Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Dog Bone returns for Revit 2010!

Now you're probably wondering what the hell I'm going on about! Well a few years ago, when I working for Excitech,  a colleague and I (Lawrence Hooker - Inventor genius) looked at how Revit and Inventor could work together, especially around the area of Freeform modelling. Inventor is really geared towards mechanical design and fabrication, however its modelling capabilities, although explicit, are amazing.  Well I came up with a building form which I knew just wasn't possible in Revit 2008. We nick named the building the Dog Bone, because if you look at the building in plan, the profiles which make up the shape of the building look like a Dog bone!

So we designed the form in Inventor using these profiles, saved this as a SAT filed, imported this into a Revit mass and the applied the floors, wall, curtain walls etc. The image below is from that file, if you have read Mastering Revit Architecture 2009, you will have seen this image before.

concept tower1

Ok, fast forward 2 years, we now have Revit 2010. With the new concept modelling tools, I was particularly interested to know whether I could rebuild the Dog Bone in 2010, without the  need for Inventor. I was sure I could, but I needed to be convinced.

So opened up a new concept mass template and setup three levels. I then add dimensions between the three levels and turned these to parameters. This would allow me to control the central profile that would make up the form.

On each level I sketched the Dog Bone Profile. To make life a little easier for me, I extracted the original profiles as DWG plan guides that I had used in Inventor and imported these into Revit and sketched over the top using reference lines and arc. Utilizing the original profiles would ensure that the form would build as close as possible to the original concept. dogbone_2

Then selecting all the profiles, all I then had to do was choose Create Form from the Ribbon and the Dog Bone returned! 


The added bonus of Revit 2010 allowed me to divide and pattern the facade. 


The new concept mass was then loaded into the Revit project environment where I once again applied, floors, walls and curtain walls. This is the Revit 2010 version of the same design.

dogbone_5 dogbone_6

To me, this just reinforces the amount of effort that has taken place to get these new tools into Revit 2010 and this is only version 1 of this implementation. I am sure they will be improved even further  in future releases of Revit, but this is a great start.

Friday, May 22, 2009

AEC (UK) BIM Standard to lead the way

Users of industry leading Building Information Modelling (BIM) software have asked for a common approach to collaborating with engineering data.

Although BIM is now widely accepted as the route to a better quality of Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) design output, there is a distinct lack of common approach across the industry. This absence limits wider adoption of BIM, minimises the return on technology investment made by companies and forces them to continually re-invent disparate processes and software content. Without any practical or independent guidance in place, and following requests by software users, the AEC (UK) Committee has undertaken to produce a BIM standard. The AEC (UK) BIM Standard will address the needs of design organisations whose projects demand operating in a multi-disciplinary BIM environment to connect their design geometry with engineering, scheduling, cost analysis and sustainability technology.

In addition to a published document, the AEC (UK) Committee aims to provide configurations and online content for both Autodesk and Bentley Systems BIM software. To achieve a practical implementation approach across platforms, the Committee has welcomed new, expert members from the UK Revit Community.

The first release of the AEC (UK) BIM standard is anticipated for October 2009 and there will be opportunity by the UK BIM community to shape its future development. This reflects earlier, successful collaborative efforts by the Committee to produce the AEC (UK) CAD Standards. Further details about the Committee’s work can be obtained by emailing the chairman, Nigel Davies at

More details can be found at

Autodesk Dragon Fly and Revit

You may already know about this, but if you haven't taken a look at Autodesk Dragonfly, you should!


Dragonfly is one of the many preview technologies that can be found at Autodesk Labs website. Dragonfly is using cloud technology and is a 3D environment which allows you to create simple 3D architectural floor plans.  The cool thing about this, is that once you've created your design you are able to export to Revit!


The Web app will then email you a link where you can down load the resulting Revit model. It would seem Revit elements are mapped to elements drawn in Dragonfly. Considering this is a preview technology, it works very well. This certainly provides an insight into the future direction of using the cloud for architectural design.


Codebook v9 for Revit

Codebook for Revit has been released, details can be found here....

If you are into healthcare or science and technology planning, you need to see this, its stunning!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sometimes I need to open my eyes

Thanks to everybody who responded to my recent post about "workset troubles in Revit 2010". It looks like I was being a muppet! Cos the workset sync w/central button was already included in the QAT!!!!! this is why I couldn't add it again. :-(


I guess sometimes I just need to open my eyes!!

Workset troubles in Revit 2010

There has been much debate, discussion, argument about the new UI in Revit 2010 and I am sure this will rage on for some time to come. But to pick on what Steve Stafford describes as a Department of Unfair, I am not 100% sure what Autodesk had in mind when they got to the ribbon tab for Worksets in Revit 2010. We use Worksets be default on "ALL" our projects, whether they are design studies or full on BIM models. The Worksets tools in 2010 are bundled under a tab called "Collaborate", where they share life with copy/monitor, coordination review and interference check.

worksets - 2010 -1

You will notice that some of terminology has changed with phrases like Synchronize with Central and Synchronize now, this isn't really the issue as the name change is a positive move. The challenge is that with the new Ribbon implementation, the tab for the Worksets are hidden from the user if you decide to enable Worksharing on your project.

worksets - 2010 -3

The only way to access the commands like Synchronize with Central (used to be called Save to Central) is to actually go to the Collaboration tab. The Workset tab commands should be visible to the user "ALL" the time, you don't really want to be hunting through various tabs to find the command you need. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Hey David, can't you just add the commands you require to the QAT?" ED - Well you CAN cause as many sharp eyed readers have already told be its there by default! You can't add tools twice.

The whole Workset concept is a black art for many users and they just don't want to know about what goes on in the background, it is also an area of Revit which can cause the most problems, so hiding the tools, in my view is a "NO-NO".
So what are the possible solutions in the short term for this release, until Autodesk see fit to address this problem? You could setup keyboard shortcuts to access the tools or alternatively you could rip off the ribbon tab to have it floating around the screen.

worksets - 2010 -4

I am not a big fan of floating tool palettes as it takes up screen real estate, but if it solves the problem for those that prefer to use icons, then so be it. In the long term, I do hope that Autodesk takes a serious look at how users access the Workset tools. BIM at its heart is all about collaboration and good communication. Good communication should mean that the tools that perform the collaboration process are easily accessible and visible all the time. I would hope the majority or Revit users who use Worksharing would agree with me too.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

buildz blog


You've must check this blog out!!

Zach Kron is a Architectural Designer and Software Analyst for Autodesk and he pointed me in the direction of his blog today. You will find some really cool stuff here. I particularly like the tip he gives on Photographing BIM. :-)

Also, check out the batch script he has created which is a render queuing script for 2009 and 2010.