Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pixlr - Image Editing Web App

Need to just edit an image really fast? Need a little more functionality that MS Paint? Don't have access to Photoshop, or maybe you have to go to your office's community graphics machine to access it? You should bookmark Pixlr.com, it's a free web app that looks and feels a lot like Photoshop but without all of the bulk. Yeah, it's missing some functions but for basic stuff it's pretty awesome, check it out:


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Missing Radial Dimensions

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to help troubleshoot a problem with missing radial dimensions, it probably happens at least once a year and it seems like I always forget why it is they keep disappearing on people.  Every time it's the same problem, a user goes to dimension the radius of a circlular object or line and nothing shows up, followed by the "none of the created elements are visible..." warning:

This is then usually followed by me checking visibility settings, checking view depths, checking the area in 3D and eventually by me saying, "oh yeah, the center point of the circle is outside of the crop region" I don't know why I always forget this, hopefully writing this will help me remember.
The problem is that if you have the annotation crop region turned on, and if the circle is large enough that it's center point exists outside of the annotation crop region, then the radial dimension also exists partially outside of the annotation crop region, and so it doesn't show up. The solution is just to expand your annotation crop region:

If needed you can then grab the center point's blue dot and stretch it back near the object your dimensioning, but you'll still need to keep your annotation crop region expanded to show the center point or it will disappear again.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Autodesk FormIt

This *might* be love at first sight. I'm already a huge fan of the other Autodesk apps on the IPad, including Sketchbook Pro, 123D Sculpt and 123D Make, so this to me, makes a lot of sense! If you have an IPad and a few hours to waste(?) Go get this app now!

Monday, November 26, 2012

How to exactly place an odd angled Section Cut

A question recently came up about how to place a section cut that can align with model elements; in this case the user wanted to place a section that cut perfectly though the center landing of a curved stair and perpendicular to the curve as shown in the image below. But sections won't snap to model elements when you're drawing them, so how do you get this to be exact and not just an approximation?

The trick is to first use a Reference Plane (RP)
A Reference Plane will snap to standard model elements:

And a section will snap to Reference Planes:

A bit of a work around, but not that bad really. Hope that helps someone, have any other ways to use this trick or another way to solve the problem? Share your thoughts below, thanks!

Revit: Differences between editing - LT v Full Revit

This is pretty cool! I hope they add this into Revit 2014. I have "EB" set up as my hot key to edit the boundary of just about anything but this is just a tiny bit simpler...

Revit: Differences between editing - LT v Full Revit: Discovered this today whilst working with Revit LT. If you model a floor, roof, wall or slab in Revit LT, once the component is modelled, if...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Special Alt Characters

There's nothing better in life than shortcuts, I'm talking windows shortcuts of course, and I'm always amazed how many of them exist that I forget to use. Some work in Revit and some don't; Ctrl-Shift-T, for instance, is really handy if you accidentally close a tab while browsing the internet (or if you want to see what the last tab was that someone else had open) but it doesn't do anything in Revit. Ctrl-N will open a new window or file in just about any windows application and I really hope everyone out there has the same Ctrl-S nervous tick that I've developed over the years. But did you know you can also use Window's special Alt characters and symbols inside of Revit? For instance say you want to use the Ø symbol instead of writing out "Diameter" or "Dia.". Or, what if you just want to brighten up your set of documents with a ☺? Using the Alt characters is easy, just hold down the Alt key, type the number associated with the symbol on the keypad (must be the keypad) and then release the Alt key.
Here's a list of my favorite (I have these printed out and taped to the side of my computer):

º       Alt 167
π      Alt 227
Σ      Alt 228
™     Alt 0153
©      Alt 0169
®      Alt 0174
²       Alt 253
³       Alt 0179
½     Alt 171
¼     Alt 172
¾     Alt 0190
±      Alt 241
≈      Alt 247
Ø      Alt 0216
▬     Alt 22

For a more complete list I'd recommend this one:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Where'd my Mullions go?

This question came up yesterday, so I thought I'd make a blog post for any weary souls searching the interwebs for a similar answer... what happens if you try to make a Curtainwall (or storefront) and Revit tells you that there are no Mullion families loaded into your project? Where do you find new mullions??

I guess first of all, let's look at why this might happen; in the case of yesterday's example, someone had previously purged the project, and Revit removed all of the curtainwall types, except one (it needs to retain one) but the default one that it kept didn't have any mullions assigned to it, which meant that when Revit got to mullion families in it's purging effort it decided that no mullion families were being used in the project and it nuked them all out. So when the user went to make a new storefront, and it had no mullions, and he attempted to use the mullion tool, he got the error below:

So the user went to the profile folder, found what appeared to me a mullion profile and attempted to load it in, but got this error:

The problem is that although you can associate a profile with a mullion to change it's shape, you first have to have a mullion already in your project  to associate it with. In order to do this you need to re-make one of the default built-in mullions that previously got purged, which you don't actually load in; since mullions are technically a system family (live inside of Revit) it means finding the system family type in your browser, right clicking it and creating a new mullion type:

Now you can associate the profile (if desired) with the new rectangular mullion family to alter it's shape, or in this case the user just adjusted the parameters of the new rectangular mullion to make it work for his storefront type and didn't use the profile after all. Hope that helps someone out there. Have you ever ran into this or a similar error? Let us know in the comment section below, thanks!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Element ID's

What's in a name? In Revit, not much really (outside of your office naming conventions that is), but what does hold a lot of value is an Element's ID. Yep, in case you hadn't figured it out yet, your 3D model is really just a massive database of numbers, numbers with parameters, and each object in your 3D model has to have some sort of way to distinguish it from the next 3D object, after all that's sort of what makes Revit "smart", right? Why is this useful? Because when you run into modeling errors (like the one below) Revit tries to tell you where to go to fix your problems, but in a slightly obscure way. 

Revit gives you the error and then it gives you that "Element ID" of the object that is causing the problem. This is important because let's say your moving a wall on level 1 that extends multiple floors and it's causing a ceiling sketch on level 4 to become invalid, how do you know which ceiling is getting messed up and where it's at? You can click the "Show" button to try and find it but if you've tried this you may have noticed it's not always extremely helpful or specific and can take a long time to cycle through unopened views. What you can also do is jot down the element ID number, hit cancel and then track down the offending element on your own; to do this you go to the manage tab and choose the "Select by ID" button, it helps to have a 3D window open for this, if needed you can even choose to "Isolate the element" in your view to narrow it down.

It's not an earth shattering tip, but I find a lot of people don't realize that the obscure warning box and Element ID can actually be pretty helpful if you know what to do with it. How do you use the select by ID button? Have another way to find errors? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Displaying only Detail Items

I was recently working on a project where we had the task of transferring "live" details over from an older project and it occurred to me that once upon a time I used to go into the Visibility/Graphic overrides and I would uncheck all of the model items in the list in order to make it easier to see what detail items I wanted to copy over, when I was done I'd have to go back and recheck everything (and hopefully I'd remember if there were any categories I shouldn't) That works "fairly" well but there's a quicker way to do this if you're ever in this predicament... 

From inside the view's properties, you can select the "Display Model" option under the views Graphic options and just turn everything that's a model element off by choosing "Do Not Display". 

Now you can clearly see all of the drafted in detail items. Of course you'll still want to filter your selection to not copy over grids and levels etc, but it saves a little bit of confusion figuring out what's what.

How are you using the "Display Model" option or transfering over detail elements from one live detail to another? Leave a comment and let us know.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Trimble aquires Vico

Wow! This is kind of big news! First they buy Sketchup and now Vico too! I wonder what this means for the world of BIM? If they were to somehow combine the two then Revit might have a new adversary (???)

Trimble Acquires Vico Assets to Extend its
Design-Build-Operate Capabilities for Building Construction
Software to Add 5D Management to Trimble's Solutions for Vertical Construction Contractors
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 2, 2012—Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) announced today that it has acquired assets of privately-held Vico Software, Inc. (Vico) of Boulder, Colorado, a recognized leader in 5D virtual construction software and consulting services. The asset acquisition extends Trimble's solutions for building construction and provides a platform to connect the information flow across the design-build-operate (DBO) lifecycle to improve cost management and optimize scheduling on complex building construction projects. Financial terms were not disclosed. More...

EDIT: For a great commentary on the acquisition and the future of BIM check out Greg Arkin's Post on Revit3D

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Revit 2013 Batch updater

Good to know where this is, in the case you need to upgrade a whole lot families to the new format, something I hope every Revit Manager is doing with new releases:

From Revit Structure Learning Curve

After looking for the old File Upgrader Batch Utility for 2013 and not being able to find it - I found that it is no longer supplied on the disks or memory stick but can now be downloaded off the Autodesk Exchange Apps web site
"File Upgrader will batch upgrade previous versions of Revit files to the Revit 2013 format. The tool is intended to help upgrade family contents, template files as well as project files..."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Estranged Views

Recently I was asked if there was an easy way to determine if there are views in the project that may have been overlooked... poor, lost estranged views. The problem was that so many folks had been working on the project that no one knew for certain if every detail that had been drafted had actually been put onto a sheet yet. There are actually a few quick methods to determine where your views are at that I know of, my favorite though is to just create a quick view schedule. It's incredibly easy, just go to the view tab, hit the Schedules pull down and select View list.

 It's just like making any Revit schedule, you'll need to select a few fields to schedule, in this case the "View Name" and the "Sheet Number"...

 and viola, a list that tells you what sheet each view is on, if it doesn't have a sheet, well it's not on a sheet, get on it! How are you using view lists to make Revit project management easier?

Edit: For another method, where you narrow down views not on sheets via your project browser, check out Steve's post over at Revit OpEd

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Recently it dawned on me that just because this blog is called the "Revit" blog doesn't mean that's the only thing I have to blog about! So today I just wanted to quickly share a handy little webtool that helps you change the case of a bunch of text in one fell swoop. This is pretty handy if you've ever started typing with the caps lock key on (or off) or if you receive a bunch of typed general notes in the wrong case that you need to add into your drawings. I think I use it most often to convert the list of sheets I need to add to the Cover sheet for consultants not using Revit. I swear, I ask for a sheet index to be sent to me in all Caps and they send it in all lowercase to spite me, ha, they don't know I have convertcase.net! Bookmark it!

Edit: As noted by an anonymous tipster below, you can actually do this inside of MS word, if you don't want to navigate to a website (or you're already working in there) here's where you find it:

Good to know! Thanks!