Thursday, October 05, 2006

Family Clinic (learning to create parametric families)

So the other big thing that happened before going to San Fran & the west coast was that I held an intensive day long advanced family creation clinic (my pastor thought this was a little sketchy sounding ;) ) based around my firm's family standards as defined by the family outline specification that was one of my first blog posts. The training session started with about an hour and half going through a power point that I created that illustrates best practices for creating solid parametric families that are easy to diagnose and distill; as long as everyone follows the rules such as; always name reference planes, and categorize your parameters, don't let them all sit under the "other" heading. There are more.... :) but you gotta come work for us first ;).

After the powerpoint, which was interspersed with live Revit demos to illustrate various points, we moved on to creating a family. Here's a pic of what I told them they would have by the end of the day.


2 pick family with arrayed nested cabinet family that can be user modified, doors are also nested and interchangeable. As a bonus they're challenged to write the formula that will limit the number of cabinet instances so that they don't extend past the overall length (yes I did write the formula as proof of concept).

All of them did it (I had about 8 people in the class, course my CIO was reading his e-mail, didn't see Revit open on the laptop ;) ). It was a fantastic training session and we covered just about everything related to families. Workplanes, subcategories, parameters, formulas, shared & nested families, visibility settings, shared parameters, keynotes, and of course general best practices on building complex families. Everyone felt that the course was a great success, and I was very happy with the results. I was very fortunate in that one of my co-workers in the course is a note taking nazi and she has provided excellent written documentation of what we did, making it much easier to make it repeatable and tweakable.

At the start of the day I provided them with a CD that included the power point, a PDF synopis of key points to remember (printed too), the required family templates, keynote file, shared parameter file, excel file of the firm's additional subcategories, and examples of the finished families, and the doors (I pre-made them for them). My favorite part though was that I was also able to include progressive copies of the families. By setting the number of back-up copies to 250 I was able to create a sequence of files by saving after every major action as I created the families. In the end I have 14 sequential files of the base cabinet, they proved very useful as I had a latecomer to the class, and I was able to catch him up ASAP by simply opening one of the 14 files and he was ready to go.

All in all this was a great experience and I was very satisfied with the results, and everyone who participated thought that it was great (though a long day). Now though, I know where I can break up the course to do it in shorter smaller parts. In addition to teaching the course internally, I hope to take it public at some point (with some modifications ;) ). I look forward to doing it again and perfecting it. :)


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