having to worry about that earlier...pause...

Then it occurred to me that whatever Location Line setting I used for the last wall I sketched, in the host model, might somehow influence the process. I tried that and I don't think that matters at all; and it shouldn't in my opinion.

After experimenting a bit further it only works reliably when I use the Multiple selection option to choose all the walls I want to use Copy/Monitor on. I've repeated this using stock content (Imperial) and Architectural and Structural templates. If you'd like to corroborate my findings please try these steps:
  • Start a project with the Architectural template
  • Create six walls with: Basic Wall Exterior - EIFS on Mtl. Stud
  • Use Location Line: Wall Centerline
  • Save the file as Test CM
  • Using the Structural template link Test CM
  • Create a Stud 2x6 wall type (6" because the stud layer in the linked wall is 6")
  • Start Copy/Monitor
  • Map the linked wall type to the host's Stud 2x6 wall type (in Options)
  • Choose Location Line: Core Face: Exterior (in Options too)
  • Start Copy and select one wall (no message)
  • Select another wall (Error message yes?)
I suspect the nature of wall joins is affecting whatever method they are using to evaluate the wall for the C/M process.
  • Use Undo and Start again before using Copy/Monitor
  • Set Options again, just to be sure
  • Start Copy
  • Select Multiple
  • Select all six walls
  • Click the little Finish button (no error?)
  • Click the big Finish button
Earlier I mentioned being concerned about the Location Line setting of the walls in the linked model. I tested for that by starting with walls in the linked model assigned to Location Line: Core Face: Exterior. It didn't make any difference in my testing (see next image). Fwiw, when I first saw this new option appear I did think that was what they intended us to do but Revit just places our version of the wall according to the chosen Location Line position, not according to what the source wall is actually assigned to.

Thinking about it further I realized that if we really could influence this by changing the value in the linked model it should have already been easy for us to use C/M; if they just allowed us to swap wall types based on their setting. Revit was biased to only use Wall Centerline, ignoring the others.

I was nearly convinced that all I had to do was make sure to select the walls using the Multiple option but then in another file it didn't seem to matter or help regardless. Then I noticed any wall I was successful using C/M on (picking them individually) but was touching a wall that generated the error message also needed to be eliminated so I could start again clean. When I used Multiple after getting back to a clean slate I was able to use Copy/Monitor without an error message.

I conclude that the safest way to ensure Copy/Monitor doesn't generate a confusing warning is to isolate all the walls we want to use C/M on and choose the Multiple option. Remember the little Finish button before using the Big Finish button!

Also remember that anytime C/M gets ornery we can just use Stop Monitoring on the affected elements. Fix the problem elements and then use the Monitor part of C/M to let Revit start watching them again.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Preserving the Active Workset

The Active Workset is a user setting. We can each work using a different Active Workset.

However there is a circumstance where I can affect what the Active Workset is for others.
When I Synchronize with Central (SwC) my Active Workset will be the one any user that OPENS the project afterward will see. That is true until another user uses SwC. Then anyone who creates their local file after them will inherit their Active Workset...and around the bush we go.
It's important to remember to check the Active Workset as soon as your Local File opens.
Keep in mind that other users that are already working in the file will not see a change, their own preference will remain the same. It affects anyone who creates their local file later.

We can agree as a team to always use SwC with a specific Active Workset in play. I can't really expect that to happen every time if I have difficulty remembering to set the Active Workset correctly for my own purposes. I just try hard to remember to check the Active Workset setting before creating any new elements AND especially as soon as I get my Local File open.

We can also remember to take advantage of the Gray Inactive Worksets feature (see image above) to help make it more obvious that we aren't using the correct Active Workset.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Revit 2016 R2 - Detach from Central Filename

When you use the Detach from Central option Revit will append the word _detached to the filename if you decide to save the file.

You'll also find that the Titlebar shows the original file name with _detached appended to it instead of the blank description it displayed in the past.

How's that for subtle? Thanks to Jean-Marc for the push to post this.