Friday, April 21, 2017

Autodesk Desktop App Up but Mostly Down

I was pleasantly surprised when Ada started working right after installing Revit 2018. It managed to work long enough to get most everything else installed. I wrote long enough because it attempted to apply FormIt updates for 2017 and 2018 yesterday and ended with failure to install messages.


No sign of Ada since and now I get a nice FormIt error when I launch Revit. I guess I'll just have to get along without it or Ada...until Revit 2019?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Panel Name - Allow Unique Values per Group

Some time ago they added the ability to tell Revit we want a parameter to be able to store unique values even when the element is part of a group, like this.


That example is possible because it's a shared parameter. I find myself wishing that we could do the same thing for the built-in Panel Name parameter for electrical panels. These are unique identifiers in all the situations I've ever encountered. Never mind the unfortunate poor support for being in groups to begin with...

I wish that Panel Name could be like a Door's Mark parameter or a Room's Number...unique even when included in groups. I wish upon a star...

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Smooth or Stepped Stair Setting

I want the concrete corner stair to look like this.


When I finished it looked like this.. sad face...


A stair Run has two options for Underside Surface: Smooth and Stepped. Smooth is what I started with.


There are occasions when I want the underside to look like the second image above, if so I'd probably tackle that like THIS POST. In this situation I wanted the following appearance. I got it by changing the Structural Depth parameter to match the height of the stair.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Edit Profile and Altering Base or Top Constraints

In this example I've got a veneer wall and I used the Edit Profile feature to alter its shape. I wanted it to go from the bottom of the building to the top but provide the overall opening it requires in the middle. As luck would have it the overall height has changed a little. The selected wall in the following image is one of several veneer wall segments. It needs to drop down by 6 inches.


All I need to do is edit the Top Offset parameter, changing it from 3'-6" to 3'-0". That was easy.


Unfortunately when I do that easy bit I notice the opening I created using Edit Profile has shifted down by the same 6 inches.


At this point I'd use Edit Profile and move that sketch segment back up to the proper location. Since I have several of these veneer walls to adjust; for one of them I accidentally used Edit Profile first. I decided to change the Top Offset parameter while I was there, noting that the sketch is still correct at the top of the window assembly.


When I finished Edit Profile I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sketch remained intact, the opening did not need to be altered. The Top Offset alteration took effect without changing the interior rectangle sketch like would have happened changing the parameter outside of the Edit Profile mode.


That was a pleasant thing to stumble into. For the remaining walls I just used Edit Profile first and changed the Top Offset parameter followed by finishing Edit Profile without having to adjust the sketch too.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Autodesk Desktop App - Sad Face

This so called application continues to disappoint. It has failed to let me know about any updates since installing Revit 2017...

Sad face...

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Type Selector on Ribbon - Oops

I received quite a few comments on the last post. Most were pointing out that my powers of observation are failing me. It's a feature that has been in the product since at least 2011 according to one insider at Revit. Mea culpa!

Qualifies for Dept. of Subtle eh?

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Revit 2017.1 - Type Selector on Modify Ribbon

Working with some new Revit users last week I noticed something strange happened to my interface and not theirs. I suddenly had a Type Selector on my Modify Ribbon tab, on its own ribbon panel.


I thought, "I don't remember that!" Then I thought, "It must be a new subtlety with Revit 2017.1 that I haven't noticed yet!" Looking at it again, once I remembered to be curious, I found that when I right-click on the Type Selector, in its long standing home on the Properties Palette, two options appear, the ribbon one being new. Those other users had Revit 2017 installed.


Now I don't see the What's New in Revit 2017.1 documentation page taking credit for this subtle change. I don't recall running into it while writing my What's New post for 2017 when that came out either, nor is it listed in that documentation section either when I scanned it again just in case.

I wrote strange happened earlier because I don't recall right-clicking and selecting that option unless I had a short term memory lapse. I suppose I might have been talking and clicking without looking, yeah I've done that while discussing a Revit feature plenty of times. What was I writing about? Oh...

Still I don't remember doing it. I also don't remember it being there all along since installing Revit 2017.1 in the first place and I'm pretty sure I've used it a lot since doing that. ...again with doubting my memory? I suppose it could just be the default location for the original install of the update and I just failed to notice it. I don't that's speaking well of my observation skills though. Well, never mind.

Don't worry about me, just take advantage of it if you like that as an available option too! Since Autodesk isn't claiming responsibility for it, who wants to?

Friday, February 03, 2017

Autodesk Seek is Dead - Long Live BIMobject

I've been busy, experiencing angst or lazy, you pick. Then again dear reader you may not have noticed that I haven't been posting as much lately. Apparently some readers are still hoping to be able to rely on me to try to stay current with things. At least that's what a few emails asking about this semi-recent change suggests to me. I do apologize if my reticence to post more often is disappointing. I have been busy as well as going through another spell of "What's it all about Alfie?". Oh I've given it away...or have I? (imagine Craig Ferguson was speaking).

Get on with it Mr. OpEd... At the moment the only place other than Autodesk sites that I recall reading information about this change is the Revit Add-Ons post on the day it happened, so well done Tim.

Specifically, you may have been, or will be, greeted by a message when attempting to search Autodesk Seek via Revit's Insert ribbon? The message begins with something like (I didn't capture the screen the first time) ..."As of January 18, 2017 Autodesk Seek has been transferred to BIMobject. At least I think the naming is BIMobject. It could be bimobjects because that's also on the site. I digress...yet again.

They've provided a transfer FAQ you can read but it's not really responding to any questions I have, as a user...UNLESS you are then careful to click the small link for User FAQ on the left side (link next paragraph).

I see they've set up a hotline for Autodesk Seek transition so look for that information there (via separate FAQ sections for User and BPM) too, it's the same telephone number for either category, user or BPM (Building Product Manufacturer).

I know nothing about BIM Object yet. I can say after arriving at their site via Revit once that the UI presented to us is a sight better than Seek. My first impression is that their customers are product manufacturers, selling the service of creating and hosting content for manufacturers, the same as for Autodesk Seek.

Assuming the somewhat jaundiced view of a Revit user, the user is the product they are selling to their customers, like Facebook for example. However attempting to be fair, users need good quality content to make quality building models so if these guys do well we BIM users ought to be winning.

Regarding my overall experience with Autodesk Seek, prompted by a post at RFO, I wrote this reply there a couple days ago, responding to Philip...(a bit more of the Opinion part of OpEd)

My own experience with Autodesk Seek began with hmm promising, let's see how this goes and ended with what's the point. If you consider RevitCity's content quality is ravaged pretty consistently by fellow Revit users, as such lately I have had the same dread reaction to resorting to searching Autodesk Seek. I even went there a couple times to pull down bad examples of content to show people I was mentoring on the subject...not a good recommendation eh? Inspiration for blog posts is one upside? Okay, getting snarkastic sorry.

My feelings changed sharply a short while after the Family Style Guide was published related to Seek. A great idea and initial effort but it was a bit plain to see the market/revenue generating bias of it toward Seek. ...and it too has died on the vine.

Overall, very disappointing. Especially considering I've heard it was no small investment of time and money by companies to get their content hosted by Seek. But then that's the secret about content it takes time and both involve money even if we don't look.

Back to BIMobject, I'm going to keep an open mind, more open than my obviously skeptical comments above suggests is possible. Let's see how this goes. Oh, I'll answer the question that's probably on any user's mind for them (from their User FAQ):

Do I have to pay for the BIM objects I download?

bimobject.com is a free of charge web service for architects, engineers, specifiers and all other disciplines in the AEC and Infrastructure industries.


They offer a free Revit app to directly integrate their content search and access into Revit too.

Feel free to use comments to share your observations and experience with Autodesk Seek (in the past) or BIMobject if you've been a using their content already.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

View Reference User Experience Inequality

The View Reference feature reveals information differently according to how you access the feature. A post at RFO yesterday, and subsequent reply by pivoarch, made me see this subtlety finally.

When you create a new view and choose the Reference Other View option you get the sheet and detail number value (when the view is on a sheet) in the description in addition to the view name, like this.


When you want to fix or change a View Reference the sheet and detail number values are not presented to us, like this.


It would be very helpful to include the sheet and detail number values in every instance that it is displayed to us.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

New Command Reference Book for Revit Architecture - Daniel Stine and Jeff Hanson

Daniel Stine and Jeff Hanson have teamed up to create a new book called Autodesk Revit 2017 Architectural Command Reference book. The inclusion of the term architectural in the book title means it does not delve into the Systems ribbon tab commands.

It has 13 chapters: Introduction, Application Menu and User Interface, Architecture Tab, Structure Tab, Insert Tab, Annotate Tab, Analyze Tab, Massing and Site Tab
Collaborate Tab, View Tab, Manage Tab, Modify Tab and Contextual Tab.

You probably already know Daniel from his pretty extensive Revit collection of books. You already know Jeff too assuming you've read any of the help documentation or watched the training videos Autodesk provides online. That's been his focus for many years now working for Autodesk.

SDC Publications, their publisher, offers the book via eBooks using Apple iBooks ($39.99), Google Play Books ($42.40) or RedShelf ($49.47). It is available in hard copy via Amazon USA print on demand ($84 on Amazon) or Amazon International options. They also offer training videos, via separate download, for those who purchase the book. The prices are those that I saw at the time when I followed the various link options for purchasing. Fwiw, the Redshelf link took quite awhile to load at first, subsequent tries loaded faster, though the fact that I've never visited their site before might be why.

An aside, I've warned Daniel that Jim Balding (The ANT Group) has long been suggesting to me, at least since 2003, just this sort of book ought to be written. He'll either be happy it exists now or sad that they've beaten him to it.

Congrats to Daniel for yet another book and to Jeff for his contributions as co-author. Starting a book is easy...finishing it and getting it published is no small thing.

Properties Palette and Project Browser are not Responsive

This issue tracks back at least a couple of years now but I've just been asked about it again the other day. People report that on occasion Revit refuses to acknowledge when you click on either the Project Browser or Properties Palettes. For example this thread at Autodesk's User Forum began in February 2014.

The suggested methods, in the thread, for fixing this issue include: Using Save As, Disabling Hardware Acceleration and clicking on the Help icon. One person posted that their screen went black first and then Revit crashed. That bit sounds like a graphics card/driver could be involved.

Those fixes resolved the situation but don't tell us specifically why it happened in the first place. Since it has not happened to me personally I can't say for sure why it happens either. I have heard that some errors generate a warning message that can get lost behind the Revit UI. Using ALT + Tab will allow you to cycle between open windows (applications) and you may find a message dialog lurking there. I wouldn't expect any part of Revit to be responsive as such. Interesting that users find that they can access the Help and Application menu (Big R) items despite the two windows being inaccessible.

Perhaps a reader has isolated the cause?