Sunday, 20 February 2011

Parametric Face Based Families

If you managed to get out to Autodesk University towards the end of last year and attended Phil Read’s fantastic class titled "Into the Void: The Zen of Creating Complex Sculptural Forms with Autodesk Revit".  You will have seen him demonstrating face based components connected end to end to create rather interesting randomised shapes.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out his website where he has compiled all his class materials for download here:
One of Phil’s comments was that it is quite hard to get the components to align correctly when attaching to the face of the previous object.

I had a play around with this technique and came up with a solution which means you can align elements accurately with no effort at all (well, without using align at all!).  To add to this; you don’t need the objects to be straight when connecting them together.

How do we do it? The answer is to add a pipe connector to the object.  Connectors are not limited to MEP so this can be done in any Revit discipline.

Here you can see I have created a Generic Face Based Pipe with parameters to control its height, branch length and branch angle.  I’ve added a pipe connector to the underside and also to the end of the branch.

When loaded into a project I can place the first Item in plan using the Place on Work Plane option.

Next, in a 3D view (or any other view) I can start adding more face based objects snapping to the connectors for ease of placement.  By pressing space I can also toggle the orientation of the components as they are placed.
One thing I have noticed is that if you want to add multiple components one after another you need to press escape after placing a component in order for it to find the snap point again.

Selecting one of the families and pressing space will completely reconfigure the shape to something new.

Ok so this just looks like a mangled mess of pipes. But what this does do is open the door to many more capabilities with face based families. And of course, with connectors involved, you can connect different families together as well.  Some examples I‘ve thought of are:
  • Rainwater Pipe and Gutter fittings & accessories.
  • Cable Trays (outside of MEP)
  • Segmented handrail design
  • Modular Staircase Design (without using the stair tool which has got to be a relief for anyone!)
  • Drainage pipework (outside MEP)
  • Climbing Frames
  • Tower Crane Modules (horizontal and vertical)
  • Parametric modular tall building design.
These are just a few ideas but I’m sure there are plenty more to be explored.  If you discover any more ideas please share them!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Polish Revit Blog

For anyone working with Revit over in Poland; I was recently told about a blog which may be useful (written in Polish).

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

AEC Magazine: The link between Revit & 3ds MAx

If you subscribe to AEC Magazine and you're interested in Rendering, check out our tips on the link between Revit to 3Ds Max. View the article online here.

Software The link between Revit and 3ds Max
Tim Power from architectural 3D imagery and animation company Virtual Resolution and Chris Senior from BIM consulting firm Revit Factory share their tips on how to best to use Revit BIM models to create advanced 3D visualisations.

Monday, 7 February 2011

AEC (UK) BIM Standards: One year on

Paul Woddy from Revit Guru has written a great article on the AEC (UK) BIM Standard one year on from it's first publication.

You can read the article in the latest edition of the AEC Magazine.

Comment Revit Standard: one year on
Last year saw the launch of the AEC (UK) BIM Standard for Revit. As we approach the first anniversary of its launch, we take a look at how the standard has been received. By Paul Woddy.
Its great to see the standard has been implemented by some big firms and hopefully many more will follow suit and adopt it over the forthcoming year.

If you haven't heard of it, check out one of my previous blogs on the Standard here:

Friday, 4 February 2011

Revit 2010 2011 Thumbnail previews not displaying

Today i was working with a firm who had Revit 2009, 2010 and 2011 installed on all their machines.  Apparently the latest service pack for Revit 2010 has screwed up the thumbnail for all families.  Having looked around the web there are thousands of solutions for this issue back when people were upgrading from 2009 to 2010 but none relating to 2010/2011. Until now!

A big thanks to Revit Clinic for demonstrating how to unregister the 2010 revit.filepreview.dll

This didnt do the trick but it did allow me to experiment with this file. Instead of unregistering it, I actually had to re-register it. After that, the thumbnails in 2009, 2010, 2011 worked fine. Here is the process:

Go to Windows Start Menu and...
[Vista Win7: in the text field type cmd]
[XP: click Run... and type cmd].

The command prompt dialogue is launched.

Register the dll by copying this code below and use right click > paste to add the line of code

Note: This example is for Revit Architecture.  Change the file path accordingly if you are using a different version or if it is installed in a different location.

regsvr32 "C:\Program Files\Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010\Program\Revit.FilePreview.dll"

If successful you will see a dialogue box advising that the dll has been registered.

You may have to reboot your machine to see the changes take place (but it worked straight away for me).