Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Inspiration from AU

Where did we take that photograph of existing conditions?
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!

click for enlarged view

How does it work you ask? First I've got a custom pointer family and body family. These are assigned as a new elevation tag, which is then assigned to a new Elevation Type. The last trick is, when you go to place the elevation, you choose "Reference other view" in the Options bar. From Reference other View you can choose  either drafting views (good for site/existing condition photos) or any view saved as a "rendering" (image) in the project. Once placed you can rotate and adjust as needed, since it is not a "live" view, these annotations will only show up in the view they're placed in. Of course, because its an elevation tag, it will carry the sheet/detail number references when you place your drafting or rendering view onto a sheet.

So, there are a few "drawbacks" to this approach....
  1. 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!).
  2. 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).
Other then that, I think this is likely to work really well for a number of people, particularly if you're dealing with photos or renderings, annotated 3D views might be trickier. One solution might be to place the actual camera view on a sheet, reference an empty drafting view and place the drafting view on the same sheet, and use its title and detail number to identify the annotated camera view. Not perfect, but better then anything else, right?!

5 comments:

Luke Johnson said...

Nice work. C'mon, give us a link to your pretty camera!

Erik said...

Very nice tip...

Robert said...

Sorry Luke, not mine to give away as it was created on company time for the company. Its not too hard to make, just a filled region and a masking region... :) Its the proportions that take a little time.

Dave Baldacchino said...

We need the ability to create clickable hyperlinks in annotation objects inserted in views (no, not by using a URL parameter, but through something that is double-clickable and it will launch the stored URL, be it a website or a network location). This is something that is possible in good'ol CAD and I've used that to document photos of existing sites before. Shame it can't be done in Revit and you need to import every single image into the project. Autodesk, are you listening? :) Thanks for the tip Robert!

Kell said...

This is perfect for working on existing buildings where you need to note photographs of existing conditions either for demo or repair and include them in the bidding documents. I can think of two jobs in the last few years i could have used this on. Great idea!