Wednesday 31 August 2011

Design Options Graphics

So if you have ever done a design option you'll notice that the Design Option Set is lighter than the main model.
This makes sense, right? you want to be able to see the difference between the two. The shaded main model highlights and draws your eye the design option.
However I found that when I printed my sheets the light lines of the main model were too light, and if these sheets were copied (I was using 11x17) you would loose them altogether..... not what I want!

So I searched everywhere on line and looked under every setting I could find including Visibility Graphics where you would expect to find no avail.

Finally... I thought.. Ok, what's related to design options.... hmmm. Phasing!

I looked at the phasing dialog box and the options there and I noticed that under Graphics Override for the Existing Phase Projection lines are set by default to grey.

So I overrode the override and changed it to a black line with a line weight of 3.


So now I finally have design options that print clearly and can be see from across the room.
I'm fine with the fact that the main model is a similar weight to the design option.

Monday 29 August 2011


So I made this totally awesome supporting column for a residential apartment project I've been working on. It doesn't have any fancy parameters as really the only thing it needs to do is attach at top and bottom.

Dean the Architect came up with the idea of wrapping a stud pack with trim and have the reglet exposed and painted red which matches another feature we have in the project that supports the entry canopy.

Simple but elegant....  :-) it's sooo pretty!!!!

Thursday 25 August 2011

Changing the SIM on a Detail Callout

When referencing a detail on a drafting view your callout will automatically say "Sim" . This is a default setting by Revit which indicates that the referencing detail is Similar to the referenced callout instead of the actual referenced detail.

If you save your details to a detail library for use in other projects you'll end up with a lot of details that will say Sim..... this can get annoying.

You can change the Type Properties of these callouts to eliminate the Sim label or change it to something else such as Typ. or nothing at all....

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Dimension Tick Size

So I tried to change my architectural dimension tick size, I find that the Diagonal 1/8" is too big and the Diagonal 3/64" is too small.


I contacted Autodesk asking how to change this and here is a excerpt to the response I received.

You are correct that you cannot edit the actual tick mark, you can only select a different type of mark from the available list. If you wish to request an additional tick mark option, please submit your requests using this form:

Interesting.... so I submitted a request and we'll see if the next release we have more options to choose from... I'll keep you posted.

Friday 19 August 2011

Variable Thickness Assembly Components

When you want to create a sloped balcony floor assembly but you need to have the underside of the balcony floor to remain level you can set the structural component to vary in thickness.

Under the Edit Assembly dialog box check the variable check box on the component that you want to vary.

Now when you select the balcony you'll see there are new grips which you can now use to modify the component using the Modify Sub Element icon on the Shape Editing panel.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Quick Tip - Navisworks Exporter Pack

I have a consultant who uses Navisworks and he wanted to view my Revit model.... Unfortunatly Navisworks dosent read Revit files.... (even though it can read umpteen number of file formats- except Revit!!)

So Autodesk has a plug-in for Revit that allows you to export your model as a .nwc file.

Here is a little about the plug-in from the download web site:

The distributable NWC file exporter enables project teams using Autodesk® Naviswork® software to generate whole-project models for simulation and analysis. Project team members can generate the optimized NWC file directly from their design applications. This capability is provided without necessitating a licensed seat of Autodesk Navisworks 2012 software on the same machine. The NWC exporter works with a range of products, including the AutoCAD®-based and Revit®-based Autodesk products, as well as Autodesk® 3ds Max®, Bentley MicroStation®, and Graphisoft ArchiCAD® software. The NWC file format supports transfer of both object geometry and associated metadata from the design applications into Autodesk Navisworks 2012 software.
Here is a link to the download:

The tool will be available to you under the External tools icon on the Add-Ins tab.

Monday 15 August 2011

Design Options - A how too guide

I constantly forget how to create Design Options...... So here is a step by step "How To" for creating Design Options.

How to set up Design Options

1.      On the Manage tab > on the Design Option Panel   (or the Status bar), click on the Design Option icon. The Design Option dialog box will open.

 2.      In the Option Set area click NEW. A new Option Set with one design option is created. 

Rename the Design Option Set to reflect your design option set.

To add more design options within this set just click on the NEW icon under the Option title, (below Option Set). Rename these Design Options within to reflect each design option within this set.

3.      Repeat step 2 as desired to create multiple Design Option sets, for example one design option set for multiple options for the entry roof, one design option set for master bedroom ensuite layout options.

Close the dialog box.

4.      now you have created multiple option sets you can set the current design option in the Manage Tab.

How to Add Existing Elements to Design Options

To add existing elements from your project to a Design Option you must select the elements before you activate the design option you want it to be a part of.

·         Firstly make sure your design option is set to Main Model (see image in step 4), this makes the main model the Active Design Option.

·         Then select the items you want in your desired design option and click on the Add To Set icon.

·         This will then open up the Add To Design Option dialog box where you can select the Design Option within the Design Set you want to move the elements too.

Here you can select more than one Design option, you'll need to do this if you want to be able to manipulate these elements in multiple options.

Close the dialog box.

·         Only the elements in the Primary Design Option set are displayed in your view by default. 

They cannot be selected unless you uncheck the Exclude Options check box on the status bar before selecting.


How to Add New Elements To a Design Option

·         Set your desired design option to be current in the Active Option drop down list.

 ·         Only the elements that are part of that Design Option are displayed in black, all other elements on the other Design Options are grayed out.

·         These elements will then be added to the current Design Option.

·         Set the Active Design Option to Main Model when complete.

How to View Your Options

·         Create a new view by Duplicating an existing view, for example if I was to show the options for the Front Entry roof option I would create two front elevation views.

·         In the view open up the Visibility Graphics dialog box. On the Design Options tab change the Design Option under the corresponding Design Option Set from automatic to the desired design option.

How to Make One Design Option Primary and Delete Design Option

When you have selected the design option you want to keep you can open up the Design Option dialog box and select the desired design option and then select the Make Primary icon.

Once you have selected the design options and made them primary you can then select Accept Primary which will then delete all the other design options except the Primary design option.

you will get a warning dialog box asking if you are sure you want to delete the secondary design options. you will also get a warning dialog box warning you that any views that were associated with that design option will also be deleted.

Thursday 11 August 2011

Design Option Terminology

Working with Design Options are a great way to show your client different design options in the same project.... it's also great that you can work on other area's of the project without having to do the old "Save a copy of the file" trick we use to do with AutoCAD.

Here is some typical terminology when using Design Options. This was originally written by a colleague of mine a few years I thought I'd recycle it...
Thanks Bruce  ;-)

Main Model
The main model encompasses all the features of the design that are not optional.

Design Option Set
A design option set is an agreed-upon collection of alternatives that addresses a particular design issue.

Design Option        
A design option is one possible solution to the design problem, so each design option set will normally have more that one design option.  Each design option is specific to the issue addresses in the set. You can have only one primary option per set.

Dedicated View      
You can dedicate a view to a specific design option for each design option set using the Design Options tab on the Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog box. When this view is active or added to a sheet, the option set you have dedicated is always shown along with the main model.

Primary Option       
The favored option in the set and shares a closer relationship to the main model than secondary options. Elements in the main model can reference elements in the primary option and vice-versa. By default, each view inside Revit Architecture is set to display both the main model and the primary option. This can be adjusted by changing the design option visibility of the view.

Secondary Option   
Any option that is an alternative to the primary option in the same option set.  Elements in the secondary option can reference elements in the main model, however elements in the main model cannot reference elements in the secondary option.

Automatic Display  
When design options are enabled, you can control the visibility of design options in plan views, elevation views, 3D vies and drafting views through the Design Options tab of the Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog box. By default, the visibility of a design option is set to automatic.  This means that the view displays the main model and the primary option if there are no options being edited.  If you are editing an option, the view displays the main model and the option you are editing. You can dedicate the view to use a specific option within an option set by choosing the option name.

For further information refer to some of my other blogs on Design Options:
How too guide:
Design Options Graphics:

Tuesday 9 August 2011

L.O.D What does this mean to me?

So... LOD... Level of Development how does this affect the typical Revit User?
In the old 2D drafting days we would draw lines to represent objects such as walls doors, windows roofs etc... remember that? We use to draw two lines representing a complete (and often complex) wall assemblies. Often these lines didn't even represent the true dimensions of the assembly either!
Drawings got done and buildings still got built.! Amazing times.....

Now with BIM were adding more information to our drawings by adding more information to our Building Information Model. for the majority of us the end result is a set of documents that someone can build from. Don't loose sight of that. we are in danger of Over Modeling....
We get so wrapped up in creating content and families for everything that sometimes we loose sight of why we are creating this model in the first place. Remember your creating drawings (and hopefully get paid for them) within a specific time limit. If you go over this time limit you are burning up your profit margin, when we first are introduced to Revit we think to ourselves "wow, this is going to save me a bunch of time", "I no longer have to draw elevation, sections" etc... however my experience is that we get seduced... yes seduced! by Revit and we want to build a complete model down to the nuts and bolts.....
Now before I get a bunch of emails and comments I'm not proposing that we get stoopid and just model the exterior walls and just draw lines for the interior.... no we need to model what is appropriate to the project. If your doing a residential home do you really need to model the gutters and drains? Do you need to model the gas meter on the side of the house? For larger projects do you need to model the tactile strip at the top of the stairs? Would detail lines in the view be sufficient. There is a huge difference in resources between the two. Do you need to use the roof top mechanical unit from the supplier that is detailed down to the nut and bolt? Why not use a generic placeholder.

Try to use families that are smaller in file size this will help your project file size to stay manageable.

So try and stick to a LOD of 300 (Precise Geometry) instead of LOD 400 (Fabrication)......

Quick tip

Here is a quick tip I came across while preparing an introduction to Revit course...

To hide the status bar

Click View tabWindows panelUser Interface drop-down, and clear the Status Bar check box.

Monday 8 August 2011

Level of Development

My next series of Blogs are going to be about BIM Level of Development as outlined by the AIA. Even though it's American standards (some of us are not from the States) they have done a lot of research on this subject so it's defiantly worth taking a look and modifying it to your specific needs.

The reason I'll discuss this subject is that as we use Revit more and more we at risk of Over Modeling our model. Over modeling will reduce your efficiency of your workflow as well as the efficiency of your model.  We work hard to make Revit work for us but we are in danger of getting sucked into the Void  of Over Modeling.... Du Du Du Daaaa! (dramatic sound effects !!)

Here is a brief explanation of Level of Development (LOD):

Level of Development: Levels of Development (LOD) describe the level of completeness to which a Model Element is developed.

How much we model at each stage is broken down into 5 basic levels.

LOD 100 -  Conceptual Design, creating mass models for the concept stage. Volumes, height, location and orientation. Basic building analysis etc.

LOD 200 - Schematic Design/Design Development. developing the general assemblies, etc. A basis for the working drawings. 

LOD 300 - Working Drawings, construction documentation, building analysis etc.

LOD 400 - typically not achieved by the Designer or Architect as this level of detail is typically required by fabricators. for example manufacturers of RTU's would detail their components at this level for fabrication.

LOD 500 - As Built Model. the final level of detail that represents the true building. Ideally used for building operations and maintenance.

Model Elements: Model Elements represent building component, system or assemblies within a building or building site.

Model Element Author: The party responsible for developing the content of the specific model. to the Level of Detail required by the particular phase of the project.

Model User: this refers to any authorized individual or company who may use the model. for example some one doing a quantity take off, scheduling, analysis?

I'll go over how each of these LOD's can be used in my next Blog.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Section Box - Axonometric Views

I love Axonometric Views.

Especially when creating elements that span multi levels such as stairs.
I find them to be very helpful...

Just check the Section Box in the View properties.

In the example shown above I have hidden the section box to clean up the view.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Common Keyboard Commands

If like me you came from an AutoCAD background  before using Revit you found you were most proficient when you had one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the mouse. Quick short cut keys made it easy and quick to type commands than hunt and peck the icons.

Now with Revit we are more icon based because what we are drawing (or creating) is more complex than "dumb lines" so simple keyboard commands no longer cut it as more input is typically required.

HOWEVER..... there are times when keyboard commands can be used....... here is a list of the most common keyboard commands.

·         ZF = Zoom Fit

·         WT = Window Tile                                       

·         ZA = Zoom All (Used with tiled windows)

·         TL = Thin Line

·         MO = Modify

·         AL = Align

·         SE = Snap End

·         SM = Snap Mid

·         SQ = Snap Quadrant

·         SP = Snap Perpendicular

·         SO = Snap Off

·         SX = Snap Points

·         SZ = Close

·         SS = Turn off overide

·         MM = Mirror (along reference plane)

·         DM = Draw Mirror point

·         TR = Trim (Fillet, Trim Extend)

·         CO = Copy

·         RO = Rotate

·         OF = Offset

·         MV = Move

·         SL = Split Elements

·         PN = Pin

·         UP = Un-Pin

·         WA = Wall

·         DR = Door

·         WN = Window

·         LI = Model Lines

·         DL = Detail Line

·         LW = Line work

      ·         RM = Room

·         CM = Place Component

·         DI = Dimension

·         TX = Text

·         TG = Tag

·         RT = Room Tag

·         GR = Grid

·         VG = Visibility Graphics

·         GP = Create Group

·         PP = Properties

·         MA = Match Properties

·         SU = Sun Settings

·         UN = Project Units

·         CTRL +S = Save

·         CTRL+O = Open

·         CTRL+Z = Undo

·         CTRL+Y = Y Redo

CTRL = to add to selection

SHIFT = to subtract from selection or force horizontal or vertical

TAB = Cycle through selection or snaps

Monday 1 August 2011

Setting Up Worksets

I had this in my notes for working with worksets... I may have pulled it from another blog if so please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due... or maybe it was the Wiki Help??.......(Or I may have wrote it myself !?)

In general, when Setting Up Worksets, you should consider the following:

  • Project size
The size of the project may affect the way you enable worksharing for the team. In general, elements that are edited together should be in one workset. You do not need to create a workset for each floor of the building. In a multistory structure, however, you may want to create a workset for a set of building elements that only appear on one floor, such as a tenant interior.

If the floor plate of a project is too large to fit on a sheet and you need to split it up, you may want to consider creating a workset for each side of the building.

  • Team member roles
Typically, designers work in teams, with each assigned a specific functional task. Each team member has control over a particular portion of the design (for example, interior, exterior, or site). The workset structure for the project can reflect this breakdown of tasks, and you can name the worksets accordingly.

  • Worksets and templates
Worksets cannot be included in templates.

  • Default workset visibility
The performance of Revit Architecture improves if some worksets are not visible by default. This visibility control eliminates the time required to draw additional views of the project. To identify visibility requirements, determine the frequency with which the elements in the workset display in the project. Under this guideline, you might have an exterior workset visible by default, while a specific furniture workset would not be.

  • Groups and families
Groups and families have a type workset and an instance workset that do not have to be the same.

All elements in a group are in the group instance workset. To edit the group, make the group type workset editable or borrow the group type. To modify the elements inside a group, make the group instance workset editable. You can determine which worksets the elements are in by accessing the element properties. If you use element borrowing to check out a group instance, Revit Architecture automatically borrows all elements in the group.