Monday, May 31, 2010

Today I would like to get your take on where you get most of your Revit Families from. Do you have a subscription from a professional vendor, do you make your own or do you spend a lot of time looking for that one window that just fits your project on the internet?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

To create custom patterns to use in Revit you'll need a very specialized tool: A text editor! (Like Notepad, or better Notepad++) With this you can create a .pat file that contains you pattern(s).

To explain how to set this up I have copied the explanation out of the Revit.pat-file stored in the program installation map of your Revit.

;;revit.pat file v. 3.0 ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;(c) 2000-2003 Autodesk Revit ;;;

This file contains the standard set of custom fill patterns distributed with Autodesk Revit. Since it is part of the standard installation, do not change it. Any changes you make may be lost when you update Revit. To define custom patterns, create a new file using this file as a template.

Fill patterns are also known as hatches and fills.

;;Model vs. Drafting patterns

There are two types of fill patterns in Revit: model and drafting. Model patterns are used to depict real-world elements, such as bricks, shingles, tiles, etc. They are defined and display in model units. An 8x16 inch brick pattern will show exactly 12 courses on an 8-foot-tall wall. A 2-meter-tall wall with a 200x400 mm brick pattern will have 10 courses. Model patterns appear denser at coarser view scales and sparser at finer ones.

Drafting patterns are defined in paper units. If you import the pattern at scale 1 and print at 100% zoom, the pattern's dimensions on paper will be exactly as specified in the file, regardless of view scale. Drafting patterns are used to symbolically denote materials such as steel, concrete, sand, etc.

Drafting patterns are typically defined with smaller numbers than model patterns. Drafting patterns usually contain sizes from 0.04 to 1 inch (1 - 25 mm)model patterns usually contain sizes from 2 to 20 inches (50 - 500 mm). These are guidelines only, not enforced by Revit. Revit's existing restrictions limit the maximum size and density of the patterns, and a review of these restrictions is planned for a future release.

;;Pattern files

Revit pattern files contain custom fill pattern definitions. They are modeled after the AutoCAD hatch pattern files, with a few additions. The file extension is .pat. A file may contain an arbitrary number of patterns. To use the patterns, import the file using the Fill Patterns dialog. See Help for detailed instructions.

If a pattern file contains an error, Revit will not import it. An error message will indicate the erroneous line. Revit may consider a pattern to be too large or too dense. If it does, modify the import scale or the pattern definition. Once a pattern is imported, it is stored in the project, independent of the original file.

;;Pattern file format

All lines must be less than 4096 characters long. Lines beginning with ;% are Revit directives. Lines beginning with are comments. Lines beginning with * begin new pattern definitions. Blank lines are ignored.

The file consists of a prologue followed by pattern definitions. The prologue may contain the following directives:


This identifies the file as a Revit Fill Pattern file of the specified version. The version described here is 3.0. Include this directive in your files for future compatibility.

   ;%UNITS=INCH          or

This describes the units in which patterns are defined. Specifying units in the file is preferred to modifying the import scale. If neither directive is present, Revit will assume that the patterns are defined in inches.

;;Pattern definition format

A pattern definition consists of the name header, type directive and line families. Each one is placed on a separate line. The entire pattern is terminated by the following header or the end of the file.

;;Header format

   *name, comment

The name may contain any ASCII characters except for comma. They are shown in the list of imported patterns. The comma and comment are optional. They are ignored by Revit. The header may be followed by one of the following type directives:

   ;%TYPE=DRAFTING    or

If neither directive is present, Revit assumes that it is a drafting pattern.

;;Line families

Each line family is a set of parallel lines that build one "direction" of a pattern. A complete pattern may be defined by several families each defining part of the final, such as the vertical joints of brick coursing. The lines are described in the two dimensions of a face as follows:

   angle, x-origin, y-origin, shift, offset, dash, space, dash, space ...

Angle specifies the direction, in degrees, of a set of lines relative to the x-axis. The first line in the set starts at the specified x,y-origin. Parallel lines are drawn as specified by Offset and Shift to fill the entire face. Offset defines the distance between parallel lines. Zero Offset is not allowed. Shift moves the pattern of dashes and spaces along the length of each new parallel line. Shift is ignored if the line is solid. Distances are expressed as decimal numbers (using peroid as the decimal separator) in the units previously specified.

The dash-space sequence defines a repeating pattern of dashes and spaces for a line. If it is omitted, the line is solid. Positive numbers define dashes, negative numbers define spaces, and zero specifies a dot. If you begin a pattern with a space, do not alternate dashes and spaces, or do not end with a space, Revit will introduce tiny dashes or spaces to compensate. Revit expands dots and very short dashes into dashes of a minimum size.

;;Worked example


   *Block 8x16,  8 x 16 blocks running bond
   0,             0,             0,             0,             8
   90,            0,             0,             8,             8,             8,             -8

This pattern is called "Block 8x16" you will see this name when you import it into Revit. It is a model pattern. It has two families of lines. The first family creates the horizontal coursing:

   angle = 0          => lines are horizontal
   x,y-origin = 0,0
   shift = 0          => line pattern is not shifted
   offset = 8         => consecutive lines are 8 model inches apart
   no line pattern    => the line is solid.

The second family creates the vertical joints:

   angle = 90         => lines are vertical
   x,y-origin = 0,0   => the pattern begins at the same point as the horizontals
   shift = 8          => line pattern is is shifted by 8 model inches for consecutive lines
   offset = 8         => consecutive lines are 8 model inches apart
   dash = 8           => each line is built of 8" dashes and 8" spaces
   space = 8          => this pattern repeats until the face boundary

The shift makes the vertical segments appear between alternating pairs of horizontal lines, which appears as 16 inch bricks in interlocking bond.

;;Differences from AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD has an 80-character line size limit, Revit's is 4096.
  • AutoCAD allows arbitrary sequences of dashes, spaces and dots, Revit coerces them into dash- space format by inserting zero spaces and dashes.
  • AutoCAD has a notion of dots, Revit expands them (including the zero dashes it inserted) into short dashes.
  • AutoCAD has a maximum of 6 components to a line pattern, Revit has no limit.
  • AutoCAD does not allow spaces in a pattern name, Revit does.
  • AutoCAD allows only one pattern per a custom file, with pattern name matching file name, and with the file residing in a known location. Revit has none of these restrictions.
  • AutoCAD and Revit utilize different logic to decide whether a pattern is acceptable.
Note that when Revit exports its models into AutoCAD formats, such as DWG, it makes sure to comply with the more stringent AutoCAD requirements.

I find this explanation very clear. But in the end, to properly find out houw things work, you'll have to get your hands dirty and just go for try-and-error. That's what I did...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creating "deep" elevations and sections has always been an issue with Revit. Yes, you can add shadow and play a bit with the line weigths, but it just does not cover it all.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to tell Revit to use a lighter color / linestyle once it goes beyond a certain distance into the drawing? Something like this?

Well, there is a way, even if it is cheating a bit.

What I did was basically putting two sections on top of each other onto the sheet. One section contains the main information, including all annotations, while the other is the background. Here's how I did it.

First I created two sections almost on top of each other:

On one of them (here number 1) I turned on the far scope (adjust the blue, dashed lines) and set it so that the view does not look further than all items in the foreground. This will be my main view with all the info and annotation.

On the other view (# 2) I turned everything grey using the Halftone option in the Visibility/Graphics settings:

I also hid anything I did not need (levels, the site, etc) and turned on the shadows, setting the shadow color to a relatively light color.

In the final step I went to the sheet and placed view #2 first.

This way when I place view #1 it will be displayed above #2 and cover everything that is not background.

Here we go. A nice "deep" section that will automatically update, no matter which item I change.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Looks like R2011 has been recieved very well.

I am still waiting for the Artlantis Plugin to work before making the switch at the office. I just hope they hurry up!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Phew. What a title for a post! But, basically, that's what it is.

To explain: I was looking for a way to make dynamic shelves, where I could not only determine the distance between the individual boards, but also the number of them. Simply put: I want a family where I can say: shelve A has three boards that are 40cm apart, while shelve B has four boards that are 45cm apart.

To get to grips with the technique I first made a trial family, using my trusted cubic meter:

Great fro trying out things.

I then set up a family using the Generic Model - Floor Based template, because my cubic meter sits on the floor. You should use the appropriate template when using this technique for other things.

Anyway. I loaded the cube into the family, and placed it at the center of the family. I then created a reference plane to the right and gave it a defined distance with a parameter calles "distance". (If this is too fast for you, please read the manual on dynamic families and labels.)

OK. Now comes the tricky part. I then went ahead and created an array from the cube, and selected the following settings:
I then made the array strecht from the central reference plane to the one I had set up.

So far so good. The next step is to create a parameter for the number of cubes in the array. Select the cube, and a temporary dimension will pop up the the number of items on it. This you can select and add a parameter.

Well. That's it for the basic setup. Now comes the "programming part":

Open the Family Types dialogue box and set it up in the following way:
Create a parameter called "block distance" (or whatever :) ) and group it under Dimensions. (This is not strictly neccessary, but helps with usability for others.) This is the distance between the cubes - more precisely the distance between the centers of the cubes.

I then let the distance be calculated by multiplying the number of cubes (minus one) with said distance.

And presto, it works!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Since we are slowly slowly moving into the direction of 2011, I figured it a good time to upgrade my TrueView to 2011 as well.

The install went fine and I opened a drawing I had just recieved from our structural engeneer. But when I wanted to measure some distances I discovered this:

No Ribbon. No measuring tools! WTF?!

After some searching around I found that there is a Ribbon in there, and that the tools I needed were still there. Relief. But it was pretty well hidden.

First I had to activate the menu:

And in the menu I found an option to actually show the Ribbon:

Lo and behold. Our Ribbon's back. And, as far as I can see, it has not changed with respect to R2010. So back to work and luckily I don't have to start looking for an alternative viewer - as the good ones mostly cost extra money and the free ones are not always up to scratch.

Having said this, if you know of an alternative dwg viewer that is good and freeware, drop a line!

Monday, May 10, 2010

We are using Artlantis for our renders at work. Nice software package with lot sof options.

The Revit-plugin for 2011 is supposed to arrive end of May.

Also, there is an update to Studio 3.03 available from their site.