Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Where am I standing while looking at this rendering?
Familiar questions when working with Revit, right? Revit provides no good way to mark, or locate cameras, renderings or photos, right? Well earlier this year I created a generic annotation component to callout "cameras" this came out of the need to identify photo locations on a site. It was nice, but completely manual in nature, particularly in terms of setting the detail and sheet numbers, which also meant it did not update correctly.
Ever since the customizable elevation tags came out I've tried to think of something useful to do with them, sure you can finally "tweak" the OOTB content to look exactly like what you drew on mylar, but really? How important was that? Inspiration finally struck when I was hanging out in the AEC lounge at AU answering user questions, you can use a custom elevation view type to "callout" a photo or camera location!
- You can't actually directly reference a real "camera" (Autodesk are you listening?) but you can save a camera view as a "rendering" in your project browser tree (warning, this is the same as inserting an image in a drafting view, so watch your file size!).
- You can't really adjust the size of the "Field of View" without having multiple custom Elevation Tags assigned to multiple Elevation Types (could get quite messy in the project browser).
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
I'm finally actually taking a class being given by James, Phil and Jim about "Future Technology". On Monday I had the pleasure once again of attending the third annual Computational Design Symposium. Of note from that event was a company named "Evolute". While they don't have a a software tool for Revit (only Rhino) there is some interesting potential if you're using Revit's conceptual massing tools and exporting to Rhino to leverage their tools to help further rationalize the form.
The classes I'm teaching/running have all gone really well so far. The recording on Sunday for the Virtual session on collaboration in Revit (Revit Server) went really well, both lectures are done, with a crowd that stuck around and the first lab went very well with most people keeping up!
A huge thanks to all of my co-speakers and lab assistants who helped out and Autodesk staff who provided technical review of the documents related to worksharing and Revit Server.
All in all a very succesful AU so far!
Friday, November 26, 2010
I will be in town as of Saturday night. If you're around and looking for someone to have dinner with, reach out. Private messages on AUGI are the best unless you already have my email or phone.
See you there!
sent from my mobile
This email is intended for named recipients only.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
|The Best of Both Worlds part II|
One of my favorite commands in Revit is "Create Similar". It makes it so easy to create something in canvas without having to go use the Type Selector or do much else, click on the item and use the keyboard shortcut (CS), or right click and choose "Create Similar" from the context menu.
One of the interesting things about Vasari is that its still "Revit" and while they've turned off any number of tools and what not, a command like "Create Similar" is so ingrained, and so low level that it can't really be turned off (not to mention it has its uses in any context in Revit). Its almost like the "sleep" command Data used in TNG to stop the Borg from attacking Earth. Who would think that such a minor little command could wrought such interesting possibilities!
Anyway, if don't have a full blown version of Revit Architectture, but you download Vasari, fear not! Grab a Revit file from any number of locations (AUGI, Revit City, Autodesk) that already has some walls, floors, doors, whatever created in the file, and go to town! You can use Create Similiar to make your own elements, all without the convenience of the commands found in the Ribbon. Now this is not to say you'll be able to do everything and anything, but I do think it would be possible to do some fairly rudimentary modeling in Vasari with "typica"l Revit elements.
If you were really enterprising, you could create a "template" file for yourself with a bunch of elements created in an orderly fashion, that can be used with the CS command to begin modeling what ever you want.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thanks to Steve Stafford for the shout-out. Yes, I'm still planning to be at AU, and yes my wife is a saint. She did contribute to the Beyond Project Templates course, though I'll have to speak for her I think.
See you in a week!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Each class is only 60 minutes long, so thanks to my co-teachers hardwork we've packed a huge amount of content into each handout. I figure with a 60min class, we're looking at a 20 - 30 slide presentation at best, since each handout is at least 20 pages that is at most a slide per page!
Enjoy and see you in a few short weeks!!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
"Linked file File FILE NAME.rvt cannot be saved because it has changes in more than just shared coordinates and therefore can invalidate Local Files owned by you."
What this error hints at is that Shared Coordinates are invasive and indicate that even when you think you've done nothing, something has occurred between linked file because they have Shared Coordinates. What we've seen recently with our project that is in Revit Server is that shared coordinates are very invasive! We've seen a number of "false" locks on Central Files from users who are not actively working on the Central File that is locked. Instead the presence of Shared Coordinates between linked files causes a lock on one of the linked the Central File by a user working in the host file.
To be clear, none of these false locks have caused lost work, or prevent team members from getting their work done. There have been a few delays, but mainly it has left us scratching our heads, attempting to determine:
- Who has the file locked.
- How the lock got there in the first place.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
I think that it may introduce a few spruced up features, but this is really about encouraging people to get into using the Conceptual (core) modeling environment in Revit. Oh by the way, since it will likely be on Autodesk Labs that means its Free! Install it one whatever computer you want, and have fun. I suspect they're aiming to have live before AU, but that is just a guess on my part, or maybe right after or during.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
- draw a detail line, which will snap to Revit's orthagonal snaps
- Create an angular dimension an element in the view to measure the angle.
- Rotate the view based on the angle.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Another note, "instructions/help" for the CEA tools and Revit Server can all be found on Autodesk's wiki.
This is a new approach, so we will see how it goes. They are actually interested in user contribution to the site, and I already have a few things to add, if they are not already there.
Revit Server Installation
Revit Server Administration
Conceptual Energy Analysis
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
- The 1-day Sustainable Design workshop will be focused on using Ecotect to explore the boundaries of generative and performative design using Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis, Autodesk® Green Building Studio® and Autodesk® Revit®. The workshop will focus on the use iterative techniques and automated feedback from performance analysis to optimise and refine building geometry. While developing scripts in Autodesk Ecotect is quite easy and the fundamentals can be picked up during the course of the workshop, some experience with programming concepts and/or languages will be advantageous."
Monday, September 27, 2010
Autodesk is releasing a product for subscriptions customers called Revit Server. This is an internally run software solution for sharing Revit Central Files across a Wide Area Network (WAN).
This is not a "cloud" solution, rather it is meant to be installed on your servers within your firm. We have been working with this software for some time at Burt Hill and the feedback and experience has been exceptionally positive. There are some limitations since it is Version 1, but for the first time I can truly say we have feasible, solution sourced from Autodesk that allows our different offices to collaborate together on projects.
I can also finally admit that my AUv course "Virtually" There: Using Revit with Geographically Dispersed Teams: AB22-1R" is intended to primarily focus on Revit Server, implementing it, and our experience using it on a real project team involving multiple offices and an external consultant.
"Conceptual Energy Anaylsis" - (CEA)
The point of these tools was to make it easier to run early energy analysis of building designs, and primarily various massing options of a building. It is important to note that Autodesk's internal (cloud based) analysis (GBS / DOE2) is great for the 30,000' view of building energy analysis. However, what is particularly nice is that these tools result in a much cleaner gbXML export that what you typically get from Revit now. The problem with Revit as it is now, is that the gbXML output is derived from rooms or spaces, and often results in errors. With the CEA tools you can fully control the volumes that you are going to analyze, which also means that you can create a more simplified "zone" model of a building for export to more detailed energy analysis programs. For instance if you want to use IES, and your design is in DD, you can be a simplified mass that represents the overall building form and major zones, based upon the DD model, and export the gbXML to IES. This is a bit of a manual process, but results in a cleaner, better model for use in IES, Ecotect or Equest.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Something else of note that I found interesting, this Saturday is Museum Day, sponsored by the Smithsonian. You can get free access to museums all around the country, one that caught my eye in our area is Walter Gropius' house. Unfortunately due to a prior commitment, we won't be able to go, but maybe you can make it!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
That's right look for a schedule update with a second session available to sign-up for!
The teaching team (Zach, Steve & David) will be meeting in a week and a half to do a dry run on this puppy, so hopefully we can live up to expectations!!!
If you're already signed-up, or do, look for more direct communications via the AU website. We want to live up to what you're looking for, but we need the students to do the same!!! Labs are tough nuts, and we need as level as a playing field as we can get.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
So we've been quiet for quite some time, because there are just sooo many things going in our lives!!!
First off, I will be presenting at AU this year. Two Classes, One Lab and one Virtual Session. Thankfully I have a great supporting cast around me, and each is only an hour long:
- Parametrics Laid Bare: Panels and Adaptive Components in Autodesk Revit: AB223-1
- Beyond Project Templates: Managing Company Standards and Best Practices in Autodesk Revit: AB234-4P
- Au Bon Panel: Baking Your Own Adaptive Components and Panels with Autodesk Revit Architecture: AB316-1L
- "Virtually" There: Using Revit with Geographically Dispersed Teams: AB22-1R
Lastly, if you have not heard or seen the most recent big news, you may want to read the press release here.
Look for some more posts later this month, but I suspect we will continue to run pretty silent, stay tuned!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Dev Camp was fun, too bad I've not really got back into programming. :-(
However, one thing that was further clarified for me was AddIn files and lo and behold, I need to make one!
We're in the midst of prepping for full rollout of ADSK 2011 BIM products here, which includes Navisworks. I manually installed Navis, and noticed that it modified my Revit INI in order to load the export plug-in! Well that was just annoying, modifying the ini is a pain, especially with packaged deployments, the new manifest files are much friendlier to packaged deployment of software, rather then having to make sure an INI file is properly modified. So, I wrote my own!
If you feel like using an Addin file to integrate Navisworks into your 2011 installations, just copy the code below into a text file (I recommend Notepad) and save the file as a *.addin file. Place the new file in your addins directory, remove the nasty code from your ini, and presto, you'll be all set!
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Text>Export to Navisworks 2011</Text>
<Description>Exports an NWC file from Revit for Navisworks</Description>
<Assembly>C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Navisworks\2011\nwexportrevit2011\nwexportrevit2011_8.dll</Assembly>
<p>Use this command to export an NWC (Navisworks Cache file) file of your Revit model. NWC files can be opened in Navisworks and saved as NWD files.</p>
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Point cloud support is coming (someday) to Revit. Nothing specific, in terms of time, but I would say '12 or '13. This information supports my suspicions as in '11 you'll note a bunch of .dll's for "AmberCore" which turns up some interesting Google results.
Another interesting note, it sounds like for MEP '12 we can expect to see a focus on Plumbing/pipe development/improvements after this years focus on M and E improvements.
What is particularly nice is the high ratio of Autodesk staff to attendees, its a great chance to network and really talk about some "under the hood" type stuff.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
So what might you ask is going on? I'm glad you asked! :-)
As I said the short story is that this error is harmless (as far as anyone knows). I've now seen this error show up in three different models, two from 2009 and one from 2010. At first I wrote it off, as the first two models were not 100% familiar to me, and I assumed it was some type of error related to the files, and something the user(s) had done. However, when the error(s) above showed up in the model from 2010 I started to wonder as I'm much more familiar with the 2010 model.
So, off went an e-mail to my Autodesk contacts... and low and behold we've got ourselves a reasonably straightforward answer.
<snip>This warning is a result of fixing one of the bugs I was assigned right before code split. Basically, when the slanted columns project was originally done, a level id was stored in the view range dialog used by plan views and plan regions. At some point, the design changed, but the data was left in place. Somehow, and I’m not sure how, lots of plan regions are storing a stale element id. That was the source of the bug I was assigned. This warning just indicated this is such a plan region. It can be ignored. There should be no consequence to the user.<snip>
So, basically when they first wrote the code for slanted columns the data mattered, but it doesn't anymore. Now we get a warning that is meaningless. If anything I think an example like this really illustrates the complexity of a piece of software like Revit. One might argue that they should be doing a better job of making sure random bits of data are not stored (taking up space) but given the complexity of such things, its not really surprising. A great deal happens as they write the software, and just like architecture and engineering the design changes. Have you ever sat there looking at a drawing, wondering how a design decision was arrived at....? Decisions and changes get made, and sometimes we loose track of the history and process, we're then left to clean it all up later on down the road.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I don't know about you, but I've always found modeling stepped footings to be a bit of a pain. There were several techniques, but they all had their drawbacks. I think the newest technique that AC's offer us is the best yet. It is still not perfect, but its quick and easy! This quick demo illustrates some of the flexibility AC's actually offer, and the concept of thinking of the Conceptual Mass Environment as a wrapper for working with these elements.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
No, I'm not going to give you any insights into what is coming in terms of features, instead we had a fascinating opportunity to get an idea of how the software we use every day is developed.
As Steve said we got to visit with Greg's development team. So we met (most of) them in a conference room. Hopefully I get the titles right: Greg the Product Designer was there, then there was a gent from the Quality Assurance part of the Factory, Erik was there for a few minutes, but had to pop out (he is product design too) then we had Lev Lipkin (long time Revit developer), two more developers (whose name's escape me) and one last developer on the phone.
So what is everyone's roles in creating a new feature? Obviously the developers write the code that makes the software run. I'm assuming there is some further breakdown in terms of responsibilities, but we did not get into that level of detail.
Product Designers provide the specification of what the new feature is, what are the goals it is supposed to achieve and what is the required functionality.
This then leaves you to wonder, what is QA doing there? Well QA in the Factory is an interesting role. They not only test the software as it is developed, and test again, and retest, and test some more, but they also regularly use the software, and they typically have a design background, so they're familiar with our collective industries. QA and can offer input from a user background, their interaction with clients, and their experience troubleshooting bugs and other problems that users do run into. Lastly, QA is valuable because they are the ones who have to test and effectively approve new features for release. Therefore when considering the time for a development cycle (effectively about 9 months, when you take out 3 months for project scoping and research) you have to consider, is it realistic to test the proposed new feature set in that length of time, when you consider all the other things that have to happen to develop new code or modifying existing.
This is a critical part in the software development process that I think a great number of people underestimate the complexity and time involved. The QA team has a "huge" server room dedicated to their work where they run, and re-run thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of tests on the software (every night). Everyday a new build of Revit is released in the factory and every night those builds are tested. Furthermore, as the software grows, the number of tests continues to increase. These are all tests to make sure that:
- New features don't break old features.
- Modified features continue to work.
- New features aren't broken (this can't be done until you have a test for the new feature).
In the discussion we were part of, Greg began by going through an outline of what the end goals were for the feature, also recognizing that this feature would only be one small step towards more features in the future. From there the discussion commenced....
QA was concerned about scope. In particular there was concern about enough time to fully the test the new feature and there was concern that the Revit team, would start to take on and own something that was not previously "theirs" in terms of development responsibility and support. This is actually a big deal, its kinda like the architect saying to the Mechanical engineer, "oh don't worry, we'll make sure to put all the HVAC diffusers and returns in the all the right spots". In many cases we might do pretty well, but we're not experts, and do we really want that responsibility in the first place? So the Factory has the same issues to contend with in their world.
So, this issue of ownership then led to a discussion about, what could be done internally in Revit, to support the proposed workflow, without taking on scope that Revit did not have previously. This then led to a discussion about what did users really, need, what could they get by with, and what might have to just wait (no matter how much the users might want it).
Essentially then feature development becomes a process of risk analysis. What is the minimum required to keep users happy? What is required for the feature to be useful? Can the code be written and tested to meet those needs? This is not to say that it is only a discussion of numbers, but no matter what, the bottom line is the bottom line, code cannot be changed until the 9th hour, its just not how it works.
So the discussion then really became focused on what would meet the user needs, and really focusing in on what the core goals were that Greg had in mind, and what could be "stripped" away to meet them, or what was the best way to meet them. This is where development starts to speak up, because they have an idea of what they might be able to do with existing code, and they also (mostly) know where the the Jimmy Hoffas of the Revit world are buried ("we" learned about at least one which I think took a few people by surprise....) The ideas of the developers are interesting, when compared to how an end user might consider something, and it this mix of Product Design, QA and Developers that eventually leads to a finalized feature.
As "flies on the wall" we were able to "speak up" from a user's point of view and hopefully provide a little bit of insight (Product Designers also have the responsibility of interviewing and researching real users, like us). Steve even got up an drew on the white board!
There is more I wish I could share, but it would reveal too much about the feature being discussed. In any event, it really was quite a unique experience, and educational. As we all left, the comment from the Factory staff was "this is what we do all day every day", a stretch perhaps, but quite telling. Not a single bit of code has been written for this feature yet, and won't be for probably several more months, instead there will be more meetings, more discussions, analysis of user interview data, and debate how best to achieve the goal. That way, when the developers do sit down to write the code, they can focus on writing code that immediately produces the desired results, rather then writing and re-writing code, because it does not do what "we" thought it would.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
As I've made mention before in different forums, generally my firm has held back from moving to 2010. However, its been un-avoidable for a number of reasons, on a number of projects. What has been alarming is the frequency of crashes we've seen/are seeing with users in 2010. Part of this may be in-sufficient hardware (as 2010 simply seems to be more intensive then 2009) or, another reason to blame may be more complex models. Several of our 2010 projects have structure and MEP (one of the reasons they are in '10 to begin with) which even on a small project greatly increases overall memory footprint when all files are loaded.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
First up on updates in 2011, everything that was previously only available for Subscription customers (Q3 Subscription Advantage Pack) is available to everyone who buys Revit, needless to say, Autodesk's sales pitch is, "buy the subscription pack it will be worth it" (something confirmed at the Media Day and recent Boston Revit User group events).
So what about these subtle changes?
The first one quite handy, "Save View as Image", You can right click on any view in the project browser and choose "Save View as Image". This is a great way to "freeze" a drawing, without having to export to CAD, and it keeps everything in the model. The same functionality is also exposed in the API. One presumes that this is all part of the new "Analysis Styles" view framework meant to make it easier to graphically convey and save analysis data in the model.
Next, we have some changes in the user interface. Autocad users can rejoice, Revit's UI now supports activating a modifier command (such as Copy, Rotate or Move) before selecting any elements. Once the command is activated, you can select elements, finish the selection and execute the command. This means that combined with more keyboard shortcuts, mouse clicks to the ribbon can be greatly decreased.
Lastly, Revit Structure provides a number of enhancements to framing, particulary in terms of cleaning up slanted columns, trusses, and how you can place edit these elements. All these changes are available in Architecture too. I have to say I think the method of placing a slanted column is quite elegant (not the only one either) and the new ability to manipulate the top and bottom of a column is quite handy to.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Tomorrow we get down to all the "real" release info, a chance to ask questions, and perhaps, if we're lucky some goodies that we probably won't be allowed to blog about anyway (pesky NDAs....).
Text & Labels
A small, but possibly overlooked new feature in 2011 is a change to Text and Labels (you may have already heard Text is going to support bullets, numbering and several other new features). What I want to focus on in this post is the new border feature.
In both text and label types you can check to show a border around the text in the object. The size of the border is controlled by the size of the text/label box and the offset in the type properties. I tend to equate the offset to being the "margin" around the text, but since this offset also controls where a leader terminates, I guess they've used the correct term.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thanks to Kyle's tip on a conversion program, we're back in business. Videos uploaded to YouTube. I may have to give up on Jing do to what seems to be slightly poor conversion quality from SWF to FLV to YouTube. But, it should be good enough that you get the idea.
These new tags are pretty straight forward. You have to create a "body" which can hold as many pointers as you like. The pointers allow for the creation of elevation views. There are some limitations as you will see in the video, but overall the implementation is really good (and I wish it would come to section heads too). There is a new property for text and labels that controls the relative rotation of the text to the symbolic geometry. Lastly, the same problem that has plagued section heads, plagues elevation tags too, where masking regions will mask symbolic lines. Thus you either must create many separate masking regions to get all your required edges, or skip the masking regions, which can be a problem in complicated spaces or when floor patterns/finishes are visible in views. See the video for a fairly quick demonstration of the new feature(s).
* A brief note on Side tools, a bug in 2010 when a sloped pad was adjacent to a level pad resulted in a teeny tiny sliver of "site" extending up past both pads has reportedly been fixed in 2011.
Friday, March 26, 2010
There are a growing number of posts in general about the new features in 2011, so I decided to focus on something near and dear to my heart (supposedly my case-study provided good reasons to move forward with this feature) Reporting Parameters.
Reporting Parameters are a hugely powerful feature (as mentioned by other posters). So I thought that I would do some movies to demo how they work, and what they do. I've got four movies lined up, each builds on the next in complication.
First, the basics. Creating a reporting parameter, and showing what it can do. Note, a reporting parameter does not have to be shared, but combining reporting parameters with shared parameters, means you can get that information into a schedule (or tag).
Next up, a little bit of what you can and can't do with a reporting parameter in a family. For instance you can use dimensions from "Host Geometry" to drive elements in families. However, reporting parameters driven by non-host geometry can only report the information, you can't use the value in a formula. Note, you also cannot directly drive geometry with a reporting parameter, you should set another parameter equal to the Reporting parameter in the formula column.
Third a creative application of the reporting parameter in Curtain Panel. Note that when a curtain panel is loaded into a project you can already schedule Width & Height, so if you create reporting parameters to do the same thing you should probably name them differently (particularly if they're shared).
Are the idea juices cooking yet? Here is one more example, also making use of the new "Adaptive Component". Note that these components can only be placed in a Conceptual Mass family (think of the mass family as a "wrapper" but you can change the category of the Adaptive Component, as well as linking parameters and geometry, to give the user in project full control of the Adaptive component (within reason, there are still some limitations).
Friday, February 05, 2010
I created a group for each workstation with it's associated chair. Copied it all over a plan. Then copied the group to the plan above. After doing this for 4 full floors, I then realized that I needed to have room separation lines to create rooms so I could easily color code the plan. So thinking that since I already have the groups I can just add room separation lines to the group & voila I'd be done in 5 minutes flat. Everything was fine until I started editing groups that had been copied to the floors above. All of a sudden after editing a group on floor 1, "random" room separation boxes showed up on floor 1. After some investigation, I discovered that these were actually from rooms on floor 2. Some of the instances of the group their room separation lines were located on the floor 1 even though the group was located on floor 2.
I tried copying & pasting the lines in edit group mode from floor 1 to floor 2 to try & fix the problem but that only made things worse. The groups that were on floor 1 now had their lines on another level. The only solution that I found to work was to delete & replace the offending groups (which is a pain). So instead I created new groups of just room separation lines and spent more time copying those around the plan.
So as a warning: Room separation lines & groups do not always get along.