Archive for the ‘Revit Architecture 2011’ Category


Revit MEP Temporary Dimensions

May 4, 2011

Temporary Dimensions play an important role in Revit Architecture, Structure and MEP. In Revit MEP the term “temporary dimension” is a little misleading.  MEP’s temporary dimensions are less about length and more about displaying key design information. I have found on a number of machines that the out of the box Revit MEP temporary dimensions are much too small to be legible. Users try to zoom in on them to read the information but they are still illegible because they stay the same size no matter how far one zooms in on them.

To fix this click on the Revit “R” in the upper left of the screen and go to Options. Then click on the Graphics tab.  There you will find the dialog box to increase the “temporary dimensions text appearance” size.  Adjust this value to a usable size and you will be much more able to get your design information on the fly.

Of course this is also the same place to set Revit Architecture and Structure.



Know Your REVIT Interface

March 19, 2011


Design By Many

January 24, 2011

If you haven’t seen it you should head over to Design By Many.  It’s a new social modeling competition site.  Even if you don’t decided to compete for some of the awesome prizes in the sponsored competitions the submittal source files are free and worthwhile to download.  If you pick apart the models you are sure to learn a thing or two about modeling in Revit or other industry standard software.

The latest sponsored competition was to design an external shading element for a downtown Phoenix structure.  Apparently I couldn’t help myself one night as I started designing a solution.  It’s not perfect but you can see (and please vote!) my submittal here. I invite you to take the sail array models apart.  You will learn a thing or two about Revit families and 3D arrays.  I think I nested the sail family 5 families deep! My custom truss family is based on a 3D void shape which has extrusions along the void edges.  It makes for some very easy modeling of complex sweeps.

– Jake


Revit Dimensions Explained

December 31, 2010

No need to reinvent the Revit Dimension here, get the full explanation.

Strung Out


Project Vasari

December 16, 2010

According to Malcom Gladwell’s book, Outliers, mastery of anything can be accomplished in 10,000 hours.
10,000 hours = Magic Number to be an Expert at Anything.

That said Autodesk has released Project Vasari in their Labs and NOW is your chance to hit 10,000 hours before your peers do.

I’ll let the other blogs discuss what Vasari is and the finer points of the program.  But simply put Vasari is a stripped down version of Revit 2011 which is great for conceptual design and early energy analysis.  One great thing about the program is that it will run off a USB thumb drive.

So, the only question now is: Do you have Vasari on your thumb drive?  It’s on mine and has accrued hours of use!

Links not to miss:

– Jake Boen


Down the Revit Rabbit Hole… (or Revit Operator Transition Syndrome)

November 19, 2010

Working on an unfamiliar project can make you feel like Alice in Not so Wonderland tumbling down the rabbit hole of Revits’ numerous options and visibility controls.

Besides not knowing how the original Revit operator set things up you have to deal with how that operator left the various view settings, global visibility settings, local visibility over-rides, phase settings, option primaries, et. al.  It can drive you crazy and waste many hours trying to understand the project setup while the new user(s) try and  reconstruct the lay of the land.  This is especially true for remodel projects which have extensive constructs in the existing phase.

Here are some tips on dealing with the Rebbit Hole.

  1. If a transition of operators is to occur make sure the primary operator spends some time with the new team members in:
    1. describing the project approach and how that is being translated into the Revit model.
    2. covering the design options approach.
    3. reviewing any new phase setups.
    4. reviewing worksets when a central file (for multiple user access) is being used .
  2. If you are working on a remodel project you may want to consider creating several as-built options.  One to retain all the existing conditions and duplicates to be paired with your various options since demo limits may change with each option.
  3.  Trouble Shooting the Revit Model.
  •  DEMOLISHED WALLS NOT SHOWING IN REMODEL PLAN:  A common error that can occur, specifically with remodel projects, is that in creating the as-built model you should be working in an existing phase (see your view properties settings) and then you will start demolishing without changing the view properties phase.  This puts your demolished building elements as being demolished in the existing phase rather than the new construction phase.  When this happens your demolished walls will not show up in the new construction phase of your new work.  You then have to go back and reset the phase of those demolished elements (select the elements>in the properties dialog> change the “demolished in” phase to “new construction”)
  • NOTE TO AUTODESK: Wouldn’t it be nice if Revit automatically recognized that you don’t typically construct and demo in the same phase, unless the subcontractor has screwed up, and automatically switched to the new construction phase when you started demolishing building elements.


  • More often than not Revit operators tend to leave visibility settings where they were when they leave a project.  This can lead to an array of building elements being turned off just due to standard operations during the model construct. For a new operator coming in you should check your:
  1. Visibility/Graphic control settings (keyboard shortcut “VV”) and turn on all elements that would be commonly “on” in that view.
    This does raise an interesting question, would additional visibility controls like “Set to CD final” be of value?  Since it is more than likely that your final CD view visibility settings will be common for most projects and being able to preset the view visibility settings to a known array of on-off’s that you could activate with a single button would be a nice efficiency feature.
  2. Override Graphics in View is a really nice way to fine tune the visibility of an element or category in a view but can also lead to hidden elements. You can make visible the elements that have been hidden via the Lightbulb”(reveal hidden elements) icon at the bottom of the Revit interface screen tool (right most icon).To make the elements visible just select the element while in the reveal mode>right mouse click>select “Unhide in View”> element or category.
  • NOTE: This is also where you “Hide in View” selected elements or categories.

The View Properties Dialog is another visibility control that should be looked at as well.  Two controls specifically affect what you see.  The Phase and Phase Filter.

Here you can control which “Phase” is being shown, in the default case that will be “Existing” and “New Construction”.  You can also control the “Phase Filter” which has numerous selections controlling an array of visibility presets.  These presets can be access via the “Manage” tab > “Phasing” tool group > Phases >Phase Filter tab.  Each Phase has a drop down selector giving
you three visibility options.

And if that isn’t enough Design Options present another level of visibility control that should be checked. Depending on how the original template or Revit operator set up the D.O.’s or left them during the last work session this will affect what can be seen on the project. With Design Options the “Primary” option is the one that can be seen, subject to the visibility controls mentioned above. You can access the D.O. through the Manage Tab> Design Options tool group>Design options. To view the other (non-primary) options select the desired option and then “Make Primary” button to the right.

Thought I was done didn’t you.  This one is not as common but if your office is setting up a central file with numerous worksets beyond the default there is a degree of visibility control within the worksets that may need to be checked.You can access the worksets visibility control through the Visibility / Graphics control (keyboard ‘VV’)> Worksets tab with a drop down for each Visibility Setting.




Creating Custom Surface Patterns in Revit

November 2, 2010

Metal Roofs, Block, Tile, Brick, etc. Revit comes with a number of built-in surface patterns but inevitably you will run across the need to customize your pattern file.

Revit’s pattern files are stored in the ” revit.pat ” file located at:

   C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2011\Data

Path varies depending upon your current working version.

In explorer go to the file but don’t’ open it. You need to change it’s properties to turn off the ‘read only’ protection by right clicking on the ‘revit.pat’  file, go to properties, and uncheck ‘ read only’  This can be a pain in Vista so if you run into a problem with being able to over-write the file here’s the work around.

  1. Control ‘X’ on the file and Control ‘V’ it to a temporary location.
  2. Then save your file to the original location.

Then open the file (with notepad) and edit the code per the instructions at the beginning of the file.

Below is a code sample for a demolition lay-in ceiling.

*Ceiling-Demo 24×48, 24 x 48 Tiles
0, 0, 0, 0, 24, 2, -2
90, 0, 0, 0, 24, 2, -2

Save out this file once you are done.

Now open Revit. You will need to create a new material, in this case a demolition ceiling pattern “Ceiling Demo 24 x 48″ and then edit its surface pattern.

Select ‘Model’ then ‘new’ then ‘custom’ then ‘import’ then import the ” revit.pat ” file at this path
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2011\Data

You will then have a number of patterns to select from, one of which will contain the new demolished ceiling pattern.

I believe the pattern generator code is not unlike AutoCAD.  We save our Revit Pattern file to our main library so its accessible throughout the office.  Frequently used patterns should be established in your template as just saving the revit.pat file to the library does not automatically make this pattern available to all your stations.  Another approach would be to load an object with the pattern attribute already assign on an as need basis for each project.


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