Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bypassing Edit Group Mode

In the example below I've grouped and pinned the as-built model... proceeded with demoing a door (infilled on the right) and wanted to show the finishes as all new on this existing wall.

Phase filters wouldn't get me there, but Parts works if you're at a stage where you don't mind managing parts on a project.

In this example I choose to apply a view filter (by project parameter) to get the proposed plan graphics the way I needed to for many remodel scenarios while keeping the model simple for design changes that were fluid. But in Revit 2013 I've always had to Edit Group to apply the parameters, and I've always preferred to bypass Edit Group Mode (like I can for "phase created" and "phase demolished") for a number of reasons, while still taking advantage of groups.

Here is a new feature in Revit 2014 that helps to make this more possible.

If you've grouped your model in part or in whole you might notice many parameters are disabled and can not be edited without first entering Edit Group mode. Well... in Revit 2014 you can now Manage.. Project Parameters... and change a setting that reads "values are aligned per group type" to "values can vary by group instance." Now TAB to an element that is part of the group and the parameters should be available to you in the Properties window.

This is pretty handy if entering Edit Group mode (ex. for a large model group) every time you want to edit parameters (ex. to benefit view filters - image below) is a hassle.

Existing stud wall - New infill wall - New finishes
No Parts applied to this example
Existing and Infill wall are same wall type

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Fireplace Flues

Happy New Year!

And for those of you with Revit MEP or the Building Design Suite... There is a very nice YouTube video on rolling offsets.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Design Options and Phases: Post #2

This post assumes you already have some exposure to the Parts tools or that you think the Split Face and Paint tools are the only tools available for defining scope of materials.

MORE CONTAINERS: Think of the Parts tool as yet another container... an instance of a family is duplicated in two containers... (Original vs. Parts).

USING SPLIT FACE AND PAINT: Parts are a nice alternative to using the split face and paint tools, a workflow that, in my experience, does not behave well with changes to the main model and other Design Option sets.  Split face sketches can get deleted (or moved) and painted surfaces can, often without warning, bleed onto adjacent faces.

PARTS REDUNDANCY: Create Parts from an original wall. You will end up with two walls in two separate containers (Original vs. Parts). Keep in mind that Parts, Design Options, and Phase containers are nice in that clash errors do not occur when used properly. Try using your Workset containers to study design options and you'll run into many clashes/warnings.

Parts (or layers) of a wall, floor, roof, ceiling and other categories can be:
  • DIVIDED for breaking up layers of a walls, floors, etc. (ex. for defining variable finishes on an elevation/plan)
  • EXCLUDED for very specific scope of finish applications (ex. where wall finish meets a sloping grade)
  • DEMOLISHED for removal of existing finishes to make way for a new finishes

THE BEST PARTS (no pun intended): Add the original wall to two or more design options and you will find that you can now divide, exclude, and demo parts... within Design Option containers!

If you are just replacing the finish layer for a remodel consider dividing the finish into two parts, reshaping them both to the shape of the original...  it's ok if the finishes overlap ;) and set their demo/create parameters as independent of the original. "Show Shape Handles" to change the thickness of your proposed finish.

Every view can be set to "Show Original," "Show Parts," or "Show Both."

Show both is quite nice when the Parts category in Object Styles is set to line weight (1) for projection AND cut and your plan view is set to "coarse". The Object Styles of Original elements will override the Object Styles of Parts "when both are present" so don't feel like you have to pick one or the other.

This in mind, you can also combine solid and line patterns when you "Show Both".  Try making your Original material solid fill grey and your Part material any line pattern.  This works in cut and projection ;)



In addition, you can quantify for the area and volume of parts in material takeoff schedules, resulting in more specific takeoffs than what you would achieve in the scheduling of Original elements only (ex. separating an insulated stud layer from a non-insulated layer of the same thickness).

There are many advantages to exploring the Parts container... and not just for construction modeling!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Template Tips

The standards of templates and content are symbiotic. That is, the standards of one are dependent on the other. Providing content without also providing a template is like shipping doors and windows to the wrong project site. They may have value as doors and windows but not on this project currently under construction.

Templates and content properly developed can also significantly reduce (but not eliminate) the scope of training required for new staff. Without a proven template you will find yourself with a lot of staff asking how to configure object styles, line styles, view graphics, and many other settings that should be automatic.

Authoring a first library of templates, content, and standards is a big effort... but so worth it!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Design Options & Phases: Post #1

The use of Design Options and Phases is similar.  Some of the same challenges are present that I believe shared concepts can solve. This post assumes you already have some exposure to the Design Options and Phases tools and that you think the Split Element and Linework tools are the only tools available for exploring design options and phases.

MANY CONTAINERS: I'm sure you're aware that when you place an element into a view it is always relative to some reference (A workplane, a reference plane, a level, a host, a face). Well, did you also know that when you place an element into a view it is typically going into three "containers" at the same time?
  • A Workset container (ex. Workset1)
  • A Design Options container (ex. Main Model)
  • And a Phase container (ex. New Construction). A phase container is different in that an element can cross-over into other phase containers (see phase created/phase demolished parameters)
USING SPLIT ELEMENT AND LINEWORK: Most beginners will split walls to explore new wall shapes in design options or to explore additions/reductions to as-built walls, because the split element tool is just so easy to use and looks great in my plan view!

Well, if you are doing that on a very regularly basis you will get to be best friends with another tool in Revit... the Linework tool, particularly when you're trying to keep up with all the elevation cleanup issues that can result from continuously splitting walls with every study. The split element tool IS great if you are deleting a split off wall or changing the wall type of the split off wall, but you might consider an alternative to the Split Element tool if you are using it to explore design options or a proposed remodel on a wall that is really the same wall type from end to end and floor to ceiling.

ACCEPTING REASONABLE REDUNDANCY: If a wall type is consistent from end to end, consider copying the wall and it's host doors/windows into another container and reshaping, rather than split (a split is restricted to vertical & horizontal lines anyway).  A wall split into 7 walls... of the same type... in the same plane... and trying to join geometry in the same container can cause unwanted elevation cleanups, while a reshaped copy means just two walls in two separate containers... no multiplying of connection cleanups to deal with in elevations later (not really redundant because elements are separated into containers).

Because you now have a copy of your wall in another container you can now freely reshape that copy as often as you need, with every design change, all while preserving the integrity of your proposed and as-built elevations, thank you very much!

Keep in mind that when you copy a wall into another design option or phase container it will copy all families hosted on it as well.  Obviously the more families you build that are wall hosted the more unnecessary redundancy you will run into, so try not to make families wall/floor/roof/clg hosted unless you are actually cutting the host.

DESIGN OPTIONS REDUNDANCY: Copy a wall into another design option container and reshape. There will be some redundancy of doors/windows in the design option scenario, which is ok, because at the end of the day all but the one design option will be deleted anyway (teaser: secondary design option walls DO cleanup at intersections with the main model walls if you are willing to accept some redundancy at variable intersections. If you give up, there's always the Linework tool ;) Remember to include rooms as part of both design options if the room boundary is expected to change.

PHASES REDUNDANCY: Copy the wall into a future phase container, demo the as-built wall, and reshape the proposed copy. There will also be some redundancy of doors/windows in the phased remodel scenario, which is ok, because renumbering of doors/windows and overriding of plan graphics with view filters and filled regions is manageable. We expect to be cleaning up plans anyway... we would rather elevations and perspectives mostly cleanup themselves.

Having a demo phase has helped me to sort out the required filters here, but "this can all be done without a demo phase." Yes, you heard me right.

THE BEST PART: Your as-built model is also preserved and intact in the active model, should you need to update it to benefit proposed plans or to reprint a clean as-built set later.

At project completion, the deleting of demo'd elements and combining of phases into a presentable and final record model can result in a pretty darn clean final product (if you haven't been splitting walls on the same model for 18 months).

And, if you want to explore design options and phases in the same model and you're really worried about someone accidentally deleting elements of an as-built model as proposed changes move forward, consider grouping and pinning the as-built model before proceeding with design option studies and phases (hint: you can still demo elements of a grouped and pinned as-built model, without someone accidentally splitting them ;)

More to follow...

Monday, March 04, 2013

Finding a way

Now that you can revise instantly, are you often asked to instantly revise?

One of the common challenges we face in Revit is trying to update a model, as fast as changes are occurring in the design process.  If you too are struggling with this, try to keep these questions in the back of your mind as you model:
  • Is this change worth commiting to the model now or will a sketch suffice?
  • I know I can update some things very quickly in a model, but what things are taking time?  Cleanups?  Sitework?
  • If this change is taking so long my way, there must be a better way? Ask around!
  • How can I reduce or eliminate this unneccessary source of lost time and get the output I really need?
  • Do I need to be this specific this soon in the process? Or is coarse data not only faster, but more desirable at this stage?
As a Revit Beginner you can wait around and be told what to do, or you can constantly reinvent yourself and find a better way.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy new year to everyone. I hope 2012 was a very exciting and productive year for all you Revit Beginners out there and I thank you for following my posts over the years and continuing to contribute your thoughts despite my absence these past two years. I do continue to explore Revit and the BIM movement as it pertains to my work in architecture.

This past year was spent mostly on template and content development and project startup practices. Getting the right start on a project is so very important on so many levels and I've been wanting to post my thoughts on this specific topic hopefully before the the end of this year ;)

It's hard to believe I started my Revit journey 10 years ago. I have learned so much these past years and look forward to yet another exciting year!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Remodels in Revit... the untold story

To my surprise, there's not a whole lot of discussion on this very important topic. Anyone who has developed a custom remodel residential project can tell you it's not as simple, clean, or intuitive as a custom new construction residential project.

The first step is pretty staight forward... build your as-built model in the existing phase. Once an as-built model is done you might want to archive a copy of the model just incase the design scope changes and you have to start all over again with a clean as-built. Now I'm sure you are all aware that as the design develops the project architect and the client are both going to want to explore varying design iterations. The model builder is going to have to do partial demolition of walls, floors, roofs, ceilings, etc. The way most Revit Beginners go about doing this is to split the wall, floor, roof, etc into two parts and demo the half they want to remove. The problem with this method starts to reveal itself after 2-3 design iterations when the as-built model, now split into many parts, degenerates into useless plans and elevations. Constantly reshaping the proposed design on the fly without time consuming cleanups also becomes less possible.

So what do you do with partial demos? You could create a new phase between Existing and New Construction called "Existing To Remain." Then copy the element to be demo'd to the clipboard... then demo the whole element in the "Existing to Remain" phase... paste the element (into the same place) back into the "Existing to Remain" phase and then reshape the existing to remain version of our element (Some users think that a demo phase is not necessary, but it has it's benefits). Now anytime the design goes through iterations all you have to do is reshape the existing to remain element while leaving the as-built model preserved and intact.

Plans require additional cleanup, but this approach reduces the frequency and types of cleanups required, particularly obvious when you move on to elevations and sections.

EDIT: Partial additions can be done the same way you would do partial demos... copy, demo, paste, reshape. If you just add on to the length of a wall you're going to end up with a proposed design that's in pieces too. This can be important later on down the line when you want to combine phases into a new asbuilt. However, getting accurate Material Takeoffs on a remodel can add a dimension to this procedure (you might want a model that's divided into accurate pieces afterall).

EDIT: This process works with or without a demo phase.  The critical point is to group and pin previous phase work before proceeding with the next phase and then copy, demo, paste, reshape in the next phase... with plan cleanup in demo and proposed plans by regions and element overrides. Most beginners only think in terms of existing and proposed. This process considers multi-phase projects.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Demons In Your Data?

The more you work with Revit the more likely you are to run into demons in the data. What do I mean by demons? Demons are unexplained behaviors. I'm not talking about software bugs that won't go away until you've installed a software update. I'm talking about errors in the data of the project file itself. Errors that can be repaired by replacing the corrupt data with an arbitrary value and then changing it back again.

Somehow, the process of changing the offending data to something arbitrary, then changing it back to the way it should be can remedy unexplained behaviors. I'm not talking about changing a value and then hitting the undo command. I'm talking about using Revit's tools to change the data to something arbitrary then changing it back... like the change is some new data for the model. It's just a matter of isolating the parameter values that are causing the unexplained behaviors... then finding the right combination of commands that will reset or refresh the offending data. These commands might include flexing parameters, cut & paste in same place, mirror, nudging, or possibly other commands. Let me give you some examples...

I upgraded a model once, from Revit 2009 to Revit 2011, and an odd thing happened. In hidden line mode, half the doors and windows had shaded glass (by design) while the other half had no shading. And it wasn't like there was any consistency... the shading was gone from random doors and windows. I realized at that point that I had a demon in my data, so I went into the offending material (glass) and set the surface pattern of the glass material to none (it was the surface pattern that was not cooperating), then changed the surface pattern back to solid fill to get this glass material to show properly everywhere.

Another thing that happens a lot... I like to nest families into a host family and link the parameters of the nested family and its host family, but once in a while after making a change to a nested family and loading it back into the host family, solids disappear or just don't flex when the family is loaded into a project. I have to flex some of the linked parameters, while still in the family editor, to reset or refresh the offending data.

Wall cleanups at intersections (not to beat a dead horse) can also cause demons. Sometimes nudging one of the walls can cleanup your intersection. Sometimes you have to cut a wall to your clipboard and paste it back into the same place to get intersections to heal properly. In fact, when any family (that was working fine before) isn't cooperating try a cut and paste in same place. This can reset data in the model.

If any of my readers are familiar with a particular demon please feel free to leave a comment describing the demon and how you "exorcised" it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Should I enable Hardware Acceleration?

Hardware Acceleration (in options) controls the performance of several features in Revit 2011 including:
  • realistic materials in realistic view
  • ambient occlusion
  • performance of mechanical views
  • performance of underlay views
  • performance of overall project
To find out if your graphics card supports hardware acceleration, Autodesk has now published a Supported Graphics Hardware List for Revit 2011.