Friday 30 September 2011

Using Decals

Want to really impress your clients and give them the feeling that you really look at every detail just for them...! Or make your interior renderings look more realistic.

Every great residential designer will visit their client to see their lifestyle, particular furniture tastes and styles so they can get a better feel and understanding of their client. While you are there take lots of photos to refer back too, also take some good straight on photos of their artwork on their walls.

You can then use these images in your interior renderings and really impress your client.

Here's how......

·         Find a picture or adjust your photo to suit. Crop out any borders etc, don't worry too much about the size of the image just as ling as it's not fuzzy or too big a file.
·         If you don't already have a Picture Frame family get one...! Autodesk Seek has some, load it into your project and adjust the size of the frame to suit your image, ie: 5' wide by 4' high.

·         Flip to a elevation where you can see the picture frame such as a section or elevation, create a temporary one if you need too.

·         In the Insert Tab under the Link panel you'll find the drop down for Decals.

·         First you'll need to create a Decal Type. In this dialog box create a new type and give it a name, select the source file of your image and make any adjustments required to Brightness, Reflectivity, Transparency, finish etc...

·         After you have created a Decal type you can now use the Place Decal tool. Under the type properties select your Decal Type you just created.

·         Place the decal in the host picture frame, you can adjust the width and height before placing the decal on the options bar, or after you place the decal select the decal and you can adjust the width and height.
 Locking proportions is always a great idea.
·         Now you have placed your Decal you wont be able to see it unless you render the view or change your visual Style To Realistic.

Place a camera view and Render it to wow your clients, colleagues and boss...

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Design Review App.

Finally Autodesk came out with Design Review for the I-Pad and I-Phone.

I can certainly see this being popular with the I-Pad as it's a versatile tool on site, the phone is a little small for this but it's a fun app for your phone anyway...

You can open and view 2D DWF and 3D DWFx files.
Multi touch rotate, pan and zoom.
Select an element and see the details about that element...

If you have a Autodesk Cloud account you'll be able to post and retrieve your DWF(x) files on your i-device.

Search for it on the App store....

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Je ne parle le français

Je voudrais dire G'Day et un grand merci aux abonnés français et les lecteurs de mon blog.

Aujourd'hui, les statistiques indiquaient que j'ai plus de lecteurs de France que du Canada!

Vous les gars doivent être réellement entrer dans Revit.! Tout à fait.

I'd like to say G'Day and a big thanks to the French subscribers and readers of my blog.

Today the statistics indicated that I have more readers from France than from Canada!
You guys must really be getting into Revit.! Right on.

Today's Blog brought to you by the letter "R".
"R" is for Revit which is for "Revise Instantly"

Monday 26 September 2011

Background Image for Renderings

So you have this great model and you have 3D views that the client love....but... they have a fantastic view you want to accurately display while appearing to be standing on their balcony. Or they want to see how the building will look on their site so you can accurately place the building.

You have some photograph's of the site that you can use so bring them into your model!

Here is a (quick) example of a finished product. Here I created a camera view looking out over the balcony. camera placement is important, luckily you can always move the camera around to get the right angle to suit your image.

On the Rendering dialog box under the Background style you  can specify your image.

Here you can customize the image and the position of the image by adjusting the offset and scaling the with and height etc.

You can manipulate location of the image only from this dialog box.

Run the rendering in a low or Draft mode or render a region if you have a large view.  Make any changes to the location of the image or the situation of the camera to get a realistic appearance.

Here is a quick one I did, doesn't look too bad and the clients love this, it adds a sense of realism for them.

Things to look out for, look where the sun is in your photo, you may want to adjust your location and time of day under the Shadows setting to match your photo. Nothing worse than seeing the sun in your photo and seeing the shadows on what would be the sunny side of the building.

Take a bunch of site photos if possible taking into consideration the location of the house and the features of the view. Think of where you have placed the Camera View and try to replicate that location on site.

Remember if you are rendering a project that you have light sources in and your using interior lighting, create a  artificial lighting set where you can basically turn off the lights you wont need in your rendering, otherwise Revit will have to take into consideration all of the lights even if they will not affect your rendering, this will speed up your rendering process. Don't make Revit work any harder that it has too...

This also works great for interior views where you want to show the view through the windows, say from laying on the bed in the master bedroom, or standing in the kitchen looking out.....

Friday 23 September 2011

Using the Plan Region Tool

So you have created a transom window in a wall and placed the sill above your view cut plane (4'-0")... you wont be able to see your window in plan view even though you'll be able to see it on the model.

You have a couple of options, you could raise the cut plane but that goes against the rules of drafting. your other option is to use the Plan Region tool.

The Plan Region tool lets you define a region within a plan view that has a different view range from the overall view. Plan regions are useful for split level plans or for displaying inserts above or below the cut plane. Plan regions are closed sketches and cannot overlap each other.

Draw a boundary for your plan region and then in the properties you can then specify the cut plane height that is assigned to that plan region.

You will now be able to see your transom window in the plan view.

This tool can not only be used for windows that are above your cut plane but to accurately show pony walls that are higher than your cut plane, to show floors that may be on another level (similar to a split level home) or even objects below your floor level.

Here's how to create a plan Region courtesy of WikiHwlp.

Plan region in a floor plan
Plan regions are view-specific. You can copy and paste them into the same view or different views. When you copy a plan region into a different view, the view range settings are maintained from the previous view. Plan regions export and print when they are visible in a view.

Creating a Plan Region
  1. Open a plan view.
  2. Click View tab > Create panel > Plan Views drop-down (Plan Region).
  3. Sketch a closed loop using lines, rectangles, or polygons.
  4. On the properties palette for View Range, click Edit.
  5. In the View Range dialog, specify the primary range and view depth.
If the value for Cut Plane is specified as Parent View’s Level, then the level used to define all the clip planes (Top, Bottom, Cut, and View Depth) is the same as for the entire plan view.
Note: Values for offsets need to make sense with respect to each other. For example, the top offset cannot be lower than the cut plane offset, and the cut plane offset cannot be lower than the bottom offset.

  1. Click OK to exit the View Range dialog.
  2. On the Mode panel, click (Finish Edit Mode).
You do not have to enter sketch mode to edit the shape of a plan region. Each boundary line of the plan region is a shape handle, as shown in the following image. Select the shape handle and drag it to modify the size.

 Controlling Visibility of Plan Regions

  1. Click View tab > Graphics panel (Visibility/Graphics), or type the shortcut key combination VG.
  2. In the Visibility/Graphics dialog, click the Annotation Categories tab.
  3. Scroll to the Plan Region category.
  4. Select or clear the check box to show or hide the plan region.
  5. Click in the Projection/Surface Lines column, and click Override to make changes to the line weight, line color, and line pattern of the plan region.
Click OK.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

BIM and Construction

Here is a copy of an Article I have written for Victoria and Vancouver Construction Associations:

"BIM wont have any affect on me".... "No one I know is doing BIM models"..!!

I hear this quite often when I talk to the contractors on site about how BIM is affecting the construction industry.....

Building Information Modeling is already affecting the projects they are working on, however it may not be directly impacting what they are doing....YET!!

The majority of Architects who are the late adopters of BIM are doing "Lonely BIM". lonely BIM is a term used when the Architectural firm is creating their drawings with their old process but with new software. The end results are the same, a printed copy of a set of drawings, so the trades and contractors don't really see any difference.

Those Architects who adopted BIM early are seeking out consultants who are BIM savvy so their project can be done entirely using BIM. The spin off of this is that those Architects who are familiar with BIM are encouraging the construction companies to use the BIM models for quantification, reviewing the constructability and scheduling the project.

Construction companies that are working on BIG projects are getting the model from the Architects. That trend is starting to trickle down to the smaller projects.

So next time you are bidding on a project ask if there is a BIM model you can view, you'll get a quick understanding of the project and you'll be able to get a much better understanding of the scope of work your bidding on.

Monday 19 September 2011

Running Revit in Demo mode

If you find your self creating great Revit models but have no one to share them with... :-(

An expired trail version of Revcit can run in Demo mode allowing the user (who hasn't purchased the software) to be able to open your file, view and print your model.

So you've created this fantastic model for you client but the consultants are not on Revit (bad consultant!) you can ask them to download a trial version of Revit and when the 30 day trial runs out instead of creating pdf's or exporting to ACAD every time you want to share files with them you can send them the Revit model.

Not only will they be astounded by the quality of your model and all the information that they will have at their fingertips but they will also be able to print directly from Revit!!

Maybe your client lives quite a distance away from your office and not available to come over to see the model, you can ask them to download a trial version of Revit.... (Design Review also works great but more about that on another blog).

Here is an excerpt from Autodesk RAC install notes:

How to Run in Demo Mode
After Trial mode has expired, Autodesk Revit Architecture may still be used in Demo mode. In Demo mode you can open existing Revit files, view and print them and explore Autodesk Revit Architecture and all its functionalities prior to any purchase. However, if you create a model in demo mode or change an existing model, you will not be able to save or print those changes. In order to use Autodesk Revit Architecture in Demo mode, click the Application menu button, navigate to Licensing, select "Product and License Information", then select Demo/Viewer.

I use Revit in Demo mode for some of the Architects and Designers who are not Revit savvy but I want them to be able to view the model. After a short 2 hour introduction on how to navigate around Revit these users can easily open and view the Revit model giving them a much better understanding of the design and makes your your case for arguing changes easier.... a great visual tool. 

Friday 16 September 2011

Revit License for home use

A little known benefit for Revit Subscription members is that Autodesk allows you to load your Revit software on your home computer as well as your office.
Here is a excerpt from Autodesk Subscription:

Home Use is a benefit available only to Autodesk Subscription customers. Home Use means that you, as the licensee of the software program, may install a second copy of the software program at a second location away from your office location under the following conditions:

Such second location may include installation on a computer located at the home of
your employees or on your employees’ personal computers.

The use of the software program when installed at such second location shall be to
produce work related to your internal business needs or for your employee’s personal
education or training needs.

This Home Use benefit only applies for as long as your software program is under Subscription and only to the number of licenses of the software program that are under Subscription.

Basically if you are a subscription customer with a standalone license you (or an employee of the company) are legally able to take a copy of that software home and load it on your home computer. you dont have to apply for a home license but you still need to register the software as usual with your existing serial number.
If you have a networked copy you have to apply to Autodesk to obtain the companion standalone serial number.

For more information and details on Home Use Licensing subscription customers can sign in to the Subscription Center and go to the Products and Downloads section on your home page.

Remember... one license one user !!

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Activating Project Spark

Today's blog post comes compliments of Emily Marcus. Emily is a Principal Engineer in our AEC division. Via Scott Sheppard's Blog...

Project Spark is available as a technology preview until July 7, 2012. However, to use it after downloading from the Autodesk Labs site until July 7, you must activate the product. If you receive the message (shown below) that says you are using a 30-day trial of Project Spark then you need to activate the product:

To activate it, choose the activate button. When you are prompted for the serial number and product code, enter:

  • Serial Number: 361-14922611
  • Product code: 828E1
You will also need to agree to Autodesk’s privacy policy.

 The entire process should take less than five minutes. Once you have activated Project Spark you can continue using it until July 7. This way you can give us feedback at or the discussion forum throughout the entire period of the technology preview.

For further information check out Scott's Blog:

The system requirements are pretty light as well:

Monday 12 September 2011

ACAD line weight

I got a great question today from a friend...

Attempting to bring in a standard acad detail drawing into revit. Do not wish to redraw the details. Is there a relationship between the acad color/line weight and revits plot line weights?

Here is what I found...

This is straight from Revit Wiki Help.

When you import a DWG or DXF file, each layer in the file is assigned a line weight based on the pen number-line weight settings. Revit can import pen numbers from a DWG or DXF file and map them to a Revit line weight. You can then save these mappings in a text file, and they become the set mappings for the project.

Revit includes the following files with pen and line weight mappings:
·         importlineweights-dwg-AIA.txt
·         importlineweights-dwg-BS1192.txt
·         importlineweights-dwg-ISO13657.txt
·         importlineweights-dwg-CP83.txt

These files reside in the Data folder of the Revit installation directory.

To set line weights
1.      Click Insert tab Import panel.

The Import Line Weights dialog displays the mappings in the importlineweights-dwg-default.txt file.

2.      If this is not the file that you want to edit, click Load, navigate to the correct mappings file, and open it.

3.      In the dialog, match the appropriate pen to the appropriate line weight (for example: Pen Number 1 to Line Weight Number 1, Pen Number 2 to Line Weight Number 2, and so on). Set as many pen-line weight mappings as desired.

4.      Click OK, or to save the mappings in a new file, click Save As.

However I typically explode the detail and change the lines to Revit lines so I can then export the view to build up my Revit Detail Library.

Friday 9 September 2011

Creating a In-Place Element

Quite often you need a component that is unique to your project, maybe it's a unique counter top or a tapered profile etc, in these cases you can create a in-place element. In-Place Elements are different to Mass Elements, an In-Place Element is in place of a unique component. Mass Elements are to help you create the form and design of your project. Don't use Mass Elements when you should use a In-Place Element.

·         To create a in-place element click the Model In-Place icon situated below the Component Icon.

·         This will then open up a dialog box where you need to select the Family Category. If it counter top select casework, if it's a column select Columns etc... Be selective, your in place element will be categorized under the selected category.

·         Name your new element.

·         After naming your element the typical mass element dialog box tools will appear. Here you have a choice of tools to help you create your new element such as Extrusions, Blends, Revolves, Sweeps, Swept Blends etc.

Note: Unlike when you create a mass element or a family component you don't have the ability to create multiple forms.

·         Create your form and assign the desired material to your element under the material properties.

·         Finish Model.

Remember:  if you think that at any point you will use this element again don't create a in-place family create a Family Component, this way you will be able to use it over and over again.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Creating Profiles

You use profiles when creating a sweep for a wall or a fascia or gutter for a roof or the slab edge of a slab.... in this example I'm creating a simple edge for a balcony floor where you sketch a profile using lines, dimensions, and reference planes. After you save the profile family, you can load it into the project and use the profile.

 Here is how:

  • Click > New > Family. Save it under Profiles with a unique name.
  • In the New Family - Select Template File dialog, select a the Profile.rft template, you have the choice of a number of different profile templates such as hosted, rail, reveal etc. In this case just select Profile. A plan view opens that includes 2 reference planes. There are no other views available in which to sketch geometry.
  • If necessary, sketch reference planes for constraining the lines in the profile but I just use the intersection of the existing reference planes as the top inside corner of my profile.
  • Click Home tab > Detail panel > Line, and sketch the profile loop.

Tip: You can also add detail components to your profile family by clicking the Home tab > Detail panel > Detail Component to place a detail component into the profile family. You can also change the sorting order of any detail components in the family by using the detail component draw order tools.

If you were creating a profile for a detailed sweep you will want to add the following steps in modify the visibility of the lines, otherwise just load the profile into your project and you'll be able to assign that profile to your sweep etc.

  • To specify the detail at which the profile family displays in the project, select any of the lines of the profile sketch, and click Modify Lines tab > Visibility panel > Visibility Settings.
  • Select the desired detail levels (Fine, Medium, or Coarse), and click OK.
Tip: You can specify the detail level for detail components using the same methods.

  • On the properties palette, define the Profile Usage. For example, if you are creating a mullion profile, select Mullion.
Note: This setting ensures that only relevant profiles are listed when using profiles within a project. For example, when selecting a mullion profile, stair nosing profiles do not display or when selecting slab edges, gutter profiles do not display.

  • Click OK.
  • Add any dimensions required.
  • Save the family.

    Monday 5 September 2011

    Using Filters to Show Fire Ratings

    We have started to print in colour to clearly show the fire ratings on our plans. This is a great method to clearly show the fire ratings of the walls in both a plan view and  section.

    Here is a step by step guide on how this is done.

    1:         Firstly I have created a set of Yes/No parameters for each fire rating that we typically use. We can easily add more when required.

    These are Instance Project Parameters that I named to correspond with the type of fire rating I need grouped under the heading Fire Protection.

    The categories I assigned include Columns, Doors, Floors, Roofs, Shaft Openings, Structural Columns, Walls and Windows (you probably don't need windows).

    2:         Now I have these parameters set up that are associated with the Categories I want I can now use the check box to assign the fire rating I need.


    3:         So we have created the Parameters and assigned the rating to the assembly such as a floor, wall or column we now need to be able to graphically show this in a new View.

    On the View tab under the Graphics panel you'll find the Filters icon. Create a new filter naming it the same as your parameter (this isn't for any other reason other than matching the parameter to the filter).

    Set the Categories you want included in the filter, I typically use the same categories I used on the Parameters I set up.

      Under the Filter Rules drop down you can then select the corresponding parameter.

    The filter type should then be equals and then select the default setting you want, yes or no.

    Repeat for each fire rating parameter you have set up.

    4:         now the Filters have been set up we can now assign then to a new View. Duplicate the view you want to show the ratings on (floor plan or section).

    Under the Visibility Graphics (VG) dialog box go to the Filters tab. Add a new filter, this will open up a dialog box showing a list of the filters you just created. If you hold down the Shift key you can select more than one filter.

    Make sure all the check box's under the Visibility category are checked (we want to be able to see them). now we want to change the Cut Pattern to a Solid fill pattern and select a colour that you can assign to that specific rating (one that reads clearly).

    5:         When you set the Fire Protection parameter of the element it should now change to the corresponding colour clearly showing the rating in the specific view you created the filters for.

    6:         I then created a Legend with coloured filled regions because you cant use filters on legend views :-( which I then place on the sheet with each Fire Rating view I created.

    Colour is a fantastic way to show fire ratings, it reduces the risk of misinterpretation of line types, line weights and line patters that we use to use to show on our show fire rating plans.