Thursday, 4 November 2010

Problem with demolishing Light fixtures

Bruce Madsen from our SF office highlighted this problem recently. It relates to issues when demolishing light fixtures when using phasing in Revit.




Since the ceiling is NOT demolished, the light-fixture hole edges remain as existing


Use the Linework tool to change the lines from Solid to Demolished


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Understanding cut geometry in Revit - developing deliverables from your model

David Light, Revit Specialist for HOK London explains how to use different family categories so you can develop detailed deliverables from families placed within your project environment.

This question has come up a number of times recently, but understanding how Revit cuts geometry is particular important if you trying to generate deliverables off your model. Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to do this.

In the example below, the requirement is to generate a number of different plans representing a reception desk. But the prerequisite is to show these at various level, ie. Top View, View below sign-in counter,  a view indicating how the millwork is developed.

You first just need to know what families are cuttable and which families are not, the Autodesk Revit help file actually explains this very well. Then you need to understand how to use plan regions to control the different plan depths you require.

Start by changing the family category to “generic model”. This ensures that the geometry is cuttable in plan as well as section.


Replicate the plan views as required, for each plan you are trying to develop.

Then pick one of the views, then go to view and “plan region” and sketch around an area where you need to see a different depth.


Select the plan region and adjust its Cut plane as required, in the case of below I have dropped this to 500mm.


The resulting geometry will now look like this.


If you need to provide different areas at different heights, pull back the plan region or sketch around what needs to be shown at a different height and alter the cut plan.


In the image below; the resulting views with different plan regions added to represent how the reception desk will need to be shown on the drawings.


PDF to DWG …..DWF to DWG… hack

It is a well known trick that you can export a PDF to DWG by using Adobe illustrator. This is achieved by opening the PDF and then choose export and export as a DWG, assuming the PDF contains vector linework.


However, can you do the same with a DWF file?

Technically yes, there are various tools and plugins which will allow you to convert a DWF to a DWG, but you will have limitation in the quality of the linework. However, you may have some success if  the DWF contains vector linework with one of the following:-

  • You can open the DWF in Autodesk  Design Review, then PDF it using acrobat writer, then convert the PDF as highlighted in the technique above, using Adobe Illustrator.
  • Alternatively, you could open the DWF in Design review, choose Copy to the clipboard, then in AutoCAD, choose Paste Special to copy the elements into AutoCAD.
  • You will need to scale up the resulting DWG in both cases and the quality will be very low, but it should be enough to start a basic schematic plan from.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Copying & Pasting Objects between families and projects

Have you ever wanted to copy and paste objects between families and projects? Yongmoo Hur BIM manager for our Hong Kong explains more…..

Assume that you started working in a project and need to model roof/exterior skin on the walls below using ‘Conceptual Mass’.


You may want to bring the walls into the Conceptual Mass, but you cannot do it in current version of Revit. Basically Revit does not allow us to copy objects between projects and families with some exceptions with lines. Most importantly, you can NOT copy anything directly onto ‘conceptual mass family’. You will get error messages below.



True - You can’t copy between families and projects. But you CAN copy between families. We can use this.

1. Click ‘In-Place Mass’ to start ‘In-place Mass family’


2. Using ‘Reference or Model line’ + ‘Pick Lines’, Trace profiles.


3. Before you ‘Finish Mass’, Pick the lines and paste it onto ‘Conceptual mass’. Because you are inside of an in-place family, you will be able to copy lines to Conceptual family template.


Now you can model objects in the Conceptual Mass family!

You can also model a mass, and you will be able to copy and paste the mass within edit mode (again, BEFORE you ‘Finish Mass’)

For those who are more interested, below are further findings about behaviour on that subject

  • You can NOT copy and paste walls directly into any family templates.
  • Linking Revit will NOT work. The ‘Link Revit’ button becomes greyed out.
  • You can NOT copy model lines to the ‘Conceptual mass family’ template.
  • You CAN copy model lines to regular family templates. Trace profile using model lines and copy and paste onto family templates- generic model, for instance. And you CAN load this regular family into Conceptual Mass Family. It would be great if we can get rid of this extra step though.
  • You CAN copy detail lines to Profile family templates. -- Trace profile using detail lines and copy and paste onto the ‘Profile family template’. But you can NOT load this into ‘Conceptual Mass’

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Select Previous in Revit 2011

When you select objects, use

Ctrl – to add

Shift – to exclude

“Ctrl + Left Arrow key” is the shortcut for “select previous”


Control Temporary Dimensions

Yongmoo Hur, BIM manager in our Hong Kong office explains how to control the appearance of Temporary Dimensions. We all know that Temporary Dimensions appear when you select objects. I would like to cover little bit of this Temporary Dimensions.


This temporary dimension will not show up when the model becomes too complex to show all related dimensions. You can force to show this by clicking ‘Activate Dimensions’


If you click clip_image003 icon underneath, the dimensions will turn into permanent linear dimensions.

You can change how these temporary dimensions behave. You can set Temporary dimension to measure from centerlines to centerlines, faces to faces and etc. Manage tab > Additional Settings > Temporary Dimensions


You can also change the size of text. Often these temporary dimensions become illegible interfering with other objects, and you can make it bigger and more legible!

The R icon > Options >Graphic Tab > Temporary Dimension Text Appearance




You can select the blue square, drag and snap to new points.


Disallow wall joins

Brok Howard of our St Louis office, shows how to use the disallow wall join feature in Revit Architecture 2011.

Rehost geometry in a different plane

How do you rehost geometry to a plane in a different angle? William Lopez Campo from HOK London explains.

When trying to move geometry around (ie using a sketch from a reference plane to another) you can rehost between parallel surfaces.

The steps I followed in order to let the geometry “jump” from a plane to another non-parallel are:

The geometry is hosted on the Plane A.


Set Current a horizontal plane, and draw from any point a line perpendicular to Plane A and another from its endpoint perpendicular to plane B.


Draw a point hosted on the line perpendicular to Plane A. Select the geometry and select “Pick...” in the Host dropdown list. The plane defined by the point on the line is parallel to Plane A, so the geometry will “jump” to the plane.


Now set the original horizontal plane as current again, and rotate the line. Drag the rotation centre to the endpoint of the line and snap the rotation for the lines to overlap. There will be a warning message of overlapping lines, ignore it. Notice that the point and the geometry will rotate with the line.


Select the Geometry again, and repeat the Host Pick... procedure, now you should be able to pick Plane B


And job is done!


Monday, 11 October 2010

Autodesk Univeristy 2010

HOK will have a healthy presence at AU2010. Along with its numerous conference attendees, HOK will be sending five speakers!!

Don Rudder from the San Francisco office will be a sole lecturer for the CP333-1 customization and programming class entitled "Leveraging the Tail End of the BIM Lifecycle with APIs" where he will speak on facility management capabilities using Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Design Review pulled together into an ASP.NET web environment.

James Vandezande from our builingSMART group in the New York office will be primary speaker for two lectures and one "Unconference." David Light from the London office will be a guest speaking in the AB220-3P class on curtain walls while Lee Miller from the San Francisco office will be guest speaking in the AB427-4 class entitled "BIM and IPD for Project Leaders."

William Lopez-Campo out of our London office will present two Virtual classes each twice all done in EspaƱol!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Moving the Sun to adjust shaded views

There may be times when you need to adjust the sun and shadows in your model. With the introduction of the sun path tool in Revit Architecture, this is a lot easier. Bruce Madsen from HOK S.F explains. 

In the 3D view of interest, click on the sun icon in the lower-left of the drawing space.


When the dialog box opens, select the top option.   This will show the sun as a yellow ball in the view.


Revit displays the sun and sun path.


Modify the date and time as needed to adjust the sun – just click on the text and change the numbers.


After changing the text, Revit changes the sun angle and you can verify if it gives a better contrast.


Friday, 24 September 2010

How to use Revits Underlay tools

Bruce Madsen, one of BIM managers for our San Francisco office says, when working in a reflected ceiling plan, it is helpful to know where the furniture occurs.

Revit provides UNDERLAY tools to make this easier.

  • You can work in the Ceiling Plan while viewing the Floor Plan as an Underlay.
  • NEW – You can work in the Floor Plan while viewing the Ceiling Plan as an Underlay.  (this can be useful for MEP tasks).

The examples below, show a floor plan and a reflected ceiling plan:-



To see the furniture in the RCP, turn on the UNDERLAY in the VIEW PROPERTIES, as shown below:-



  • What is new is that it is possible to see the Ceiling in a Plan view.




· Note:  It is also possible to see an underlay from a level different from the current level, if needed.

Monday, 20 September 2010

How do I create???? – Types of Conceptual Masses in Revit 2011


I posted these examples of my own blog site, but thought it worth sharing with the wider HOK BIM community. I get many questions about how to create forms in Revits Conceptual massing environment. So please find links to various Youtube videos which explain the basics on how to create particular forms. This should get you started when first adventuring into Revit 2011’s massing environment and this will work in a conceptual mass family as well as a project mass.You will find videos which show you how to create…..

  • Extruded form 
  • Revolve
  • Blend
  • Sweep
  • Swept Blend
  • Cone
  • Dome
  • Sphere
  • Torus
  • Loft 1
  • Loft 2
  • Pyramid


1. Extrude


2. Revolve


3. Blend


4. Sweep


5. Swept Blend


6. Cone


7. Dome


8. Sphere


9. Torus


10. Loft 1


11. Loft 2


12. Pyramid

Monday, 9 August 2010

Using Navisworks for Presentation

The following YouTube presentation explains how to use Navisworks for real-time clients presentation. The workflow requires you to export an 3d DWF from Revit and then import this into Navisworks.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Controlling and changing Grid Line display

Victor Martinez , BIM Manager from HOK NYC said “While working on a recent project, the need to show column grid lines differently between composite plans and finish plans was requested. In order to accomplish this, the following method was used.”

In this first image, the composite plan is showing the grid lines with the project default settings:


Select a grid line and view it’s properties.

From the Type properties window, there are a few options to adjust how column grid lines are being generated. You are able to change the center and end segments here as well as the symbols being used. For this example, change the center segment to none:


Your plan will now look like this:


After changing the center segment, select a grid line and use the blue grips to drag each end segment to the center which will turn the grid lines back into a continuous centerline in the composite plan view.

Do this for each grid line in the view:


After dragging each grid line in the one view, the grids will now display differently in this view as compared to the rest of the other views:


You can then select the grid lines in the view you changed them in and propagate extents to the remaining corresponding views:


Once you Propagate Extents, you will now have the ability to control gridlines differently in multiple views: