Saturday, May 30, 2015

Autodesk Hardware Selection Support Site

This site was created with the intention to make it easier to make sure our computer and graphic card choices are supported by Autodesk's software. Unfortunately the site has died...with 2014 version support or at the very least, the appearance of a lack of support for 2015/16 versions.

It's time to update it?!?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Revit 2016 - Collaboration for Revit 2016 is Available

The 2016 version of C4R (Collaboration for Revit) is available now.

Click this to download or click the image for an overview

You'll need to visit your Subscription page to access the download to install it. Look at the Services page and it should be listed among whatever services you are entitled to. If you don't see it then you'll have to sort out your A360 account first.

This is the video they offer at the online help documentation site to explain how to initiate a project with C4R

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Revit 2015 Update Release 8 and New Project

When I click New under the Projects (or Family) list on the Recent Files page Revit is opening a new strange page instead of opening the New Project dialog.

That's a bit ridiculous...

If I rely on the Application Menu > New (Project/Family) the normal dialog appears. So for now avoid relying on the Recent Files page...

Revit 2016 Updates Redux

This morning I gave Autodesk Application Manager (AAM) another chance by removing it and installing it again. It reports a number of things requiring my attention; A360, Navisworks, Revit 2016 Extensions and AutoCAD OSNAP support. That's a bit more encouraging, it seems to be awake at least. In the past it just stopped caring about updates and didn't seem to find any despite Luke telling me otherwise on his blog.

The Revit Clinic has since provided a post with information regarding 2015 and 2016 updates.

I noticed that Revit 2016 now has Service Pack 1 installed. After a year of Release Updates we are now returning to language of old with Service Pack. Okay...

In a comment for yesterday's post Phillip asks why isn't there one update application that installs the necessary features based on what is installed...for each Revit version? Good question! They must be able to figure out what is installed and hopefully they know what is needed, better than me trying to figure it out from the information they aren't putting on the website at least.

Luke also followed up his previous posts with another regarding Revit 2016 Extensions (he's observed they are now being deployed via AAM), Space Naming Utility (now generically "version-less" wrapped up and delivered at Autodesk Exchange Apps). I'm still not sure where to expect to find Worksharing Monitor or the Collaboration for Revit (C4R) 2016.

After installing the 2015 update I find C4R is broken, it triggers the usual message that only a programmer's mother can love.

I'm glad that AAM seems to be working now but it is soooo slooooowwww installing updates. The Navis updates just report "installing" with no indication for the degree of progress while some of the others do. Consistent inconsistency. The updates for Navis and ReCap put fresh icons on my desktop where there were none. It's not hard to delete them but its rude to put something on the desktop that wasn't there prior to the update.

Grumpy but not as grumpy as yesterday...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Revit 2016 and 2015 Updates via What Revit Wants

Once again Luke has written posts about updates for Autodesk software before their own web site offers them...?!?

Thanks Luke!

I'd really like to see this stuff posted on their own bloody website(s) in a timely fashion!

Yes, Autodesk Application Manager is supposed to let us know (and it did for Luke apparently) but it hasn't worked on my computer except the first month it was installed. Oh and the Revit 2016 versions of necessary tools like Space Naming Utility and Worksharing Monitor are still missing in action. It's not like they didn't know a new release is out??!!?? Gosh I'm grumpy right now.

Luke's post about Revit 2016 Release Update 1
Luke's post about Revit 2015 Release Update 8 for R2 (note that's not the regular Revit 2015, he does provide a link to download that update though)
Luke's post about Collaboration for Revit (C4R) v5 for Revit 2015

I guess I shouldn't ask where C4R for 2016 is?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Create View Template - Tool Description

Oh so...subtle...

The command via the ribbon is called Create Template from Current View.

The right-click context menu offers this version of the command instead (Create View Template From View).

It's subtle because the right-click version is based on the fact that we've selected a view and used right-click. The context doesn't demand using the language Current View because it's based on the view we selected in the first place. The ribbon version leaves out the word View because it is listed as part of the View Templates button already. It also declares that it will create the template based on the Current View since it is possible to have accidentally changed which view has focus prior to using the command; for example if views are tiled or cascading in the drawing window.

My initial reaction was that they were inconsistent and wrong to use a different description for a command that will produce the same result. After mulling it over I think it is a reasonable subtlety since their use is different and the phrasing is intended to help us know what to expect in each situation.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Revit 2016 - IFC Observations

Autodesk recommends that we visit Autodesk Exchange|Apps to download the latest IFC application before starting to work with IFC data.

While testing these features I exported some walls and doors to IFC 2x3 so I could import them as IFC geometry. When I used Link IFC there were Generic Model openings filling the door openings to provide room bounding geometry.

There is a bit more going on behind the scenes when we import IFC. In the past we had to open an IFC which created a Revit project file we could then link. Those extra steps are done for us now as a background operation. There are three files that Revit creates based on the source IFC we link.

If I get obnoxious and delete these files and then open my active project file I get a warning message that Revit couldn’t find a linked file. When I use Reload From and select the IFC file I linked in the first place Revit creates those three files all over again. In the background it’s really just referencing the IFC file named "Linking.ifc.RVT".

I then opened the .RVT file that Revit created during the Link IFC process and deleted the openings and replaced them with Room Separator lines. Rather than doing that we can just leave the Generic Model elements but we need to use a Filter to turn them off. Revit creates a shared parameter file based on the IFC data. We can create a Project Parameter using one of its parameters (ObjectTypeOverrides) so we can create a Filter focused on the Generic Model category.

Once we understand that we can use the same approach to override the appearance of the existing walls, doors and windows so they look more like existing elements.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Revit 2016 - IFC Snap Align and Dimensions

We can snap to IFC link elements to create new elements and we can also dimension to elements in the link. We can also Align Revit elements to IFC-based elements as well as Host some face-based families, such as electrical devices. Dimensions will only recognize the faces of linked IFC geometry and not any center lines, reference planes, or other non-geometry elements.

This is a plan view of linked IFC walls and doors along with a few local walls and doors. Rooms were added to the overall plan, using the room bounding setting for the linked IFC file.

If the IFC file changes and it is reloaded into the Revit model, previously established references may not be maintained. We’ll have to make sure they are intact. It is difficult to ensure that changes to IFC geometry will retain relationships between any dimensions that reference it.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Revit 2016 - Truss Chord Rotation

When we rotate a truss we can either allow the chords to rotate with the truss or stay aligned with the truss placement plane (usually vertical).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Revit 2016 - Loss Method and ASHRAE Tables

Fittings and loss errors have been annoying in Revit MEP for quite some time. If we were striving for a warning free model then we'd be confounded at every turn by fittings and their loss for loss. In Revit 2015 R2 and 2016 we've got the option to assign fitting's Loss Method parameter to Coefficient from ASHRAE Table.

The ASHRAE Table Settings dialog displays graphical information that is associated with duct fittings table. We can choose from among the fitting descriptions in the table or accept the default one that is already selected.

If you select a fitting randomly and check this out you may find the dialog set to None. It only starts to work when components are well connected. That means, if you see warnings associated with fittings, its likely those fittings are not part of a well connected network yet.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Revit 2016 - Piping Units Addition

Plumbing engineers must feel a bit like Rodney Dangerfield's "I'm tellin' you, I don't get no respect!". Here's one for them, subtle though it may be. We can specify Liters per minute (L/min) for piping project units. (woot)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Revit 2016 - Selection Box

You’re already familiar with this new tool, conceptually at least, if you’ve used the 3rd party applications COINS Section Box or Xrev View Box. Just select elements and click the button to generate a 3D view with a section box cropped around those elements.

You may not want to give up those other tools just yet because they may offer more control of the resulting view than this tool does. It carries out the action with your default 3D view so if you didn’t want to mess that one up you need to remember to save it before you use it. It is easy and fast, you decide if you agree.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Type Catalog - Just say NO to Load Into Project

If you are working on a family that uses a type catalog then these two buttons are bad!

Bad buttons!

Youz buttons are buttons non grata.

The same is true for the Edit Family button and right-click Edit Family option. Don't use them on families that use a Type Catalog because all the types that are in use get loaded into the version of the family that opens in the Family Editor. That's kind of counter productive.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Temporary Dimension Size and Reference Plane Names

The name that appears on a selected Reference Plane is based on its name parameter. If you find their names a bit small to read we can take advantage of the Temporary Dimensions Text Appearance setting to increase it. This is what it looks like at 8 point text.

This is what it looks like at 14 point text.

Ah, more betterer...

Friday, May 08, 2015

Curtain Wall Panel Template - Reporting Parameter Error

If we attempt to attached a Reporting Parameter to a Curtain Panel Template we might see this error message.

It's the result of attaching the dimension to the reference level in the view.

If we are careful to attach the dimension to the reference plane that is lurking underneath it (the reference level) the reporting parameter will attach without complaint. I pulled the Level and the reference plane apart a bit so they can be seen more easily in the image.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Wish - Create Similar for Lines

I primarily find myself wishing for Create Similar when I'm creating symbolic or model lines in the family editor. I try hard to not use just lines in a project, favoring line-based families instead...yes even in Drafting View details. That written if Create Similar worked on them in the project I wouldn't complain.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Revit 2016 - Rotate Project North

Technically this isn't a new feature. It’s an improvement of the existing tool. In the past this tool did not faithfully rotate all annotation elements consistently. We’d often find some annotation was either not rotated at all or moved into different positions. They've revisited the code to ensure more consistent results. It’s not a guarantee they've resolved everything since they can only tackle issues that have been identified as problems. We are pretty ingenious at doing things with Revit that the developers didn't imagine. Hopefully we’ll find that it is more reliable when/if we need to use it.

Let me take this opportunity to remind you that Revit’s bias has always been to create a model or building with Project North in mind FIRST. FORGET about the real orientation on site, initially (please). That’s what using Rotate True North is for and Acquiring Coordinates.

Those tools existed long before Rotate Project North. In fact it was only added because people can’t seem to remember to start their project using a Project North orientation. If you’re interested in more of my writing about using Shared Coordinates you can check out my blog post summary.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Optional Instance Override Example Two

My post last Saturday reminded Daniel Stine of a situation where he used a similar technique.

Dan writes:

In an Electrical Equipment schedule, we want the Room/Space number to be listed automatically. However some items are not located within a room. So we use a Yes/No parameter (in the family) and a calculated value (in the schedule) to switch from automatic to manual. In the example below, the rooftop equipment is not within a room and would produce a blank cell if the schedule column just listed Space:Number. With the toggle, we can type in a custom value; a word in this case.

These are the two manual parameters associated with the content:

Calculated value in Electrical Equipment schedule:
if(Enter Manual Room Number Name, Manual Room Number Name, Space: Number)

The follow parameters need to be added to the schedule, but hidden:
Space: Number
Enter Manual Room Number Name
Manual Room Number Name

Thanks Daniel!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Link Positioning Manual - Base Point

AutoCAD has a feature called Base which allows us to specify an alternate insertion point that will be referenced (instead of the origin) when that file is inserted into another DWG file, either as an external reference or a block. Revit has a positioning option called Manual - Base Point. Sounds good except it doesn't work.

I created a DWG file (AutoCAD 2016) and sketched two squares, one at the actual origin and another one elsewhere. I used Base to reassign the insertion point to the bottom left corner of the other square, the one that isn't actually at the origin.

This is what I see when I use the Manual - Base Point option.

Help still says...

Short story...sounds good but doesn't work.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Optional Instance Override

Twice in one week I've seen people asking about using a Type Parameter for a door swing and wishing they could occasionally override it without making a new type for the door. That jogged my memory a bit and I remembered that Aaron Maller had told me about a technique he's used on the content he has built for Beck Group. It's quite clever, thanks Aaron!

These are the parameters you need (parameter names are italic - pick better names if you want):
  • Type parameter (Angle: Swing - this the standard angle you want to use)
  • Instance parameter (Angle: Swing Override - this is the default value for the override)
  • Instance or type parameter (Yes/No: Override Swing - this is the switch to flip)
  • Instance parameter (Angle: Swing Applied - Formula: if (yes, instance, type)
It looks like this in the Family Types dialog.

This is what it looks like applied to two door types; two are set according to their type and the other two are overridden to different angles.

This is what it looks like in the Properties Palette when a door is selected. Check the option and change the value or leave the default value.

Yes! You can have your Type and Instance too!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Group Editing and Ceiling Hosted Elements

Aaron Maller let me know about an unpleasant bug he's encountered in both Revit 2015 and 2016. If you're thinking, "Boy I'm glad I didn't listen to Steve's rant yesterday." Point taken... It's the exception though, not the rule.

Simple steps to reproduce the issue:
  • Create a new project
  • Create a ceiling
  • Place at least two light fixtures (faced based or ceiling based)
  • Create a Group (of the ceiling and both fixtures)
  • Copy the Group to create several instances
  • Edit the Group
  • Swap or move one fixture
  • Finish the Group
Where did the other fixture go? It (they) is (are) Excluded. If you select the Group you'll see Restore All Excluded appear on the ribbon. If you use that tool you'll find the fixture is no longer hosted by the ceiling though. It will report in it Host parameter.

If you'd like to avoid this issue then:
  • Edit the Group
  • Make the changes you need
  • Select all the fixtures
  • Nudge Up and Nudge Down to put them back in the same spot
  • Finish the Group
The copies should be intact, no excluded elements.

I've also found that I can use Save Group, edit the Group in its own file and then use Reload to refresh the Group in the project. This doesn't seem to suffer from the same affliction. Take it slow if your project is using a lot of groups with ceilings. The issue doesn't seem to affect elements hosted to walls, not in the testing I've done so far at least.

Here's a video example of what happens and using Nudge to avoid it.