Monday, December 22, 2014

Seasons Greeting from Phil-osophy in BIM!

I wish all of you to have a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year in 2015!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Divide Path Direction

I have questioned myself the logic when it comes to divide path in conceptual massing environment in the past. Recently I am working on an adaptive component for a panel where it requires a louver as part of the panel. I start with a 2 point adaptive family as a louver blade and nest it to the next family. The next family makes out of a set of reference lines and a frame, I have two edges that I use "Divide" to set up my "array".

I then place the blade family and try to use "Repeat" and lay out a series of blade.

It turns out the blade is going wild! At first I thought I have snapped my AC to the wrong node so it behaved unexpectedly.

After some trial and errors, I learn there is something I didn't realize before. For some reasons, when choosing an edge to divide path, one side of the edge has the node sequence backward; thus it results to an unpredictable array.

There is a hidden setting under the path properties. Select the path, check the "Show Node Numbers" and I am able to see the numbers on the path. Obviously they are going different direction.

The fix is quite easy. Check the box "Flip Direction" under the properties, it will set the path to the correct direction.

Try it again with Repeat and this time it works like a charm.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Solving the Mystery - Revit Linked File Disappearing

Our office use linked file to link the site topo surface as a separated model from the building. This process has served us with an advantage when we constantly move the building on site during the design process. However, I have come across a few projects that the topo stops showing up in certain views with no logic.

When cutting through a section view (or sometimes elevation views), the topo from the linked file disappeared.

However, the topo showed perfectly fine in other views

I checked all the possible causes like VG (Visibility Graphic) setting, workset or even element hide. Nothing seems to be the culprit of this issue. I ended up stumbling a very subtle setting that caused this issue. It had to do with the Far Clipping setting from the view properties. Turns out if the Far Clipping was to set to "Clip with line", the linked file would disappear.

Switching it to "Clip without line" or "No clip" will return to normal. What bothers me is this is totally random. The best way is to set all the views to "Clip without line" and have the setting included in View Template.

If you are not sure what this setting does to your view, Autodesk Help page (see below) has a good image to show the differences between these "Far Clipping" settings:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kicking It Old School - DWFx it!

What is the easiest way to send 3D model for review?

A question recently came up when the design team wanted to send a 3D model to the contractor for review. The project was done in Revit and the contractor had no access to the software. The intent was to allow the contractor (Note: This is the residential contractor who relies on paper drawing for construction) to spin around the model and understand the project better in 3 dimensions.

So I said "Why don't we send him the DWFx file?"

DWF file has been around at least for the past 10 years. Up until now, many people would still prefer PDF as a standard format when it comes to transfer drawing files. Still, the DWF technology remains with the Autodesk product year after year. Personally, I love DWF, it is more compatible with AutoCAD and Revit, file size is usually 30-40% smaller than pdf. Of course, you can export it as 3D DWF file straight from Revit without any plugin or workaround. What's not to love!?

DWFx was introduced later on as another format where you can view it via the IE browser (Note: It supports all the way to IE10 based on my test). To export the 3D DWFx, all you need is to go to the Revit "R" icon, Export, DWF/DWFx.

Click "Next" in the DWF Export Settings

When saving, make sure the file type is DWFx format.

Once this is done, you can open the file with Internet Explorer.

When viewing the DWFx file via IE, it offers the same tools as you use the Autodesk Design Review program which is free from the Autodesk site. You can use tools like markup, measuring tape, hide/unhide elements, or even "section box". The only complaint that I have is the orbit tool is very poor with the mouse cursor. I would hope Autodesk can improve it in the near future. To get around this, using the Viewcube or the Steering Wheel could result a better control of spinning around the model.

I think DWF/DWFx is a very good collaboration tool. Besides, Autodesk continues to push DWF format to integrate with online tool like Autodesk 360 and other mobile device.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Walk Down Memorial Lane

During the time at RTC North America a few weeks ago, the organization have set up an area called "Playground" in the exhibition hall with many of the previous Revit versions. They managed to get many of the older versions including version 1.0 installed on several computers.

This is the first time I got to play with Revit 1.0. Of course it displayed with the classic UI (pre 2010 interface). I used to work with the classic UI for a few versions before I had to re-learn the current interface. As a matter of fact, I don't quite miss the classic UI ever since I re-gain my efficiency after Autodesk improved it in v2011. However, when I saw 1.0 for the first time so up close and personal, it appeared to me like a foreign program.  

Revit 1.0 already came with many of the basic tools like wall, floor, door, window, column, roof and ceiling, etc; It wasn't as user friendly as it is now (although some tools are still clumsy). The railing tool in particular was very different than the later version (see properties dialog box at the above image). I was able to model something very quick but the tool was still very limited. Family editor was somewhat similar; I opened the "Out of the box" window family and the basic structure was already existed. Seeing how Revit 1.0 transitions to the current Revit version has definitely made me appreciate what we have as a design and documentation tool.

Last week I was cleaning up my bookshelf with some old Architecture magazines; some of them were dated back to 2001. I found one "Architectural Record" magazine with an ad that had the original Revit Technology company logo. I didn't know anything about Revit back in 2001 and the ad itself said very little about what it was; but it sure was very interesting to see Revit came a long way to become a mainstream in our industry.

Seriously, an image of a heater!? They could definitely use some help on marketing...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dynamo Blog to Watch Out!

Dynamo is still a new kid on the block; and it sure has made a lot of buzz lately at RTC as well as AIA convention. However, there is really not a lot of resource out there where you can learn at your own pace. I just came across lately and found two that is worth posting here. So go ahead and check it out now if you want to learn Dynamo! (By Autodesk) (By Marcello Sgambelluri)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

RTC NA is Near!

Revit Technology Conference (RTC) North American is next week. This is the fourth year in North America and it will take place in Chicago (Schaumburg) this year. I will be presenting a lab class called "Profiling - Power Up Your Revit Family with Nested Profile". If you have followed my blog before, you might have some ideas about the class already.

Every year there is always something exciting to learn; and this year is no exception. I am looking forward to check out some classes with Dynamo and adaptive component. If you are going to be at RTC this year, please come and say hi. I would definitely like to meet you and chat with you in person.

See you!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quirkiness with Revit Titleblock Family

I recently ran into a very strange issue with printing sheets in one project. A user reported the sheet views have been blocked by some very large object stretch a mile or so while he was trying to print.

I look into the issue and it appears to be that giant thing or whatever it maybe comes from the titleblock family. After opening the family and it looks perfectly normal at first. However, I notice something quite unusual from the project browser.

There are wall types, curtain panel and mullions listed on the browser. Typically, the only thing that can be nested within titleblock family are 2D families like annotations. If you try to load/nest other 3D families and Revit would simply reject that. In this case, walls, curtain panel and mullion, which are system families, are impossible to come in to the titleblock anyway. They could only exist and be created in the project environment.

What I find it even harder to believe is Revit was able to show those elements that are in use by using "Select All Instance" from the type.

The thing is I can't even see these elements as the titleblock doesn't have a 3D view nor you can create one. All I could do is to delete them.

After I got rid of all the possible 3D elements, I was hoping to purge them out for good. I got another warning again about "Last type in system family cannot be deleted".

I have no choice but to leave the types in the titleblock and load it back to the project. This is definitely the first time I came across with this bug in titleblock family but at least it works now. All the sheets are back to "normal" and they print just fine.

I have no idea how the curtain wall and its sub component got into the family in the first place, but sure I will look out to this behavior in the future.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shortcut to Your Project Template

The startup (aka Recent Files) page in Revit always have the default shortcut to the project template. In the past, Revit can only assign one project template at the time for using as a default template. Suppose your office has company standard project template when starting a new project, you can change the default path to access those templates. However, you could only set one template file only.

My office currently went through a process of updating the office standard templates, which consists of 3 major templates for different purposes. Since Revit 2013, you can add more than one template now and have direct access to those templates from the startup page.

Typical Project Template page

Here's what you have to do:
The first step is go to Revit "R" icon -> Options

Under Options -> File Locations, you can add more template by clicking the + icon, then browse through your network and find your company templates.

Once you have the template chosen, you can further arrange the order the template:

When all the setup is complete, you will now be able to find all your custom template from the startup page in Revit.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

4 Easy Steps to Better Organize Your Face Based Family Thumbnail

Steve Stafford had a post recently about improving a Family Thumbnail view in Revit. I also read Chris Price's post about why using Face Based family to replace the wall or ceiling hosted families. I love face based family and they are much better and more flexible than other hosted families in Revit. However, the windows thumbnail preview from face based family always have a common issue when your family is meant to host on the vertical surface, like wall. They will always lay flat on the floor level/reference level.

Wall Mounted Bathroom Faucet Family
In this post, I'd like to share this tip on fixing the thumbnail with face based family.
Your normal thumbnail preview in face based family should look something like this:

In order for the end user to understand this family to know what it is, it could be difficult sometimes especially they are small in window explorer or the loading window in Revit.

The following steps will show you how to best manage face based family and get the desired preview.

The first thing is to hide/get rid of the "face" (extrusion) in the template. Select the extrusion geometry, under the properties and assign it to the "Hidden Lines" sub-category.

Go to Visibility Graphic (VG) and un-check the check-box of the Hidden Lines.

And you should get something like this:

Next is the tricky part, in the same 3D view, click the down arrow next to the viewcube and select options. (You could also access options from the Revit "R" icon) From the options setting, under ViewCube, un-check the check-box "Keep scene upright"

Once this is done, you should be able to twist/rotate your 3D view and turn the view sideway (Tips: it will take a few times to get used to do this) and you should get something like this:

Make sure you use the "save view" from the viewcube setting so Revit will remember this view. I usually have this as a duplicate view called "Preview" or something just to use it for my thumbnail.

The last step is to save the family. During the "save as" window, go to options and make sure you choose the thumbnail preview source as the default view.

Having done so will generate a nice and clean preview in both window explorer and your third party Family Browser (We also use KiwiCodes Family Browser for our office) There is no need to take extra time to create your own preview using this trick. 

Preview in Family Browser

As Steve said in his blog, "it's the little things in life,every little bit helps the end user experience."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Purging and Managing View Template

I recently came across a project where there are way too many view template settings in the project. I recognized some are the default setting and some are created by the team. Not knowing how the team got to this mess with so many different types, my goal is to try to get rid of the ones we don't need. As you might know there is no "purge unused" when it comes to view template, you just don't know which ones are in use and which ones you don't want.
Actually, there is a simple way now (since Revit v2013) where you can check to see if the view template is in use. Just go to View tab --> View Templates --> Manage View Templates. Once you are in the View Templates dialog box, select the one in questions. Notice on the upper right hand side of view properties, Revit tells you how many views have been assigned with that particular view template. In this case, if the one in questions is listed as 0 view, then you are in the clear and free to delete the type out of your model.
Although this may seem pretty labor intensive, it is really not a bad workflow to go through the list one after another. As a wish list item, I am hoping this is something that can be addressed by the factory or via API; maybe I will hear from Harry over the Boost Your BIM in the near future about his latest tool?

What if you did that and Revit tells you a number of views have been assigned to this unwanted view template? Well, you have another option. Go ahead and create a "View List", which is a type of schedule. View tab --> Schedules --> View List...

Again, since Revit v2013, a new field (parameter) called View Template was introduced into this schedule. By adding this field to the View List, Revit will list out the views (usually sort of family type) to show whether any View Template assigned to the views.

You can quickly see I have several interior elevations that have "none" view template associated with it. The good news is you can just click on the "cell" in this schedule and assign the appropriate view template to it. That way, managing the views with your company standard view templates made a lot easier to handle now.
There are so many good uses of the scheduling power in Revit, View List has become one of my favorites recently.