Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Changing Perspective

Here is something that I thought everybody knew, but alas, I was incorrect. I just had a user approach me asking how to get a perspective to fit onto the white space of an 8-1/2 x 11 title block.  His original image was only about 1.5" high.  After letting him explain his process of stretching the crop region, adjusting the camera, etc...I showed him the Size Crop option from the Ribbon.  All the other stuff he tries was merely changing the field of view of the perspective.  If your cone of vision gets to wide, objects on the peripheral become disproportionate.

Now, you may have trouble finding this at first. What you need to do is select the crop region of the perspective view, this will activate the contextual ribbon.  At the end of the ribbon choose, Size Crop.

This will activate a dialog box where  you can then enter exact sizes.  Be careful here, however. If you do not choose the "Scale (locked proportions)" button, it will be no different than stretching the crop region as previously mentioned.  Scaling locks the proportions of the crop region w/o changing the field of view.

Make it, don't fake it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Key Plans

Key plans are something that are included on almost all architectural drawing sets, and unfortunately Revit does not have a tool for this.  Yes you could duplicate plans, and modify visibility graphics, but because you can only place one instance of a plan view on your sheets at any given time, you would have to create a key plan for every sheet where one is required.  Instead, I propose the following method.

Duplicate one plan view and place the view onto a sheet. Scale the view to a key plan size (typically an engineering scale).  While the view is on a sheet, use detail lines to trace the outline of the building areas you need.  Keep in mind, you will not be able to snap to the exact building geometry, but this is a key plan after all.  Now, you might ask, why not just trace the building geometry in the view.  You could do that; however, that would make the following steps a little more difficult.

Now that the building areas are drawn, select all the detail lines you create on the sheet and cut them to the clipboard.  Open a new generic annotation template and paste the detail lines in the view.  Because we are using a generic annotation family for this scenario, it was important to draw the detail lines on the sheet in the step above.  The generic annotation family does not have a scale - it is always 1:1 and sheet views are also a 1:1 scale.  This eliminates the need for scaling the detail lines.  Had we created the building outline in a modeling view, we would have to scale the lines down in our annotation family - which at best becomes an exercise in trial and error.

What I like to do next is create filled regions and text illustrating different work areas.  I then assign these to Yes/No parameter so I can toggle them as need when loaded into a project.

I save my family to the specified location in the project directory. Load into the project and place onto sheets.  If you are like me and want to have the key plan in the same spot on each sheet - no problem. Select the key plan annotation, copy to clipboard, choose Pase>Aligned to Selected Views.  All your sheet views will pop up and using your CTRL or SHIFT keys, select the sheets that need a key plan.

Granted, there is little intelligence to this method as the key plan will not update with changes to the model; however, the method is quick and bypasses the limitations of making key plans from floor plan views.

Make it, don't fake it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interior Elevation Profiles

As many of us are aware, Revit does not profile interior/ exterior elevations automatically.  Now granted, profiling a space does not absolve the contractor(s) from building what is indicated on the drawings, but I think that taking the extra couple minutes to profile speaks more to graphical clarity than anything else.  We are designers after all.  Why shouldn't our drawings look nice?

There is nothing really earth-shattering here, but what I like to do is us a masking region to generate the interior elevation profile.  I trace the shape of the room using a line style that has a wight of 4 (5 could be used for scales larger than 1/4"=1'-0").  I then draw a rectangle outside the limits of my elevation crop region using the invisible line style.  The area between the two boundary lines is "wiped-out", leaving you with a profiled interior elevation.  Pretty simple, but effective.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Callouts Variation

Here is a callout method I like to use in our documents to give them a little hand drafting flair.  This has become so popular with our users, I have included this as a standard callout type in our template file. Here is what I did.

  1. Using the Manage tab, I used the Additional Settings pull-down menu and created a new callout type.  I changed the callout head to "None" and increased the corner radius to 5/8".
  2. Next I created a new callout view type and assigned the new callout tag to the view, so now I have this option available when creating callout views.
  3. Next I create a line style that mimics the callout boundary - this will come into play later.
Now that I have created all my parts, I generate my callout view.  This will still add the callout to your project browser; however, you will notice that there is no callout head - just the boundary.

  1. inside the callout view, I create a masking region "donut", where the inner circle has the callout boundary line style applied and the outer circle is an invisible line style.
  2. Once I have the masking region cropping the view the way I like, I place the view on the sheet.
  3. I use dashed lines to connect the two callout boundaries.
A relatively simple way to add that little extra something to your documents.

Make it, don't fake it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Schedule Indent Feature Wish

I would like to follow up on THIS post.

After generating notes for our documents this way for a while, I have developed a method to give the impression of an indent. It still is not perfect, but it is much better than the CTRL+ENTER alternative.  The following image is the end result.

This is what I did:
I added a new parameter to the key schedule, and called it "Order" or some such and made it a text parameter.  I then modified my schedule sorting to use the new parameter.

With the new parameter, I then ordered the notes to create my grouping.  To give the illusion of "indents", I left the key name filed blank.  You can see from the finished schedule above, that the text stays justified to the column formatting and does not recognize bulleted lists.

Although this will accomplish the task, how nice would it be to have an indent feature in schedules, or at least the ability to add a field that could function as an indent

Make it, don't fake it.

Using Schedules for Notes

Here I want to talk about an alternative to creating blocks of text that eliminates the "jumping" effect when editing. Generally to avoid this, one might generate a legend view where each piece of the note is an individual line of text.  Yes, this will prevent the "jumping"; however, not very efficient when you have to edit.  Therefore our office has moved to using schedules to better help with this task. I have outlined our process below.


First we generate our schedule by choosing an object category that is not used in our day-to-day workflow.  In our case, this is the Mass category.  The next step is important, but easy to miss. Once you have decided on your category, choose the Schedule Keys radial button.  By assigning this schedule as a schedule key, you can insert rows as needed without having the physical object in the model. Next, give your schedule an appropriate name.

Next you will define your schedule properties, and this is where you have to be careful. You will notice that your Available Fields are limited to Comments.  Well this is great, but if I have more than one of these type of schedules (ie. GENERAL PARTITION NOTES, GENERAL DEMOLITION NOTES, etc..) you will notice that the Comments field is no longer available.  When dealing with key schedules of the same category, you can only use a parameter once.  What I like to do is create a unique parameter for each one of these general schedules I create.  In this case I will create a parameter called Gen Dwg Notes.  Be sure to change the Type of Parameter to "Text" as this defaults to Length.

Now that the schedule is created, I rename the header to "GENERAL DRAWING NOTES", sort the schedule by key name, and modify my formatting and appearance to office standards.  Now I am free to add and remove rows as needed.

This method is really nice because it makes it easy to manage, sort and organize your notes.  Because this is a schedule, you can place them on multiple sheets (if needed) and updating one will update them all.

A finished schedule might look like:
Make it, don't fake it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Communicate with Project Team

Here is something we have encountered several times over the years and the most recent incident has prompted this post.  The title says communicate with your project team, but what does that really mean and to whom does is apply.  In most cases we think of our project team as fellow production staff assigned to the project, project managers, interior design staff, and the occasional consultant.  However, I think we need to include operations personal into this grouping.  Although they may not have a direct  impact on the project; they are part of the project team and should be educated in the DO's and DONT's of renaming folders. Sometimes this needs to happen to reflect the project name on our invoices (this could be initiated by in-house staff or by the client).  Regardless, educate all staff with the consequences of renaming top level folders, especially from a Revit standpoint.  We had a project recently where this happened and no one on the project team could work because they all recieved an error message that said the central file did not exist.  Well, it did exist, except the folder rename reverted the central files (all 6) to local files. If you know how to correct this, its not a big deal; however, had I not been on the project team or alerted to the issue, all the staff would have been working "at risk".  I am just glad this happened after hours and it was caught first thing in the morning.

The moral - make sure everyone is educated with respect to Revit file management and their involvement in the project.

Make it, don't fake it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Revit 2013 Exchange Apps

If you have not had the opportunity to explore the Exchange Apps on the Resources panel of your Recent File screen, I would highly encourage you to do so.  This will give you access to a whole world of add-on software, many of which I did not know existed.

I think one that is especially worth looking at is the Auto Section Box by COINS. I just downloaded this tool and I must say - well done. This tool allows you to instantly generate a section box by selecting an element or elements in the model.  A 3-D view is generated with a section box based on your selection set.  However, it appears as though this will not work when using a selection box going from right to left, but it will work when going left to right.  All-in-all, a great design tool and easy to use.

Make it, don't fake it