Thursday, April 27, 2006

3D for everyone! & Max Renderings look good

Google has released a free version of Sketch-Up, called Google Sketch-Up. There is still a pro-version with some higher end features, but if you just want to get into 3D modeling, this is a great place to start. Try it here;

I received progress renderings from the outside rendering consultant that I sent an exported Revit model to. The renderings look good, and I have not heard about any major problems with the model from the firm. I created a custom layer export table where I put major building components on clearly named layers, like "curtain wall panels" or "mullions" rather than the 2D CAD layer naming standard that we usually employ. I assume this helped the rendering team with applying materials in 3DS Max, as it allows users to isolate geometry by layer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Not Much New

Haven't done very much recently. I've converted our standard 2D Line Styles to a set of Revit Line Patterns, the next step will be to match object style's default line thicknesses to the line thicknesses assigned in our 2D CAD standard layers.

I recently saved a Revit Building file off as a solids dwg file and sent it to a an outside rendering firm. I'm still waiting to hear back from them to see if the file is usable for exterior renderings in 3D Studio Max.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Shared families & sloped walls

So its been a few days since I posted, but then I haven't done very much in Revit either. What I have been playing with is the shared family setting for families. Turns out that if a family is shared, and nested into another family, you can only link to the nested family's instance parameters, type parameters are un-touchable because you're supposed to use a type parameter to allow the user to choose a different type of the nested family. In theory this sounds great, but there is one minor problem that comes along with this concept. In my case I've been working on baseline generic casework families, starting with a whole kit of casework parts; doors, panels, shelves, hardware, etc...

So what's the problem you ask? Well, if make a generic base cabinent with 2 doors, I probably want those doors to resize with the cabinent automatically. Great idea you say, however then you tell me that you want to schedule those doors separate from the cabinent, so that means I need the doors to be a nested shared family. Well then, I can't do both, the only way to do both would be to make all the physcial dimensions of the doors instance based parameters, which kinda defeats the purpose of having different door types. I would be willing to do this if it were possible to swap one door family for another, say if you wanted to evaluate different door styles, like a flush, paneled, or glass, but that kind of nested family swapping isn't supported yet, so it really doesn't make very much sense.

On another note, using a very small mass element in my project I very handily and very quickly made this slab wall that is supposed to slope out as it goes up, it works great! Mass elements can be very useful for unique conditions as they allow you to "cheat" when it comes to some unique situations regarding walls, roofs and floors.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Google Earth & Casework

So, two things I worked on yesterday...

I spent a better part of my day getting a google earth topo surface & image into my Revit model as an underlay for rendering. The amazing thing is, that after 4 CAD programs & G-earth everything still scaled out correctly with only a minor margin of error (minor when talking about a mile long image). I imported our site plan from Microstation into sketch-up, into which I took a 2D & 3D G-earth snap shot. Using those items in sketch-up I built some of the content buildings (dumb masses), and then export the whole thing to dwg. In autocad I did some purging and a little clean-up. In Revit I created a new generic family and dropped the dwg into the family. Since the various "parts" of the context dwg file were all on separate layers, in a Revit project it is possible to assign rendering materials to each layer of the imported dwg. The real trick was mapping the high res google earth snap shot I saved as a jpeg to the imported object. There were a few things in hind sight that I could've done to make my life easier, but suffice is to say it came down to knowing how large the photo was in the real world (ie about a mile) and figuring out the angle of rotation of the image. After that the toughest part was adjusting the offset of the "texture" to align with the geometry in Revit. In the end it worked out really well, I would share images but I'm not sure the boss would appreciate that at this point (sorry).

As to casework, I'm developing generic parametric casework families for our firm, and I'm using nested families, the weird thing is that one of my nest families, I can't link to any of the parameters, I haven't investigate further yet, but its just weird. I've seen this a couple times before and solution in the past was to make some or all the parameters instance instead of type. I'm not sure why that works, and I haven't tried yet in this case, but its just odd.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

First Post

So, welcome to my blog if you're reading it. As the title indciates this blog will be about the Software Product called Revit.

In any case this blog will be more stream of conscience, then actual thought out "posts". I will try to update it on a regular basis, as I hope to use it as a journal of my work with Revit.

Just a short note about myself: I graduated from RPI with a degree in architecture, and now work in a 500+ strong firm. We are working on standardizing and implementing Revit as our software of choice for architecture and MEP (in the future). I'm heavily involved with this work, and as such I hope to use this blog to record to a certain extent "best practices" and tips & tricks.

If you're curious about the name of my blog, dig up an old copy of Arch Record from about 1999 or so, and look for a full page add from a competing software company. :)